How to promote your work through social media
Whether you’re looking for your first graduate job in journalism, publishing, marketing, PR, photography or advertising, being able to promote your work is a valuable skill. Promotion can be as important as the content itself. You might have written the best article in the world or created an industry-leading marketing campaign, but who’s going to see it if you don’t promote it?
With tons of social media sites out there, it can be easy for your work to get lost in the white noise. To rise above it, try our top tips to help you to create an effective and relevant online presence that will impress prospective graduate employers doing the inevitable social media scan.
Using Twitter to promote your work
If you’re not already on Twitter, it’s about time you set yourself up an account. The site has around 271 million active users, so there’s really no better platform for your work. This is your chance to contribute to the debate on issues and trends in your field of interest.
Whether you’ve written an article while on work experience at a magazine or come up with an innovative new way of advertising for your university society to recruit new members, you should tweet a subject line and then a link to it. Don’t beg people to read it, instead say what’s unique about it. For example, does your article offer something new to an industry debate? Or, perhaps your advertising idea has led to a record number of new student recruits?
Make sure you use hashtags to filter your tweets into specific searches too. This is to increase the chance of your work being looked at by a relevant audience. You can hashtag general terms such as marketing, or you can use key words or trending topics that are specific to the subject matter you’re dealing with in that particular piece.
Your tweets should entice other users to click on the link without giving away the whole message of your article or campaign. An effective way of doing this is by posing a question which will then be answered in your work. This Huffington Post tweet is a good example that got 67 retweets: ‘Think your vote doesn't matter? These 4 charts prove you're wrong’. Don't be afraid to be a bit more creative and lighthearted if it reflects your content. For example the news blog Mashable, tweeted: 'Daniel Radcliffe rapping 'Alphabet Aerobics' is magically delicious.' Of course, there are other ways of attracting readers; it’s a case of finding out what works for you.
Don’t make your Twitter account private as this means that other users can’t retweet you – retweets are a good way of expanding your Twitter audience. Being active on Twitter is essential for most public-facing professions, so you should make sure that you show up in any searches recruiters might do. Also, promoting your work to just your own circle of friends defeats the point. Isn't the aim to push your work out to as many industry-relevant people as possible?
Using Twitter to show commercial awareness
It might be tempting to just tweet links to your own content. Don’t. Relentless self-promotion is annoying and actually quite counter-productive.
By varying your tweets, commenting on industry issues and the news and interacting with others in the field, you will attract more followers and show that you are commercially aware. People will be much more likely to read your work if you show that you are passionate and that you’re not a robot sending out random links. But be careful not to tweet or retweet anything that might be considered libellous, offensive or plagiarism. It can be serious business.
If you’re keen to pursue a career in marketing, advertising or PR, follow firms and agencies that you admire and highlight successful campaigns. Would-be journalists and publishers could comment on industry news and story treatment.
Keep your work on a blog
It’s a good idea to set up a blog so that you can keep all of your work in one place. You can then tweet the link to the blog post that you want to promote.
There are scores of free blogging websites out there – some better than others. It’s just a case of choosing the right one for you. Here are some suggestions:
Wordpress is the most popular blogging tool. You can choose to present your work in different themes – ideal for more creative graduates. It also tracks the number of views for individual blog posts and lists top key words and links that brought people to your blog. This is a great feature for monitoring the success of your promotion. Consider spending around £10 on making the move to the premium version which gives you much more choice in terms of design. For a similar price you can buy your own domain name too to give a more professional impression.
Blogger is easy to use and has a wide range of templates and layouts. Also, the fact that it’s owned by Google means that blogs get automatically submitted to Google’s blog directory. This site is best suited to those who want to write longer posts such as news articles, features or campaigns.
Tumblr is a microblogging tool that allows you to publish short posts containing images, text, audio or video that are shorter than traditional blog posts but longer than Twitter updates. Its high-resolution photo feature makes it a good bet for would-be photographers.
Medium is the new blogging site on the block launched by the creators of Blogger and Twitter. It has a story-telling feel that focuses on long-form writing. Its simplistic content editor strips away the usual clutter found on blogging sites.
What to put on your blog
Think about what you want your blog to reflect – don’t just say what lots of other people have already said but in rant-form. Remember that opinions can be divisive so focus on enriching the debate with research or interviews you might have done. Consider the skills that potential employers might be looking for in candidates, such as analytical skills and commercial awareness, and try to demonstrate them in your posts.
If you’re looking for a graduate job in marketing, advertising or PR you could blog about brands, campaigns or adverts that interest you. For example, you might write about why you think Marmite won this year’s Brand of the Year at the Marketing Week Engage Awards. Don’t favour one brand over another though – try to vary your posts and comment objectively. Keep in mind the companies you’ve applied to work for too. For example, if you’ve published a series of posts praising the branding of Unilever-owned Marmite but you’re going for a job at a Unilever competitor, such as Procter & Gamble, then you might want to consider removing them.
Those who want to work in the media sector could post news articles, features, reviews or even comment pieces on current affairs or industry news. Don’t be afraid to use video or audio too – especially if you want to be a broadcast-journalist.
Remember to harness search engine optimisation (SEO) by using key words and phrases to maximise search engine potential – particularly in titles and sub-headings. Knowledge of SEO is often a requirement for jobs in the media and marketing sectors.
Social media trends to follow and avoid
It’s always worth keeping up to date with new social media and blogging websites so that you can tap into them if they become ‘trending’. For example, the micro-video tool Vine recently took off in a pretty big way. Why not make six-second trailers for your blog posts? Flickr is useful for promoting images if you’re a photographer or advertiser. Instagram and Facebook are more informal social media sites that are dominated by photos of pets, so you may want to steer clear of them in a professional capacity.