facebook

8 Misconceptions You Might Have About Social Media

It’s one thing to use social media, it’s another to understand it.

Comics spend a LOT of time using social platforms, but I’ve found most have some basic misconceptions about how social platforms actually work.

Here’s a few things you might incorrectly assume and what to do about it to get more out of your social media efforts.

1. You think your followers see your posts.

I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news is that just because you don’t see a lot of interaction on your Facebook and Twitter posts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s because they’re not good. The bad news is that not nearly as many people are seeing your posts as you think.

Most Facebook and Twitter posts only get seen by 10% or less of the people that are theoretically following you due to Facebook’s news feed algorithms and Twitter’s lack of an algorithm. As a result, you don’t have nearly the exposure you think you do.

This means your follower count is an overrated metric and you shouldn’t be so concerned about it – more on that in a minute.

2. You think your followers are the only ones who can see your posts.

There are a lot of ways to get people who don’t follow you to see your posts including using hashtags and tagging other pages on Facebook. This is another reason why your obsession with your follower count is unnecessary – you’re not limited to only being seen by those who follow you.

It’s also why it’s important to use hashtags and tag other accounts in order to expose your posts to the most possible people.

3. You think social platforms have made websites and email lists pointless.

Despite all the hype you hear about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, the best way to ensure your audience actually sees what you want them to see is to get them to subscribe to your email list. Only a small percentage of your social followers will actually see your updates, while a decent email list will have an open rate of closer to 50% or higher.

And having a website is crucial as well because it gives you a platform where you can control how you present yourself and gives you a way to be found in Google searches. Also, depending solely on social platforms is risky because you never know when they’re going to change the way they work or collapse completely (see: MySpace). Having a website ensures your content won’t disappear some day.

4. You think people share content because it’s good.

There are a lot of reasons why people share things on social media and the content being “good” tends to be pretty low on that list. Just take a look at the things your friends are sharing, and I’m sure you’ll find that to be true.

While it’s important to put good stuff out into the world, it’s also worth recognizing that’s not the only reason things get shared. People share things that surprise them, things that make a statement about something they believe in (or disagree with), things that provide value, and things that emotionally connect with them.

Most importantly, they share things that say something about them – what somebody shares is an expression of themselves as much as it’s a reflection of the content itself.

5. You think you shouldn’t repeat posts.

This ties back into the first item on this list – most people don’t see your posts. So, as a result, it’s fine to repeat those posts at different times and it’s actually a good strategy to do so.

Repeating posts will get your work seen by more people and it’s unlikely to annoy your followers since most of them won’t see the repeats in their feed anyway. Repurposing quality social posts is a key strategy that can impact the success you have on social platforms without requiring much more effort on your part.

This can also be done with old social media posts and you can read exactly how to do that here.

6. You think Facebook ads are a waste of money.

They’re not. Trust me. They actually might be the single most valuable feature Facebook offers and one of the least used by comics.

Here’s an example of what’s possible with even a small Facebook ads budget.

7. You think the goal is to go “viral.”

Forget about going viral – it’s probably not going to happen. And even if it did, it’s not going to get you anywhere near the benefits you think it will.

You should focus your social efforts on the long term as opposed to worrying about short term success. Use social platforms to find the specific audience you want to connect with (your target should never be “everybody”) and focus your efforts on them.

If your work happens to go viral, that just means that you’re reaching a lot of people that likely aren’t going to fit what you’re trying to do anyway, so all those views/listens/visits are ultimately meaningless. Building a relationship with the right 1,000 people will serve you better than getting something seen by the wrong 100,000 people.

8. You think social platforms are broadcast platforms.

Most people use social platforms to distribute their content to other people. But social media’s real strength is the ability it gives you to connect with other people.

The “social” part is more important than the “media” part.

It’s easy to get caught up in your follower count and desire to promote your creations, but don’t forget that social media also enables you to follow and interact with just about anybody in the world. That’s an incredible opportunity and one you should take advantage of.

Use social media to interact with people, to engage with potential fans, to develop relationships with people you admire, to network, and to connect. You’ll get way more value out of that approach than you do by using social media as a megaphone to scream about your own stuff.

READ THIS NEXT: Ranking The 9 Most Valuable Social Platforms For Comedians

5 New Facebook Tricks I Discovered Work Really Well

Facebook constantly changes.

As a result, the best ways to get the most out of the platform are also constantly in flux. But the good news is that means there’s always new opportunities being created for you to benefit from Facebook’s evolution.

Here’s a few tricks I’ve recently discovered that will help your Facebook posts reach more people and help you get more out of the time you spend on the platform.

1. Get Involved In Groups

As you’ve hopefully realized by now, most people that follow you on Facebook or like your fan page don’t actually see the stuff you post.

Because of Facebook’s news feed algorithm, only about 10% of the people who are connected to you will actually see your posts in their news feed.

That leads to a lot of frustration, but there’s another way to increase the percentage of people you can reach on the platform.

Facebook Groups are becoming an increasingly powerful resource you can use to connect with your own fans as well as to discover and engage with new potential fans.

Unlike Facebook profiles and fan pages, Groups essentially treat everybody equal – they allow anybody to post (though there are typically group moderators) and they function much more like communities than the broadcast mechanism of fan pages and profiles.

However, Facebook still pushes relevant posts from within a group into group members’ news feeds and gives them notifications when a new post has been made (depending on a user’s settings). As a result, I’ve found that often times I can get a lot more interaction and engagement with posts made within groups (such as those I make in our Connected Comedians group) than posts made from pages.

But the real benefit of groups isn’t starting your own (unless you already have a huge fanbase), but rather finding existing groups relevant to your niche and becoming an active community member in them. There are existing groups on just about every subject you can imagine within Facebook, and while the quality of them may vary, many are excellent.

You can learn how to search for groups here, but I’d highly recommend finding some that are relevant to what you do and getting involved in them – not just to promote your own stuff, but rather to build relationships with people who have shared interests.

2. Post More Often

The conventional wisdom used to be you shouldn’t post on Facebook more than a couple times a day at most because the platform’s news feed algorithm would penalize you for doing so. Well, things have changed.

Now, it seems like you’re rewarded for posting more often and using the platform much more like Twitter in terms of volume of posts. Of course, you still need to maintain a high quality of posts and get engagement on them – don’t just post crap for the sake of posting – but the more good stuff you post, the more success you’ll see.

If you look at the volume of posts being made by some of the biggest pages on Facebook, you’ll be surprised to see how frequently they post. For example, sites like Buzzfeed and Funny or Die post almost 200 times each week!

Of course, they’ve got a lot more content to share than you probably do, but the point is if you double your current amount of posts, you’ll probably see an increase in the number of people your content reaches – again, as long as what you post is good.

3. Write Longer Descriptions On Your Posts

Facebook recently tweaked its algorithms to take into account how much time people spend reading/engaging with your individual posts. The longer somebody looks at your post before scrolling down their feed, the more Facebook theoretically believes that people enjoyed your post.

It’s worth keeping this in mind as you construct your posts. For example, rather than just post an image with no description, add a clever caption that’s a couple sentences long so people will read it and increase their time spent with the post.

The other hidden advantage of using lengthier descriptions is that Facebook only includes an initial excerpt of the longer description in people’s news feed. If the person is intrigued by what you wrote, they will click the “Read More” button to expand the post.

This counts as a click on the post and shows Facebook engagement on your post, which in turn suggests it’s a good post, which in turn leads to Facebook to show it to more people.

Essentially, getting people to click that Read More button in your description is similar to getting them to Like, Share or Comment on your post – it helps it get seen by more people.

There are lots of easy ways to include long descriptions. For example, if you share a link to an article you can just cut and paste a sample paragraph or two from the article into your description. This is also effective because if it’s an interesting excerpt, it increases the chances somebody will click the link as well.

4. Set Up Pages To Watch

If you have a Fan Page on Facebook (and you should), then go to your Insights tab and scroll down to the bottom of the page to select other Pages To Watch. This is a cool feature that allows you to track the activity of other Facebook fan pages – it lets you see how often they post each week, how many new fans they’re getting, and even lets you see their most successful posts of the week.

This can be a valuable learning tool as you can see what other people are doing and what’s working (or not) for them. You can use it to track other comics whose Facebook success you admire, or the activity of comedy club pages or sites like Funny or Die who you may want to emulate.

Here’s a look at how to set up pages to watch.

5. Use A Call To Action On Your Page

Here’s a simple thing that will take you two seconds to set up and help you out. If you haven’t noticed yet, Facebook has a feature on your fan page called a Call to Action button that lives on your fan page cover photo.

