When you create a cable program, it’s usually an hour or half hour in length. So many people will compress the show and post it directly to Vimeo or Youtube and hope that people will find them. With a bit more effort (okay, maybe more than a bit0, you can raise the stakes on your initial investment of time using social media. Here are a few tips:
- Create a 2 Minute Excerpt – Very few people will watch an entire cable program online. Studies show that the web audiences wants the Cliff Notes Version for online consumption. So do post the entire piece, but promote the 2-minute version with a link to the longer piece so those who want more can access it.
- Make sure the youtube or vimeo image presents the program well – When you upload to youtube or vimeo, that vehicle automatically chooses an image. It’s not always the most engaging, especially if it’s an in-studio shot. Carefully select the image. Make sure it is A) flattering, if it’s an individual that’s shown, B) One of the more interesting images, 3) Not too dark or blown out in color, 4) An action shot, when possible. The image you choose will become the graphic in your social media post, so it should capture attention.
- Write a Provocative Headline for Social Media – The headline shouldn’t be about your show, but about the content within your show. Create a title that resonates with your audience. For example, if you were interviewing an up-and-coming skateboarding professional, instead of using a title like, “Interview with skateboarder Julian Lewis,” you might title it something like, “Skateboarder Julian Lewis Kickflips His Career.” By using skateboarding terminology in the title, it speaks to skateboarders, but non-skateboarders who don’t know the terminology understand that this is a story about a skateboarder doing something exciting.
- Write a short, engaging description – In a short sentence or two, drill down to what the content is about. Make the copy short, clear and enticing, to encourage the audience to watch. Keep it honest. Don’t promise something you can’t deliver on.
Promote across social media platforms – Although facebook is currently king, in terms of sheer numbers, different social media attract people of different demographic sectors, and it makes sense to think about the age, gender, income, etc. of your audience, and choose a couple of social media platforms that best reach your target. For insight into the demographics of social media users, see page three of this great report by Pew Research.
- Set up multiple social media accounts – Say you decide to focus on facebook and twitter. With both of these social media platforms, you would set up an account for yourself and for your show. You will probably have different followers in both places, so when you post to your own page and to your show page, you’ll be reaching two different audiences. Yes, it takes more time, but it also helps in getting the word out.
- One share doesn’t get it there – Although you don’t want to be obnoxious about sharing your content through social media (or some people may block you), consider the fact that with most social media, the audience sees the content only during the time when they are actually using that media. Take facebook for example. Say you post a piece to facebook in the morning. If someone liked you or your show’s page, and accesses facebook at night, your post may have scrolled so low (especially if they have a lot of friends or followers) that they won’t see it unless they scroll down to the last time they accessed their account. Yes, some people do that, but most don’t have the time. So try posting across several days, during a variety of times during the day. Try using different titles and descriptions each time to attract different audiences.
- Cross-promote Yourself and Your Show! – Include all your info (name of show, name of producer, contact info, social media connections, where they can watch the show, including days and times, etc.) on your blog or website if you have one, on all other social media, on business cards and in the credits. There’s nothing so frustrating as seeing a great show, attempting to contact the producer or host, and discovering you can’t find them!
Best of luck on promoting your show, and if you’ve had luck using one particular method, please feel free to let me know!
Note: Facebook encourages uploading your video directly to facebook. Honestly, I don’t recommend this for several reasons. Although you may get somewhat higher viewership doing this, you have more control over your video by uploading it to facebook or youtube and sharing it across other social media. Also, facebook’s business model and how they use posted content keeps changing, so I feel that youtube or facebook is the wiser route.