The rise of social media and live camming go hand-in-hand, combining the immediacy of live global publishing by anyone, anytime, anywhere, with interactivity, personalization, and a unique potential for relationship-building that provides profits for performers and satisfaction for their customers.
This technological evolution couldn’t have come at a better time, as changes in the adult entertainment marketplace have motivated a shift to self-promotion for performers, who find an easy avenue by using a medium they already know — Twitter — and it is not the only opportunity among a growing number of social media platforms, which include Instagram, Tumblr, various “adults only” networks and more.
The hard truth about social media, especially for performers, is that hiring outside help or an assistant is never a substitute for the personality that comes through in handling your own accounts. -Pete Housley, Porn Star Tweet
XBIZ World recently asked a pair of the industry’s top social media gurus, Lauren MacEwen of 7Veils and Porn Star Tweet’s Pete Housley, for their take on social media and its impact on today’s live cam arena. Here’s what they had to say:
XBIZ: How big a role does social media play in empowering live cam performers today?
Lauren MacEwen: It can be a central part of their entire marketing strategy. It is a way for them to build up quality relationships with their customers and to drive those customers to their website with more frequency, as well as meet new customers. It also allows them to network with other models for future projects. For many [cam performers] it is the primary source of marketing and traffic driving.
Pete Housley: As a live cam performer, social media is likely one of the most important tools for creating a fan base. In the early days of live cams, consumers would hit the cam website and see who was online and watch their show. While that practice remains, tools such as Twitter, Tumblr and even Facebook allow cam performers to have more “personal” relationships with their customers. Many cam networks have also introduced social media style features to engage with existing and potential customers, even when the model is offline.
XBIZ: Why should performers bother with self-promotion, isn’t that the cam company’s job?
Housley: In my opinion, gone are the days when an unknown model can simply log on to a network and expect the website to do all the promotion. In fact, there are a number of platforms, such as SkyPrivate, that don’t drive any real traffic, they simply provide a platform for billing through Skype. What we find more and more is cam performers building a following on the bigger networks, then converting some of their fans to doing private shows through Skype or similar tools, avoiding the cam networks altogether.
We also see more performers utilizing the offline capabilities of platforms such as Clips4Sale, YouKandy and ManyVids, because they allow the performer to sell clips to their fan base without having to mess around with developing a site, getting processing and dealing with all the headaches. Products such as ModelCentro offer an end to end solution for cam models to have a website in a box, along with a live cam and phone option.
MacEwen: That is a common misconception. It is the cam company’s job to promote the cam company not the model herself. The most empowering things about cam’s are the ability to directly influence your ability to make money. Girls that put effort into their self-promotion tend to do significantly better than the ones that do not.
XBIZ: What platforms are the least/most friendly/profitable for this type of promotion?
MacEwen: Twitter is the best for brand building, traffic driving and customer engagement. Instagram is great for building audience; and Tumblr is a great alternative for previewing content popularity, prior to having your own site. Reddit can be a great source if used properly, but can have a difficult audience; while Snapchat is being used as way for cam girls to make more money by selling access to their profile, though this is technically a violation of the company’s Terms of Service.
Facebook is the least friendly, since they won’t allow you to share links to adult sites, or adult content. Though Instagram is the same, IG does not have the same issues with the newsfeed algorithm that Facebook does.
Housley: It’s pretty much always Twitter leading the charge here for adult friendly social media, however Tumblr and even Reddit have strong followings. Instragram and Facebook can also be awesome if you can behave yourself and play inside their rules.
I also recommend more traditional forms of social media, such as the forums on Freeones.com, AdultDVDTalk and many others. Of course we recommend every cam model register with our site CamGirlTweet.com for hands-free promotion, which they can do by tweeting us @CamGirlTweet or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
XBIZ: Are there any popular tools for automating the process?
Housley: Automating this task for performers is a little difficult given the more personal relationship they have with fans.
Most cam networks offer some level of integration with Twitter, however I recommend against using a tool that would tweet every time a performer comes online, because it becomes repetitive and boring. Consumers want performers to engage with them through social media, not just spam them repeatedly.
Social media tools such as HootSuite and Sprout Social can schedule tweets, which can be pretty handy, and Hootsuite even has a technology that will send a tweet when it has the best chance of interaction with their follower base.
MacEwen: You should never automate. There are different audiences on each of the networks, and your posts should be customized for those networks. Tools that can help expedite posting and engagement are Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and IFTTT, which can be valuable.
XBIZ: Can cam companies and studios also benefit from social media marketing?
MacEwen: Twitter can be a primary traffic driver for cam companies, plus it can be a great way to deal with customer service issues. The cam companies can promote the company, and the models, who like it when they are receiving marketing support from the company. It is also a good way to recruit models.
Housley: Of course, and not just to drive consumer traffic. Cam companies and studios are using social media to recruit new performers, and also to woo performers away from their present networks. A cam network without performers is useless, so we see more and more cam companies and studios spending time talking about their programs and performing customer service to performers through social media. At the same time, cam companies can use social media to drive consumer traffic — and even help their own performers gain traction through social media with re-tweets and mentions.
XBIZ: How can professional service providers help?
Housley: The hard truth about social media, especially for performers, is that hiring outside help or an assistant is never a substitute for the personality that comes through in handling your own accounts. At its core, social media is supposed to be a conversation, and it’s hard to communicate sensuality through a translator.
If you need help getting setup with social media or some pointers, feel free to tweet us @CamGirlTweet — we’ve helped tons of performers. As for hiring a professional, there’s simply no one who can talk about you better than you... hire a PR person to help you develop a persona and message that can be used in traditional media outlets, but be yourself on social media.
MacEwen: I am awesome and I can do anything! That aside, we have worked with many cam companies to help increase their reach, do model recruitment, customer service, and drive traffic back to the site.
There are many service providers, from SEO to traffic, that can be helpful depending on if you are a site owner, studio model, independent model, or affiliate. The professional needs you may have will depend on your specific role. As a professional service provider, we provide social media management and strategy for models and companies looking to expand and increase the efficacy of their social media.
Housley and MacEwen make it clear that social media is an integral part of profiting for cam companies, performers, and studios today — and as technology advances, it is sure to offer further opportunities for those wishing to take their careers and company’s success into their own hands, cultivating connections through social media — and in many cases, cutting the middle man from betwixt patron and performer.