(Note: Today starts a series of Guest Articles we’ve requested to spice up things here at the Alliance. We current members of the Alliance are working on some special things this summer and will announce them come September when our Guest Articles finish up. Enjoy the change of pace and let our guest contributors if you appreciate their work!)
I recently wrote “Apps Are Where It’s At Today” about creating an app in order to promote your comic and get readers, but I think something even better and much easier to get you notice is social media.
I have been experimenting and realized that this is perfect for comics. It probably works best for gag-a-day and single panel cartoons, but it should work for other styles, too.
I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, you can add Google + to the list, but I don’t currently use that. With Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, I post my comic daily, it’s also posted on my main website Tomversation.com, but I’ve noticed that the social media sites is where I get most of my readers. I don’t post the actual comic on Twitter, but I use Twitter to network and chat with people and a couple of times a day I’ll tweet a link to the current day’s cartoon. I either send them right to the website or even to the other social media sites. My goal is to get them to “like” the page or follow me and “subscribe” that way.
The beauty of social media is that it is not intrusive. It’s just there! As people go through their feeds your comic pops up because they follow you, so you really don’t have to hope that they show up at your website or app, they are already checking out their Facebook or Instagram pages. And the do it many times a day.
It sort of reminds me of comics in the “old days.” I remember as a kid that the New York papers had the comics all throughout the newspaper, they weren’t all on one or two pages all together. The comics ran throughout the paper and as you read the newspaper you would see one comic strip on each page or so.
This is sort of like social media works. As a person looks through their Facebook or Tumblr feed, they see your comic as it comes up. The nice part about all the social media sites is that people share the work if they like it, which is free advertising for you. It’s important to brand and put a copyright on the work, because it will get passed around and you do want people to know the origin.
Recently after the tragedy in Boston, I did a cute cartoon showing my support. I got more views and shares on Facebook than I did on the actual homepage of the website where the comic originated. With social media, it’s all about a “tipping point,” where something can go viral at any time.
So now, the first thing every morning, I publish my comic on my own site and on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram PLUS I tweet and interact with people on Twitter throughout the day.
One other important aspect is that there is a lot of interaction on social media sites, so be prepared to engage with your fans. Many of my interactions are people asking me questions about the software I use to create my comics. I get the same questions over and over, but I answer them as if it was the first time I am doing it. It’s all about interaction on social media, that gets you loyal fans and readers.
Tom Falco, creator of the webcomic www.Tomversation.com has been doing cartoons and illustrations for many years. His comics have appeared in newspapers, magazines, books and online. Tom is also a journalist whose work appears in various publications including the Miami Herald, Huffington Post, Examiner and now the Webcomic Alliance.