Report by Rebecca Crowley
On Saturday afternoon ROSACon welcomed Tristan Banha, the founder of The Juice Box social media agency who’s recently joined the Chat Factory, where his clients include Joburg Theatre, Peugeot South Africa and the Smile Foundation. The Chat Factory is a social agency looking after social media publicity, strategy and account management.
Tristan began with a presentation emphasizing the constant growth in social media use. In South Africa specifically Instagram and YouTube are the fastest growing, while Facebook remains South Africa’s biggest social network.
Addressing Facebook in particular, Tristan said writers must have a fan page. He described Facebook as a “coffee shop”, a virtual place for mingling and sharing, which means it’s essential to divide the personal from the professional. An author-specific fan page provides this barrier, as well as helps authors target their engagement without blurring the lines between professional and more general social interaction.
Tristan moved on from the nuances of Facebook to the overarching ways authors can maximize social media to engage with and generate new readers. Broadening from the “being seen v. being noticed” point, he suggested asking questions or crowdsourcing – getting input from audiences on Facebook or Twitter for character names or setting details, for instance – as a way to get readers involved with books or works in progress. The key follow-up step is to acknowledge the comments generated by these questions and interact with the readers who ask them, as that’s what secures their engagement and moves the interaction from seen to noticed.
Tristan described social media as a “community conversation” and encouraged authors to make use of it as such. He emphasized the use of hashtags on Twitter to help people join in the conversation, as they may search on those as keywords, and will expand the scope of the conversation from existing followers to potential new ones.
Overall, Tristan underlined that social media works best when the community provides the content and the author responds to it in an engaged, interactive way. Social media has the potential to massively grow an author’s exposure internationally and exponentially.
|Tristan Banha and Rebecca Crowley at #ROSACon2014|