For freelance journalists and content creators, social media is more important than ever, and with tens of millions of monthly active users spread across TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, selling yourself and your skillset now includes building brands, reputations, and a personability with your audience.
Regina Lovic, People magazine’s social media manager for the past decade, broke down the differences between platforms while highlighting their similarities in the Social Media 101 workshop at the Launceston Freelance Festival.
She said to be successful in this new marketplace, a couple of steps are universal: be consistent and research your audience.
1) Do you want to grow your audience and build your brand? Hop on TikTok today where the primary userbase is below 25 and new trends are emerging weekly to keep content fresh. Adversely, short attention spans demand digestible, compelling media where services are traditionally difficult to sell. TikTok is where creators go to build a brand.
2) Meta’s platforms resemble more traditional marketplaces where services can be sold, with Instagram’s format better suited for lifestyle shopping and Facebook an ideal media to market services. Primary audiences on these apps consist of people in their late 20’s to early 30’s who are professionals looking to better themselves.
“If you’re looking to get punters or students looking to do a new course, they’re on Facebook and Instagram,” Lovic explained, “they’re on their lunch break looking at content constantly.” This means that by employing a consistent schedule of uploads and paid advertisements using Meta’s inbuilt Business Suite and Optimal Time Zones to maximise your market reach, your followers can go jump from hundreds to thousands in a matter of months.
3) Consistent uploads can be scheduled weeks in advance using professional tools such as Hootsuite and Business Suite, with analytics helping you reach the most people with the least costs sunk in the process. Each social media platform is different, even if only marginally. Know your market and choose a platform accordingly.
4) Building a brand takes time. As you move to establish your brand and your services, do not lose sight of the importance of an authentic audience that cares about what you publish and is invested in your work. A follower goal, researched audience and a clear sales pitch will reap rewards far greater than ‘getting followers quick’ schemes and overloading your budget into advertisements.