How can you effectively reach your target audience and build your brand without social media (SM)? The answer is that you canNOT. Well, technically, I suppose you could, if you are Bill Gates-rich and have the funds to hire advertising/pr firms. However, if you’re not in the one percent, SM is your best ally.
If you don’t care about this, you should, because an interesting thing is happening in entertainment. I liken it back to Vaudeville, when the show was literally on the road, traveling from village to city, connecting with people and building audiences on word of mouth. SM is today’s Vaudeville. Increasingly, SM is the measure investors use to analyze your potential for success in the marketplace. Deals get brokered for those who play the game best.
SM effectiveness is determined not only by how many “friends” or “followers” you have, but on the level of influence they carry. This is why some people on Twitter may have 60K followers, but a lower Klout score than another account with only 6K. The media is hip to this and monitors accounts which they deem are potentially future movers and shakers.
Since most of you know by now, that I am not a “friend” of Facebook, I will concentrate on Twitter. It’s my belief that above all other SM outlets, these two are the most influential. How then, do you build a brand using this powerful platform? The answer is slowly and carefully.
First, decide how much time you are willing to devote to building your brand using Twitter. I would recommend a minimum of an hour a day, at least five days a week. The key to this is determining when the folks that you are targeting your message to are most actively online. Don’t assume that at 9AM/PST Hollywood’s movers and shakers are all up and tweeting. Observe.
Next, start by sending out some general tweets as experiments to see by whom and when they are RT‘d. This is a good place to start because these are people who “get” your message and are there to help you build your brand. Always thank people for passing on your tweets.
If this becomes too cumbersome, find creative ways to acknowledge these kindnesses. I like to use #MM (Music Monday), #WW (Writer’s Wednesday) and #FF (Friday Follow) to express my appreciation. About once a month, I also send out a slew of mentions from my Klout accounts. If you don’t know what Klout is or why you should care, take the time to investigate it.
The most crucial aspect to branding via Twitter is supporting as well as interacting. I honestly can’t think of one person whom I admire in the entertainment industry who isn’t practicing this. Remember that twitter is about WE not ME. People are there because they want to connect and they too want their messages to be seen by the largest percent possible. This means that to a large degree, you absolutely must be selfless in the medium. Don’t wait for people to RT your tweets, mention you, send you shout outs, first lead the way by daily practicing this yourself.
The Golden Rule is alive and well in Twitterville. If this is not second nature for you, then you’re going to need to consciously work the principle until it naturally flows. Without reciprocity, Twitter becomes a soap box of disjointed ideologies all vying for attention. It’s the conversation that brings change and carries momentum.
One of the most creative and fun ways to carry your brand’s message further is to develop and use your own hashtags. Witness the success of the #scriptchat hashtag developed by some of my friends on Twitter. Not only is this widely used, it has branched out into an international tweeting sensation. I, however, caution you initially not to use such a self promoting hashtag. Because again, it screams me, me, me…
Instead, use hashtags liberally and often, so they become a natural part of your Twitter lexicon. You can develop hashtags for your pet causes and projects. Always put “Pls RT” before any tweet containing a hashtag. Without this, it’s unlikely that it will gain momentum.
More than anything, be brave.
Politely introduce yourself to people that you want to learn about you and your brand. Cruise the general timeline when you first sign in and keep an eye out for those individuals/companies. When you see a general tweet from them, RT it and send them a mention.
Also, don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation. However, be sensitive to those already in a particular tweeting session. Sometimes, it’s not appropriate to interrupt. The best way to decide if this is an approachable conversation is to check out the history of it and make certain that you are not going to be perceived as an interloper. To view the history, click on the “in reply to” just below the tweet, or the “open” to the far right of the profile name.
In these situations, it helps if you have the gift of banter. Again, if you don’t, try and develop a lighter side that makes you, and hence, your product more accessible. Remember, that this is SOCIAL media, so be your best self. I liken it to being a good dinner guest. Keep the conversation positive, intriguing and light.
Finally, whatever you do, do NOT misrepresent either yourself or your product. There was a woman who foolishly posted photographs of a “party” at Brett Rattner’s house. The photos in question clearly were taken at a book signing at West Hollywood‘s Book Soup, not a smart move.
Last, but definitely not least, do not insult nor antagonize anyone on the public timeline. Again, I see this all the time and have been the recipient myself. If you have an issue with someone, take it off the timeline and at least be decent enough to broach it in a private DM. Remember, the internet is FOREVER. Never write anything you wouldn’t want to see republished at a future date. As I often say to my followers…Have fun, but play nicely!
Your reputation is your best investment. SM is a great way to get it known and hopefully, respected. While you’re at it, remember to:
>>>>>>>> Write Authentically <<<<<<<<<<
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