I had a great time speaking at both the New Media Expo and CES 2 weeks ago. I met a lot of great and knowledgeable people in the space. My panels mainly talked about the strategic approaches social media leaders use to engage potential audiences, create monetization, produce content and more. After hearing some of the different panel discussions and audience questions at those conferences, I wanted to address a few of the biggest misconceptions I came across the most.
“Monetizing online is difficult. It’s hard getting people to BUY your content”
This is the exact mindset that can potentially set you up for failure as a new media artist. We are in an era where many don’t believe in purchasing content online. Unless you have a super large following with great star power, don’t focus on selling your content. Instead, direct all your focus on creating quality content, marketing and finding targeted advertisers for your viewers. My philosophy has always been that if there is traffic, there is ALWAYS some way to monetize off of it. Analyze your audience and research the one common interest they all could have. You don’t need to have hundreds of thousands of subscribers in order to make big money. The analogy I always use is a company like McDonald’s would rather pay more for 1000 eyeballs on their ad who are hamburger lovers over 5,000 random eyeballs from god knows where. There is simply more conversion potential for advertisers to target niche markets. I highlighted how to analyze your audience here as well as ways to monetize off your audience when you have a smaller fan base here.
“Just because a social network is new, it doesn’t mean you need to be in it”
This was said many times throughout both conventions, and I cringed every time I heard it as it seems a lot of people give this advice. Never EVER signal out new social media avenues. Just because it might not work for other people doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. The perfect example would be people’s collective thoughts on Google+. The general consensus is that it isn’t a useful place to promote your web content. However, during my panel at NMX, an audience member pointed out that one of her clients managed to get 2 million fans on her Google+ profile simply because Google saw that the page was putting out quality content, so they were put on the “suggested users list”. Regardless of whether this is true or not, the point is that you can reach an audience through every network that is out there; you just simply need to figure out the most optimal way to promote your work in that particular avenue. An example of this that I gave at CES: One way that you can promote a web series on Pinterest is by uploading daily pictures of the outfits your costume designer has created, followed by the link to your video. As we all know, Pinterest has a wide fashion-interested audience, so this would be the perfect way to get some eyeballs on your web series. Remember: Aside from hard work, most internet celebrities became stars simply because they thought outside the box. You need to have the same attitude when dealing with your promotions online as well.
“In order to succeed in marketing your content via social media, you need to be doing it 24/7 non-stop”
I literally hear people give this advice all the time. It’s not that I think this is bad advice; it’s just that it’s so vague. What does working hard 24/7 really mean? Anyone can sit at a computer and micro-blog all day, but creating an organized system that will truly drive traffic, engagement and conversion is another story. I’m a firm believer that a large part of putting together a solid social media marketing campaign is understanding your audience, producing great content and getting your fans talking about it. Engaging with your fans should be fun, conversational and most importantly, authentic. Lastly, just simply being on it 24/7 will make it come off as too much of a job for you. You can sell a product much easier in real life when you like it and can casually mention it to friends in conversations; the internet is not different.