Keep up 'authentic' social media engagement, says Carrie Hope Fletcher

Keep up 'authentic' social media engagement, says Carrie Hope Fletcher

West End performer and author Carrie Hope Fletcher has advised industry professionals to mobilise their social media platforms and create "engaging, authentic" content to increase audiences. 

Delivering a keynote at The Bookseller's Children's Conference, Fletcher advised the industry to think carefully about engagement across digital platforms as a way of growing company reach. "If you approach social media as a tool, it can be invaluable," she said. 

She emphasised the importance of keeping content relevant and "authentic", and said that businesses need to construct an identity online to reach wider audiences. "Twitter, YouTube and Instagram have a hugely important role to play, which all starts with building a brand," she said. "Once you've figured out your gap in the market, all you have to do is stick with it and build it." 

She attributed a savvy use of social media to how quickly she became a highly successful performer and children's author. Her YouTube channel, which has over half a million subscribers, gives her audiences a "behind the curtain" view into her working life. "For every new show I'm in I create a new video," she explained. 

Commenting on the use of digital platforms for particular purposes, she said: "My favourite platform is Instagram, because it has a lot on offer that the others don't." She cited the 'stories' function, which can be used to showcase Q&As and conduct polls. "It's not just words on a screen when you can connect with people," she added. She also highlighted the "swipe-up" function  — "the fastest and easiest way to link to a charity, or products" — and the ease with which companies can track engagement on the platform.

When posting content on different platforms, she advised conference attendees to think about their material, and its suitability to the medium. "Twitter loves an opinion," she noted, suggesting that regular posts and engagement are vital to retain and grow a loyal following. Fletcher often asks her audiences what sort of content they like to see, and their preferred viewing format. "We all like to see our voices have been heard, and the more I engage the more my audiences shares, and the more it grows," she said. "Ultimately, social media is just about connection."

Fletcher's first book, All I Know Now, and first novel, On the Other Side, were published by Little, Brown. She made her West End debut aged seven in "Les Misérables", won a WhatsOnStage Award for the role of Eponine in the same show at the Queen's Theatre in London, and has appeared in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", "The Addams Family" musical and was part of the original West End cast of the musical "Heathers".

Fletcher has sold 168,892 books for £1.23m, with her bestseller, All I Know Now on 41,959 copies sold in hardback through Nielsen BookScan's UK Total Consumer Market.