social media

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

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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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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10 Smart Ways To Use A Pinned Tweet

When it comes to Twitter, little things make a big difference.

Just like a good Twitter bio, a pinned tweet can be a great way to get more out of your activity on the platform.

A pinned tweet is simple to set up and allows you to take any tweet you’ve posted and “pin it” to the top of your Twitter profile page so it will be the first thing people see when they check out your profile. Unfortunately, pinned tweets only apply to people viewing your profile on a desktop computer (as opposed to on mobile), but they still present great opportunities – if you know what to do with them.

I’ve got some suggestions for you, but first here’s a quick video that shows how to set up a pinned tweet in case you don’t know.

Now, on to 10 ways you can get value out of using a pinned tweet. You can change your pinned tweet as often as you like, so feel free to try out several of these techniques and change it up as you have different things you want accomplish.

1. Plug Your Email List

I’m a huge believer in email lists and a pinned tweet is the perfect way to ensure everybody who checks out your Twitter profile is aware of your list. This is what I’ve chosen to do with the pinned tweet on my Twitter account at the moment and it’s worked well.

Here’s what my pinned tweet looks like:

2. Link To A Piece Of Content

Do you have a specific piece of content you want to drive attention to? Maybe something you just put out, or something you created a while ago that you’re proud of? You can use your pinned tweet to ensure that anybody who checks out your profile knows it exists.

3. Extend Your Bio

You might only have 140 characters to work with in your Twitter bio, but a pinned tweet essentially gives you another 140 characters to work with if you want to use it to tell people more about yourself. The mindset of people who check out your profile is similar to when people look at your bio – they are considering whether or not to follow you, so it makes sense to use your pinned tweet in a way that will give them a reason to do so.

4. Retweet Somebody Else’s Tweet About You

Another thing you can do with a pinned tweet is think about it as an opportunity to share a testimonial from somebody else about you. Did a notable comic tweet something about how funny you are? Did a booker or venue tweet about an amazing performance of yours? Did a popular website share a link to your video or write a story about you? You can retweet their tweet with a comment and use that as your pinned tweet to make sure more people see it and give yourself additional credibility to people who check out your profile.

5. Post A Question

Interaction is important on Twitter so you may want to use a pinned tweet that’s designed to get people to interact with you. That could take the form of a question that encourages people to reply to the tweet – thus creating an opportunity for you to engage with them and/or learn more about who is looking at your profile.

6. Prompt People To Tag A Friend

This is an offshoot of the question approach – you could ask a question that’s designed to get people to reply and reference a friend in their reply. For example, your pinned tweet could be a question like, “Which of your friends should I follow on Twitter?” which would encourage people to tag their friends’ accounts in their reply.

In doing this, they’re introducing you to other people you might want to connect with on Twitter and those people will see they were mentioned and check out your profile as well. You’re essentially building virality into your tweet.

7. Promote Your Other Social Accounts

If you have other social accounts that are more important to you than Twitter, you can use your pinned tweet to promote them. For example, if your priority is a YouTube web series or a podcast, it makes sense to use your pinned tweet to ensure people know about it or drive them to check it out.

8. Post A Video Welcome

You might be limited to 140 characters in a pinned tweet, but you can do a lot more with an uploaded video. One great way to introduce people to your Twitter account and explain to them why they should follow you is to do it in video form. Just record a clever welcome video, upload it to YouTube or Twitter’s native player, and drop a link to it in your pinned tweet. It’s a great way to be unique and create a compelling first impression.

9. Plug Your Next Show

If you’ve got an upcoming show you want to promote, why not do so in a pinned tweet? You could also offer free tickets or some kind of incentive as well. Again, your pinned tweet is an easy opportunity to get additional exposure for something you want people to see, and in most cases your show promotion could probably use every little bit of help you can get.

10. Recommend Other Comics To Follow

Here’s an interesting idea – reach out to a few other comic friends and collaborate to use all of your pinned tweets to promote each other. For example, your pinned tweet could say something like, “If you like my tweets, you should check out @THISCOMIC @THATCOMIC and @THATOTHERCOMIC.”

Then have each of those comics do something similar with their pinned tweets to promote you. As a result, you all will (hopefully) benefit from whatever attention any of you get to your profiles.

READ THIS NEXT: How To Share and Tag Your Way To More Influential Twitter Followers

5 Ways To Improve Your Twitter Bio

If you’re a comedian, you’ve probably got a Twitter account.