Essentially, it’s a button that allows you to plug a link to some action you’d like people to take when they visit your page. You can set it up to drive to anything you want people to do – sign up for your email list, watch one of your videos, visit your website, etc.

Here’s a breakdown of how to set it up – it’s not going to get you a million new fans overnight, but it will help drive more people to take whatever action you want them to take on your page.

READ THIS NEXT: How I Got More Facebook Fans And Website Traffic For A Comedian

Case Study: How To Launch A Short Video Series

The following is part of my Case Study series of articles in which I offer specific advice to a Connected Comedy VIP member based on their personal goals. If you’re interested in being the subject of a Case Study article, email me.

Connected Comedy VIP member Justin Matson is a Los Angeles-based comedian who recently started a video web series with his sketch group Casual Mondays and reached out for some advice about how to make it successful.

Here’s how he described it:

“I just launched a daily Vine and Instagram series called Easier Movies and I’m trying to develop a marketing strategy/define my niche.

Every day we post a six-second video on both Vine and Instagram to our @EasierMovies account. We chose those platforms because we felt they worked well with our short, punchy comedic videos that work well as a loop.

We share the videos to our dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as our affiliated accounts (our sketch group’s Facebook page and all of our individual pages). We also embed the videos on our website.”

After checking out Justin’s series, I think he’s got a shot at something that could be very successful on his hands. There’s a lot about it that he’s doing right – they’re creating content that fits the platforms they’re using to distribute it, they have a clear audience who is likely to enjoy it (movie fans, and more specifically fans of the movie featured in each individual episode), and they seem committed to producing a large volume of content (daily new episodes) with a level of production (short videos) that make that kind of schedule feasible and not overly expensive.

But there are still a few things that are worth considering to help take the series – or any video series for that matter – to the next level. So, here’s my advice for Justin…

Set Your Goals

As with any project, the first thing to do is have a clear sense of what you hope to accomplish with it. Think about what you want to happen if you’re successful – what do you hope it leads to?

In your email to me, you referenced several goals including building a “huge Vine/Instagram following,” strengthening the acting of group members and giving them a large follower count that might help attract the attention of casting directors on other projects, and using it as a launching pad for your own personal standup and TV projects down the road.

Those are valid goals, but here’s how I would define the goals of this project if I were you. I’d have three main goals – these incorporate your stated goals and expand on them a bit.

Goal #1: Create a video series that functions as a calling card to the industry.

Note that this isn’t just tied to a large follower count – it includes the idea that this series can be a showcase for your writing/acting/producing abilities. Just because you don’t have a million followers doesn’t mean the work isn’t good, and it doesn’t mean there’s not value in doing something.

It only takes one follower who happens to have the power to give you a TV series or cast you in a project to make something a success. And a million followers doesn’t guarantee that any new opportunities will come from it.

In some ways you can think of this series like writing a spec script – the time you put into it gives you something to show to a wide variety of people in the industry that demonstrates your abilities.

It’s great to get a big following for something, but you shouldn’t deem something a success or failure solely on your follower/view count. Setting your goal in this way helps you avoid getting discouraged and giving up too soon.

Goal #2: Build something that has intellectual property value.

What you create may have value in a variety of ways that extend way beyond the initial videos themselves. You should keep that in mind as you develop it – just because something starts as a web series, doesn’t mean that’s all it can be.

Your goal should be to create something that becomes an asset – it’s almost as if you’re investing in real estate. Having more followers increases the value of that real estate, but it doesn’t define the only value of that real estate.

For example, as you do more of these episodes you might find other opportunities to expand the series in other ways – maybe they become a TV series pitch (or part of a bigger TV series pitch), or greeting cards, or t-shirts, or a book. Your goal should be to develop Easier Movies as a piece of intellectual property that can provide value in a number of ways.

Even if it’s just a video series to begin with (which it should be), just keep in mind that ultimately you’re building something that could become much more.

Goal #3: Build something that can be monetized.

This is a distant third goal, but it’s worth having as a goal nonetheless. While I don’t recommend trying to monetize anything when you’re first getting started, you want to keep in mind you can find success with a project like this without necessarily having somebody come pay you to do something with it.

You’re building an audience you can one day monetize directly in a variety of ways – advertising, sponsored content, merchandise, etc. You don’t need to figure out how now, but you should keep in mind that potentially monetizing what you’re creating is a goal for the future because that may influence some of your strategy as you grow your audience.

Choose One Brand To Build

Once you’ve got your goals in place, I’d take a moment  to think through exactly what brand you’re trying to build with this series. It sounds like you’ve thought about it some, but it may be a little convoluted because you have several different brands you’re trying to help with this project.

The way I see it, there are a few different potential brands in play here – Easier Movies, your Casual Mondays sketch group, and each of the personal brands of people in the group.

It doesn’t matter which you choose, but I’d strongly recommend choosing ONE brand to primarily associate with this series. The others will benefit regardless, but whatever brand you choose to emphasize should be the one your social accounts are titled and should be the hub for all your activities.

Personally, I’d strongly recommend focusing on the Easier Movies brand – it’s the name of the project and the name that most obviously conveys what this series is about. Because of that, it will be the easiest one to build up (no pun intended).

Obviously, you’d still have the Casual Mondays account and your personal accounts sharing and discussing the series and new videos (you don’t need to hide from it), but all promotion should be to reinforce the Easier Movies brand and social accounts.

It’s tough enough to get people to remember one thing (like “Easier Movies”) without confusing them by referencing other stuff in the posts about the videos. For example, “Check out the new Easier Movies video” is simpler than “Check out the new Easier Movies video by Casual Mondays.”

You want to make it as simple as possible for people to understand what they’re looking at, connect with it, and remember it.

It’s tough to build brands and you only make it tougher on yourself when you try to build multiple brands simultaneously. Pick one and emphasize it consistently.

Choose The Right Platforms

You’re off to a good start in terms of platforms – I think it makes sense to post these videos on Vine, Instagram and Facebook because those platforms should be a great fit for the kind of short videos you’re doing.

But I would recommend adding a couple additional platforms.

First, you should set up an Easier Movies YouTube channel (assuming that’s the brand you go with). Even if you don’t post every video to YouTube individually, it will be helpful for you to have a YouTube presence and you can also upload compilation videos featuring several of your episodes.

Even though you’re making very short videos, YouTube is still the place where most people go to watch video and you should be on there. I’d probably upload each episode there because you also can benefit from YouTube’s search results – especially when you’re making videos about movies that lots of other people are searching for on YouTube.

It’s a little extra effort, but it’s worth the time.

The other platform I’d recommend is buying a web domain specifically for Easier Movies and setting up a website for the series. Again, you don’t have to regularly post a ton of content to it (maybe just embed your YouTube playlist?), but it will help you to have a hub with basic information and an overview of what you’re doing.

You need someplace to send people you meet – especially industry and new fans – that makes it easy for them to get an overview of what Easier Movies is all about.

Plus, it gives you another thing that can be found in search engines and makes you look more professional. It also gives you a place to host an Easier Movies email list signup and you can drive people from all your social platforms there to sign up.

Optimize Your Content

Your content is good and you’ve got a clever concept that’s going to appeal to a specific audience. But there’s a couple things you might want to consider to optimize that content a bit.

I’d recommend focusing on specific movies as opposed to the episodes you’ve posted that have more generic themes. The generic themes confuse the concept a bit – they may be entertaining, but when you’re starting out it’s important to convey a consistent message in what your series is about and I think the generic ones skew that a bit.

Also, the movie-specific ones will be much easier to promote (more on that later) because it’s easy to target those specific audiences as opposed to targeting broader movie fans with the generic episodes.

My other recommendation is to consider doing episodes tied to some new movie releases because you know those movies are going to get a lot of attention each week when they’re released. For example, maybe every Friday or every Monday you do an episode based on a movie that just opened. This would be a way for you to tap into all the conversation online about those movies and get some extra attention for your work.

Promote Your Content

While each episode will be different, here’s four specific strategies I’d recommend for promoting your videos.

Hashtags

I see you’re using hashtags in your posts, but you probably could use them a little better. You want to make sure you use the right relevant hashtags to get your stuff seen.

For example, your Jurassic Park episode should have included Jurassic Park-related hashtags, but also more general film hashtags such as #Movies or #Film and comedy-related hashtags like #Funny #Sketch #Comedy or something like that. You can experiment with them, but you want to use hashtags that people are search for when they’re looking for a specific type of content. Even something like #Dinosaurs or #Trailers might have been worth trying.

