Using social media to help grow your business
It’s 2015 and social media is pretty much ruling the world at this point. So, how do you utilize it to your advantage as a video professional? It comes down to five components:
Networking, Generating New Business, Education, Peer Review and Collaboration.
What does “networking” mean online? It means recognizing your voice and seeking out like minded people -- this takes time, but when you find them it’s super rewarding. People become interested in you when your skills, passions, style of work and even humor align.
It takes a lot of interaction and a lot of engagement, but when you spend time getting to know your community, they feel special and want to give back. The more you talk to them and about them, the more they will talk to and about you. Every tagged mention on social media widens your circle opens up so many possibilities to generate new business.
Generating New Business
One of the great things about having an online audience is that you have a global audience. The world is literally your oyster, so go out and find those pearls.
Everybody needs videos – pitch videos, commercials, training videos… it really doesn’t matter what kind of videos you’re involved in making, there’s someone out there that needs you.
Getting your services in front of those people and generating new business is all about building a wider audience – and in the world of social media this means, more views, likes, retweets or shares. One of the best ways to do this is by creating native content - which means content unique to that platform . So don’t just post a video on Facebook, then link to that post on Twitter; - create fresh engaging content and play to each social platforms strengths.
Show your behind-the-scenes side on Instagram, network and interact with thought leaders on Twitter, and for goodness sake upload your videos onto Facebook video – their algorithm surfaces their native video more than anything else at the moment!
Make sure each platform has up to date links to your latest work, and presents you in a professional manner. Anything can lead to new business so always be professional and polite, if in doubt, don’t say anything you wouldn't say to your mother.
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t” –Billy Nye
Opening yourself the possibility of education through social media is so huge. Every time your social network grows, that’s one more person that may provide a piece of inspiration, a new perspective or idea. One of the most attractive traits in a video professional is hunger. Be open to new ideas and adapt to them. I’m sure you do this already, otherwise you’d probably still be filming on an old VHS recorder from 1994.
As video professionals, we never stop learning, which is one of the most beautiful things about our line of work. With technology ever-changing, there is always someone out there with new ideas, different perspectives and probably more knowledge than you in an given particular area. Instead of pitting ourselves against each other and funneling competition, I encourage you to reach out to peers and take inspiration from their experiences.
Find that account that always has the buzz on the latest tech advances: they’re going to be your best friend. For example, Wipster was featured in a recent “Must Have” Apps article on Indiewire that they pushed on their Facebook Page. If you’re following Indiewire, you will end up finding articles such as this and suddenly, your editing workflow has changed forever.
Peer Review and Collaboration
Peer review and collaboration go hand in hand. With a platform at our fingertips that makes it incredibly easy to get feedback on a video at the click of a button, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you weren’t using social networking to better your edit. Don’t be afraid to share an unfinished project and get feedback. With a thriving online community of editors, cinematographers, producers, fellow video professionals. Some edits are straightforward, but more often than not, we need that outside eye on cuts to give perspective – this is sometimes the line that pushes your video from “good” to “great.”
The world of collaborative possibilities is thrust wide open when you use social media to your advantage. You’re already learning from your peers through inspiration and allowing your circle to give you feedback - let’s take that scenario a step further and actually collaborate with your online community. What’s the point of being in a creative field if we don’t share it?
The Potential Pitfalls
It’s hard getting criticism, especially from people you don’t personally know. Don’t let yourself fall into a self-deprecating black hole because a couple of your Twitter followers don’t like a video you made. Take a deep breath and realize that you asked for the criticism and it’s supposed to be constructive. If you’ve grown your social media circles in a way to enhance as opposed to compete, your community are trying to help you bring your product to the next level.
Gaining an audience takes time, and nobody is an overnight success. Be patient, be genuine; there is no quick or easy way to widen your circle. The ideas outlined in this blog aren’t prescriptive, they’re guidelines to help you figure out your own success. What works for you? What doesn’t? Experiment. Get creative. And have FUN!
Elena is a writer, producer and actress based in Austin, Texas. She co-owns TurtleDove Films, and is the co-creator of the critically acclaimed webseries #ATown. She is an advocate for women in the film industry and can often be found on twitter at @ElenaWeinberg, chatting about video, comedy and her cats.
How is your social media strategy going? What are some tips that have helped grow your online pressence? Please share them in the comments below.