Happy New Year! I’m Alyssa Castaneda, Associate Director of Social Media for Penguin Random House. I joined PRH in April 2021 after five years at adidas, where I helped lead their global social media strategy as well as manage @adidas and @adidasWomen across all platforms. At adidas, I learned to love culture, the people and stories that shape culture, and social media’s role within all of it. I’m so excited to bring my skills and knowledge to Penguin Random House, where we get to work on incredible books and with authors like you.
The last year had big moments in social media, from the impact of #BookTok to the introduction of Meta. Since the pandemic began, social media has become more than just a sphere for content—it’s where brands, public figures, and consumers all explore their identities, build communities, and nurture relationships.
If you’re looking for tips to start your new year off right on social media, read more below!
Prioritize your efforts
One of the biggest questions about social media is, Where do I prioritize or put my focus? There are so many platforms, it can be hard to know which ones to be on, which ones to lean in to, and which ones to leave alone. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but we can each define and refine our efforts as we go to help make sure we are efficient and achieving our goals.
You can do this exercise for the entire year or for a specific campaign or promotion:
Audience prioritization: Who is my core audience? What are their demographics, what are they interested in, and what do I know about them? Is there another audience I want to reach but haven’t yet? This is your core audience.
Platform prioritization: Based on what I know about my core audience or the audience I want to reach, what platforms are they on? Where can I find them and engage with them? These are your core platforms.
Content prioritization: The amount of content or interactions you put out on social media depends on how much time you have. However, we can prioritize a few things with these questions: Based on the platforms my audience is on, what content am I comfortable making? What content feels most authentic to me? What content feels most authentic for this promotion? You shouldn’t create video content or join an audio series if it’s not your strong suit or true to who you are. Think of content formats that are truest to you and your brand. This is your content mix.
Personal prioritization: How much time do I want to spend on social media? Of course, this can vary week by week. This is how much time you have for content and engagements each week.
It’s easy to feel left behind in social media, but if you put your audience and your authenticity first, you can’t go wrong.
Take time to spruce up
It can be hard to stay on top of all the changes that occur within the social media platforms. So it can be good to carve out some space throughout the year to dedicate to making big updates and small edits to your pages. As we start 2022, let’s take time now to update the basics:
- Name and bio: Do I want to update these in any way—to be more search-friendly, to include an upcoming piece of work, or to call out a promotion?
- Links: Are there new links I want to include in my bio? Is there a link tool such as Linktree that I want to use this year to create a better user experience?
- New platform tools: Are there new platform tools I didn’t take advantage of in 2021 that I want to use in 2022? Am I unsure about how to use a particular feature? (The quickest way to get to know any new features on a platform is through their help centers, where you can search through and explore how-to guides: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok.)
Really get to know your audience
This seems obvious, but really knowing your audience takes time and intention.
Social media platforms provide a snapshot into your social following. from their age range to their main locations, most active times, and other details. You can also view your top performing content to see what was the most engaged, the most shared, or the content that saw the highest number of impressions. It’s important to stay on top of these metrics to see who your audience actually is, as well as what content they’ve truly enjoyed and want to see more of.
Beyond that, to understand what really drives your audience in terms of interests and commonalities, you don’t have to guess on social media—you can ask. Use the fun tools within platforms, like polls, quizzes, and fill in the blanks, to create two-way dialogue with your community members. You’ll engage your audience while also getting to know them!
Once you have a better understanding of your audience, you’ll have more insight into what they like to see from you and what you should lean in to with your content.
Engage with your community
Community has become a huge aspect of social media today, and users want to follow like-minded, relatable creators whose contents feel attainable. Be sure you’re taking the time not just to post on social media, but also to truly engage and interact with your audience.
You can engage your community in a few different ways:
- You can reply to users who comment on your posts to show them some love.
- You can look through your mentions, find fan art or a shoutout, then surprise and delight the person by sending them a signed copy of your book.
- You might notice that your audience always asks about your editing process, so you can then create a piece of content that describes your editing process, and shout out the audience who has been asking for it.
Anything that can make your community feel seen or heard by you makes a difference. This type of interaction can deepen your relationships and create more loyalty overall in your audience, and it should definitely be a priority for 2022.
Share more than just your own content
As noted above, community is a huge part of social media today. It’s more than just aligning with a niche—it’s about engaging with followers, offering perspective, and supporting one another. One small way to do this that makes a huge difference is resharing other people’s content. Resharing their content allows you to support them and spread their message, but not only that; any content you reshare should be used to help build your own brand, by extending your beliefs and personality as well. Extra points if you reshare content with your own message that homes in on why you like this or what sticks out to you.
For more specific social media questions, contact your publisher or marketer.
Alyssa Castaneda is the Associate Director of Social Media for Penguin Random House.