Social media users generally fall into one of four categories: people who hate it, people who love it, people who are confused by it, and people who pride themselves as being "off the grid." For the latter, get real it's2017. Abstaining from social media doesn't make you cool and edgy, it makes you look like a hermit.
I'm in the "love it" category and an early adopter of most platforms, and yet when I launched my web series Brains two years ago, I was woefully underprepared for how to promote myself and my show. I've written for Stareable before about the specific ways you can use Twitter to advance your filmmaking career, but today I wanted to do something even simpler: a list of do's and don'ts for posting about your show on the four most popular social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.
don't: Share Instagram photos to Twitter. It will just appear as an Instagram link, which very few people are going to click on.
DO: Post the image you want to share directly on Twitter, so that the image itself will embed into people's timelines.
don't: Tweet a bunch of things all at once, or only ever at one time of day
DO: Get a Twitter app that allows you to schedule tweets if you're not able to be on Twitter all the time. I suggest Tweetdeck, which not only allows you to schedule tweets for a year from now at exactly 1:02am, but also allows you to easily tweet and check notifications from multiple Twitter accounts. If you have a show Twitter and a personal one, this will save you a lot of time logging in and out , and if you have Twitter transmedia accounts, it might literally save your life or, more importantly, your sanity.
don't: Use too many hashtags in one tweet. Cool it you look like a bot.
DO: Space out a few tweets throughout the day, hashtagging different keywords each time. It spreads the love, gives you multiple options so you're not tweeting the same thing over and over again, and it looks like an actual human person is posting!
don't: Use your personal Facebook account for promotion. It limits your reach as your show gets bigger, and it'sreally annoying.
DO: Make a fan page for the show itself (or for your individual professional presence or production company). You can share the most important posts from there to your personal page, lessening the burden of constant self-promotion. It also gives your fans a destination to find you and your content that isn't your personal account.
don't: Only link to YouTube videos, especially if you're planning on "boosting" a post, or spending a little money for Facebook to promote the post as an ad. Facebook is pushing native video and will de-prioritize YouTube videos. For example, a native Facebook video thumbnail is six times bigger than a YouTube thumbnail posted to Facebook.
DO: Either upload full episodes of your show to Facebook as well as YouTube, or upload a quick teaser/trailer version of the episode to Facebook with a link to the full episode on YouTube. Your views won't be consolidated but you'll get more of them and isn't that ultimately the goal?
don't: Use hashtags in your posts. No one tracks hashtags on Facebook, and it looks awkward and out of place.
DO: Be specific about targeting keywords and key demographics when you "boost" a post instead. For instance, when I boost a post from my zombie web series Brains, I make sure that people who have "liked" things like "zombies" and "post-apocalyptic fiction" will be more likely to see my posts.
don't: Just post any old photo or selfie.
DO: Consider framing, color, and composition for what you post. Especially as an explicitly visual app where you want to stand out, invest a couple extra seconds in choosing pictures or editing the photo to maximize the most visually-appealing qualities.
don't: Post non-square images. Even though it'stechnically allowed now, it looks really bad, and your profile page will appear unprofessional.
DO: Make Instagram-safe promotional images to post when new episodes or videos go live. For us, that meant making images in the same format as our thumbnails, just with square dimensions. See below:
don't: Forget hashtags, but also don't post them at the beginning of the photo caption because that looks terrible.
DO: Hashtag widely but far below the actual caption/photo information. People absolutely track tags on Instagram and because you have so much more space within the caption area itself, they don't have to clutter up your actual message.
don't: Tag your posts with more than five tags if you're trying to get discovered. Tumblr only tracks the first five when suggesting posts to people following specific keywords or phrases. If you tag a post "funny, web series, lol, feminism, cats, dogs", your post won't show up under the "dogs" tag because it'sthe sixth tag.
DO: Figure out which of your relevant tags have the most followers and the most engagement and cater to those strengths. For us, "zombie," "sex," and "indie filmmaking" were usually the highest performers.
don't: Tag reblogs (even with added commentary or content) for discoverability. Reblog tags only serve to organize posts on your individual blog. If you reblog something and append a relevant episode of your web series to the post, adding a "LOL" or "web series" tag won't get the new version of the post discovered.
DO: Reblog relevant content and posts from others anyways. It'll pad your show blog with external content, raising your chances of gaining followers who appreciate your taste and thematic curation. It also makes you look less spammy, because you're acknowledging good content from others instead of solely focusing on your own promotion.
Are there tips or tricks I didn't list that are worth mentioning? Let me and other filmmakers know in the comments!