First I have to address the question that's been weighing on my mind so heavily. The question that I can sense hiding beneath the surface for everyone that's "not quite sure about Instagram." The question that if you don't overcome, will doom your social media efforts forever.
"Why do it all in the first place?"
I've struggled with this question for fucking years. Always knowing we should be doing more on social, sometimes attempting, not understanding it, and crawling back into our hole.
The truth is that we've been incredibly successful with zero social. The nature of our work is secretive. Most of our very successful performers are happy to pull in $10,000/month being completely anonymous and unknown in the real world. Niche specific fame gives them the ability to afford to shop at Whole Foods and the anonymity to not be bothered while they're there. While the customers insist upon the anonymity that the site provides.
Why do we gotta Tweet about it? Here's the real deal.
In order to make money, we have to find new clients.
In the current paradigm, we rely on the network to acquire traffic and they are extremely good at it. All of our models login to a ready audience, perform, make their money, and go about their day. That job is hard enough, why am I trying to complicate it further?
The short answer: Because I know it's what we have to do.
It's what we have to do because it's where the market is already, and where it's already been for years. The business model of a cam network is becoming antiquated. The costs are too high. We pay a premium to have other people source our clients. Mainly because of the methods they use for acquiring traffic.
Traffic for cam sites is expensive, like really really expensive. Signing the affiliates that generate the traffic is a ruthlessly competitive industry. Without good affiliates, a network doesn't exist. You just have to have the ocean of traffic on a site to be able to filter through and have the good high paying customers that make the business work for individual models. For as long as we're completely beholden to third party affiliates to source our clients, we will continue having to pay their exorbitant rates.
One point for clarification: I say exorbitant rates not because affiliates are greedy or overly demanding, but rather because the way traffic is acquired is expensive and clumsy, it's very much a "throw a million people at it and see who works out," strategy. This does work and it's the best anyone's came up with so far. But I think we can do better.
The arrangement has to make business sense for affiliates. And the rate is mostly determined by that. Being a cam site affiliate is simply a monetization strategy for some companies, that's it. They leverage their audience, promote Flirt4Free to it, and some people convert, and they make money. But they could promote Amazon products, or paid products they make themselves, or Google Adsense. They could do any of that, and that stuff all works too. Why do they get involved with a cam site then? Because it works way better. There's a lot more money in it. And there has to be, otherwise they'd just do those other "more respectable" avenues of monetization. Please read "more respectable" with the sharp condescending tone that I intend it with.
Why does all of this matter?
Because the 100,000 users of one of our affiliates, who are getting sent to Flirt4Free and potentially landing in your chatroom and spending money on you... Those dudes.. They all use social media (you know, because they're human beings). They're on Facebook. They're on Twitter. They're on Instagram. They're on Snapchat.
And we can conduct some very basic market research, segment an audience, target organic content at it, and convert people into new customers. I believe, 1000%, that we can do this in a more cost effective way than the traditional affiliates approach.
Translation: I think you can make money doing it. I think you can leverage your time, good looks, and coolness through your own social media accounts to build an audience that converts well on the site and makes you money as an individual affiliate.
The traditional affiliate approach is a sledgehammer. It's brute force. It's a Mongol Horde. We can be Seal Team 6.
I'm making the bet that we, as a collective, properly deployed, can outperform the best affiliates in the world.
I'm making the bet that the 15,000 or so hours I've spent working in the trenches with models gives me the perspective necessary to know how to pull that off.
I'm making the bet that you're going to take a lot of convincing, and this article won't be enough, and I'll have to keep reselling everyone on the idea over and over until we hit a critical mass where everything I'm about to preach is the self evident truth and the whole industry shifts overnight. And no one gives me any credit for it.
I'm making the bet that a serious, full-time webcam model over the long haul can use social media to:
- Vastly improve their retention rates of current clients.
- Increase their hourly rate on cam.
- Create new streams of income not correlated to cam performance.
- Attract new clients.
- And other cool stuff too.
That's the head in the clouds thinking. Now let's talk hands in the dirt.
The Basic Strategy For Each Platform.
