Written by Rachel Beck

10446514_10152199417204849_5049922602517051129_nQuality rises to the top,” they say. “If you’re good, you’ll get noticed,” they reassure you. Your family, friends, and teachers are all well meaning, but quite wrong. If you want an audience, you must intentionally build a broader community that likes your work and wants to see more of it.

In an ideal world, people would see your comic, film, novel or what-have-you, love it, and go tell everyone they know about it. But in the real world, people see your story, love it, and quickly move on. Though you want people to come find you, first you’ll have to head out and introduce yourself and build your personal brand. A good way to start is from the comfort of your living room couch.

Let’s get social.

Many social media platforms offer audience-building opportunities, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, some storytelling mediums fit better on one platform than another and each platform has its own particular quirks of etiquette. For the moment, we’ll stick with a brief overview of the big names and what they bring to the table for storytellers in particular. Broadly speaking, they can be broken down into three categories: Conversational, Top of Mind, and Staying Power.

Join the Conversation

Conversational media platforms are “purely social.” The advantage to these platforms is that they have a high engagement rate; your audience talks, you reply, and a conversation begins. Fans that engage with you across these mediums are more likely to remember you and become active fans of your work. The downside of these platforms is that with the exception of you “going viral,” they’re high maintenance platforms. What you said last week, or even yesterday, is lost to the archives of the Internet, where it’s unlikely that someone will stumble across it.

Facebook

Facebook’s strength lies in its power of endorsement and word-of-mouth marketing. “You are what you share” is the big motto for personal branding on social media, and it’s particularly true on Facebook. Odds are, you have friends or family that you can connect with who are willing to “Like” your page and share your posts. That latter is particularly important since Facebook’s algorithm values posts that people share over those that a page shares, so it’s more likely to kick your post over into more newsfeeds if your followers are sharing it. It’s also a comment-heavy platform, so it adds feedback, encouragement, and interactions with your newfound fans.

Twitter

Twitter’s relative anonymity and algorithm-free feed are its two greatest advantages. Following someone on Twitter is significantly more casual than friend-ing someone on Facebook, but provides more interaction than “Liking” a Facebook page. Twitter is an even playing field on neutral territory. Generally speaking, people are chattier on Twitter. Also, the fact that Twitter doesn’t pick and choose whether or not to show your posts to your followers is also a big advantage over Facebook. On the flip side, it’s much easier for your post to get lost in the “buzz” of tweets than it is on Facebook’s newsfeed.

Stay tuned. In Part 2, we tackle Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ and more!

You might also be interested in an introduction to personal branding, some tips on networking or advice on collaboration.