Have a Social Media Plan for Your Comic
I’m coming up to my first year anniversary of blogging! In the interest of transparency, I thought it would be fun to talk a little bit about my social media plan throughout last year and see what works for me and what doesn’t. I’ve been looking into building a platform on the web ever since I discovered the power of webcomics and I wanted to do everything I could to ensure a successful book launch for Polterguys.
It definitely took a while but last year I managed to get a self-hosted WordPress blog up and running and I’ve been blogging at least once a week about my progress with my first book. I have Problogger bookmarked on my RSS reader and try to follow best practices they suggest. I’ve been seeing results so I think my attempts at SEO are at least paying off with regards to traffic. The image above is a chart on Google Analytics which is a great tool to keep track of visitors coming to the site and monitor progress as you go along.
I have very little web design experience so it’s not impossible to do this on your own at all. Jason Brubaker’s Making Comics site has a tutorial series on creating a site for your own webcomic which walks you through the steps of doing the same thing.
Deviantart has happily been my personal art community for nine years and I update fairly regularly with art pieces and journal posts. I get a lot of site traffic coming from people who are interested to see more of my work so I really think having an account on here is a must-have for artists.
Lately, I’ve been striving to balance creating original pieces with more popular fan work that’s given me lots of exposure. I know they don’t get as much views but it’s important to push outside of comfort zones. I just happen to be a fan of many wonderful shows and I’m glad I have a place where I could share them with other fans. Fan art can be a great way to connect you to an audience and even other artists, but it’s also okay if you’re not into it as much. My sister participates in Original Character Tournaments with her own characters and doing that showcases her work to more people.
Tumblr: artlaurbits.tumblr.com and laurbits.tumblr.com
I moved to Tumblr a little bit after I made the decision to keep my Livejournal account private. I wanted another blog that was not related to “official work” and was finally sold when I discovered how effortless it was to share photos, videos and links and even export these as links to Twitter. The tag feature is an especially powerful element that’s useful for artists. By tagging your work, you can instantly have it in front of as many people as there are following the same tags.
I keep a couple of different accounts. (Tumblr makes it easy to keep track of them.) I use Artlaurbits as a sketchblog where I post doodles, previews of my work-in-progress along with updates for comic and blog posts and Laurbits for inspirational/motivational advice, sharing resources and other people’s posts. I just like giving people the option of subscribing to either one or both since I post stuff regularly.
I’ve recently hit a milestone of 2,000 notes on a single post (which is almost unfathomable to me because I’m not a popular artist by any stretch of imagination) on art made for The Legend of Korra and this happened in the space of 48 hours. It’s quite a humbling experience and one that’s entirely unique to this social platform.
When Twitter was getting popular, I honestly didn’t feel the need to jump in at first but now, it’s my favorite platform. The interesting thing about it is that most of the people I follow here are professionals and colleagues and there is little to no overlap with my audiences from DA and Tumblr (except for close friends.) I find it absolutely informative and rewarding to follow and interact with professionals from different creative fields (animation, comic and publishing) and get important industry news and insight through them.
I tweet about activities I do related to Polterguys, share resources (through Tumblr) but also update with fun tweets to keep it human. Mashable has a Guide to Twitter that probably covers the same basics I read up on. Tweetdeck has been helpful because I’m the type of person that likes lists and compartmentalization.
Facebook: facebook.com/laurbits and Google+: Laur Uy
I’m freely admitting I haven’t had as much success on these two platforms yet and that may just be because I don’t spend as much time on them. My facebook page is available for fans who are not on Deviantart but of course, for a beginning artist that’s not quite a large pool yet.
And Google+ still stumps me because I’ve heard it’s actually great for comics but have not seen any of my favorite artists interact as much there. Perhaps, I need to look into sectors outside of the usual topics I follow again to make the most out of the territory. Let me know if you have any suggestions on this front!
Now, showing up on all these different sites is pretty useless unless you have something to say, perform consistently and actually do good work. I actively share resources everywhere I post not only because it’s not good to promote yourself all the time, but also because the creative community is much smaller than you think and people remember good deeds and favors. Friends and colleagues are more willing to share your work with others when you behave like a decent human being and they respect and trust what you have to say. . Have a plan, be patient and check your progress.