Social Bites: Anna Ellis (Dr. Who)

Anna Ellis

What’s your name?

Anna Ellis

What major social media accounts did you manage?

I was part of a team that managed the Twitter and Instagram accounts for Doctor Who (Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors)

What was the best thing about managing this account?

The fans. They really love the show and were super engaged with the content. It was really rewarding to make content that they loved.

What was the HARDEST thing about managing this account?

Also the fans! A certain faction of any fandom is usually very vocal about what they do and don’t like—even if that is nothing to do with the social media activity. Also they are super knowledgable about the Doctor Who universe, so it’s really embarrassing it you make a mistake.

How did you think up your posts?

We were blessed with 50 years worth of content and usually a new series every year or 2, so there was always stories to tell and fan favourite moments to share.

We’d use a lot of awareness days, birthdays and anniversaries as inspiration between series and during a series we would constantly have new teasers, promo shots and behind the scenes content. If in doubt, find a reason to post a gif of David Tennent holding kittens.

Was there a long approval process for social content or were you trusted to pretty much do your own thing?

We were trusted to create and write the social we thought would appeal to our audiences but we did have a quick sign-off process where our digital producer would check content before it was posted. This was really helpful as proofread and fact-check help avoid embarrassing mistakes.

What have some of your most popular posts been, and why do you think they struck such a chord?

An image we created for Instagram that featured the companions of the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors. The companions were the reflection of the audience and everyone had favourites—and therefore a reason to like and comment.

What have some of your favorite posts been, even if they aren’t necessarily the ones that went “viral”?

I loved making this image of iconic glasses that different Doctor’s had worn. It was always fun to make references to the idea that the Doctor changed but was also the same, and I think the fans appreciated that too. It was nice to create brand new content ourselves, photos and videos from the show were often available elsewhere but the content we created in the digital team were only on our social channels.

Has a post ever landed you in hot water? (Tell us ALL the juicy details!)

Thankfully not. When you work on a massive brand like Doctor Who, you are always worried about mentioning something that the public aren’t supposed to know so we were always super cautious.

What do you wish you knew before you started managing this account that might have made things easier at the beginning?

That all engagement looks good to your bosses. So if some grumpy fan is commenting about how he hates your ‘fan girl content’, it’s going to look super successful when it comes to the stats.

What’s your advice for someone starting out in social?

Look out for your mental health. Social media can be an unpleasant place to be and if you are in it all day at work and then again in your personal life it can wear you down.

Make rules about when you look at work content—it can be super tempting to just take a sneaky look to see how something is performing but that is work and you will blur the lines between work time and down time.

Avoid doing work that you are not being paid for—whether that’s a whole project or just working unpaid overtime. It’s valuable work and should be paid as if it is. (Although I know that’s easy to say when I already have experience.)

What’s your advice for brand managers to get the best out of their social media managers?

Trust them. Just because you’ve got your own Twitter account doesn’t mean you know how to run a successful social channel. Their instincts and knowledge have usually been built from hours and hours of looking at posts, experimenting and analysing stats. Let them try stuff and let them tell you what works.

Also be respectful of their time, it takes longer than you think to write a tweet and even longer to write a really good tweet. And just because social media is on all the time doesn’t mean they should be—they need downtime if they are going to perform at their best.


I love that Anna mentions mental health! As someone who has worked in social media for nearly 11 years, I have seen and heard it all. I used to work 24/7, worked weekend and never took time away from my screens. Not anymore. social media should not ever trump real life! Great advice for those just starting out.