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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 Hashtag Strategies For Comedians

There’s a lot more to hashtags than just the @Midnight game.

While just about every comic at this point has at least occasionally participated in the popular Comedy Central show’s hashtag wars game, the reality is there are a lot of other ways you can use hashtags on various social media platforms to further your career.

Here’s a breakdown of five simple things you should keep in mind when you use hashtags that will hopefully help you see some new opportunities for how you can use them to attract new fans, better promote your creations, and get more from your social media efforts.

1. Use Hashtags You Think People Will Search For Or Follow

The most common mistake people make when it comes to hashtags is they don’t necessarily understand how a hashtag can actually get their post in front of more people.

While everybody understands that posting about trending topics will get your tweets in front of a larger audience, that’s not the only way to leverage a hashtag to get in front of an audience.

When you’re going to use a hashtag on a post, you want to think about what kinds of hashtags other people are likely to search for and use those. That’s the key to getting additional exposure for your tweets beyond your usual followers.

Typically, the types of hashtags that people will search for revolve around broad topics tied to specific niche interests, professions, or specific things like sports teams, TV shows, etc. So those will also be the best ones for you to use.

For example, let’s say you tweet a joke about parenting. Using #parenting will likely serve you better than something like #funny because it’s more likely that people are following the parenting hashtag than the funny one – and also because somebody who does search the parenting hashtag is more likely to enjoy your post than somebody who searches for funny because that’s a much broader interest.

It’s worth experimenting with different hashtags to see which ones work best for you on different types of posts, but the key is to try to use hashtags that people search for because those will get you the most value.

If you want some help finding hashtags that are frequently used, here’s a tool you may want to check out.

2. Don’t Just Use Comedy-Related Hashtags

Just because you’re posting something funny, that doesn’t mean your hashtag has to be comedy-related. In fact, in most cases you’ll be better served to focus your hashtags on the topics your comedy is about as opposed to the fact that it’s comedy.

This ties back to my first point in that if you think about who is searching for comedy-related hashtags, it’s most likely other comedians. By comparison, the people searching for non-comedy hashtags are more likely to be potential fans who are interested in whatever topics you’re talking about.

3. More Hashtags = More Attention On Instagram

As a general rule, the more hashtags you use on an Instagram post, the more attention it will get. Using hashtags on Instagram is one of the best ways to get discovered on the platform so don’t be afraid to use a lot of them.

Also, since Instagram has no character limit the way Twitter does, you can really load up on the hashtags. It might seem a little obnoxious, but it works – as long as you use relevant hashtags.

Another tip is that you can post your Instagram hashtags as a comment on your post as opposed to in the original post caption. This can be a little cleaner because your comment will essentially be hidden once you get a few other comments on the post and you’ll still get the value of using the hashtags because hashtags register in Instagram’s search function whether they’re in a comment or caption.

4. Create A Unique Hashtag For Your Content

In addition to using hashtags that people search for, you can also create your own unique hashtag as a way to connect some of your content together over time. Specifically, by creating a hashtag that’s unique to your stuff, it gives people who discover one piece of your content and easy way to click the hashtag and see other related content.

For example, let’s say you do a series of YouTube videos that feature you ranting about your latest dating experience. Whenever you share an episode or anything related to the series on social media you could use a custom hashtag such as #MyCrazyDates.

This way, when somebody comes across one of your episodes for the first time and likes it, they can click that hashtag and easily see the rest of the series without having to switch platforms, Google it, or track it down elsewhere.

Creating a unique hashtag for your content is a great way to tie things together and make it easy for people who like what they see to quickly discover more of it.

This is something I’m currently doing for my Person You Should Know site with the hashtag #APersonYouShouldKnow.

5. Use Hashtags To Find New Fans

Here’s a spin on the advice I’ve given you up to this point. As opposed to using hashtags to help people to discover you and your work, you can use them to help you find new potential fans.

Specifically, you can use Twitter or Instagram’s search functionality to search hashtags relevant to the content you create and find other people who are posting using those hashtags. It’s an easy way to identify people who are interested in what you’re interested in and a great way to find communities that you can become a part of.

That doesn’t mean you should immediately tweet links promoting your stuff to those people, but rather look for conversations around those hashtags that you can jump in to and add value. Use hashtag searches as a way to find people you can have genuine interactions with that can start to build a relationship.

For example, if you’re blogging then you may want to search for #blogchat where you’ll find a community of other bloggers who are discussing their challenges and suggestions. It’s easy to become a part of that community by joining that conversation in an authentic way.

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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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

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.