For the past few months we've been in "execute experiments" mode. What I'm about to share is not the be all, end all strategy for anything. It's the "get our asses in gear" strategy. The more models I get doing this, the more data we can collect, the more we can analyze, the more we can learn, and adapt, and profit.
A few basic things.
#1. We're @pandoramodeling on basically everything (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat). Follow us, and turn on post notifications for our account on Instagram (our profile, top right corner, 3 dots). We also really love it when models show us love in their bio on IG/Twitter.
#2. Privacy. Do not skip this step.
Use your stage name. FirstLastOnCam or FirstLastCam or FirstOnCam (if available) are naming conventions we've popularized (MaxOnCam, BrockOnCam, HaileyOnCam, etc). Try to get the same one for all the apps (continuity).
Don't reuse any content you've ever used on your personal social media. Don't use your real location. Don't enable location services when you're in your home city. Don't link your real phone number to any accounts.
Make a fake, stage name email address on gmail and use that to register all of the accounts, if a phone number is required, make a Google Voice number and use that. You should probably just delete all of your personal social media and embrace the new cult life of Pandora, but if you're not into that, just maximize the privacy settings on all of your personal social media (Facebook especially).
The geofilters that the site has do not apply to social media apps. Social is the wild wild west.
OK. Let's dive in.
This is the platform that I understand the least, and the one I am the most excited about. No nudity allowed. Picture, Video, Story, DMs, and now Live. People are easily accessible, easily searchable, it's mostly public, what works tends to be obvious.
Objectives: Awareness, Outreach for new clients, Story to follow for current clients. Build an engaged audience.
Content Strategy: Post 4-7x per day on Instagram, every day, yes, every day. This will be the bulk of the effort you have to make early on. Here's a guideline for the content.
1 - Video: "Recap/Day In The Life" Just shoot a 30-60 second video talking about your day, or something you did that day, or how your day went. This is not high art, it's just a little bit of "this is who I am."
1 - Picture of you doing something: Shopping, walking, drinking coffee, reading, smoking, lifting, getting ready for work, etc.
2+ - Attractive/provocative pictures of you, but tasteful/non-nude. Guess what your best feature is, and post 2-4 pictures of that every single day. How many different ways can a girl take a picture of her butt? Answer: A lot actually. Use your compelling physical attributes or your fashion sense or your lifestyle or your whatever. Being a smoking hot girl or guy on social works, stop being insecure, and post an obnoxious amount of pictures of yourself. People will love you for it, especially me.
Engagement Strategy: Instagram is #culture. Adding smart hashtags to your posts massively ups the visibility of them, so it's stupid not to. Which hashtags? We'll have an ongoing internal discussion about this in Slack, it's bound to change based on the day/data. But maybe #model.
Reply to the people that comment on your stuff. Check out the people that follow you and comment on their stuff. Do it every day for 6 months and then we'll talk.
Instagram allows 1 bio link, and that's it, no other links anywhere on the platform. To start, I'd selfishly recommend your bio on IG say, "Model @pandoramodeling" + anything else you want to add. I would use the bio link to link to your Twitter. At this time, I wouldn't link directly from Instagram to Flirt. I don't believe IG is cool with it, and particularly as a new account, you're more likely to get your account blocked by doing it. (Twitter, you can link to anything).
Set it up. Start posting. Experiment with hashtags. Engage. Repeat. That's all. I'm keeping this super simple because I want you to actually do it.
This is the (I think slightly erroneously) preferred platform of webcam models. No content restrictions, infinite links to anything, doesn't mind being spammed, still a strong user base for now (thanks D-Trump), and everyone is easily accessible. Twitter used to be the cocktail party of social media, it still sort of is, but they serve beer now too, if that makes sense.
The majority of webcam models using Twitter, use it nearly exclusively as a broadcast medium. I think this is the least valuable way to use it.
When I say broadcast I mean you go to Twitter, you click compose a tweet, and you write a tweet, and you post it, and it shows up to all of your followers (and 1-2% might see it). The average twitter user is on Twitter for 3-7 minutes at a time and has their feed with 1,000s of new tweets per day from the things they follow. People miss a lot.
Broadcast tweets are not useless though. While people may not see your tweets in real time at a high volume, when people do check out your twitter (new follower, fans, etc) they are going to go to your page and read the backlog of your tweets most of the time. At least the most recent few.
