Tired of endless Google searches and overblown, impractical advice? Ask the Consultant to get direct answers to your pressing promotional puzzles. Send your query to email@example.com and include the name of your show so, if your question is chosen, we can give it a plug.
This month's consultant: Dan Page
Dan is founder and CEO of Podspike and has made it his mission to give podcasters access to easy, affordable and effective marketing services. He was one of the speakers at this year’s London Podcast Festival Makers Weekend
Curtis Jackson of Living the Dream with Curveball asks:
Can you tell me the best way to create and start a successful social media campaign?
Last month I was invited to speak at the London Podcast Festival on this very topic, so Curtis’s question feels perfectly timed!
While there is no one ‘best’ way to use social media to market your show (what works for you won’t necessarily work for your fellow podcaster), there are some ‘brilliant basics’ that everyone should be using.
Get these right and you’ll set yourself on a path to making social media work more effectively for you when it comes to marketing your podcast.
There are four key reasons why podcasters use social media to market their show:
1. It’s free (in money terms)
2. It’s easy (although hard to master)
3. It helps us connect with new audiences (although this is easier on some platforms than others)
4. It’s measurable (at least in terms of on-platform interaction)
It turns out that social media is pretty much the podcasting of the marketing world: it has low barriers to entry with plenty of tools to help you. But it can also suffer from the same challenges that afflict podcasting. It can become really time consuming, it’s easy to feel trapped inside a bubble, the competition can appear overwhelming, and it can feel difficult to create a lasting impact with audiences.
Talking of audiences, they use social media for four key reasons:
2. To feel part of a community
3. To get news or find knowledge
4. Networking / discovering new and interesting people
Note that none of these are to help you market your podcast! The trick to a successful social media campaign is, therefore, to find a way for your reasons and everyone else’s reasons to be on social media to connect.
The most common kinds of social media post I see from podcasters look a little something like this:
NEW EPISODE out now! Listen here → Link
Check out my interview with XYZ → Link
This week we’re talking to GUEST, who tells us about her new XYZ → Link
Don’t get me wrong, these kinds of posts are fine for letting existing fans of the show know that new content has dropped, but they will almost always struggle to be effective in attracting new listeners. Here’s why:
They’re telling or asking audiences something you want, rather giving them one of the four things they want.
So…how do we, as social media marketers, give audiences what they want?
Audiences want entertainment, and your show has it in spades! The trick is to help audiences understand – in as few characters as possible – what kind of entertainment you offer and why it’s unmissable. Images, audiograms and, ideally, videos work really well in these situations.
In this example, Saadia Khan from Immigrantly uses a TikTok post to play with a common question immigrants get asked to make an entertaining point – and showcase a key theme of her show.
If you’re not already doing so, think of your audience as a community: they share your interests and values, and by listening to each episode they’re celebrating these. But by talking only to your community with the types of posts I listed earlier, you’re not showcasing what the community values are – which makes everyone else feel like outsiders looking in.
Here’s a great example from Neurodivergent Moments Podcast, where the host, Joe Wells, speaks directly to anyone scrolling past on Twitter, offering them the chance to contribute to their show:
Note that I deliberately use the word ‘offered’ here, rather than ‘asked’. He is offering an opportunity to potential listeners, rather than asking for a favour from them.
News & Knowledge
More than likely your podcast has plenty of knowledge and news to offer – celebrity gossip, business advice, movie reviews – it all counts. The trouble is, too often we tell potential audiences they have to listen to the show to get it, rather than give them some of the sweet juicy facts right there and then in the social feed.
In this post, the host of Lexx Education, Laura Lexx, give us a fact and a gag – both fulfilling our nerdy needs and perfectly showcasing what the show is all about.
This also has the benefit of aiding the principle known as self selection: basically, it lets audiences judge really quickly whether this show is for them. If they think it is, they may well check it out. If it’s not, no-one is wasting any time trying to connect.
Networking / discovering new and interesting people
How can a social media post about a podcast help potential listeners network? Easy, make it about anyone else but you or your show. Give a shout out to a creator whose work you admire. Share a list of people you think are worth following. Offer to use your platform to help someone find answers to a question.
Get this right and people will appreciate the value you’ve offered… without asking for anything in return. The next time they see a post from you, maybe they’ll stop and engage instead of just scrolling past.
Creating and starting a successful social media campaign isn’t something that can be done overnight and will take some effort, courage and ingenuity – but these are all traits podcasters have. So make sure your content:
1. Gives rather than asks
2. Offers audiences something they value
3. Makes effective use of visuals alongside brief text
4. Gives audiences a flavour of your interests and values
Then the chances are that, over time, you have success using social media to market your podcast.