Meanwhile, on Facebook you want to use @ tags when referencing movies as opposed to hashtags. When you do that, it will show your post to fans of that movie’s page and dramatically increase your targeted reach as opposed to the hashtag which doesn’t do that.

So rather than using #CitizenKane in your post, you should have tagged the @CitizenKane page to reach those fans.

Facebook Ads

I’m a huge fan of Facebook ads and they will work REALLY WELL for a project like this one. Because what you’re doing has such a specific niche for each episode (fans of the movie referenced in the episode), you’ll be able to target just those people and you’ll get a great reaction.

For example, most Jurassic Park fans will enjoy your episode about Jurassic Park so it will be cheap for you to reach them (because Facebook rewards well-targeted content in ads) and you know the people you reach will likely enjoy your videos.

Plus, video is huge on Facebook right now and pops out in people’s feeds. I’d strongly recommend experimenting with some ads and think you’ll be amazed at how successful they are for you. You never know, but I bet you could get targeted views at around 5 cents per view or less.

But the key is to run the ads only targeting fans of the movie in the episode – go specific and narrow, not broad.

Reach Out To Movie Blogs

Another benefit of the specific niche of your content is it should be easy to find blogs who might share your stuff. There’s a ton of movie blogs out there and you should reach out to them and tell them about what you’re doing.

Besides pitching them your content, you could offer to create some episodes specifically for them – maybe they would agree to post a series of episodes as a list where they could get a big content hit and you would get attention and views for the videos.

For example, you could pitch them the idea of creating a series of episodes about Steven Spielberg films that they could compile into a post titled “5 Spielberg Films In 5 Seconds Each” or something like that.

You can also reach out to popular movie podcasts and see if you can get booked as a guest or start interacting with them online. There are lots of possibilities, but you definitely want to start building relationships with the online movie fan community because they can help you reach a bigger audience.

Build Your Community

As you’re introducing more people to your content and growing your audience, you’ll also want to explore ways to turn that audience into a more active community. Again, you’ve got a great opportunity here since your concept lends itself to lots of interesting ways people could participate and it’s based around something that people naturally love to discuss.

For example, here’s a few things you might want to try:

Ask fans to suggest movies for you to feature in episodes.

Let fans create their own versions of Easier Movies which you feature on your site/channel.

Ask fans to send you Easier Movies scripts that you can then bring to life.

Create a contest where some of your Easier Movies crew create two different episodes based on the same movie and let the viewers vote to determine which one is their favorite – you could then build ongoing rivalry storylines around some of these amongst the people making them.

Offer local fans the chance to appear in one of your episodes.

On Twitter or Facebook, create text-based prompts that allow people to play along, similar to what happens with Hashtag Wars. Maybe something like #EasierMovieTitles?

There are tons of ways you can create opportunities for fans to interact with your series and feel a part of it so you should keep that in mind as you move forward and experiment with some of them.

One other note about this kind of community involvement – the added benefit of doing this is that any time you do an episode that a fan has some involvement with, it’s a safe bet that they’ll share it with their friends and spread the word.

More fan involvement equals more exposure for your series.

One More Important (But Slightly Less Fun) Thing To Consider

Whenever you start a project with a group of people, it’s worth having a quick conversation up front about who exactly owns what it is that you’re building.

You don’t need to formally get lawyers involved, but it’s worth talking it through and putting something in writing amongst yourselves, before things start to (hopefully) take off.

No matter how good your relationship is with the people you work with, issues may come up down the road and you never know what’s going to happen as your project gets more successful and more complicated.

Also, if you’re lucky enough to get industry attention and somebody wants to do something with what you’ve created, the first thing they’re going to want to know is who owns Easier Movies and who makes the decisions on its future.

For example, what happens if somebody wants to turn it into a TV series but only wants to use two of the group members on air? Or, what happens if somebody wants to buy the concept but not use any of the group members on air?

I have no idea if you guys have had a conversation about this or not at this point, but my strong recommendation would be that you get on the same page with everybody involved so it’s clear who “owns” Easier Movies and whatever everybody’s participation entitles them to in it.

It may seem like an unnecessary conversation to have at this point, but making sure you’re on the same page when you start something will make it infinitely easier to succeed later on down the road.

And I know this because I’ve seen first hand what can happen when a bunch of talented people start working on a project and then suddenly the whole world gets interested in them – it can get real complicated, real fast.

Good luck with the series – I’ll be watching and can’t wait to see where it goes!

READ THIS NEXT: How To Decide Where To Post Your Comedy Videos

How To Turn Your Old Social Media Posts Into Your Best Website Content

I’ll let you in on a secret: The most popular article on this website over the last three months was nothing but a bunch of old tweets.

My article on 40 Ideas For Comedians To Think About was one of the most successful (and easiest) posts I’ve ever written and it simply featured a bunch of repurposed tweets I had posted over the past few years on my Connected Comedy Twitter account.

This wasn’t just a bit of luck – it was the result of a simple process you can use to turn your old social media posts into great content for your website.

Here’s how I did it and how you can do it too.

Step 1: Study Your Old Social Media Posts

The first thing you need to do is a little research.

Go back through your old social media posts on whichever platforms you use frequently – Twitter and Facebook of course, but you could do the same with old YouTube videos, Instagram posts, or anywhere else you spend time sharing content.

Twitter makes this easy to do because you can download an archive of all of your tweets (which is a good idea regardless of whether or not you decided to do something with them – it’s worth having a copy of your “work” that you can access in case the platform disappears some day).

It’s a little trickier with Facebook because you have to scroll back through your timeline manually, but it can still be done relatively easily.

As you review your old social media posts, pay special attention to the ones that were the most successful and start a list of what they were so you can easily find them again. Most likely, you’ll start to see some similarities and connections between the posts that clicked with your followers.

That leads me to the next step…

Step 2: Figure Out A Connection Between Your Best Posts

As you start to see what your most successful posts have in common, think about how you can create a single thruline that connects them all.

This connection will become the core concept of the new post you’re going to create for your website, utilizing your old social posts.

Sure, you could just gather them up into a post titled something like “My 20 Best Tweets,” but ultimately this will work better if you drill down more into something specific they have in common.

It’s ok if not every great post you have fits into the category – you don’t have to include it then.

In my case, I share a lot of links to interesting articles on my Twitter account, but I decided to focus my website article only on tweets that included advice I’ve given to comedians. Specifically, I focused on some of the “big ideas” I’ve tweeted about over the years and chose that as my framework.

There are countless ways to connect your old social posts to a single theme that appeals to a specific audience. It depends on what kinds of stuff you post obviously, but here’s a few ideas to get you thinking about how to frame your own post:

• 20 Crazy Experiences I’ve Had In New York Restaurants

• 20 Times The Chicago Cubs Made Me Say Something I Regret

• The 20 Worst Responses I’ve Gotten To @Midnight Hashtag Wars Tweets

• 20 Things That Seemed Like A Huge Deal In 2009 That Don’t Matter Any More

• 20 Photos That Prove Hipsters Need To Be Stopped

• 20 Ways To Handle Awkward Dating Situations

The connection between the social posts you choose to repurpose will ultimately lead to the headline of your post and have a huge impact on how successful it becomes, so give it some thought.

Step 3: Write The Post

Once you’ve got some of your best old social posts pulled together and you’ve figured out a good thread to connect them all, it’s time to write the post.

You can showcase them as a blog post like I did which is probably the ideal scenario, but if you don’t have a blog or don’t want to do that then you can try a different approach. You could upload them as images in a photo gallery for example or potentially even turn them into a slideshow video and upload it to YouTube.

But personally, I’d recommend using them as a blog post like I did.

The title of your post should reflect the connection between the posts you’re repurposing, but also should suggest an audience that will most likely be interested in them and hint at the value that audience will get from reading the post.

In my case, I titled my post 40 Ideas For Comedians To Think About because it reflects what the tweets have in common, speaks to the audience I thought would be interested in it (comedians), and hints at the value in reading the post (essentially saying, if you’re a comedian you should think about these things).

You’ll also notice I chose to include a large number of posts in the article – you don’t need to include 40 things for this to work and I didn’t have a specific number in mind when I set out to do this, but there definitely is benefit to including a large number of items.

It suggests there’s more value to the post than your typical Top 10 list, and increases the likelihood people will find something that resonates. There’s no magic number – I actually have about 35 more tweets I considered for the post, but will likely use those in a later post – but I’d recommend you incorporate at least 10 posts into your new article.

