Tag Archives: Social Media Management

Starting an Instagram account from scratch?

In 2012, Facebook paid 1 billion dollars for Instagram, an app that had 30 million users and only 13 employees. Fast-forward to 2017 and Instagram is a social media powerhouse, with over 500 million users and 40 billion photos shared every day.

I’ve been having conversations with clients recently around Instagram, its growing popularity and its value for organisations – so whether you’re starting from scratch or managing an Instagram account, I’ve put a few tips together on how to make the most of the platform.

Tips for starting:

  • Have a recognisable, representative username. As technology get faster and faster, people are becoming more and more impatient. If they can’t find your profile through search within one minute, they’ve moved on to the next visual distraction.
  • Same goes for profile photo. The photo you choose needs to be recognisable to people who know you. In most cases, the best choice will be your logo.
  • Make your profile informative in 150 characters. Because of the text limitations, you need to be clear about who you are and what you offer. Remember to include your location, website and contact details (these appear as ‘Contact’ on your profile.)
  • Create a strategy. I can’t stress the importance of planning. What are you trying to do and how will Instagram account help you? What do your audience want to see on Instagram versus what can you offer your audiences? How often is practical to post and what are your content pillars (themes, interests and values that will form the basis of your content)? A good brainstorm is required here.
  • Goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) are an important part of your strategy. It might be that you want to gain 10 followers every month and you want each post to receive at least 10 engagements. Your goals will adapt as your audiences grow, but having targets in place makes you more likely to strive to achieve them. And if you don’t, it’s a case of analysis, evaluation, and looking forward – learning what has worked well and less well.
  • Research! Stalk your audiences. What are they doing? Who are they following? Websta is a great tool for viewing your Instagram statistics and exploring what’s popular on Instagram. Know your field before you enter it.

Tips for building your following:

  • Tell people you’re on Instagram! This could be via newsletter, other social media platforms or even word of mouth (people do still talk to each other!) An effective method is to include the Instagram icon on your website. This goes for all your social platforms. (NB. We can help with this.)
  • Follow and engage. Instagram’s search function makes it easy to find people and brands to follow. Find your friends, clients, colleagues, organisations you like and hit follow. Following more people, theatres, galleries, artists, businesses is a great way to make new connections and can provide inspiration for your own account. You can also find your fans from Twitter, Facebook etc. and follow them on Instagram too. This lets them know they’re valued while encouraging a reciprocal follow!
  • Be social. Like, comment and tag (using the @ function) when relevant to let people know you’re active and sociable on the platform. It’s important to communicate with your followers too, especially if they’re commenting, liking or asking questions. The more people you can actively involve and encourage to comment on your photos will increase the attractiveness for others who want to contribute or comment on your photos too. You’re aiming to create a positive community where followers feel comfortable to communicate not only with you, but with each other.
  • Cross-promotion. Find similar accounts on Instagram that are a similar size to yours and have followers that you would like to attract to your page. Reach out and see if you can help promote each other’s accounts through shared shout-outs.

More Instagram tips:

  • Caption effectively. The right captions can go a long way, so you need to make sure that you are using them to your advantage. Decide if your subject matter requires a long or a short caption and what you want to communicate, then be consistent with your messaging. (Any URLs you share should lead people to mobile-friendly pages as it’s a mobile-only platform.)
  • Be strategic with hashtags. 3-5 hashtags is optimal on Instagram. Don’t add irrelevant hashtags to reach more people (as this doesn’t work). Your hashtags need to be relevant and descriptive. Click here for more on hash tagging effectively.
  • Use emojis wisely. Emojis can be hugely effective in increasing engagement and affinity with your business as they make you seem more relatable (Simply Measured, in its analysis of 2500 Instagram posts, found that “love hearts” receive the maximum engagement per post) but as with hashtags, don’t overdo it!

(Visit Sarah’s previous Instagram blog post for further tips on being Instagram savvy.)

If you’re still wondering whether Instagram is for you and how it can impact your business/brand, drop Sarah a line at sarah@dekretser.com.

Happy Friday!

Dance Consortium’s Q & A with Nederlands Dans Theater

Working with Dance Consortium, a group of 17 large theatres located across the UK, HdK has the lovely job of sharing behind-the-scenes content from the international dance tours that Dance Consortium bring to the UK each year.

Since 12 April 2016, the world-class Nederlands Dans Theater 2 has been touring venues across the UK; we have been catching the dancers where we can, and sharing live content from the tour on the Dance Consortium blog and social media feeds.

