One trend that will only get bigger is people getting jobs and being paid for content when they have a built-in audience. When you have a captive group not only consuming what you’re putting out there but engaging with and sharing it, that will always have a value in the content economy.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. So how do you accomplish this? Here are five tips I pass along anytime the topic comes up:
1. Pick a line and master it.
These days, people are looking for content that’s more and more niche and micro to their specific tastes. For example, there are tons of sports podcasts out, with many focusing on specific teams.
To stand out, I maintain that the best way to cultivate a following is to pick what you love most and cater the majority of your posts to that. Let’s say you are into cooking. Make that your realm, read about cooking, listen to cooking podcasts, watch cooking videos, follow chefs on social media, and post about cooking. Recipes, chefs doing cool things, videos of you trying a new set of cookware, an IG story of preparing a meal from start to finish...everything revolves around the brand. When you do this, consistently and don’t give up, like-minded people will find you and follow you because you’re giving them content they want. Cater to the 500 or 1,000 followers who absolutely love cooking, not the million who may; you’ll get more return from the hardcore fans.
As actors, think about what specific area of the industry really excites you? Broadway? TV? Film? Method acting? Drama? Comedy? The more you lean into a niche, the more you’ll be seen as an expert and the more it will help you grow your audience.
2. Remember that social media is about engagement, not follower count.
It’s better to have a high engagement rate and a lower follower count than a higher follower count and lower engagement. This happens when you treat social media like an environment, not a push notification. For example, don’t just use Twitter to post links or shout about your projects. Like, comment, start conversations, discuss, be real, and be consistent. You'll find that cultivating a community bears way more fruit than an automated-looking message that reads like a bulletin nobody cares about.
3. Post natively.
For images and videos, post directly on social media when you can, even if it’s a teaser video for the full version somewhere else. (Some companies will insist on this for monetization purposes.) If I can avoid it, I don’t link to videos on social media anymore—I post or share natively so people can consume it then and there. We all know that when we see a link, we’re far less likely to click it unless it’s incredibly interesting because that wait time feels like a lifetime.
4. Switch up your content across social media platforms.
In other words, post different stuff in different places. Most social media platforms have analytics attached so in many cases, you’ll know the breakdown of your followers and what they appreciate the most from you, so you can cater to your audience even better.
You can repurpose content, but make sure at least the captions are different. Post different content on different platforms to add flavor and more reason to follow you on different social media. If you’re posting the same stuff everywhere with the same captions, why should someone follow you on each one?
For example, let’s say you’re on set. What content could you be posting on Twitter? Instagram? Snapchat? Facebook? Maybe a quick video chat with one of your fellow actors about the project on Twitter, a photo of you getting makeup done on Instagram, a tour of the catering table on Instagram stories, and you and a fellow actor with a funny filter on Snapchat.
5. Be authentic.
Above all, you have to be yourself. Before you post anything, ask yourself, “Would I say this in real life? Would I talk about this in real life?” If you wouldn’t, don’t post it; people see right through the fake and the phony. Your audience is following you not only for the information you’re putting out there but how you’re putting it out there and that’s where your personality comes in. Anyone can find the facts, but there is only one you.
Got any questions? Tweet me @ArdaOcalTV!
Arda Ocal is an award-winning broadcaster based in the New York City area. He currently works as a host on MSG Networks and ESPN.
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