As far as the actual writing of the post goes, you’ll notice I chose to transcribe the tweets and make it seem as if it was new content, written specifically for this post. Rather than post screenshots of the original tweets or embed them in the post, I wanted this to come across as fresh content. It’s more impressive (and easier) to read it as a regular article than it would be to show I was just repurposing tweets.

You want your content to feel new, even if it’s not. There are some exceptions to that (for example if you’re doing something that’s purposefully nostalgic), but in general it’s a good rule to follow.

And for what it’s worth, I don’t think any of my readers realized I had previously tweeted what was in that article – even if they had read much of it before while following me on Twitter over the years. And even if they did realize it, it’s still helpful to give it to them all in one place for easy reference.

While I didn’t make it clear the post’s content was repurposed tweets, I did reference several of my social accounts in the introduction to my post. That’s because I want people to be aware of my social accounts since this content is the kind of thing that I post.

If they stumbled across the article and liked what they saw, I wanted them to be aware of my social accounts because they’d probably like what I post there as well.

Step 4: Promote Your New Post

Once you’ve published your post, the next step is to get it seen.

In addition to the usual promotional channels – your social media accounts, email list (hopefully!), and telling every friend and family member you have to check it out, you should look for ways to expand your reach.

Because you will have created a piece of content that has a built-in niche (that connection that you found between all the social posts you chose is essentially a niche), you can look to promote it in places where people interested in that niche hang out.

Using the examples of post titles I listed above, here’s some examples of where else you could promote that content.

• 20 Crazy Experiences I’ve Had In New York Restaurants – Send the link to New York food blogs.

• 20 Times The Chicago Cubs Made Me Say Something I Regret – Use Cubs hashtags on Twitter or send it to Cubs blogs and fan sites.

• The 20 Worst Responses I’ve Gotten To @Midnight Hashtag Wars Tweets – Tweet a link to the @Midnight account and see if they’ll share it.

• 20 Things That Seemed Like A Huge Deal In 2009 That Don’t Matter Any More – Find retro/nostalgia blogs and send it to them.

• 20 Photos That Prove Hipsters Need To Be Stopped – Promote it with an image and use relevant hashtags on Instagram and Tumblr.

• 20 Ways To Handle Awkward Dating Situations – Offer to contribute the column as a guest post on a relationship/dating blog.

And all of these could be easily promoted using Facebook ads, which would be incredibly effective and inexpensive with this kind of content. Here’s an example of how I’ve done that in the past.

Step 5: Repeat

While creating your repurposed content article and promoting it will take a little time and effort, it’s really not that difficult.

Again, most of the hard work (creating the material in the first place) has already been done by you on your social accounts!

This is just a way to take some of the work you’ve put in over the years and get a LOT more benefit from it. Plus, ideally you’re using old social posts you already know people enjoyed because you’re choosing some of your best stuff which means there’s a high likelihood people will enjoy this post even more.

And the real beauty of this strategy is that after you’ve created the article, promoted it, and reaped the rewards from it – you can do it all again!

This is a repeatable strategy you can use as often as you’d like, assuming you’re posting enough good content to your social platforms to pull from. Once you get this first repurposed post out of the way, go back into your archive and find some more stuff that can be repurposed and find other connections you can make.

Will this automatically reach millions of people? No. But, it definitely will work and it will get you a lot more attention for content that is otherwise just lost in the ether.

And if nothing else, it justifies all that time you’re spending tweeting away when you should be writing.

Good luck and if you give this a shot, send me a link to your post and I’ll be happy to share it with my Connected Comedy followers.

More Social Media Advice…

If you found this helpful, I’ve got a LOT more social media advice for you in my Connected Comedy VIP Members Program.

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4 Useful Tools Most Comics Don’t Know Exist

One of the biggest reasons you may struggle to get results on social media is because you may not be aware of some of the tools available to help you get the most out of various social networks.

There are a lot of valuable tools out there that are relatively simple to use and can help you find and connect with new potential fans and better promote your creations.

Here’s a quick breakdown of four tools that you probably haven’t used before, but can definitely help you achieve your goals.

1. Facebook’s Power Editor

I’ve talked a lot about how valuable (and cheap) Facebook ads are and the incredible value you can get from using them to promote yourself or your content.

But most comics who run Facebook ads do so without the help of Facebook’s most effective ad-creation tool, the Power Editor.

If you’re running Facebook ads just by clicking “Boost Post” next to a given post or by using Facebook’s standard ads manager, you’re missing out on a lot of options and functionality that will allow you to create more targeted ads that will perform much better for you.

Basically, using the Facebook Power Editor gives you more control and therefore you can create better, more targeted ads, which in turn leads to more success at a lower price point. It also allows you to create “dark posts,” which is another valuable option you can read about here.

I won’t go into a full overview of how the Power Editor works at this point, but here’s a great overview. And it’s worth noting that the Power Editor is free to use and you can only use it in a Chrome browser, so keep that in mind when you decide to give it a try.

2. Twitter’s Advanced Search

Twitter’s search functionality is the most powerful feature Twitter has to offer and yet it’s rarely used by comedians.

There are lots of ways searching Twitter can help you as a comedian such as searching for people who are tweeting about topics relevant to your niche or searching for people who have shared your content or attended a show you were on to connect with them.

Few comics ever really use Twitter’s search functionality and those that do typically only use the search bar at the top of their Twitter feed. But what you probably don’t realize is that there’s another way to search Twitter that gives you a lot more options to drill down into more targeted searches.

By using Twitter’s advanced search, accessible at Twitter.com/search-advanced, you can set all kinds of specific options to drill down deeper into what people are tweeting and when.

Want to see what I tweeted from the Connected Comedy account in September 2012? Here you go.

Want to see every tweet that somebody has tweeted at me that included a question? Here you go.

Want to see every tweet that includes the word “comedians” and a link to something on the New York Times website? Here you go.

I could go on forever, but hopefully you get the point – Twitter’s advanced search can be an incredibly powerful way to find relevant information and people for you to connect with based on your needs.

3. Facebook’s Groups Search

There’s a good chance you’re in a couple Facebook groups already (like my Connected Comedians group, for example?), but have you ever spent any time searching Facebook to find new relevant groups to join?

Facebook groups are a great way to get involved in communities that will be relevant to your interests and can be filled with people who may be interested in whatever your particular comedy niche may be. Beyond the networking benefits of joining a Facebook group with other comedians, the real value is in finding topic-based groups that attract members with shared interests that match the kinds of things you cover in your comedy.

For example, if your comedy revolves around being a father, then you might want to join the 1,100 members of the Dad Bloggers group.

Or if you think fans of Rachel Maddow are likely to enjoy your take on things, then maybe the 25,000 members of this Rachel Maddow Fans group are potential new fans of your comedy.

There’s an insane number of groups on Facebook and you can probably find one for whatever target audience you’re hoping to connect with. And it’s really easy to do.

All you have to do to find Facebook groups is log in to Facebook and type some relevant keywords into the search bar. When you get the initial results click the “Groups” button listed under the “More” drop down menu as you see below:

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.01.02 PM

Once you choose Groups, you’ll see a list of the groups relating to that keyword and you can browse until you find ones that fit your needs. You’ll be amazed at what you find…

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.04.35 PM

4. Twitter’s Native Video Player

Another Twitter feature that gets overlooked is Twitter’s native video player. Launched a few months ago, it allows you to upload videos directly to Twitter and those videos will appear an play in-feed on Twitter.

While you’re probably familiar with Vine (which is owned by Twitter) and may have heard of Periscope (Twitter’s new live-streaming video platform), Twitter’s regular video player can be helpful for when you want to upload a video that’s longer than 6 seconds and isn’t a live-stream, but still have it appear in people’s feeds.

It’s as easy as uploading a photo and worth giving a try the next time you’ve got a video you want to share with your followers. Here’s an overview of exactly how to do it.

Want A Little Extra Help From Me?

If you’re looking to try out any of these tools and are looking for some more specific suggestions about how best to use them to fit your needs, I’d be happy to help. Email me and let me know what you’re looking for.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Social Media Shifts That Will Impact Comedians

Ranking The 9 Most Valuable Social Platforms For Comedians

Social media can be overwhelming.

There seems to be a new “must-use” social platform created every day and the pressure to leverage them to attract fans and grow your career can quickly become frustrating.

But the reality is you don’t actually have to use any of these platforms and you certainly don’t need to use all of them. To help you sort out which ones are worth the effort, I’ve put together a breakdown of what I see as the top nine platforms in order of value to a comedian’s career.

