7 Rules for Posting on Social Media for an Audience

A typical scene around Jackson Square in New Orleans
If you follow me on any of my other social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pas de Ch├ít podcast), you will see and hear that I took an important break from my teaching, choreographic, and media work while vacationing in The Big Easy. While I did post a few work-related items, most of my sharing consisted of personal experiences and artsy items I found while running around the charmed streets of New Orleans with my husband and friend, J-Ro. It wasn’t always this way, but I now feel funny when I use social media mainly for personal use. I’m so attuned to creating content for all of you guys that I feel odd when I revert back to more typical ways that I used social media before I began freelancing in 2011. As I head home (I’m writing this from the airport) and start revving back up into work mode, it has gotten me thinking about what I post and how I share across multiple media platforms. So, instead of keeping this knowledge to myself, I figured I’d share it with all of you. Keep on reading for a comprehensive list of 7 Rules for Posting on Social Media for an Audience.

1. Be sure to offer a variety of emotional content to appeal to a wide audience. Remember that people relate to people, so letting the public have a view into your private experience can be an extremely relatable asset to promoting your dancing, work, business, and ventures. Unfortunately, it is a harsh reality that many people hiding behind the privacy of a computer screen can become very judgmental of a person based off of the information they share on social media. If you only ever post updates about your successes, people may start to think that you have an over-inflated ego. If a majority of your posts are sad or depress, people may start to ignore your content because they don’t want to absorb your negative mood. If you focus your posts on writing disgruntled messages, people may assume that you are dramatic and unstable. Creating a range and variety of publishable content is a job within itself. You can write a legitimately upset or angry post on your social media here or there (see #7), but be sure that you offer a range of life experiences for your audience to relate to. In summing this up, be sure to come up with a game plan pertaining to the regularity of posts, range of content, and how often you plan to post about certain life happenings.

2. Post daily, but don’t post too frequently. This is one of my ultimate challenges, as I like to share a lot of content. Frequency of publishing engaging material has no perfect formula. It really comes down to seeing what your friends and audience respond to best. If you post too often, followers may feel like you are spamming their feed and unfollow or de-friend you. If you post too infrequently, your public may forget to look for your content or you may fall out of the algorithm that many social media sites rely on to share your relevant content with others. Play around with the amount of posting that your audience seems to respond to and tweak your posts and content from there.

Rehearsal to Performance of my new ballet (Photo: Eduardo Patino)
3. Try to add a visual to as many of your posts as possible. It is easy to share visual content on platforms like Instagram, where you are required to post images anytime you share . This isn’t a requirement for other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. As human beings, we are much more visual when it comes to exploring content. Think about what first draws you to read articles in magazines or on websites. Images. If you are able to upload visually relevant images along with your content, you will be that much more likely to catch the eye of followers who are scrolling through a handful of other artist's feeds just like yours.

4. If you are feeling angry, hurt, disappointed, or any range of adjectives that could be described as emotional, have at least one sleep before you write any public posts. When you are emotional, you tend to respond by reacting without reasoning. This is often the last thing you want to do. If you sleep on your reaction for just one night, you will likely wake up more rational than when you went to sleep. From there, you can decide whether you still want to follow through by sharing your original reaction, you can temper your original post into something more censored, or you can choose to scrap the whole thing altogether. You don’t want to end up in a situation like the talented choreographer David Dawson found himself in recently. After a London critic wrote a poor review of his work, his stager (who sets his ballets on companies) wrote an emotionally charged comment on the piece sparking great controversy. Mr. Dawson chose to tweet that he would attempt to avoid working in London’s dance scene in response, then almost immediately deleted the post. As he learned, even if you post something for just one minute and delete it, there is such a thing as a screenshot. Trust me on this one!

5. Stay engaged and interact with your audience as best as you can. It is easier to be responsive to your audience when you are in earlier stages of building your social media following. As your following grows, you may find that you are receiving more comments and requests for personal feedback than you can handle. It is important that you continue to maintain some semblance of interaction with your audience no matter how great their reaction may be. While I average anywhere between 2-10 messages from an array of dancers, readers, and listeners a day, I do my best to respond to each of them (even if a few months later). Don’t let these interactions take over the entirety of your work and free time. But do be sure to respond directly to as many people as you reasonably can. It is important to remember that these friends, followers, and fans are the reason that many of us get to thrive in the work that we do.

Courtesy of @thefatjewish on Instagram
6. Remember, anything that you post today could eventually be dug up years from now. Yes, most of us go through fun party phases where we might want to share our fun and debauchery. Yes, many of us share diverse and, sometimes, divisive perspectives. Yes, a majority of us have regretted posting something and deleted what we shared the following morning. The one thing that most kids and young adults don’t understand is that social media somehow morphs from a platform to share with friends to a platform for professional associations. Keep in mind that we sometimes share things that feel acceptable and culturally appropriate in the moment, but may reflect poorly upon us when a potential employer looks up your information, when you become the face of an organization/movement, or you react too quickly to a particular situation (see #4).

7. Make sure you are presenting your most genuine self. This is, perhaps, the most challenging task for anybody using social media to enhance or promote their work. Projecting confidence and sharing exciting experiences should absolutely be a part of your social media behaviors. But people are drawn to experiences that they can relate to more than things that are out of their social reach. If you can make yourself relatable by sharing genuine thoughts, successes, challenges, and experiences whilst throwing some unique and intriguing content out there, you will find that you can easily maintain and grow an audience that is emotionally invested in your life’s work.

Cheers from NoLA!!!!


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