Using Social Media to Build a Podcast Audience

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Your podcast is probably awesome. Your content is relevant and useful, your audio quality sounds perfect, and your guests are always interesting.

So why haven’t you hit the million downloads mark yet?

Well, probably because no one’s ever heard of you.

Unless you’re a celebrity, or make it into iTunes’ New & Noteworthy section, you can’t rely on organic traffic to your podcast to grow your fanbase. Instead, you need to seek out your loyal flock of listeners and meet them where they’re currently hanging out.

Social media is the perfect way for you to meet potential fans and let them know about your podcast. Increasing your followers not only raises the likelihood of people downloading each episode, but also sets you up as a podcast that potential followers will want to learn more about. Would you check out the podcast with five subscribers or 5,000?

Now don’t start Twitterbombing the few followers you do actually have — that’s an immediate banishment to unfollow territory. Growing your audience takes more than sharing links to your episodes with your followers. It’s more about being accessible and smart with your social media posts so you can turn potential fans into subscribers, and followers into promoters.

Check out these tips on how to build a loyal podcast audience on social media like a genius.

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Right Place, Right Time

If you ever feel like no one sees the posts you add on your social media sites, then you’re probably posting them at the wrong time.

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Retweets tend to be highest around 5 p.m., while the weekends are typically the worst time to post on Facebook. LinkedIn’s peak usage happens between Tuesday to Thursday around noon and again between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Experiment with post times to find a posting schedule that works for your audience across every social media platform. There are plenty of apps, such as Buffer, and Hootsuite, that will help you analyze your activity and your listeners’ activity to figure out the best times to reach the largest number of your followers. Gather and track data as much as possible, so you’re not stuck spinning your wheels.

Schedule and space out your posts to avoid overwhelming your followers’ feed and risking an unfollow.

Recirculate Away

If your podcast goes live Monday at 10 a.m. (EST), then post the download links to your social media accounts before the show, and again at varying hours to accommodate different time zones. That one initial update post will be at the bottom of a long feed for those just waking up on the other side of the country.

Don’t be afraid to repost content such as links, quotes from your show, or photos from the recording session. Tom Tunguz discovered that reposted content on Twitter got 75% as many retweets as the previous time it was posted.

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Recirculation in Tunguz’s example created close to five new retweets the first time, and netted almost 12 new retweets after just three reposts.

Don’t spam your followers with the same headline, intro, or picture. Use a different quote or image and rephrase the post so your followers see fresh material to share. No one likes scrolling past the same announcement time and time again.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Shares

We’re visual creatures and we gravitate towards images that inspire and intrigue us. Use this fact of nature to your advantage. Consider these stats:

Don’t even waste your time promoting on Pinterest and Instagram if your photo game isn’t up to par. These image-driven sites demand compelling visuals in order for your podcast to stand out.

If this is a road you’d like to go down, then check out these design hacks from Anna Guerrero to create highly shareable social media graphics if you need some help.

Boost Your SEO by Adding YouTube Content

Google tends to favor video results during searches, “as video statistically engages an audience for a longer period of time than text. This lowers your bounce rate and increases the time visitors spend on your page.”

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Consider creating a short video (or audio clip), which can be anything from recapping the episode, to a behind the scenes look at the studio.

Each video will have its own set of keywords in the description to help pull additional traffic to your site and podcast. Plus, your fans will feel more connected to your show when they get a  glimpse behind the curtain to see the ‘magic’ behind how it all works.

Be Accessible

Let’s say both of your neighbors need help. One is constantly asking to borrow your tools, pass out his business cards to your friends, and never returns your texts. The other shares new music with you and leaves funny comments on your Facebook wall that all your friends like.

Who are you going to help first?

Based on their research, Twitter’s most effective calls to action are those asking for a:

  • Download
  • Retweet
  • Follow
  • Reply

But if your listeners can’t connect with you on a personal level, or see you as someone who helps them solves their problems, how can you expect them to help you with a retweet or add another download to podcast numbers

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Give listeners a peek into your daily life, and you go from that random voice in their ears to someone they actually feel like they know and care about. Share mildly interesting bits from your day on Instagram, or post random, discussion-sparking shower thoughts on Facebook and Twitter to connect with your audience on a personal level.

But, don’t forget that your podcast is a business. Always ask yourself how you can stay relevant in your listener’s life. For example, if you host a podcast about stocks, share each day’s most surprising losses and gains on Twitter, and ask your followers for their opinions.

Be accessible when your followers interact with you. If they tweet you, then reply in a genuine way that goes beyond small chat. Throw in a smiley face or two; emoticons actually increase comment and share rates by a whopping 33%, and have a 57% higher ‘like’ rate.

Get By with a Little Help from Your Guests

Before a guest appears on your show, ask them to mention your podcast and promote their appearance across their own social media accounts. Once your podcast goes live, have your guest send an announcement to their email subscribers and followers with a link to the podcast directly. Keep it simple:

“Hey guys, check out the interview I did with [insert podcast name here]. We had a great time talking about [insert subject matter] and you won’t want to miss it!”

It doesn’t matter if your guest has one or one million followers — you should consider all of them  potential listeners of your podcast. It just takes one retweet for your podcast to be mentioned to a whole new set of eyes and ears.

Friend the Competition

While no one can do your podcast like you, you do have competitors creating similar content. Go on, check them out. Find inspiration for your podcast in what you like (or dislike) about their show.

Follow or friend them using your podcast account and say something valuable. Ask a question about an episode or add another point to a discussion — make it witty and you’ll almost  guarantee a follow back and a retweet.

Don’t forget to check out our primer on Building Relationships with Other Podcasters for more tips and tricks.

Of course, none of these suggestions matter if you’re not producing unique, top-notch content.

Remember: Your listeners download your show because you’re solving a problem for them. Whether that problem is boredom at work, or a desire to learn about house flipping while bicycling to work, producing content that makes them thankful for your show will guarantee engaged, loyal promoters who will market and grow your podcast with you.

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