Now with just one venue left of the 2016 UK Tour, we thought we’d share the post-performance Q and A from the Theatre Royal in Plymouth to give you a taste of the company before it heads back to The Hague, Netherlands. The two NDT2 dancers in the Q and A were Rachel McNamee [21] and Benjamin Behrends [23]. For the dancers’ biogs head to the tour microsite. The dances in the night’s repertoire were: I New Then (choreography: Johan Inger), mutual comfort (choreography: Edward Clug), Solo (choreography: Hans van Manen) and Cacti (choreography: Alexander Ekman).

Audience member: How much input do the dances have in the choreographic process?

Rachel: It really depends on each piece and each choreographer and what they want. Every choreographer is very different in every process. Sometimes the choreographer comes in with a very set idea of what they want and they have movement and they just give it to is, or sometimes they come in and ask us to give to them, or they see what’s in front of them and create with us… so it really depends on the situation.

Benjamin: Adding on to that, we also do a bit of improvisation in some of the pieces. In the last piece, Cacti, some of the spoken word is ad-libbed and also some of the dancing as well. All the nude work before the couples’ dance is all improvised, so it all depends on what the choreographer wants.

Audience member: Which piece did you enjoy dancing most?

Rachel: It’s hard to have a favourite because I enjoy all of them. I think it also depends on the night. A piece is always a magical experience but I think for me, all the pieces I danced tonight, for example I New Then – the music is amazing and it always puts you in such a special place and it has such a heart-warming feeling for me at least as a dancer. I feel like I give a lot to it.

NDT2, , WOKING, UK, 2016, CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON

I New Then, NDT2 2016. Photo: JOHAN PERSSON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But also in Cacti, it’s nice to have a big group and it’s very fun and exciting. It’s nice to have such a range of repertoire because you get to experience different parts of yourself within each piece.

Benjamin: Also for me, each ballet has its own jams that you get to discover while you’re dancing. For me, I really enjoy the technical aspects of Solo, when you finish it you just feel really good if you’ve had a technically clean one. And then I New Then is very special, it’s very easy to get into the role and have this sunshine-y feeling, and then Cacti is the big horah!

NDT2, , WOKING, UK, 2016, CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON

Cacti, NDT2 2016, Photo: JOHAN PERSSON

 

 

Audience member: Do any injuries occur whilst handling other people’s bodies?

Benjamin: Yes (laughs) I think actually for me personally, all my injuries have happened completely on my own – no one was handling me! But yes as a profession of course we’re very careful and we train very hard every day. Fatigue also comes along with that. We always try and keep our bodies ready and fit to prevent injuries but of course things happen.

Audience member: How much do you train each day?

Rachel: We have ballet class every morning at 9.30am and then we rehearse for the rest of the day until 5.30pm and that’s usually 5 or 6 days a week, but we also do a lot of shows and touring, so sometimes we might have performances and things, but 9.30am – 5.30pm is the regular.

Audience member: How long does a show like that take to put together?

Benjamin: It’s about the programme and depends on how many dancers know it from previous seasons. I would say it takes us roughly two months to prepare for a dance like Cacti because it’s a huge piece. But when you’re creating with one of the choreographers it can take anywhere between two weeks to one month and sometimes they come back. But usually two weeks for set pieces. We have a great artistic team coaching us so sometimes it can go a bit faster.

Rachel: We also don’t work on one thing at a time. We have our programmes in Holland that are often new pieces and new creations and then half way through that run we go on tour with a completely different programme, so you’re working on about 8 pieces at any one time for various different shows, so it’ s hard to tell how long each piece takes but it’s quite busy!

Audience member: There’s a lot of rhythm and combination. You’re all doing the same thing at different moments! And you did it [Cacti] to perfection I must say!

Benjamin: (laughs) We practise a lot! And something with Cacti – it’s also a piece that gets brought back a lot so that’s one that the dancers might know from previous seasons but also we listen to the music in great detail. We have different groups: first row boys, back row boys, first row girls, back row girls, so it’s like now you do this, now you do this… (laughs) At the beginning it can be quite a challenge.

Audience member: How do you memorise the moves? How do they stay with you and do you listen to the music and immediately know what the movements are? How do you remember?

