I had breakfast recently with the charming Jaie LaPlante, Executive Director of the Miami International Film Festival. Jaie has healthy 13,000 fans on his Facebook page, but like most people, he’s hungry for more.
I explained that he shouldn’t worry much too much about the number of fans--the thing that matters is how active his page is--he should be concerned with the number of likes, comments and shares. What was he doing to stir up traffic? Jaie said he had a guy named Igor Shteyrenberg who was merrily posting all day long. “He shouldn’t posting so often,” I said, repeating a truism I’d rattled off so often in blogs and lectures. “All Facebook research has proven that you should never post more than two or three times a day.”
Umm….wrong. Rules don’t apply when you have great content.
Despite--or maybe because of--the constant postings, I later discovered that Miami had one of the liveliest festival pages I’d ever seen. Igor turned out to be the George Takei of movies, generating a potpourri of funny, interesting cinema and pop culture graphics he’d excavated from the web. The page gave the festival a lively personality-- hip, and buoyant and fun. Adjusting the numbers proportionately for number of fans, the Miami page had much better metrics than the pages for all of the world’s top festivals. Posting “too often” didn’t matter.
I was happy for Jaie, but the wonderful Miami page made me think of something that I don’t like to think about: my own page. There was a lot of room for improvement there. The advice I give centers around creating square images—I call them Shareable Squares--that are funny and interesting and shareable. Why couldn’t I put it into practice myself? I worked hard on my Facebook- related graphics, but they weren’t all that exciting; movies are intrinsically more fun than social media advice. There were people creating the square images and having luck with them, so I ran examples on my page, but I couldn’t rely on them to be a regular source of content. I had been experimenting with offering different kinds of information on the page, but when I saw the Miami page, it kicked me in the ass--I knew I could do better.
For the first time I asked myself the questions I ask every potential client: what’s your goal? What do you want the page to do for you? I decided there were three main reasons: first, I write a blog and I want to announce the new posts; second, I want to announce my lectures; and third, and most importantly, I want the page to be a place to post examples of people putting my advice into action. So I thought, “why don’t I make my own cinema-themed content to show people what I’m advising them to do?” It would vividly illustrate my approach and at the same time give people a sense of what I’m like.
I did my first graphic on December 1st, a picture of Jean-Luc Godard:
People liked it, and so I made more: Christopher Walken, Marilyn Monroe, Abbas Kiarostami, Louise Brooks, Quentin Tarantino, Groucho Marx, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Steven Spielberg, Michel Gondry, Woody Allen, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Pedro Almodovar, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, and Tim Burton.
The activity on my page has gone up ten times.
There’s an important lesson here and it’s not limited to social media. Don’t give up. Keep trying until you find a solution that’s right for you.