Broadcast Content Strategy: Use https://ifttt.com to have your pictures from Instagram automatically repost to your Twitter (this is better than using IG's built in share feature, as IFTTT will cause the images to expand inline. Note: Videos won't autopost). Past that, post links to your chatroom when you're logging in. Show love to people. Engage with other models on Twitter.
In my current opinion, that's about all that broadcast tweets are good for. Creating a record that people can check out, pitching your room, showing some love.
The strategy to actually utilize Twitter is way more technical, way more time consuming, way more paradox of choice-y. I think that posting our market research here would violate people's privacy, so I won't do it. It would certainly piss a lot of other companies off. Someone would probably sue us. So I'm not going to go too specific :).
One specific thought however: You can send an individual tweet to 1,000 complete strangers a day (actually closer to 2,400 as Twitter's API's limit tweets to a rate of 100 per hour) if you want. You can do this in a super spammy way (lame) or if you have infinite time and interest, you can do it in a sincere way. Searching topics you are interested in, reading tweets people are posting about that topic, and responding with genuine comments (less lame, more on track, not exactly right). Just keep in mind.. You.. can engage genuinely with 1,000 complete strangers in one day, they will see your tweet in their notifications, they will read it, they will quite often look at your profile, they might respond. Cost = time. If you can reason out without me explaining it further how that volume of interactions (paired with a link to your chatroom on Flirt4Free) might be potentially valuable, your future is bright.
Now the vague stuff. Where I answer the question, "1,000 people, what are you talking about?"
Maybe you've noticed from your time on cam that you seem to do really well with ultra affluent males in the US ages 50-65 (you know... like everyone). Hypothetically, if that were the case, I'd think for a few minutes to determine "what Twitter accounts are those individuals likely to follow?" And I would off the top of my head just now think, "Golf stuff (country clubs, pro golfers accounts, golf magazines/news), financial news/magazines, luxury resorts, government/political organizations, certain charities maybe.
I'd then spend some time with Twitter Search to compile a list of these accounts. Most accounts that I'm going to think of right away are going to have a mega following that will be too big of a haystack to really analyze. So I'll try to go more granular with it. I'll try to keep paring down until I can find something in the ballpark that seems like the right fit for my demographic to be following and has maybe 20-100k followers.
Next I might then, hypothetically, use a 3rd party tool like Audiense.com to analyze their audience (the people who follow that account) and filter it into a custom audience for me. I'll attach conditional logic like: Has profile pic, has less than 500 followers, follows less than 200 accounts, has tweeted within the last 15 days, all parameters I can select for using Audiense. Then that following list will be pared from 20,000 down to maybe 700. I'll then go through 30-50 of the accounts and really analyze them in depth by going to each profile. Is the person here a potential customer? Do they fit the demographic? Mainly I'm looking at:
- Is it a real person and not a brand/promotional account?
- Does the person fall into the imagined demographic at the start of this exercise? (affluent, mature, male).
If my spot checking of accounts reveals a high proportion of "good accounts" I'll deem the exercise a success, save the entire segment onto a Twitter list and start engaging (reading their tweets, favoriting and replying to them in a non-spam normal human way, possibly following them if there's some engagement (which adds them to a different list).
Hypothetically, I might do something like that on Twitter. I think the value of Twitter is 99% outreach for new exposure (the process I just described), and 1% engaging with current fans/posting content. I'm actually fine with zero broadcast content on Twitter except for the auto Instagram repostings. If you're doing 99% outreach (and say having real interactions with 20-30 people a day from one of these hypothetical PRIVATE lists), then the main value of broadcast content on your profile is that it's functioning like a landing page for the people who you engage with that check out your profile. And it being filled with the attractive but tasteful content from Instagram is actually a great fit for most of our key demographics. I don't have any concern about the cross posting of IG/Twitter being annoying to anyone (it's common practice and when you're new at this you don't have any followers anywhere, let alone people following you on multiple channels).
I cannot stress how important making your twitter lists private are if you employ this method.
