Why Social Media is a Game-Changer for Growing your Podcast

Why Social Media is a Game-Changer for Growing your Podcast

Written by Lloyd GeorgeContent Creator and founder of Cre8tor Hub2022.12.22

Hi, I’m Lloyd — I run a newsletter called Cre8tor Hub, the number one place to keep up with the creator economy. Over the last six months, I’ve accumulated 1.3 million views on TikTok and built a community of over 12k followers, all thanks to the power of social media. I want to tell you why effectively leveraging social media is a game changer for growing your show, whether it’s a brand new podcast, or you have 100 episodes in the books. I also want to share tips on how to use social channels to build stronger communities, and attract new listeners.

Here’s what this article will cover:

  • The unique values of social media for growing your podcast.
  • Identifying your approach to social media marketing.
  • Getting started using social media to grow your podcast.

The unique values of social media for growing your podcast

Get Discovered by New Listeners on Social Media

Many, if not most, new listeners will come from digitally stumbling upon your content. Of course, many people find new shows by exploring top podcasts on Spotify or Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), but that’s not particularly helpful if you’re just starting out, or still growing the show and not on the charts yet. That’s why social media is such a powerful marketing strategy to be discovered by potential listeners. 

Firstly, social media is one of the most affordable ways for your podcast to gain visibility. In fact, you can start completely free. Social media’s upfront cost is solely time-based, and the low barrier to entry means anyone can create social media posts, start conversations, and build their presence on major platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter. As you grow you can always invest in better equipment for content, but a DIY aesthetic is totally encouraged and very successful on TikTok and Instagram Reels where authenticity is valued the most. 

Secondly, social media algorithms enhance discoverability for smaller, growing podcasts. There’s no other marketing channel like social media that organically surfaces relevant content to users that they might enjoy. If you’re on TikTok you’ll be familiar with how it works, but relevant, topical, and often surprising content is delivered to people to discover new things constantly. With over 4.62 billion social media users around the world in January 2022, take advantage of these powerful algorithms and start posting where people are scrolling so they can come across a clip of your show.

How Social Media Helps with Podcast Searchability

Once someone knows exactly what they are interested in, the first thing they will do is head to a search engine to find it online. For example, I’m obsessed with resources that cover creating digital content. You won’t believe the number of times I search for “Podcasts for Content Creators” or “Creator Economy Podcasts”, and I know for a fact that not every podcast that talks about creating content online come up. So what’s the solution? I can give you one that’s absolutely free: a strong social media presence. 

Social channels are increasingly becoming more like search engines. YouTube is already the 2nd biggest search engine after Google. And much has been reported recently about how TikTok has become the new search engine for Gen Z. By being present on social media, using hashtags and relevant keywords, and posting regularly, you’re increasing your chance of being found by someone looking for the answers you’re giving.

Social Media is a Conversation Starter

Social media allows you to pose questions, solicit feedback, take polls, highlight positive reviews, and even sell subscriptions and merchandise. The key thing to keep in mind with social networks is that they are a dialogue, a way to engage your podcast audience beyond the podcast itself and, importantly, for them to engage with you. Social media is a two-way street.

Many podcast hosts, unfortunately, fail to take advantage of the unique aspect and instead use social media as a megaphone. Your podcast is already a one-way communication of information, so use social media as a tool to build a stronger relationship with your existing listeners, and entice new listeners. Bring followers into the conversations you’re having on the podcast, letting listeners participate and help continue the conversation beyond the drop date of your latest episode.

Identify Your Approach to Promoting a Podcast on Social Media

Which platform is best for promoting a podcast? What kind of videos, photos, and content should you be posting? There’s no single ‘right approach’ as it will largely be tailored to you, your podcast, and your listeners. However here are a few thoughts:

1. Which social platforms do you prefer to use?

One of the ways I determine which social platform to focus on is by ranking which I personally use and enjoy the most in my free time. Say for example you spend the most time on Instagram, since you already have a familiarity with the platform it’ll be easier (and more fun) to craft a social media strategy using that particular tool before expanding to other platforms.

