You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into you multi-episode web series, and the teaser trailer has just launched on YouTube. But no one is watching.
Despite your best efforts, there is simply too much noise on the social web for most content – even amazing content – to get “discovered” on its own.
1) Network with filmmakers
Did you know that you’re not the only one losing sleep over a lack of coverage in your latest video shoot? There are other filmmakers in your neighborhood and around the world who could be very valuable resources when it comes to attracting an audience to your series. You don’t have to view other filmmakers as the competition – instead, you have the opportunity to reach out to them on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to develop meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships. You can cross-promote each other’s content on your personal and professional networks, which could net you some serious new audience members.
2) Create profiles for your series’ characters
If your genre and style is the right fit for a stunt like this, why not create social media profiles for the main character(s) in your web series? Give them a life beyond YouTube. Get them tweeting, status updating and interacting with your audience, and you could generate significant buzz across social media. After all, wouldn’t you like to send a tweet to your favorite fictional character, and have them actually tweet you back?
3) Create a series website
Your web series can, and should, have multiple homes across the web. You’ll obviously be hosting the videos themselves on a site like YouTube or Vimeo, but why not build a companion website too? This will give your audience another piece of content to share, and another venue through which to access each episode. The website should be well branded to match the look and feel of your show, and, if you’re ambitious, will perform best if you include content exclusive to the site itself, like a blog or small flash game.
4) Purchase ads
Advertising is a dirty word to many indie video creators, but it’s not really anything more than spreading the word about something great that you created. You can spend a few hundred bucks on targeted Google, Facebook or Twitter ads, which will help get your series in front of some new eyeballs. Just be sure to target your audience as specifically as you can to ensure you’re reaching the right eyeballs.
5) Meet your audience where they are
Is your audience big on Twitter? Do they love using Google+ Hangouts? Find out as much as you can – through simple Google searches, surveys, or data mining – about your audience’s social media habits, and try to match them. In our information-overloaded society, “if you build it, they will come” no longer applies. Instead, you’ve got to do your best to come to them with what you’ve built.
6) Create content beyond video
As much work as you put into your series, it might not be enough. Video content does perform well on social media, but you’ll get even more shares and engagement if you have other types of content associated with your series. Can you write a production journal via a series of blog posts? Can you share behind-the-scenes photos? The more multimedia you’re able to create, the more content your audience will have to interact with.
7) Host your series on its own YouTube channel
Some of the most popular web series are hosted on their own YouTube channels that are fully branded and distinct from channels related to the production companies behind them. This ensures that the audience members who subscribe to that channel get exactly what they signed up for, and gives you, the creator, control over the look and feel of your channel. Of course, you should connect your series’ channel to your overarching production or brand channel via the About section.
8) Hype up your trailer
YouTube channels have an option for creating a video that will play for anybody who views your channel who isn’t a subscriber. In order to get these people to become subscribers, you’ve got to create and upload a killer trailer. But just like the series itself, it isn’t enough to set it and forget it – blast your trailer on Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else you have a social presence. Get everyone who worked on the series to share it, ask friends and family to share it, send The Biebs a tweet and cross your fingers… do whatever you can to put your series’ calling card front-and-center on the social web.
9) Keep your Facebook page updated regularly
As you release new episodes in your series, update your Facebook page. When you write a new blog post on your series’ website, update your Facebook page. Sneezed this morning? OK, that doesn’t warrant a status update, but you get the idea. Fans want to see that you’re enthusiastic about your series, so put this energy onto Facebook. You can use Facebook to showcase the bios of the people who worked on the series with you, host contests related to the series, share similar series that you’d like to cross-promote, announce your next project, showcase behind-the-scenes photos and lots more.
10) Use Twitter for networking
Everything you post to Facebook, YouTube and other social channels can be repurposed for Twitter. But don’t stop there. One of Twitter’s biggest strengths is in its open nature – anyone can connect to anyone. So use this strength to your advantage, and don’t simply broadcast on Twitter. Instead, network, reach out to your audience, respond to their questions and build an interactive, vibrant networking tool for yourself. This will not only help earn you more exposure for your web series, but it will help build your personal brand as well.