Social media is vital to content distribution. Filmmakers, photographers and journalists who don’t use it are missing out on the opportunity to build direct relationships with their audience. But getting social online can feel overwhelming to storytellers who don’t use these tools in their personal lives. In our Methodology workshops, the first questions participants looking to get started with social media ask me are: which platforms are worth my time and what in the world do I talk about all day?
It seems daunting, but the answer to both questions is simple: Listen first.
It’s easy to overlook the value of listening when socializing online or in person. Our instinct is to just dive in. But that’s not a strategic way to build your business. As every great procrastinator knows, new social platforms and tools are debuting all the time and it’s easy for social media to turn into a time suck that steals productivity rather than a tool that promotes your work.
Before you jump in to something new, pay attention to where your network is. Ask yourself:
- What social networks do potential clients I want to work with use?
- Where are my competitors active online?
- What companies and creators do I look up to? How are they sharing content?
These are the places you want to be. It’s the same reasoning you use to choose what party to go to. You’re usually going to choose the event you know everyone is going to attend (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) or the one where you know people similar to you will be (for a photography and film advocate like MediaStorm, that means sites like Instagram and Vimeo).
Ok, you’ve set up a social media profile. Now what? Keep listening.