Adventures of a Web Series Newbie Chapter 95
by Leesa Dean
I have a friend who has a fair amount of Facebook friends (about 800) and hardly any twitter following (about 50 followers). He’s launching a creative project online and we had a long conversation about promotion last month. Since I’m prepping for my new series and am ultra-focused on promo, am just curious about what other people are doing. But we spent most of the convo with him just telling me all about his project. I figured he wanted to keep his promo plans under wrap. I was wrong.
I was actually shocked to hear from him this week via text. Turns out he just launched his project and the way he’s promoting it is totally old school. And by old school, I mean, kinda like the way I launched Chilltown billions of years (ok a couple of years ago). Without any real social media strategy to speak of.
I thought I’d put together a few things NOT to do when you’re launching an online project. These are kind of no-brainer tips but it’s shocking how many people (my friend included) don’t pay attention to them. And believe me, I learned these the hard way:
1) Don’t send text messages to friends telling them about your project and asking them to like, comment, share. Nobody’s gonna do it. Especially not group texts, which I, btw, instantly delete cause I consider them either spam sent by the clueless or someone who’s tragically trapped in the aughts. The most effective way to get people to spread the word is through twitter, instagram, Facebook and, increasingly, snapshot. But you can’t just beg people to RT or share there. Again, nobody’s gonna do that. Think of interesting ways to engage people you already have an online relationship with.
2) Don’t send anything that you want shared on social media without a link. This is a big DUH but you’d be surprised how many people actually do this. Don’t make people work to help you.
3) Don’t expect a few “tastemaker” friends to help you get the word out. That concept went out about 10 years ago. This is the reinvention of era of “me” and it’s all about finding your voice on social media and getting people genuinely interested in what you have to say. As soul-crunching and stroke-inducing as this seems, there really is no easy way around this. You have to build a fan base brick by brick. It doesn’t happen overnight. You might need a lot of alcohol (just speaking from personal experience). But it will happen. Ultimately. The most successful people I know who’ve done this have been at it a VERY long time and, pretty much, live online.
4) Don’t fail to truly engage with followers on social media. And by “engage” I don’t mean asking people lame questions every day (asking people what their favorite condiment is is not how to build followers). It’s boring. Most people I follow simply have something interesting to say. Either that or they’re funny. And, as tough as it is, if someone comments to you on twitter, IG or FB, comment back. Always. It’s really only acceptable NOT to when you have tons and tons of followers and everybody realizes it’s simply physically impossible to keep up with it all.
Yes, my friend made most of these mistakes. But, as I said, so have a lot of other people. I will send him this list and hope it helps him. But, not in a text. Either way, I’m curious to see how his project turns out.