Using Social Media to Promote Your Comic

Using Social Media to Promote Your Comic

I'm someone whose first-ever comic grew immensely once I started promoting it on social medias.

At the time of writing this post, my main series has 349K readers on Webtoon Canvas, 67K on Tapas, and frequently makes Webtoon Canvas weekly top 10 for its genre.

I'm no marketing expert; I've simply followed tips from friends who saved my life with their advice.

This post is a compilation of those notes. Treat them as being part of a larger toolkit.

The goal is audience conversion: using social media to guide people to your comic.

Gaining 2M views on your Reels but your comic readership didn't increase significantly = goal not met.

 

Disclaimers

  • These tips are largely based on North American experiences.
  • Social media trends are ever-changing, so adapt accordingly.
  • Some genres are easier promote than others. It is what it is.
  • Your comic needs to stand on its own to attract and retain readers.
  • Don't forget to take breaks to avoid burnout.

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Quick Reads

I learned a lot about promoting from DogshitJay and serakatto.

Their Twitter threads contain great pointers if you want a quick, digestible rundown.

(Note: these tweets were written in 2022, so keep in mind that specific algorithms may have changed)

Instagram


Tiktok

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Short FAQ

Should I pay for social media ads?

No. Unless you're willing to spend big bucks for the ads to be effective.

Should I create fanart specifically to draw attention to my comic?

No. Generally, people who are interested in your fanart won't engage with your original work. They're interested in a specific character/fandom, not you.

How do I get over the embarrassment of doing self-promos?

For me, I just gritted my teeth through it ahaha. My story is worth showing to other people, right?! At some point there was a Eureka! moment and it became much easier to do self-promos.

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Sacabambaspis | Know Your Meme(Sacabambaspis)

Overview of Topics

  • Promotion Basics: Know your audience, attract readers over other creators, and choose promotional spaces wisely.
  • Social Media Basics: Evoke emotions and adapt to platform conventions.
  • Bio/Profile: Keep your profile clear and accessible with relevant links.
  • Types of Posts: Attract new readers with narrative hooks and memes, retain readers with updates and behind-the-scenes content.
  • Specific Social Media: Foster connections on Twitter, engage casually on TikTok, and use Reels on Instagram.
  • Other Platforms: Follow posting rules.
  • Other Notes: Learn from big creators, and remember to have fun with your posts.

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Promoting Basics

Fishmongers don't sell fish to other fishmongers.

You're pitching to the audience.

This is another job you're taking on, with a lot of tests and trials. Be realistic with your time, energy, and expectations.

 

 

📌Where should I promote?

  • Identify your target audience and where they hang out.
    • Who'll enjoy your genre the most?
      • ex) young adult, shounen manga reader, hard sci-fi enthusiast
    • Some communities are very active on Facebook.
  • Aim to catch the attention of readers, not other comic creators.
      • Speedpaints and tutorials appeal to other creators.
      • Reader-created memes and recommendations hold a thousand times more weight than your own promotions.
          • Choose promotion spaces wisely, considering whether they're mainly populated by creators or not.
            • Creator-majority spaces: Tapas forums, Webtoon Canvas discord, and r/webtooncanvas subreddit
            • Fellow creators are busy making and promoting their own comics. It is what it is. Sometimes I see creators lamenting their promos aren't effective, then discover they only post in Tapas forums or the Canvas subreddit.
            • Creators sometimes give ineffective, creator-centric promoting/social media advice to other creators.

           

           

          📌How do I attract readers?

          • Include a narrative hook in your posts.
            • People want a story, a narrative, some emotional relatable-ness. Showing just pretty art won't take you far. Think like a show entertainer.
            • Who's the character? What's their problem? Why can't they solve that problem?
            • Focus on character dynamics & emotions
              • Do tailor to your genre & audience tastes.
              • People respond strongly to emotions they can relate to.
                • ex) romance readers like to engage with heart-fluttering or super scandalous character moments.
          • Promo posts don't have to 1:1 represent your story.
            • Can highlight the silly parts, or have a lighthearted intro to your dark adult story, etc.
          • Memes are effective at conveying story/character elements.
            • Allows people to easily figure out if your story is something they might be interested in.
          • Consider how fans promote their favorite works.
            • ex) The Summer Hikaru Died is a horror manga but fans frequently share its out-of-context funny panels.

           

           

          📌What parts of my story should I promote?

          • Simplify your story to its barebones.
            • Think in terms of genre, tropes, archtypes. Again, characters are important.
            • ex) Boy meets girl, underdog fights a demon
          • Be specific and avoid vagueness.
            • Vague: "Bob led the perfect life until a shocking incident." Yawn.
            • Specific: "Bob's 14-year marriage crumbled when he walked in on his wife tickling his octopus boss in their bedroom." Oh shit?
          • Use comparable titles to introduce your story.
            • You're saying "if you enjoyed this story, you'll also enjoy mine!"
            • Xiran Jay Zhao's Iron Widow tagline is simple, clever, and dense. They also do their own promotions.
              • "Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale in this blend of Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers."
          • Nail down your comic's logline for clarity.
            • "A log line or logline is a brief (usually one-sentence) summary [...] that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story's plot, and an emotional "hook" to stimulate interest." - Wikipedia
            • A common logline formula: "When inciting incident happens, the main character decides to do central conflict against antagonist." (boords.com).
            • Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder is an excellent book with more info.
              • “The number one thing a good logline must have , the single most important element is: irony….Irony gets my attention. It’s what we who struggle with loglines like to call the hook, because that’s what it does. It hooks your interest.” -Blake Snyder

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          Big fish funny face Blank Template - Imgflip(Asian Sheapshead Wrasse)

          Social Media Basics

          People want to feel emotionally connected.