While the exact order may vary a bit depending on your specific career goals, this is a general ranking that I think fits for most comics. Whether you’re just starting out or 20 years into the game, these are the places I’d recommend you put your time into – in order from most important to least important.

1. An Email List

Don’t be fooled by the hype around the latest and greatest social platforms – email is still king. It’s the single best way to ensure people who are connected to you will see something you want them to see.

As great as social networks are, the vast majority of your followers on them won’t actually see your posts – you’ll be lucky to reach more than 10% of your followers with any given post and in most cases you’ll only reach about 5%.

By comparison, roughly 50% of your email subscribers (or more depending on the quality of your list), will open and read your email blast. Even a bad email list will still likely get at least 20% of the subscribers to open your emails, which is still a huge improvement over what you get on social networks.

Email lists are also the most valuable social platform because they’re completely in your control – you don’t have to worry about companies like Facebook or Twitter suddenly changing the rules of who sees your content and you also don’t have to worry about users abandoning the platforms entirely, making your connection to your audience on them disappear (see: MySpace).

An email list is without a doubt the most powerful social connection you can build to your fanbase and even the social networks themselves know it.

Have you ever thought about why Twitter and Facebook send so many emails to their users? It’s because they know you’re more likely to see those notifications in your email inbox than on their own platforms.

Recommended Reading: How To Get More People To Join Your Mailing List

2. A Website

The second most valuable platform also may seem a little old school to you. Too many comics believe a Facebook page is good enough and having their own website is an outdated concept, but that’s wrong.

Just like an email list, having your own website is something that you can 100% control forever and it’s not subject to the whims of a company who can block you, delete you, or make things difficult for you with tweaks in their algorithm or a loss of their own user base.

Your own website is also a blank canvas that allows you to create whatever best suits your personal needs and how you want to present yourself. It’s much more flexible than having to fit what you do into the constraints of somebody else’s platform.

There’s a million different easy ways to create a website (WordPress, Tumblr, etc.) and there’s really no excuse at this point not to have one. Plus, a website will get you found in Google search (and help you control what people see of yours when they search for you) and will make you look like a professional.

Not having a website – even if it’s just a simple one – sends a clear message to the world that you’re not serious about your career.

Recommended Reading: How 5 Successful Comedians Used Their Website Before They Were Famous

 3. A Facebook Fan Page

Comics love Twitter, but the reality is that Facebook is a WAY bigger and more valuable platform for you.

Facebook has gotten so big that it practically is the Internet these days, and I’m sure you probably already have a Facebook account. But, if you don’t also have a Facebook fan page for yourself, you’re doing it wrong.

Having a fan page has several advantages including the ability to have an unlimited number of fans connect to you – regular profiles are capped at 5,000 friends, which may not seem like an issue now but will be if you ultimately have the success you want.

Most importantly, Facebook fan pages allow you to run Facebook ads to promote yourself and your content. Here’s a look at some of the amazing things that are possible with Facebook ads and how inexpensive they can be.

You can’t run Facebook ads without a fan page, and not having the ability to run Facebook ads is like taking the single most effective marketing tool out of your arsenal. It’s stupid.

Recommended Reading: 5 Free Ways To Get More People To See Your Facebook Posts

4. Twitter

Even though its value is below Facebook, Twitter can still be a valuable platform for comedians. Comedy content plays well on the platform and if you’ve got the ability to put funny stuff into the world in 140 characters or less, you can find some success and get noticed.

But, the real value in Twitter is often misunderstood. The way to get the most out of Twitter is not by using it as a broadcast medium or an always-on open mic, but rather to use it as a way to connect with other people.

The ability to follow and interact with anybody on the platform is powerful if used in a smart way and Twitter’s search functionality is one of the most overlooked and underused aspects of Twitter. You can use it to find people who are talking about the exact things you’re interested in and become a part of those conversations. Here’s some simple ways to get more out of Twitter that might make you think about the platform in a new way.

Recommended Reading: 5 Ways To Get More Out Of The Jokes You Post On Twitter

5. YouTube

If you’re creating videos, you should post those videos on YouTube (you should also upload those videos to Facebook’s native player as well by the way).

This is because YouTube is not only the biggest video hub on the Internet, but it’s also the second biggest search engine of any kind. Not uploading your videos to YouTube is the equivalent of telling Google that you don’t want to be found in their search results.

YouTube is the ultimate video platform, a place where you can get discovered, where you can build an audience, and where you can even monetize your work. People are building huge careers off the platform and it’s a must-use for anybody creating videos in my opinion.

Recommended Reading: Building A YouTube Audience

6. Vine

It’s appropriate that my sixth most valuable platform for comedians is a social network built on 6-second videos. Vine, which is owned by Twitter, has built a large user base and has a huge audience for funny content.

Comedy on Vine certainly has its own unique form and language, but if you can crack what works on the platform you can get discovered and build a following relatively quickly. There are also lots of relatively unknown comedians who have managed to monetize their work on Vine thanks to brands looking to reach audiences on the platform.

And the aesthetic of Vine is a lot more forgiving than YouTube, meaning that you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on equipment or have a real professional look to your videos on the platform for them to work. Just shoot something funny with your phone and you should be fine.

Recommended Reading:5 Things You Can Learn From Vine Star King Bach

7. A Podcast

We’re still in the midst of a podcast boom – especially in the comedy world. At this point it may seem like every comedian has a podcast, but the truth is that the vast majority of them have barely any people listening to them.

However, there is still lots of potential value there for comics because the podcast audience continues to grow and there are still opportunities to grow an audience over time through a podcast.

The other hidden value of doing a podcast is that it can help improve your work as a comedian overall – it can help you work through new material, find your voice, or function as practice for future work in radio, writing, or hosting.

It’s not the same as stage time, but it is an opportunity to be on a mic and entertain people. It also can give you an excuse to interview and learn from other people, and if you’re smart enough to design your show in a way that it appeals to a specific niche audience that you’re trying to reach (as opposed to being just another inside baseball show featuring comics talking about comedy), it can help you attract and develop an audience that pays off in other ways down the road.

There’s definitely value in doing a podcast, but it’s important to remember that a podcast is a long term play and not a short term one. Whatever value you get from doing a podcast is likely to come years down the road and you have to be willing to put in the significant time and effort it takes to get there.

Recommended Reading: Stand Up Invades Podcasting

8. Instagram

Instagram is a great social platform and it’s growing very fast – it might surprise you to find out that it’s already bigger than Twitter.

There’s definitely value to reaching the Instagram audience and if you’re doing anything with your comedy that’s image-driven, I’d probable rank it a little higher for you.

But, for most comics, Instagram is significantly less valuable as a platform than the other options I’ve listed above. It’s just that what Instagram is about doesn’t really lend itself very well to what most comics are looking to put out into the world.

Also, as a promotional platform, it’s very limiting since you can’t incorporate links anywhere on the platform except for in your account bio. It can be helpful with the right kind of content and the ability to dip into certain hashtags and attract attention for your content that way can be useful, but overall at the moment it’s far from a must-use platform for comedians.

Recommended Reading: 4 Things You Can Learn From Social Media Stars

9. Snapchat

Snapchat is growing…fast. It’s already hugely popular with teenagers, is seeing lots of engagement from users, and its Stories feature enables you to string together content in a way you can’t on other platforms.

However, the platform still has a lot of issues that limit its value to comedians.

Since the content you post there is only available for 24 hours at most you lose the value of building a library of archived content, discovery on the platform is pretty terrible (you essentially have to know a person’s username to find them), you don’t get to see how many people are actually following you (only how many actually view a piece of content), and there’s no simple way for your fans to share your content with their friends.

So, at this point, Snapchat is far from a must-use platform for comics, but it’s growing so rapidly that it’s still worth being on this list and keeping an eye on as it evolves.

More Advice About Social Media…

I’ve got a lot more social media tips available to my VIP MEMBERS (join here for instant access) including How To Get More Influential Followers On Twitter and 7 Reasons The Stuff You Post On Social Media Should Also Be On Your Website among others.

Case Study: How I Got Facebook Fans And Website Traffic For A Comedian

A few weeks ago I put out an offer to members of the Connected Comedians Facebook group – I offered to run some Facebook ads for a comedian to promote something they were working on for free.

All the comedian would have to do is cover the costs of a Facebook ad – as much or as little as they wanted to spend – and I’d lend my expertise for free as long as they were ok with me sharing how I did it and the results with other Connected Comedy readers.

