Whether you’re a newbie comic on the open mic circuit or you’re Dane Cook coming out with a new hilarious blockbuster, it’s critical to leverage the Internet as a promotional tool for your comedy brand. And if you have even the slightest amount of marketing strat, chances are you’re already working to promote yourself through the obvious online avenues like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and your blog.
But before you blast out another event invite for your weekly showcase that will sit forever unread in my Facebook inbox, here are five social marketing ideas that are more “outside the box” and could be big opportunities to finally get a flat-lining career off the ground.
1. Yelp! – This is a pretty handy network where normal people rate and review local restaurants, bars, stores, shops and services. Sure, it’s not an obvious platform for laughs, but that’s why this could be an undiscovered comedy-promotional goldmine. For one, I’ve noticed that average users LOVE trying to be funny in their 5,000-word personal essays about the new Thai place that just opened up in their neighborhood, so as a professional comic, you could definitely be a ringer, hilarious review-wise. There’s a big opportunity to become the most hilarious amateur critic on Yelp, build up a big following, then start blasting them with flyers for your shows and viral videos and stuff. Also, by inflating the ratings and reviews for the venue where your shows are held, chances are you’ll get more people in the door.
2. Ping – Nobody really knows what iTunes’ new “music networking” site is, or how to use it. But that’s why you should move quickly, and begin dominating it while it’s still an unsettled ghost town in the “Wild Wild Web”. Put together your profile, figure out how to get followers, and start building up influence. Because on the off chance that it actually ends up being a real thing that people actually use, you’ll already be the master of it. Additionally, people love it when comics reference cool bands like LCD Soundsystem, Kanye West and Arcade Fire, so this could also be a great personal branding opp.
3. Friendster – I know what you’re thinking: nobody is on Friendster. In fact, Friendster is my go-to punchline for jokes about the Internet. Well consider this, smart-guy: Despite its reputation, there are still millions of people on Friendster. And if they’re still on Friendster, they’re probably looking for something to do. Like maybe go to your comedy show. Get on Friendster.
4. VampireFreaks.com – It’s a “gothic and industrial subculture” social network. I’ve never been on it and don’t really know much about what goes on there, but I just feel like they could use a laugh.
5. Craigslist – Lord knows you’ve already got lots of material about Craigslist, but did you ever think about using it to promote shows? I know that this is already the preferred promotional vehicle of weirdos and crazy people, but that’s why the key here is to cut through the all the noise by diversifying and putting up ads across all the different categories. From “Free Stuff” to “Community Activities” to “Creative Services” to “Casual Encounters” (just say there’s a glory hole in the bathroom), you should blast out ads about your show until every last sad and desperate soul in town shows up for it.
Alex Blagg offers daily Internet insights and high-impact viral consulting services at his website, BajillionHits.Biz. He was recently named “The Most Influential Social Media Guru Online” by FastCompany magazine.