But you’ve also probably got a Twitter bio that could use some work.

That’s why I’ve put together the following simple tips to help you make some quick changes to your bio that will help you get more followers and value from your Twitter activity.

1. Understand The Purpose Of Your Twitter Bio

Most people misunderstand the true purpose of your Twitter bio.

It doesn’t exist to tell people a little bit about who you are, it exists to tell people WHY they should follow you.

That’s a subtle, but important difference.

When somebody checks out your Twitter bio they’re doing so because they’ve come across something interesting in one of your tweets or saw your name mentioned in somebody else’s tweet.

They’re looking at your bio specifically because they’re considering whether or not to follow you!

That’s great and it creates a real opportunity to add a follower, so you want to put things in your bio that are designed to convince them to follow you – not just a random joke.

Write your bio in a way that tells people exactly what to expect if they follow you – explain to them who you are, what you do, what the value is to them, the kinds of things you tweet about, and whatever else you think will convince them to hit that Follow button.

Usually, that’s not a joke.

Your Twitter bio to sell yourself – it’s fine to be clever/funny with it, but don’t treat it like just another content tweet. Make sure you give people the key info that will encourage them to follow you.

For example, here’s what my Connected Comedy Twitter bio looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 1.24.40 PM

2. Reference What You Want People To Know About

I talk to comics all the time who ask me how to promote their podcast, web series, or other projects and then I go to their Twitter bio and see they haven’t even referenced that project there! Big mistake.

If you have something you want people to know about, make sure you reference it in your bio.

Again, people are checking your Twitter bio because they’re already interested in you on some level so that’s a prime opportunity to let them know about something else you do that you want them to check out.

Also, references to your most important projects helps you stand out because it reveals some specific details about the value you provide and separates you from people with more generic backgrounds (more on that in a bit).

3. Use @ Account Names When Possible

When you reference your projects or other entities in your Twitter bio, use the @ account names whenever possible.

This not only saves you some valuable characters (allowing you to get more across in your limited 140 characters), but also the @ account handles are clickable, so you make it easy for people to click and learn more about that particular project.

Plus, it encourages people to follow your other relevant accounts.

This could work in a lot of different ways. Here’s some examples of how you might use account names in your bio:

“Host of the @MYPODCAST podcast.”

“I’ve performed on @Conan & @JimmyKimmelLive.”

“I host the weekly @MYCOMEDYSHOW.”

“On tour with @THISCOMEDIAN and @THATCOMEDIAN.”

4. Be Specific, Not Generic

In writing your Twitter bio, you want to say things that are as specific as possible to you – look for ways to separate yourself from every other comedian’s bio out there.

It’s good to include basic important details about yourself like mentioning that you’re a comedian, but try to qualify it with some specifics that tell people more about what separates you from every other comedian on Twitter.

For example, rather than just saying “Comedian,” maybe you say “Standup Comedian for 10 years,” or “Political comedian,” or “Comedian obsessed with sports, movies & music.”

Instead of just saying you “tell jokes,” maybe say “I tell jokes that Republicans hate and Liberals love.”

Instead of just saying you’re a “Writer,” maybe say “Writer of things that Dads can relate to.”

It doesn’t really matter what the specifics are, but the more you drill down past the generic terms that anybody can use, the more you’re explaining to potential followers who you are and why they should care.

That will help you find and connect to your niche.

5. Use Your Actual Location

If you only do one thing after reading this article, make it this one – put your actual location in the location section of your bio!

Again, the purpose of your Twitter bio is to give people information about yourself so they can make a decision on whether or not to follow you and the more specific, the better.

Listing your location as things like “Everywhere,” “Your Mom’s House,” or the less-jokey-but-equally-meaningless “The World,” “America,” or “Everywhere” is a complete waste of space.

It doesn’t make you seem clever, it makes you seem like you don’t care (which, if you think about it, doesn’t really encourage anybody to follow you).

Your location should be the city you live in.

Not only does that provide helpful context about who you are, but don’t you want somebody who comes across your bio and is interested in you to know where you’re located in case they want to come see you perform live?

Or, wouldn’t you want somebody to know you’re local in case they are looking to hire a comedian in that town?

Not listing your city as your location does you no good and only prevents some potential opportunities from happening.

More Advice About Twitter…

I’ve got a lot more Twitter tips available to my VIP MEMBERS (join here for instant access) including a look at How To Get More Influential Twitter Followers and 5 Ways To Get More Out Of The Jokes You Post On Twitter among others.