I was happy to see there was lots of interest in my offer, and ultimately I chose to work with Chicago comedian Kyle Scanlan who wanted to promote his humor site The Whiskey Journal. (For those of you I didn’t choose, I’m likely to do this again so you’ll have another chance.)

Kyle had $50 to spend on the Facebook ads and didn’t have a specific goal beyond getting more attention for the site, so I decided to split the budget amongst two goals.

I’d spend half of it on an ad designed to get more fans for his site’s Facebook page, and the other half of it to drive traffic to a specific article on the site.

Here’s a breakdown of how I approached it and what happened (Spoiler Alert: It was VERY successful).

Please note that below I focus on the strategy behind running Facebook ads and not the nuts and bolts of how to technically set them up and run them – you can learn about that here.

Ad #1: How To Get More Facebook Fans

The first ad I set up was designed to get new fans for the Whiskey Journal Facebook page.

It can be challenging to get fans for a Facebook page – especially when it’s for a broad site like the Whiskey Journal, where the topics covered are really all over the place.

It was additionally challenging in this case because the name of the site doesn’t really convey what it is, and in fact can be misleading. If somebody sees a site called The Whiskey Journal in their feed, they don’t immediately think it’s a comedy site – they’re more likely to think it has something to do with liquor.

Regardless, we weren’t about to change the site’s name so I turned my attention to how best to play the hand I was dealt.

In creating a Facebook ad strategy, there’s really two key components to consider – who you’re going to target and what you’re going to target them with.

Step 1: Choosing Who To Target

I noticed that the page already had a couple thousand fans which was a great start and something that could be leveraged in the Facebook ad targeting. Also, even though the site’s content is pretty broad, there was still an underlying niche in that its tone was similar to some really popular news parody sites like The Onion.

I also assumed based on the content and its writers, that men might be more likely to enjoy the site than women so I figured I could focus the ad that way as well.

One other thing I always do when I run ads is have them run only in people’s news feed – by default Facebook runs ads in the news feed AND on the right sidebar of pages. But I personally believe that nobody pays attention to the sidebar and those ads are a waste of money, so I uncheck that box to ensure that my ads only run in the news feed itself.

So based on these thoughts, here’s the targeting I came up with for the ad:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.11.14 PMThis means that the only people who would ever see my ad would be people who I believe are most likely to actually like the page – they would be friends of people who already like the page, they would be men, they would be people who already like or talk about The Onion, and I’d only pay for ads that appeared in their news feed, where’s they’re most likely to notice them.

Step 2: Choosing The Ad Creative

With my targeting in mind, I then thought through what the ad should look like and say.

While you have somewhat limited options, there’s actually a lot you can control including the caption and image that runs with the Page name (which you can’t change when promoting a page).

Keeping my targeting in mind, I wanted to create something with an image that would grab people’s attention (they have to notice your post in order to even have a chance of getting them to like it) and convey something funny, combined with a caption that helped amplify what I thought were the key selling points of my targeting.

Here’s what I came up with:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.10.47 PMYou’ll notice that the image I chose (one which I found on a post on the site) is a joke in itself. My hope was that people would notice it, get a laugh, and that would encourage them to at least check the page out. And maybe some people might even hit the “Like Page” button thinking they were just liking the image – an honest mistake that could also get us some extra new fans.

I always try to keep captions as simple as possible – less is more.

In this case, I knew that most people seeing this ad will never have heard of The Whiskey Journal before, but I knew that because of my targeting they will be people whose friends already like the page. So, I tried to use that to my advantage – providing some social proof (your friend likes it, so it must be decent) as well as inspiring curiosity (don’t you want to know why your friend likes this thing you’ve never heard of?).

The resulting caption line I came up with – “Your friend thinks we’re funny. Like our page to find out why.” – accomplishes both of those things in as simple a way as possible.

The Results

So, how did it work? It wasn’t the most amazing performance I’ve ever had with an ad, but overall I was pretty happy with the results considering the inherent challenges in the title of the page and promoting a page for a website few people were familiar with.

Here’s the breakdown of how it performed:

$24.89 spent

2,442 people reached (this is the number of people who saw it in their news feed)

54 clicks (that represents a 1.7% clickthru rate)

42 Page Likes (this means it generated 42 new fans for the page)

59 cents cost per new fan

So basically, for $25, I got Kyle 42 new Facebook fans. Ultimately, it’s up to you/him to determine whether or not that was worth the spend, but personally I think that’s a solid, if not spectacular, performance.

Speaking of spectacular…let’s move on to the second ad I ran for Kyle.

Ad #2: How To Get More Website Traffic

The second ad I ran was designed to get people to visit the Whiskey Journal website who had never seen it before. Since I only had a $25 budget to work with, I decided to focus my efforts on a single ad leading to a single piece of content on the site.

Kyle didn’t have any specific post he wanted me to promote, so it was up to me to choose whatever I thought would work best. I surfed around the site looking for a post that I thought was not only funny, but would also appeal to a very specific (and targetable) audience.

I came across this article about Derrick Rose that I thought would be a great fit because it not only was funny and likely to appeal to a very specific (and easily targetable) audience, but it even was somewhat topical and controversial. I could see how it might be the kind of thing that people who are frustrated with Rose would want to share and people who are Rose defenders would want to comment on in disagreement.

Remember, there’s value to content that causes a reaction – even if that reaction isn’t necessarily agreement.

Step 1: Choosing Who To Target

After choosing the content I wanted to promote with the ad, I started to think through the audience I wanted to target with it. Since I chose a piece of content that led itself to a somewhat obvious audience, this was easier than determining the targeting for the more generic ad I previously ran for Facebook fans.

As a side note, it should almost always be easier for you to come up with specific targeting for a specific piece of content than it is for an entire website because each piece of content is usually about one specific thing as opposed to a website which may be more all over the map.

In determining who to target, you always want to go as specific as possible – the more specific you get, the better the ad will perform. Also, you want to think about what the content is about as opposed to what you (or your website) are about.

For example, even though Whiskey Journal is a comedy site, this article is about a sports figure – so instead of targeting comedy fans, I’d do better to target sports fans.

This may seem obvious when you think about it, but it’s a huge mistake that most comedians make when running Facebook ads – they think because they’re doing funny stuff that the only people interested in it will be people who are into comedy. You’ll have more success if you focus on the topic of the content, as opposed to comedy in general.

Another place where a lot of people would go wrong with targeting is they might just target people who like sports and be done with it. But again, you want to go as niche as possible and in this case Derrick Rose is a big enough star that I was able to target people who are specifically fans of his.

I even took it a step further by limiting it to men, and limiting it to people who live in Chicago – figuring that those would be hardcore Bulls fans with strong opinions on Derrick Rose.

Again, my goal was to drill down as specifically as possible to increase the chances that the people who saw my ad would be interested in it.

Here’s the targeting I settled on:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.10.15 PM

Step 2: Choosing The Ad Creative

The next step was to figure out what I wanted the ad to look like – again keeping in mind who I was targeting and trying to make it as compelling as possible to that audience to drive clicks.

Typically, people just paste in the link to their article and run the ad with whatever image, headline, and description happens to get auto-pulled from the site. That’s a huge mistake and a missed opportunity.

Each of those elements can (and should) be edited to match the people you’re targeting and the goals.

For example, here’s how the link to this article would show up on Facebook by default:

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 11.21.42 AM

This was ok, but I thought I could do better. Here’s what I created instead:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.09.37 PM

I changed the headline to something simpler that teased the article and made people curious to see what Rose had said.

It’s a little clickbait-y, but I’m trying to get clicks so that’s not a bad thing. Also, I wrote a short, simple headline that I thought would appeal to people who are frustrated with Rose (they were more likely to enjoy an article parodying him than people who are his fans).

The original headline also kind of functioned as a joke on its own, where my revised headline played more like the setup, with the joke being delivered on the page itself.

I also swapped out the photo with what I thought was a more compelling image I found on Google images. In general, close-up shots of people’s faces perform better than full body shots and I thought the face Rose is making in this image, when combined with the headline, was more attention grabbing than the more generic image of Rose on the court.

These are minor details, but they can make a difference.

Finally, I changed the description and caption to speak to the reader in a conversational tone as opposed to just auto-pulling the first few words of the article. As you can see, that’s a whole different tone and in my opinion makes it much more compelling.

Also, running it as an ad allowed me to add that “Learn More” button which gives an additional call to action to drive clicks. [FYI, I chose the Learn More button from a few pre-set options Facebook provides, it’s not the best language but it was the closest one that fit in this case.]

The Results

This ad wound up performing as good as any ad I’ve ever created. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even possible to have an ad do any better.

