(First published on ThanetWriters.com on 2018/06/14 by Connor Sansby)
For poets, social media is very much king when it comes to marketing. There simply isn’t a better tool for finding gigs and promoting appearances and new releases to your audiences, despite the myriad difficulties in ensuring your fans see what you’re posting.
But a number of poets are simply unable to use the platforms properly. I see low effort in posting all the time, with no thought as to timing and strategy. Often I see events shared without context, leading to posts getting lost in the stream of information. These are the same people I will later see complaining they don’t get asked to headline events. Long story short, headliners have to be the people who get others in through the door. Headline slots aren’t given purely on merit; the exposure the event will get is a big part of who gets asked to perform at the top of the bill.
With this in mind, here are a few tips to ensure your fans see your events.
1. Share everything
Start early when it comes to promoting events. Are you part of an open mic? Share that! Taking part in a slam? Share that! Are you just going to an event to watch? Share that!
An active social media profile is a good sign of someone who takes themselves seriously as a professional, and someone who is worth asking to headline an event.
Many poets are shy and worried about bothering everyone with their content, but it’s something that has to be overcome. If people can see that you are putting in the hours, they will support you. They will support you even if they are not fans of poetry, even if it’s just with a little Like once in a while.
Facebook also rewards pages that post regularly, so telling people everything is a great way to get that increased reach.
If you start sharing events from the day you start performing, you’re setting yourself up with good habits as your career expands.
2. Tell people something!
Just sharing the event isn’t enough. People ignore event posts all the time, and we become a little blind to them. What we do read are posts from our friends.
Adding a little bit of commentary to your event posts will encourage people to take notice. Use the opportunity to say something nice about the event, the venue, the host, or other poets you see on the bill. You could also use the opportunity to remind people about the last time you were at the event.
3. Share regularly
It’s not enough to share the event once on the day of the show. Some people have plans weeks ahead. Often, people don’t even see posts until the next day, meaning it’ll be far too late to do anything by the time it shows up in their feed.
It’s okay to share more than just “The Next Event.” People aren’t following your feed in chronological order. If they’re coming, they’ll make note of it some way. You’re not responsible for managing their diary.
Most of what you post won’t be seen by every person, so it’s important that you have more than one post travelling around feeds at any given time. Don’t worry about cluttering up their feeds; if they’re following you, it’s probably interesting to see this kind of information.
4. Schedule posts
Sit down once a month and plan at least one post a day, or at least a few a week. Give people a heads-up on events in that week, as well as on the day of the event (make sure these posts are early in the day so people have the highest chance of spotting it.)
Another powerful trick is to post an image showing all your dates in the following week. Images travel better than almost every other post except video, but they can be a lot of work.
5. Thank people after everything is done
Drop a thank you in the event. It’s a great way of reminding people how much they enjoyed your stuff, as well as reminding them to like your page.
Thanking people also makes you look great and supportive of the local poetry community, and is a great way to make sure you get invited back. Organisers love to feel valued.
There are, of course, plenty of other ways to get the best out of social media, but these five tips are the low investment/high reward methods you can start using today, without learning a huge amount of social media theory.