Rachel: It’s a skill that you develop because we’ve both been dancing for many years so for me now it seems normal to pick up movement and to learn it within my body. You feel yourself getting stronger at it. You don’t magically pick it up, you learn it and you think about it but there becomes a point where it gets into your body. That’s when you can play with it or feel it rather than just think it.

Benjamin: Also what we call muscle memory, it can be almost like a twitch, you know you have to do this on the music. Of course you can still put the same thoughts or emotions behind it but it might not be so in-your-brain about it. Like Rachel said, since a young age we have to memorise so much just in class, we’re constantly memorising what the teacher’s saying. It’s a tool you develop throughout your career. But also I find you can go into a room and completely forget why you’re there, so it doesn’t leave a lot of room for other stuff! (laughs)

Audience member: Do you use yoga in your training?

Benjamin: Lots of dancers do yoga on their own, it’s not required for us to do it, but some do it for cross-training. A lot of the positions we make on the boxes in Cacti are also improvised. They have a set structure, a geometric pose, and then you hold it, but actually the postures are based on the dancer’s interpretation of the pose and the music.

NDT2, , WOKING, UK, 2016, CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON

Cacti, NDT2 2016, Photo: JOHAN PERSSON

Audience member: When did you start training?

Rachel: I started when I was three – a long time ago!

Benjamin: I started a bit later when I was thirteen.

Audience member: Do you require classical ballet training?

Rachel: I think it depends on the company and the work you’re doing and the dancer. We’re both trained in ballet and we start each day with a ballet class, but all of us come from many different countries and backgrounds and training and so we bring those differences into the repertoire we’re doing. It’s important to have some classical training but to be able to use that and go beyond it.

Audience member: Is it all about interpretation or is there a narrative or storyline?

Rachel: It depends on the piece. There’s definitely an intention behind every piece. mutual comfort is about the relationships between the dancers on stage. There’s a sensuality. There might not be a full story or narrative but it’s opened up for the audience to feel something and interpret it in their own way, or maybe they see their own story in it.

Audience member: Assuming you don’t have an injury, how long can you keep going? What happens when your body says ‘that’s enough’ – what do you do then?

Rachel: I think that depends on the dancer and what they want. And also the type of dance and the way you dance changes as you get older. There are dancers in NDT1 who have had families who still dance beautifully. Sometimes dancers choose to stop early, not because of their body, but because they want to do something else, or many go into choreography or teaching, or some go into something completely different. Right now I hope to be dancing for much longer so I can’t really say personally what I’ll be doing.

Audience member: How important is the applause? Is the dancing the rewarding part or do you like to get that response from the audience?

Benjamin: We always love a response from the audience and you guys were amazing thank you (laughs) but of course we do it for the dance, it’s a way of expressing ourselves on stage. It’s good to feel a vibe coming back and it’s a great feeling on stage to have an audience with a great energy.

Audience: You don’t ever feel, ‘I’m tired and I want to go home now’?

Rachel: (laughs) No. It’s funny because when you’re on stage you can actually feel an audience’s energy and even if they’re not saying anything or laughing or making any noise, you can feel it. Audiences can be really different and it actually really helps me understand the piece when I can feel the audience reacting. It gives me energy or it helps us to share something. We dance to share, and it’s an honour to share it.

Benjamin: It’s also nice to have a piece like Cacti where it’s almost interactive with the audience, we hear you laugh and it’s really nice to feel like we’re playing with you and you’re playing back. It’s a nice feeling!

To see the microsite for NDT2’s 2016 UK Tour or book tickets for the show at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, click here.

For contemporary dance fans, follow Dance Consortium on Twitter for news of their future tours.

sarah@dekretser.com

HdK’s guide to successful YouTube-ing

Not long ago Hans and I attended YouTube’s very own seminar where expert YouTubers divulged the best practises for implementing a super savvy video content strategy.

youtube

And as YouTube is now the second largest search engine globally, we thought we’d share some useful pointers on how to tackle the beast – straight from the horse’s mouth. From beginner Tubers to fully-fledged video makers looking to grow audiences, the following carefully honed hashtags apply to anyone wanting to share content on the channel.

#Shareability – will people share your content?

Is your content emotionally inspiring or relatable? If your content talks to people, you start a conversation. When viewers see content that communicates to them personally, they feel excited to pass the message on to friends, family and followers. Are these title structures familiar to you: Things people who don’t need glasses will understand or You know you love food when…?   So simple. So effective. Whether your content inspires laughter, fascination or even tears, a video that evokes an emotional response compels viewers to share the link.