It can be easy to put pressure on ourselves to post on platforms we don’t really resonate with, so start with what you know first. Building a following will come more easily with platforms you know and help you achieve a mental “win” before expanding onto another channel.

2. Which social platforms are easiest for creating content?

Another approach you can try is figuring out which platform has the lowest barrier to content creation, whether that’s writing, videos, photos, guides, etc., and by considering the content format.

For example, I started with TikTok because I knew that I could post short, 15-second videos, and I didn’t always have to show my face. For me, this was my lowest barrier to entry. I gave myself a goal of posting one TikTok video per day for 30 days to determine if the platform was right for me. As it turned out, this proved successful and I was able to gain a decent following that continued growing month after month. 

3. Which platforms have the most potential engagement?

Lastly, you might consider where your listeners, and potential listeners, are engaged the most and begin there. TikTok is the platform of choice for Gen Z’ers, whereas most Gen X and Boomers tend to spend most of their social media attention on Facebook.

The last thing you want to do is post on a platform where your core audience isn’t present— it’ll feel like shouting into the void. If your podcast is primarily targeted towards empty-nesters or parents who will be child-free in the next few years, for example, then Facebook would be your best bet.

Creating on social media is a great start but each platform requires something specific to grow. Once you’ve chosen a platform based on the above, it’s time to start thinking strategically and diving into research. Some platforms are driven by hashtags like Instagram and Twitter, others are more influenced by trends and audio like TikTok, and others require some SEO knowledge like Youtube and Pinterest. Whichever you choose, it’s important that you learn the basics, create a personal goal, and stay consistent.

Getting Started Using Social Media to Grow your Podcast

What if I’m not on social media? 

Whether you’re taking a personal break from social media or have completely shunned it all together, you’ll need to spend a little more time researching the platforms listed above. Then, I hate to break it to ya, but you’ll have to…create an account. Most people learn best by doing.

While you don’t need to make a personal account, you will need to make an account for your podcast. The nice thing about this is that you’ll have a kind of firewall between your personal life and professional life on social media — you don’t necessarily need to show your face (though it’s proven to help with engagement). There are many, many accounts that started with just an idea that have grown to have follower counts exceeding the 100,000 mark.

How can you get started?

The two best ways to get started promoting your podcast on social media are:

  1. Research what other successful podcasts with social media accounts are doing in your space and then mimic them. Do an audit. What kind of content are they posting? How frequently? Are they using certain hashtags? How often do they engage with their followers? In what format do they engage with their followers: comments, live sessions, or stories?
  2. Create a content calendar. Figure out how often you should be posting to gain traction, and what kind of content you should be putting out, and then put it on a scheduled calendar. Take a few hours to build this out for an entire month and it will save you a lot of time and effort later. It could be as simple as posting a 15-second teaser video on Tuesdays and Fridays, posting a photo with a question as a text overlay on Wednesdays, and making stories of your “behind-the-scenes” footage on Mondays. 

Final Thoughts

When wading into the deep end of podcasting and making all of these strategic decisions, the most important thing to remember is to give yourself some grace. This part of the process is filled with trial and error — it’s going to take a moment for you to gain traction, and that’s okay! The important part is that you genuinely connect with your followers multiple times each week, and don’t worry so much about comparisons. It’s better to have a few thousand hardcore, dedicated followers, than 100,000 disengaged followers.

Once you get your social media up and running, you’ll definitely want advanced analytics, like Acast offers, so you can understand listening trends, make smarter decisions, and eventually monetize your podcast.

Ready to grow your podcast with Acast? You can join and switch for free here.

Lloyd is a Zimbabwean American content creator. He runs a newsletter called Cre8tor Hub, a newsletter for aspiring creators. 

As a podcaster & TikTok'er, Lloyd uses his platform to help people start their first podcast. 

Over the last six months, Lloyd has accumulated over 1.3M views and has built a community of 11,000 aspiring podcasters through beginner-friendly tips, giveaways, and resourceful content. 

Lloyd has been a consumer of podcasts since 2015 and produced his first podcast in 2019. He uses his platform to help people pursue the best version of themselves by encouraging them to begin their journey by podcasting. 

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