Here’s the breakdown of how it performed:

$26 spent

40,043 people reached

4,379 clicks to the website

13.5% clickthru rate (this is insanely high by the way)

1 cent cost per click

That’s right, this ad drove a targeted audience (Derrick Rose fans) to the Whiskey Journal’s Derrick Rose article at a cost of just a penny per click!

The post also generated 65 Likes and 31 shares from the people who saw the ad.

Now, I should mention that not everybody loved the post and some people found it misleading because they clicked expecting it to be a legitimate news story and not an Onion-style parody.

That led to some negative comments on the post pointing out that it was fake, and some other negative comments from people who didn’t get the joke and were mad at the press for ripping Derrick Rose (which is funny in a whole other way).

You can see all the comments on the post here.

But, there were lots of people who did get the joke and found it hilarious – they commented about that, they shared the post, and in some cases left comments calling other commenters dumb for not getting the joke.

Remember – it’s ok if not everybody likes what you do. In fact, they probably shouldn’t.

The “controversy’ of the post actually helped the post do well – remember, even a negative comment counts as engagement in Facebook’s eyes and therefore increases the chances it will show the post to more people.

The goal was to get noticed and to attract some new readers to The Whiskey Journal and this ad did just that.

If 50% of the people that clicked didn’t like what they saw, that doesn’t matter – what matters is the 50% of the people that did like it.

Any Questions?

Ultimately, every ad campaign is different because every person’s goals are different and so is the content they’re trying to promote. But hopefully, this example has helped you see how I think through what to do when I run Facebook ads and you can apply some of that thinking to your own efforts.

I should also add that this was just a small test with a small budget – in general, I always recommend testing different combinations of ads and the more you test, the more you can learn what works best.

These ads worked really well, but could they have been better with different images? With different headlines? With different targeting? Maybe.

That’s why Facebook ads are an ongoing challenge – no matter how great you do, there’s always that chance you could do better.

If you’ve got any questions about any of this or want some advice about promoting your own stuff with Facebook ads, post a comment below or tweet me.

How To Decide Where To Post Your Comedy Videos

You’ve finished producing your latest comedy masterpiece, but now what?

There’s a lot of options out there for uploading your video, but it can be confusing trying to figure out which platforms to use, whether you should upload it to multiple places, and how to give yourself the best shot of capitalizing on all the work you put into it.

To help point you in the right direction, I’ve put together a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of several video platforms to help you figure out where to post your latest creations.

The First Thing You Need To Figure Out…

Before I get into the specifics of each platform, I want to stress that there is ultimately no right or wrong place to post your videos. Each platform has different things to offer and that’s why the first thing you’re going to want to do is figure out exactly what your goal is for the videos you create.

Are you trying to grow a fanbase and build a community around a series of videos you plan to produce? Are you trying to get exposure for yourself with a certain audience? Is it a video that’s designed to be shared? Is it topical or does it more evergreen? Are you trying to reach a general audience or is it more geared toward industry? Are you trying to get somebody to sponsor future videos? Are you hoping to monetize your video?

It’s also worth thinking about what action you want people to take once they see your video, assuming they like it. Is it more important to you that they share it or subscribe to your channel? Or join your email list? Hire you as a writer? Or an actor? Or to do standup?

There will obviously be a lot of overlap and it’s likely that your goals will include several of these things, but it’s worth considering what single goal is most important to you when it comes to the videos you post and use that to guide the decision you make about where to post the video.

Once you have a sense of what you’re trying to accomplish with the videos you create it will be much easier for you to figure out the right platforms to use for it. To help you do that, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of different platforms…

20120525175105!Youtube_logo-Update-Hints

Strengths:

YouTube is by far the biggest video platform in the world and it’s also the second largest search engine of any kind, only behind Google (which owns YouTube and therefore also prominently features YouTube videos in its search results).

This means that without a doubt YouTube allows you to reach the largest possible audience. To be honest, I think it would be pretty foolish not to have your videos on YouTube even if you decide to use other platforms as well. Opting not to have your videos on YouTube is the equivalent of telling Google to pretend that you don’t exist – and that’s obviously not a good idea.

YouTube’s enormous audience also means that you have the opportunity to get discovered on YouTube by new people through search results relating to the things you are doing in your videos. In order to maximize this opportunity you’ll want to pay close attention to titles, descriptions, and tags on your videos – that’s a much bigger conversation, but check out the YouTube creators playbook for a crash course in how to get the most out of YouTube.

In addition to YouTube’s reach, another major advantage of the platform is the sense of community that can develop around channels on the site. YouTube’s subscription tools, comments, and interactivity really lends itself to building (and growing) a fan community on the site.

That’s not easy to do, but it can happen and is crucial to success on the platform. There’s a reason just about every “YouTube star” built their fanbase on the back of serious community interaction – it’s a big part of success on the platform.

It’s also easier to monetize your work on YouTube than any other platform. Ultimately, you will need to generate views to make money, but you can easily do so thanks to YouTube’s ad partner program without ever having to go chase down your own sponsors.

Weaknesses:

In some ways YouTube’s biggest strength can also be its biggest weakness. With so many videos being uploaded to the site constantly, it can be difficult to get attention and easy for your stuff to get lost in the shuffle. There’s a lot of competition for eyeballs on the site and you’ve really got to work to stand out.

You also have to be willing to post content regularly and be patient – it takes time to build a following and it’s unlikely that you’re ever going to get featured by YouTube’s editors until after you’ve gained some traction. That means that often times what you’re doing to promote your YouTube video outside of YouTube can be just as important to driving views as what you’re doing on the site.

Funny_or_Die_logo

Strengths:

Funny or Die is probably the king of the comedy sites at the moment and it’s also deeply connected to the comedy industry. The site may live on the Internet, but it’s become a talent factory for TV shows and films.

Arguably the quickest path from Internet comedy to offline comedy is to get on the radar of the Funny or Die team.

This means that exposure on Funny or Die can create opportunities for you without needing a million views of your video first. The site regularly hires comedy writers and actors for its productions – including a ton on a freelance basis – and is constantly trolling for new talent. So having your videos on their site can increase your chances of getting discovered by them. By contrast, it’s unlikely YouTube is ever going to hire you for anything.

Another strength of Funny or Die is that you know every view you get from the site is coming from somebody who is interested in comedy as opposed to YouTube where the majority of people who may come across your video are probably not even looking for comedy – remember, not all views are created equal.

The niche nature of Funny or Die’s audience should (theoretically) increase your chances of converting each viewer into a fan.

Weaknesses:

The huge majority of Funny or Die’s traffic comes from its celebrity videos and whatever they feature on their home page or share on social media. Unlike YouTube, where people tend to get lost surfing around the site, Funny or Die’s audience is much smaller and doesn’t function in that way.

That means that uploading your videos to the site isn’t really about reaching the public as much as it’s about catching the eyes of the site’s editors and producers. In some ways, it’s like uploading an audition tape more so than uploading a video for an audience.

This is a long way of saying that you’re probably not going to get much traction from what you post there, unless somebody who works at Funny or Die sees it and loves it.

Facebook-Vector-Icon

Strengths:

No matter how frustrated people may get with Facebook, they certainly don’t stop using it. Facebook has tons of users and its social nature makes it incredibly easy for good videos to spread quickly.

It’s also an easier place for people to connect and follow you if they like your video – as great as YouTube’s subscription functionality is, it’s still only a relatively small group of users who actually subscribe to channels. On Facebook, everybody that sees your video is used to the concept of “Liking” pages and connecting with people.

But perhaps the biggest strength of Facebook as a video platform is that it’s the best way to reach people on Facebook. If you share a YouTube video on Facebook, it will not get pushed into many people’s feeds because Facebook doesn’t really want you using the YouTube player – they’d rather have you use their video player. As a result, they “favor” videos uploaded into their own player and show them in more people’s news feeds.

Based on what I’ve seen, the exact same video uploaded into the Facebook player will reach at least five times as many people as that same videos shared in a YouTube player on Facebook. That’s a huge difference in exposure.

And not only do Facebook videos appear in more people’s feeds, but they appear as auto-play videos which really captures people’s attention in their feeds. If you’re a Facebook user, I’m sure you’ve noticed how many more videos are appearing in your feed and I’m sure most of them catch your eye because of the auto-play. That’s something you’ll want to take advantage of and you can only do that if you upload your video to the Facebook player.

Weaknesses:

The Facebook video platform is amazing for Facebook and it’s really powerful, but…it doesn’t really have any reach outside of Facebook. That means that choosing to only use the Facebook video player is the equivalent of ignoring every other platform, website, and social network, which isn’t a great idea.