#Accessibility – can each of your videos be appreciated by a new viewer?

It’s very easy to become wrapped up in your channel and forget that every new viewer is joining your conversation mid-way. Make sure your video is open to fresh eyes through video introductions, appropriate titling and accurate captioning. Assume viewers have never heard of you, aim to hook them in the first 10 seconds and don’t keep them more than 2 minutes. In today’s world, viewers want bite-sized chunks of information. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you won’t be able to get away with videos longer than this.

#Discoverability – will your videos be found through search?

You must be smart with your titles and descriptions – they should be both relevant and intriguing. While your title should be clear and concise, the video description is where you can go into depth, providing insight into you and the channel. An example familiar to us all is including lyrics in the description of a music video – if a fan knows the chorus but not the song title, the lyrics will help them find your video.

Most importantly, tags are the best way to frontload relevant key words. One of YouTube’s most valuable tips was to include a random word, not associated with in the bass layer of all your videos’ tags. This way, it’s more likely your videos will show up on the right hand side when a video of yours is playing. Another way to do this is to use Playlists. This way viewers are lead directly from one vid to the next! And in answer to a popular question, it doesn’t matter what order your video’s tags are in.

Finally, trends trends trends. Are there any big events, days or celebrations coming up? Find them, join them, and really use them. You can use Google’s trend tool, google.com/trends to find out what’s happening and keep up to date with what your audiences are talking about.

#Collaboration – can you include other creators in your videos?

Joining forces is the best way to grow your audiences. The top tip for collaborating is involving people who have relevant audiences. Will your viewers be interested and vice versa? If successful, you’ll naturally feed off each other’s fans. Like friendly, intelligent leeching.

#Consistency – are there strong, recurring elements to your idea?

What’s your stamp? How do people recognise your content as yours? Is it content, genre, format, set-up, schedule, voice…? Whatever it is, it’s got to be strong, consistent and reliable. One specific tip here that might surprise you, is to steer away from having text on your thumbnail image. With your title and name readily available, the thumbnail is all you really have to market your video, and it’s your opportunity to seamlessly interlink your popping artwork to your clever titling. Design a high contrast, high impact and high resolution thumbnail that stands out.

#Targeting – do you have a clearly defined audience?

If the answer is no, you’ve fallen at the first hurdle. This one really is very important. Begin by answering the following questions: What is the purpose of my channel? Who is the channel for? What do I want to say? The clearer your idea of your audience is, the more likely you are to reach them.

#Conversation – are you initiating conversation with your audience?

Conversation is the key to engagement. You’ll find that highly successful bloggers talk directly to the lens, a simple technique used to simulate eye contact and generate a relationship through the camera. You’ll hear conversational content interspersed with colloquial terms ‘you guys’; questions ‘how are we doing today?’ and fillers ‘you know’, are all geared towards engaging the viewer in an online conversation.

#Interactivity – can you involve your audiences in your videos?

Vivaldi Partners Group coined the term Social Currency in 2010, defining it as “the degree to which customers share a brand or information about a brand with others.” It’s about the experiences and participation that is created around a brand which creates value. This is particularly essential amongst younger audiences. Don’t be a nameless and faceless entity. Audiences on YouTube want to connect with their favourite channels. One way to do this is to engage in the comments section of your videos. Keep revisiting your comments section and respond to first-time viewers. Another way is to mention your audience members by name, this might be through shout-outs or competitions, as this cultivates an emotional engagement with fans and helps to builds a social arena around your content. Think of your videos as opportunities for your viewers.

Finally, always have a subscribe link in your description and be prepared to talk about subscribing. Instruct people verbally as to why they should subscribe in your videos. SPEAK TO YOUR VIEWER. They just want to be loved.

#Sustainability – if your audience loves it, can you make more of it?

This is a key question, and if the answer is no, or not quickly, you could be in trouble. Updating content regularly not only keeps your channel fresh, but it sustains people’s attention. If they can rely on the fact that returning to your channel means seeing something new, they’ll do exactly that.

#Inspiration – are you your number one advocate?

This one links to the point before; are you passionate about the idea and is it sustainable? If you don’t love your videos, you won’t be inspired to make more. Don’t let this be the case!

So, these are our top pointers for practises to implement into your overall YouTube strategy – not a check list for every video! As a general rule, keep your videos short, create thumbnails that pop and remember, content is king. GOOD LUCK and let us know how you get on.

sarah@dekretser.com