Bite-Size 6 with Patrick Carson
By Yvonne Wandera
Patrick Carson, the social media master behind some of the highest rating shows in 2014, talks the importance of social media, top three bugbears actors do on their accounts and how to do it right.
Patrick gives us ‘the bite’ on your 6 hot questions.
Your have a laser sharp understanding of social media by spearheading numerous successful campaigns. Why do think social media is important for the success of a project?
Patrick Carson: Social media is important because just about everyone is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As creatives, all we’re really trying to do is get as many people as possible to check out our work, so it just kinda just makes sense to go where the people are.
Social media is unique in the sense that it levels out the playing field. More and more studios are spending millions and millions of dollars in pushing out campaigns on social media. It’s how a lot of up and coming talent start. And they are really the best type of campaigns as you can build authentic, non publicity driven campaigns, which is kinda what my company specializes in.
Can you talk us through your process of deciding to work with a new client?
Patrick Carson: Sure, the first thing I look at is how personally involved a client is willing to be on a day-to-day basis. The publicity driven campaigns tend to not perform as well because they aren’t connecting with their fans in an authentic voice. I also have to look at how much they’re willing to share and how they’re willing to share it. I won’t name any names, but you’ll see some of the bigger, publicity driven accounts that aren’t making the connection and it’s painfully obvious that the fans don’t care. We’re finding more and more that the celebrities and movie campaigns who are willing to invest in their fan base with genuine content are the ones seeing a bigger return at the box office and with ratings.
At what point in an actors career do you feel it’s important for them to consult a social media strategist?
Patrick Carson: I don’t think there is really a time. It’s never too early for an actor to start building their social media following. I usually enter the picture when people need to get the most out of their social media, whether it be a new TV show, film, or biography. I work with celebrities as well as my network to make sure posts reach their maximum audience.
I also see a lot of actors who drove the initial imput themselves. Actors that are personally involved with their accounts, for a lot of them it’s fun. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have publicists and people working for them. They just enjoy getting back to the fans and the engagement.
Would you consider working with an unknown talent, who doesn’t quite get social media?
Patrick Carson: Of course! In the past I have helped and still help a lot of friends who are on their way up. If you’re a known star, people come looking for you, which is really convenient. But for the rest of us it can get a little tricky because you don’t want to wear your friends out with all of these self-promotional posts. When a project rolls around that they’re involved in I’ll advise up-and-coming actors to cross-promote themselves with their campaign as much as possible because that’s where you going to find authentic fans. That’s not to say your friends aren’t “authentic fans” but once you’re there you’ll definitely see the difference. I’ll usually have a chat with with anyone who comes to me genuinely needing help.
What would you say are the top three bugbears actors do on social media?
Patrick Carson: You know… funny thing is (bugbears) really apply to everyone on social media. The biggest offense, in my opinion, is over-sharing. Some people reach the point where they start to take pictures of everything that happens throughout their day and play their lives out in front of social media. Do we really need to see pictures of each meal or read about the family and friend drama that happened last night? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good story as much as the next guy but you’ve gotta know where to draw the line.
The second thing that irks me, which applies to actors, as I’ve mentioned, are publicity driven accounts. Zzzzzzz. It doesn’t do anybody any good. It’s just corny for the fans, it’s disappointing for everybody involved.
Number three… people who don’t engage with their fans. Big bummer. It’s like they’re standing on top of a big rock with a megaphone screaming ‘me, me, me’ all the time without stopping for a moment to say, ‘hey, how’s it going out there?’ Social media isn’t rocket-science and good manners go a long way.
What would you say are the top three things actors should do on social media?
Patrick Carson: I love the idea of promoting others so let’s put that in the first spot. I encourage all of my clients to promote their friends as well as charities they’re involved with but it has to be in their voice. It’s called social media, not self-promotional media, right? See what I did there?
The second thing is, get on Facebook and Instagram! Facebook has 1.2 billion active monthly users compared to Twitter, which I believe is closer to 200 million. Everyone keeps telling me how Facebook is on its way out, which I’m pretty sure is a rumor Twitter and Vine started (laughs). But everyone and their dog is on Facebook so if you want to reach the most fans and get the most engagement, you may not want to neglect Facebook. Twitter is also really valuable for conversation and live-tweeting for TV shows, but I’ve also found that my clients take a lot more abuse on Twitter from nameless, faceless accounts and we’re just not seeing it happen as much on Facebook.
And finally, I know I said over-sharing is bad but under-sharing can be pretty bad too. I think a good average would be between 1-7 posts a week as long as you’re being aware of the engagement. If people aren’t responding to a specific topic you may have to go back to the drawing board and rework the post. It’s important to post a lot of non publicity based pictures, post real pictures, post day to day, fun pictures. If all else fails, you know where to find me.
Patrick Carson is the owner of PC Social Media Services. Follow him on Twitter: @patrickcarson