I’m a big proponent of using the Facebook player for sharing on Facebook, but it really shouldn’t be the only player you use.

vine-logoStrengths:

Vine stars are the new YouTube stars. Ok, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but there actually are some similarities.

Vine has blossomed into its own little universe and has created a bunch of its own stars who are now starting to make big bucks as brands chase their huge followings. Also, comedy plays really well on the platform and since it’s basically built on a social platform (and owned by Twitter) it can be relatively easy for your creations to spread and to grow your following.

It’s also still pretty early in the Vine game – at least as compared to sites like YouTube and Facebook – so there’s slightly less competition for attention than there may be on some other platforms.

Vine’s 6-second format favors comedians whose material and approach works well in short bursts, and it can be easy to capitalize on hashtags and trending memes that surface on the platform constantly. Plus, let’s be honest – it’s a lot easier to get somebody to give you 6 seconds of their time to watch your new creation than it is to get them to give you 6 minutes.

Weaknesses:

You can only do so much in 6-second increments. Also, even though Vine has a large and growing audience, it’s still much smaller than a lot of other platforms. It’s more of a niche play – a great tool for a particular type of content, but it definitely has its limits.

Instagram-logo-4Strengths:

The strengths of Instagram are very similar to those of Vine, but Instagram gives you a little more time to work with as its video time limit is 15 seconds. But, a big advantage of Instagram is that it’s also baked into the regular Instagram app so you can benefit from the booming popularity of Instagram in general.

Even though Vine videos often surface on other platforms, it still has its own app and functions in its own separate universe. Instagram videos are much more integrated into the Instagram photos app which means a larger audience for your content and the opportunity to capitalize on your photos as well as your videos in the same place.

Also, since Instagram is owned by Facebook there is some nice synergy and cross-promotional opportunities there as well.

Weaknesses:

In addition to the 15-second time limit, Instagram videos won’t show up in-line if people share them on Twitter (because Facebook and Twitter aren’t the best of friends and don’t always play nice).

It’s not a huge deal, but if you’re somebody who focuses on Twitter a lot as a platform, it’s worth knowing that Vine videos will show up in-stream more prominently than Instagram videos which will just show up as a link on Twitter.

So…Where Should You Post?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer and it completely depends on your goals and the type of videos you’re producing, here’s what I would recommend you do with your videos in general.

I think you should upload your videos to YouTube no matter what, so that you have a presence there. Even if most of your videos are short Vines, I’d still compile them and upload them there as compilations (or as standalone short videos) to give you a presence on the site.

Then, if you have a Facebook presence, I’d recommend uploading to the Facebook player when you share your videos there because it will be worth the little extra effort it takes to do so.

Beyond that, I think it depends on your own interests, goals, and the time you have available to spend uploading and sharing videos.

But I’d love to hear how you’re  approaching it, so please let me know in the comments on this post. And if there’s another video platform you’d like me to write an overview for and add to this post, let me know that too. Thanks!

Why Should I Follow You?

Everywhere you look these days somebody’s asking you to follow them on social media. But very few of those people bother to explain why you should follow them and what you will get out of giving them your attention. That’s a mistake and one you shouldn’t make.

If you’re going to ask people  to follow you, then you should be able to explain to those people what’s in it for them.

I know what’s in it for you if they follow you – more views, more traffic, more attention – but I think it’s worth you taking a moment to think about what’s in it for them.

If I follow you, what do I get out of it?  Will I get valuable information?  Will I get a laugh a day?  Will I get something that I can’t get anywhere else?

Have you even given any thought to why somebody should follow you?

Once you’ve figured it out, you should probably share that with the people you ask to follow you because the clearer the value somebody gets from taking an action, the more likely they are to take that action.

(NOTE: I’d love to hear why you think people should follow you on Twitter or Facebook. Feel free to leave a comment with your reason.)

5 Tips For Stand Up Comedian Arbel Kodesh

In 5 Free Tips, I provide some advice specifically tailored to one person’s content. If you’d like me to give you 5 Free Tips, please send me an email and tell me a little about yourself.

Today’s free tips are for stand up comedian Arbel Kodesh, who sent me the following email:

Hi Josh,

My name is Arbel Kodesh. I’m a 21 year old stand up comedian currently living in Palo Alto California. I read your “5 Free Tips” and was wondering if you could help me out. I’ve been doing stand up for about a year and enjoy it a lot. I try to take advantage of every opportunity I get to perform but I still don’t feel like that’s enough. I really want to get a lot of people to see my material and what I’m about, and I don’t feel that performing once a week (normally in front of a lot of other comedians) is the way to get a following or get my name out.

Here are some links to some youtube videos of me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fm0ZyBpyQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUbQgc4rzp4&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbStFyATZu8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AssENJ8_OeM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpBC2GPrHWI&feature=related

I also have a facebook fanpage:

http://www.facebook.com/arbelkodesh

If you have any advice please let me know.

I really appreciate it!

-Arbel

I checked out Arbel’s work and came up with the following 5 Free Tips for him:

TIP #1: Pay Attention To Video Titles

If you’re looking to get more views of your videos, one simple thing you can do is title them in a way that will attract some views from people searching YouTube for similar stuff. For example, the videos on your channel are titled things like “Arbel on Celebrities,” and “Arbel on Coca Cola.” But it’s doubtful that anybody’s searching YouTube for “Arbel on…” anything because not many people know you yet.

I’d suggest instead titling the videos to include relevant words that people do search for. For example, your “Arbel on Celebrities” video includes a bit about the singer Pitbull who lots of people search for and those people will be most likely to “get” your joke. So titling your video something like “How Pitbull Records His Songs” might get you some extra views because it will show up as a related video when people are watching other Pitbull videos and the more interesting title might catch their eye and get you some easy clicks.

One more quick note about this. I would still include your name in the title, but you can put it after the headline. So the Pitbull video title would be, “How Pitbull Records His Songs – Arbel Kodesh.” I’d put your name after a hypen at the end of all of your videos because that will help them show up as related.

TIP #2: Start A Blog

You mentioned wanting to get your name out to more people and I’d highly recommend starting a blog of some sort. Whether you’re writing funny stuff on the blog, or even just sharing funny videos or links to interesting things you find, having a blog is a very easy way to give people a reason to start connecting with you. Making videos takes time and effort, but blogging can be much quicker and it starts to give people a reason to check out your site every day. They get in the habit of that, which comes in handy when you do have a new video or show you want to promote.

One more quick note about blogging: In general, I’d recommend posting stuff that will be of value to other people. Having a blog and just promoting your own stuff all the time is rarely compelling to readers so it’s much more effective if you’re sharing stuff that has real entertainment value to them. If you establish yourself as a source for funny or interesting content, people will definitely come back to see more.

TIP #3: Contribute To Other Sites

One of the most common traps I see comics fall into is that the content they create winds up only being seen by the same people that already follow them and as a result they’re never really adding new fans or growing their audience. One of the best ways to break out of this is to contribute to other sites or channels.

Don’t be afraid to do a guest post or video for somebody else and think of it as a way to introduce yourself to a new audience. And of course, the bigger the site, the more new fans you may be able to attract.

TIP #4: Post Things On Facebook That People Will Share

It’s great that you’ve got a Facebook fan page and it’s nice to see you’ve already got some good interaction on it. Just like with blogging, you can grow your Facbeook page by sharing valuable or entertaining content that people are going to want to share with their friends. All too often people think that the only stuff they should post on their Facebook page is their own creations and that’s just not true.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing a hilarious cat video that you’ve found online even if it has nothing specifically to do with you. As long as it’s entertaining, what will happen is your Facebook followers will share it with their friends and when they do those friends will see it as being shared “via Arbel Kodesh” which introduces you to a whole new audience.

Your goal on Facebook should be to post as much “shareable” content as possible, because the more people share what you post, the more people are introduced to your page, and the more people are likely to then follow you themselves.

TIP #5: Subscribe and Comment On Other YouTube Channels

YouTube is definitely a community and if you want to get more people subscribing and commenting on your videos, then you need to make yourself a part of that community. Right now, you’re not subscribed to any YouTube channels and I doubt that you comment on many videos. But think about this: Every time you comment on a video or subscribe to somebody’s channel, a link to your channel gets on their radar. It’s really free promotion for your channel.

In general, you’ll find that the more you become a part of the YouTube community, the more attention that community will pay to your own creations.

I hope this helps Arbel, and if anybody else would like to get 5 Free Tips, please let me know.