How do I get started?
So, we are going to approach this whole self-promotion journey as if you all are freshly born androids that were somehow not plugged into the trusty World Wide Web as soon as you were switched on. We’re going to do a brief section on social medias and how I use them, today. A lot of this may be old news to you, but this will give us a basis to work from. If you wanna skip the backstory and just get to the recipe… umm… the social media analyses, check for the break : (*****) When I was young and in a big-time bad-to-the-bone RAWK BAND we promoted ourselves by making pasteup handbills. I knew how to do pasteup because I had paid attention to other successful local band’s flyers and handbills, and that’s how we made newspapers in the past - and I was a student of the journalistic. My bandmates would always balk at me and the time I spent meticulously cutting letters from magazines, pasting that together with exciting images of dogs, horses, cows and other things one could find in magazines around the high school library in Roland, Oklahoma (“OK” if you’re a layman, “Okla.” if you’re a journalist). I would spend all of the time I did on making handbills because a friend that was 11 years my senior, and had a successful local band with a following, told me that this was how it was done. The man known as BG said if I pasted flyers up all over town, people would show up, and they did. We would get more attendees than a few of the other musical outfits in my tiny high school when we threw an impromptu library 90’s music cover fest. Why? Self-promotion, folks. As things became more and more electronic, the day of my pasteup handbills passed quietly away. They were replaced by IRC boards, Myspace bulletins and email blasts. We did a show at a local coffee shop one day, and I was devastated because almost no one showed. I’d put up flyers at the Walmarts, the corner store in Roland, the music stores and all branches of the Fort Smith Library. What had gone wrong?! I was sitting alone in the shop after my mom and step-dad (two of the four people who’d showed) had left. I was staring intently at my coffee cup. A fella that worked there came and sat down with me. “How long ago did you post this show on Xanga or Myspace, man?” he asked (Yes, I’m old. SHHHHH!) “What? Should I have done that? I put up flyers everywhere!” I said. “Flyers? I don’t think the 80-year-olds that look at flyers wanna listen to Toadies covers, man.” Well, that was when I first became friends with the social media marketing monster. And I never looked back. Make something sound fun, slap on some bright, colorful, outrageous images and you will have SOMEONE show up to listen to you sing your best rendition of Creep by Radiohead. Back then, when I didn’t have ad-in-the-paper money or know I could just ask Jesica to be on Arklahoma Grown, social media became the way I could make my brand, and I have continued to do it through being in a band, being editor of various independent periodicals, being the creative director of a theatre troupe, and now being executive director of a Writer’s Guild. ***** If you’ve stayed with me this long, let’s hop down to brass tacks. If you skipped my backstory, I’m offended but I’ll get over it. Below I am going to list, describe and talk about the usefulness of each social media option I use. Yes, some of you are going to chime in with a, “Hey! That’s not technically social media!” Well, to you, Mr. Webster has something to say:
So, 😛. Facebook According to a 2022 fact aggregation post from Jack Shepherd at thesocialshepherd.com, almost 72% of the population of the United States uses facebook. Out of the 335.7 million members of the US population in 2022, around 239 million of them were Facebook users. So, if you aren’t on Facebook, get on it. I know, it’s sometimes divisive and political and gross, but you don’t have to be. Make a professional page, mark yourself as a content creator, and use Meta’s suite of free ad-makers and promoters. Yes, there’s a cost to promote, but it returns dividends. How I use Facebook I started out just getting on it, back in 2009, because everyone else was. Over the years, though, I have used it to make pages for my various ventures, groups for fandoms (even my own), and promote everything from a theatre show to my kiddos birthday. Making a group or event is easy, and you can learn how in a flash. Filming a quick reel, or making one from photos is a great way to get into today’s attention-light spotlight. Let me know if you would be interested in a presentation that discusses the ins and outs of the most popular of social media sites and its uses for promotion.
Instagram Insta, The Gram, whatever you call it, this app and site has made people famous. Big time famous. The little app that could went from a way for its creator, Kevin Systrom, to share pics of his favorite adult beverages in 2010 to a $1 billion plus purchase for Facebook/Meta in 2012. Now, it is synonymous with influencer culture and a place you HAVE to be if you are promoting anything. With its integration with Facebook, you have an Insta if you have a FB, and you can set your pictures and reels to post both places right from the FB or Insta app. The bonus of Insta is the same as with FB Reels, it shoves you and your product visually into the mile-a-minute eye of the modern content consumer. I know as writers it’s sometimes hard for us to cut the steak of our creations up for our audiences, but as any parent knows, sometimes the meat actually gets eaten if it’s more comfortable to consume. You’re the one that is begging for the consumption, and if you’re unwilling to slice your sirloin, there’s a prime rib one click away that looks like Gordon Ramsay plated it. We’ll talk about trends later, but trust me, you need to follow them. Insta is nothing if not trendy. How I use Insta So, I don’t actually open the Insta app much, unless I get a message of some kind, or have a request to post something specifically just there. As my Facebook content all spills over to Insta seamlessly, I just check it a couple times a week to make sure everything is going good, like other creator’s content (so important for promoting yourself), and then I’m back on TikTok where I live. Speaking of which: TikTok I don’t even have to look any of this up, I have been with this app since it was Music.ly way back in the ancient days of 2015. Two years later when this fun little lip-sync app was eaten by a then relatively unknown app called TikTok after a purchase by ByteDance Ltd, I stayed on. I’m super glad I did. I have built a following doing lip-synch, and more recently, some pretty fun Dungeons & Dragons videos (If you’re ever in one of my workshops and wish to sow chaos by distracting me, mention D&D. I will go on until someone who isn’t interested groans loudly enough… Crap, I’m doing it right now) and content for my partners. The best thing here is those who partake in the Toks prefer short content, so it isn’t too time consuming to make quality content, and their paid promotions are very economical, though getting past their approval process can be a beast. How I use TikTok As this is usually the easiest app to promote things on, even though it’s still not super-user friendly, I use it A LOT. If I don’t have video content for something I am promoting, I either write a skit about it or just make a video talking about it. If that bag of peanuts is too salty for you, then simply take some good, clear pics of your product add them to the timeline, slap some royalty free music on there (make sure you use the kind that is okay to use for monetary promotion), make sure your settings are right (we can have a video/presentation over this if you all want, too) then publish that puppy. You pay what you want, from $5 up, and the more you pay the more days and guaranteed views you can get!
Show of hands for those of you who remember IRC IIRC chat and message boards. Well, I do. This is the modern equivalent thereof. You can post text posts, links and pictures to various “sub-reddits” that may have an interest in your product. Beware, though: You want to be ready to show that you actually have a product and to accept all criticism, not just the constructive kind. This is kind of an advanced site to use. How I use Reddit Well, this very post will be linked to r/authors, r/writers and likely r/storytellers! Hi fellow Redditors! I simply link my other content so people who might vibe with it will be able to find it! It’s pretty easy. The user interface has changed very little over the years, and they offer paid advertising, now, that I’m going to dip my toes in! In closing That was a marathon read, I know, but there is a world of help out there for us on our self-promotion journeys. Next time we will talk about building your own websites and securing domain names! If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to help. Comment below and tell me whatcha wanna know more about!