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:

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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…

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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.

11 Concepts That Will Help You Gain Fans

There’s a lot of different ways to build a following online and use social platforms to attract new fans, but there are certain concepts that are universal and will help you succeed no matter what kind of content you’re producing and which platforms you’re focused on.

Here’s a breakdown of 10 general philosophies and guidelines that will help you get the results you want from the time you spend creating content and promoting yourself online.

1. Content Is Marketing

I talk a lot about the value of creating “content” and when I do I’m referring to content in the broadest form – that includes blog posts, videos, pictures, tweets, status updates, podcasts, standup material, etc.

But that value is not just limited to your own original content – I’m a big believer in the value or curating content as well. Here’s a post about curating that’s worth checking out.

The reason I’m such a believer in the importance of content creation is because it’s free marketing for you and your career.

Every single piece of content you create brings with it an opportunity for you to get found.

Each piece of content can be found through Google searches, can be shared and passed around by people on social media, and can introduce you to new fans at literally no cost. It’s an extremely powerful tool.

Plus, you can use content to target the exact audience you want to reach. For example, if you think parents, or sports fans, or fans of a certain comedian are likely to enjoy your work, then you can create content that is going to attract and appeal to those people and introduce them to your world.

But the thing to remember is that the more content you create, the more opportunities you have to attract fans.

2. Engagement Matters

As important as content is, engaging with your fans (and potential fans) may be even more important. Your content is the hook that draws people into your world, and your engagement with those people is the way you turn them into actual fans and get them to stick around.

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media (especially Twitter and Facebook) is that they’re mediums you primarily use to promote yourself and your stuff. That’s not true, but that’s what most comics do and why most comics don’t get any real results from social media.

Think about your own experience as a follower of somebody else on social media – I’m guessing you hate people who only promote themselves and you feel a genuine connection to people who interact with you and care about you, even if you’ve never met them face-to-face before.

Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms work best when you use them to engage with people. They’re connection tools, not promotional tools.

You want to use social tools to talk with people as opposed to talking at people. That’s a subtle, but important difference.

3. Be Personal. Be Informal. Be Available. Be Real.

Most comedians’ instinct is to position themselves as bigger and more successful than they are when they’re showcasing themselves on their website and social media channels. That’s a mistake.

Just be real.

People want to connect to other people and they want to relate to them – the more you’re willing to put yourself out there and be honest, the more people will connect to you. Real is always better than fake – in videos, in blog posts, on stage, in everything.

I also think it’s worth noting that this represents something of a generational shift. Back in the day, before technology like YouTube allowed literally everybody in the world to reach everybody else in the world, the average audience member assumed that the people who had broadcast power were better than them. They gave you the benefit of the doubt because they assumed if you were able to get to the point where you were given the chance to reach an audience, that you had some talent.

But now, when anybody can reach everybody, that has shifted and audiences are much more skeptical. Now, if they see you pretending to be bigger than you are, they resent it. You no longer have the benefit of the doubt.

But the flipside of that is that if you are real and allow fans to see you for where you’re really at in your career, those same people will rally behind you, support you, and want to help be a part of your journey to success. They will become invested in you.

A great example of this is the success of the YouTube musical group Karmin which I’ve written about here. You can learn a lot from how they broke on YouTube by being honest about where they were at in their career.

This idea also extends to your writing and your content. For example, your bio may be written in third person but is there anybody that actually believes you didn’t write it yourself? And, more importantly, does it really invite a would-be fan to connect with who you are or does it put them off because it makes it seem like you want them to know the “professional” you as opposed to the person that you are?

You want to make it easy for people to feel like they know you and can interact with you. Because the closer they feel to you, the more vested they become in your success.

On a side note, it’s fine to have a third-person “professional” bio that you may send to people who need it for their corporate gig brochures, etc. But, if you’re hoping to use your website to connect with fans then you want it to be as informal and friendly as possible.

4. The Quickest Path To Success Runs Through A Niche

It’s going to take time to build your fanbase even if you do everything right – that’s just something you need to understand going into it.

However, one way that you can give yourself a huge head start is to figure out a niche that you can appeal to.

Based on your material, life, interests, experience, and goals, you should try to figure out what kind of niche audience you might appeal to because it’s extremely hard to build a fanbase by just being another comic who is generally funny.

If you can focus on a niche – similar to the way Chris Hardwick has done with his Nerdist empire – you will find that all your marketing and content-related decisions become a whole lot easier.