4 Things You Can Learn From Social Media “Stars”

I recently had the chance to work with some of the most talented (and popular) social media creators in the world and I want to share with you what I learned.

But first, a little backstory.

In my “day job” as the head of digital media for The Academy, I had the opportunity to put together a pretty unique stunt called the Oscars Creators as part of this year’s social campaign for the show. It was an initiative through which we invited seven talented social media artists from different platforms including Vine, Instagram, and Tumblr to come to Hollywood and share their perspective on all the Oscars activity.

It turned out to be a great program, and you can see some of the highlights here:

But it also gave me an opportunity to learn from these talented creators, see how they work, how they’ve built massive followings on social media, and learn how they created opportunities for themselves. While the Creators weren’t comedians (though some of their work is comedic) and each had different skill sets – filmmakers, photographers, artists, etc. – I noticed they all had some things in common that a lot of comics could learn from.

Here’s a breakdown of what I learned and how you can apply it to your own career…

 1. Be Professional

Every one of the Creators acted like a true professional. They showed up on time, ready to do their work, and they were reliable. In order for the Creators program to work, we had to give them access to very exclusive stuff like rehearsals and show talent and they had to work within parameters that included tight time windows and restrictions on what could or could not be revealed to the public before the show.

But I quickly learned that each of these Creators was trustworthy and dependable – they took their opportunities seriously and were always very professional. Even though they were doing fun (and sometimes silly) stuff like photographing a turtle or waking up on the red carpet, they treated their work like it was important (and it was).

I have no doubt that their professionalism is one of the reasons they have all been so successful – I know it made me want to work with them again and recommend them to others. Too often, comics don’t act as professionals and it definitely holds a lot of them back from succeeding.

2. Value Your Community

Another thing I noticed among all of the Creators was the degree to which they valued their community of fellow social media creators. To my surprise, several of them already knew each other from crossing paths prior to this Oscars project and they were all interested in getting to know each other and finding ways to work together.

They inherently understood the value of being part of a creative community – from both an inspirational and promotional standpoint. They wanted to connect, collaborate, and to find ways to work with each other. They clearly understood the value of connecting with each other and the ways that a community can help all of its members.

This reminded me of what I see as one of the biggest missed opportunities in the comedy world – not enough comics take advantage of their comedy community. Whether it be the community in your city, your local club, or other comedians you connect with online, there are opportunities to help each other, learn from each other, and get closer to accomplishing your goals together.

Too often, comics approach their career as a lone wolf and that only makes things harder. These Creators clearly have the opposite approach and I have no doubt it’s helped them grow their followings.

3. Have A Vision

While each of the Creators we worked with had their own unique talent, I was impressed with how clearly each of them had a vision for what they wanted to do. They knew their own art and were able to articulate their talent and how they approach their work.

For example, if a photographer was interested mainly in shooting portraits, he would decline opportunities to shoot landscapes or other stuff. It wasn’t that he couldn’t shoot landscapes or even that he didn’t ever shoot landscapes, it was that he chose to focus on what he was really passionate about doing.

And not only did they have preferences and a vision, but they had a commitment to what they were doing – in some cases even down to little things that the average follower might not ever even notice. For example, one Creator had a set pattern for the images he would post on Instagram – insisting that the colors in one image lead to the colors of the next image.

They were not artists making random decisions, they were talented creatives who each had a specific process for how they liked to work and their own vision for what they wanted to accomplish with their creations.

In the comedy world, too often comedians don’t really have any vision for what they’re trying to do or what they want to say. They just want to make people laugh. That’s fine, but ultimately I think you will be helped by honing in on having a message you’re trying to convey and a process through which you hope to do that.

And it’s a reminder that just because you have the opportunity to do something, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best use of your skills for your ultimate goals. Choose wisely with how you spend your time.

4. Set A High Standard For Yourself

Each one of the Creators I dealt with set a high standard of quality for their work. They didn’t just post every little thing they made, they cared a lot about putting out work they were proud of.

Every photo or video they released had to live up to a quality standard that they had set for themselves. And if they made some stuff that didn’t turn out quite as good as they had hoped, they wouldn’t post it.

When it comes to comedians, I often see them setting low standards for what they post online and reserving their quality control only for things they deem to be more important like the stage. But every thing you put out into the world is representative of you and the level of your work so it’s worth taking that into account before you click publish.

I’m all for experimenting, and I don’t think you should be afraid to try new things, but at the same time you want to use social media to share work that you’re proud of and avoid falling into the trap of posting things just for the sake of posting them.

Just because you have the ability to publish whatever you want, doesn’t mean that you should.

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Reasons The Stuff You Post On Social Media Should Also Be On Your Website

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…

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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!