Given that when they hit your profile they'll see the tasteful, yet adult, nature of your work I'd heavily stress not being at all sleazy in doing engagement. Just be a human being. "That's a great point, Bill. Never thought of it that way!" is better than "Right bb. Wanna fuck, visit me at bit.ly/2309320203xxx"
People that want to see more of you will find their way through your profile to your chatroom, they'll self select. No pitch needed, this shit sells itself.
I lied when I said I am most excited about Instagram. I'm actually most excited about Snapchat, always. Snapchat is the perfect tool for us. Private, anonymous, deleting, engaging.
I'll keep the Snapchat strategy extremely simple. I think it's use for promotional value is near 0, particularly early on. There's no built in outreach on Snapchat, no shareability, no discoverability (this is starting to change, but isn't mature yet).
You should use Snapchat exclusively with paying customers, people who have taken you private and had an experience with you. If they don't use Snapchat, tell them to make one and add you, and then interact with them a lot on it. No content guidelines from me, everything you do here will be tailored to the individual, it's just 1 to 1.
After a private show (or towards the end), privately give them your Snapchat, tell them to add you so you can keep in touch. When they do, keep in touch!
On Snapchat you're in their pocket. You have the power to show up on the home screen of the device they check 100x per day. People will see virtually everything you send them, and they'll respond. That's a lot more effective than their Flirt4Free inbox.
You can keep in touch with them throughout the day and make plans to meet on cam with them. They can fall in love with you on Snapchat in a way that they just can't through your chatroom alone. Snapchat makes the relationship real.
Snapchat is the easiest way I've found to take a one off customer and turn them into a long term client. Translation: to turn $30 once into $200/week indefinitely. #profit?
Other Mentions / Not Super Interested
What about Facebook, Youtube, Musically, Pinterest, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Quora, Reddit???
Those are all things. And there's probably a way to execute on them that will be beneficial, but I think in order of importance the list is 1. Snapchat. 2. Instagram 3.Twitter. 4-99 blank space, 100. Youtube. 101. Reddit. 102. Facebook. And so on.
I don't see the huge gains to be had from them yet. Turn on the snap/insta/twit procedures, build that, and then we'll experiment with everything else.
So let's bring this all together into an actionable, executable routine, that you can start doing today.
Structure Creates Freedom
Here's a super simple recipe to pull this off.
Pre-broadcasting: While you're getting ready to cam (or right when you get ready), take a couple of pictures of yourself for the "attractive/provocative" Instagram photo and post them on Insta (by now you've setup the IFTTT so they also hit your Twitter). Just a picture, caption like "getting ready for work" and a few hashtags (#model, #modellife, #cam, #nachos, etc). Post it, don't overthink it. Then post another one, don't overthink it.
While broadcasting: It's totally OK to snap some more pictures while you're on cam and post those. It's a good way to tell your fans to go follow you on Instagram or Twitter and promote those accounts that way. I probably wouldn't do it in private :).
Post broadcasting: Shoot the 30-60 second "recap video" of your day of work on Instagram and post it.
Layering it onto what you're already doing for work this way makes it time-neutral for your day. Promoting it in your room gives you a natural way to build an initial following and get deeper engagement with your Flirt fans. That seems like an OK trade-off, right?
What about that whole Twitter thing I talked about? The list and messaging stuff? Forget about it for now. Get into the rhythm of posting the 4-7 things per day on Instagram and having them repost to Twitter. Link your Twitter/Instagram to your Flirt bio. Promote them in your room while you're on from time to time. Share your Snapchat privately with people who do shows with you and engage with them as much as you can on there (not time-neutral, but massively ROI positive).
The Twitter thing has the potential to be massively ROI positive now, but it's extremely labor intensive. It just so happens to be a type of labor that we (Pandora) can do a lot of the heavy lifting on, and as soon as you get into the social game, we will. I mentioned it here because I wanted to bring some value to more seasoned social users and give new people a vision of what lies ahead.
Layering an effective social media strategy into your work as a webcam model is tantamount to going from black and white television to HD curved displays; it's going from flip phones to iPhones. It's the smart thing to do. Soon, it will be the essential thing to have done.
Keep it simple, don't think, just start posting, keep posting, get yourself hooked on doing it. Then be patient.
Thank you for reading,
P.S: Here's the links to our social channels.