When you have a niche that you’re targeting, you know exactly where to find potential fans because you can identify where else they gather – online or offline. It also allows people to rally around their shared interest in what you’re interested in, as opposed to solely trying to win them over with your jokes.

And of course, if they have a shared worldview to yours, they are more likely to enjoy your comedy in the first place.

There’s a couple other relevant articles about the importance of niche that you may want to check out including these lessons you can learn from Chris Hardwick and this guide to help you find your own niche.

5. Pay Attention To What You Engage With

One of the best ways to learn what works with people is to pay attention to what works when you’re the consumer. Start to think about what ads you click on, what websites catch your eye, what headlines get you to click, and what content you actually share with people.

When you start to think about what gets you to click something, or to take an action, you’ll be able to apply those same things to your own creations. It’s a great way to learn.

6. What People Share Is Not The Same As What They Click

You’ll create content for different purposes, but one broad thing to remember is that people share different kinds of content than they view. For example, porn sites get the most traffic on the web, but when was the last time somebody posted a link to a porn site on their Facebook wall?

People share things that are cute, funny, relatable, etc. But here’s another secret – people usually share things because it allows them to say something they want to say without actually saying it themselves.

People share things to show their support for a specific opinion or rallying cause. Sometimes, they will even share things they disagree with, just because sharing it gives them a chance to express their opinion about it. This is why strong viewpoints are always helpful in content.

This is something to keep in mind as you develop content – you want to use your expertise (in comedy and whatever else you may be knowledgable about) to express things that other people may believe but are not necessarily capable of saying as clearly (or in as entertaining a way) as you are.

7. Figure Out How To Provide Value

One of the most important overall questions for you to think about is how you can provide value to your fans. This goes beyond just being funny. Think about ways you can provide as much value as possible to your desired audience, whether it’s with your own content or not.

For example, on Connected Comedy I provide value to my audience by posting free articles with advice that can help them with their careers. On JoshSpector.com, I provide value to my readers by scouring the web to give them interesting videos to see and links to other cool stuff on the web. The “value” I provide is that I save them the time of having to look for cool stuff.

There’s no one way to provide value to your fans, and you’ll likely come up with multiple ways to do it.

A great way to get started is to combine your ability to be funny with a certain expertise you may have. The way you do this will be different for everybody, but in general the more value you provide, the more you get in return and the easier it is to grow an audience.

8. What’s In It For Your Audience?

With everything you do, try to think about what’s in it for your audience first. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking about what you want them to do for you, but you’ll have more success if you think in terms of what you can do for them.

I had a conversation with a big-name headlining comic once and he was frustrated with having to post on social media all the time.

“It feels like I have to work for my fans,” he said. “Like I’m working for them!”

He was disgusted by that concept, but that’s exactly correct (and why he does a bad job at social media).

Your fans are your employer. Not the bookers, not the clubs, not the Hollywood execs, the fans. Because if you have enough fans…none of those other people matter.

9. Experiment Often

Because all of this is so personal, it will take you some time to experiment and find what works best for you. It’s important to understand that before you go into it, because too many people get frustrated quickly and give up.

Comics understand it could take 10+ years to get good on stage, but too often assume they’ll be social media experts after 10 minutes. They’re wrong.

By experimenting with different types of content and different ways to use social media, you’ll start to hone in on what works for you and see results.

Another thing about experimentation is to understand the best thing about failing online – when you fail, nobody really sees what you did anyway. Here’s a post that touches on that which is worth checking out.

10. Have A Goal

It’s very important to have a clear goal for what you’re hoping to get out of your activity online because that will ultimately influence everything you do.

For example, is the goal to attract new fans? Is the goal to attract new corporate gigs? Is the goal to create new properties/brands that can lead to new opportunities for books, TV, etc.?

Most likely you’ll want to do multiple of these things which is what will ultimately happen in success, but it’s worth thinking about what one goal is most important to you and letting that dictate your strategy.

11. Recognize The Opportunities You Have

If somebody would have approached comedians 20 years ago and offered them the opportunity to have their own TV show, radio show, or magazine with no cost, comics would have freaked out at what an amazing opportunity that is.

But that’s exactly the opportunity you have now and most comics are too lazy to actually take advantage of it.

Don’t get distracted by the “digital” aspects of all this. Just think about what you’d ultimately want to create and use these digital tools to reach the masses.

READ THIS NEXT: A Business Plan For Comedians

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.

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