          Out of thousands of content out there, what makes yours, yours? When people think of you, what's your image? Does your post elicit any emotional response?

          Can you feel the difference between Caption A: "I haven't drawn in a while, but I had some #coffee and was able to #draw this! I hope you enjoy." and Caption B: "ARGGHHHAHA BAJA BLAST THIS!"

          Don't chase virality though, that's a shortcut to burning out and giving up altogether.

           

           

          🧵 Keep These in Mind

          • Ensure your stuff is mobile-friendly.
          • Be an active user and engage with others.
            • Being active can help you build stronger connections with your followers and other creators.
          • Short, to-the-point captions are usually better.
          • Emotions!! Make people feel emotions!!
            • ex) "here's my art" vs "I'M COOKING"
          • Pretty art is dime a dozen these days. People want to connect with you personally for relatable-ness and transparency. They want to feel like they can sit at the table with you, so invite them in.
              • With fanart, people already have an established connection with the characters/fandom.
              • Social media platforms each have their own posting and humor cultures. If you use them frequently, you'll catch the differences.
                • ex) People will not engage with you if on Twitter, you use a bunch of hashtags as if you're posting on Instagram.
              • Keep an eye on algorithms and trends, if any.
                • As much as it sucks, accept that not all of your post will perform well, sometimes for long stretches of time. The algorithmn is not for us.
              • Identify when your target audience is most active.
                  • Teenagers tend to be active after school. Adults after work.
                  • If you and your target audience are both in the US, aim for your own timezone.
                      • Sometimes, unfortunately, it's completely random lol
                          • Just because an Instagram post did super well at 7PM, doesn't mean your next post at 7PM will perform the same.
                        • Avoid mentioning competing platforms in your posts.
                          • Use words like "the photo app," "the clock app, "p@tr30n"
                          • Social media platforms want to keep users on their own platform as much as possible, and don't want you to direct them elsewhere.
                        • Have a clear goal for a post and guide your audience towards it in the descriptions.
                          • ex) "MyComic is free to read on Webtoons" or "Preorders open for these keychains!"
                          • Sometimes it's better to write descriptions as if you aren't the creator, but a fan. People get more curious when they see others enjoying a thing, rather than the creator directly asking for attention.
                        • Consistency is key: keep reminding people about your comic's existence. Most need multiple exposures before diving into your work.

                         

                        🧵 Bio/Profile

                        • State clearly who you are and what you make.
                          • ex) "Creator of MyComic"
                        • Have a direct link to the comic or a linktree/carrd.
                          • Your comic should be reachable in 2 clicks or less.
                          • Avoid cluttering with too many visuals, text, or links.
                            • Make it easy for people to find what they want.
                            • People who clicked are already interested, so prioritize clarity over flashy design.
                        • Prioritize links based on importance.
                          • If you want to grow your Patreon the most, have the very first link be to Patreon, the second for Webtoon, etc.

                         

                        🧵 Types of Posts

                        For attracting new readers

                        • Narrative Panels
                          • Share panels that can tell a mini-story
                            • One or two panels per photo slide
                        • Short Videos (15 sec or less)
                          • Should be shareable and relatable, even without in-depth comic context.
                          • Grab attention within the first 3 seconds before people scroll away
                            • Start with a strong narrative hook via text and/or visuals
                            • Convince the viewer that the rest of your video is worth their time
                          • Watch completion rate is important. As in, do people usually watch all of the clip or do they scroll away after 2 seconds?

                        For building readership loyalty

                        • Update Day post
                          • Remind people to read lol.
                            • People get busy and not everyone receives update alerts
                            • People are drawn to human faces. Consider posting face-centric photos, at least for the very first image slide.
                        • Behind-the-scenes post
                          • Short videos or photos of your workspace, sketches, etc.
                            • If a screenshot, try showing a part of your art program's UI, like traditional artists taking sketchbook photos with a pencil nearby.
                          • Extra character art and details that aren't in the comic, or may be easily glossed over.

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                        Specific Social Media

                        Twitter Basics (I refuse to call it what Elongated Muskrat wants)

                        • Hardest to grow a following organically.
                          • Most followers will come from outside sources, such as deciding to follow you after reading your comic.
                        • Tweets are mainly spread via Retweets a.k.a. community word-of-mouth.
                        • Your pinned tweet should contain info on who you are, what you do, and your important links.
                        • Users are very sensitive to "dump a post then leave" inactivity.
                        • Great for befriending other creators IMO, as it's a casual, public talking space.
                          • No need to slide into someone's DMs to have a short conversation, which can feel way too intimate IMO.
                          • Someone's talking about a shared interest or posted pet pics? Hop right into the conversation.
                          • If your name/handle indicates that you're a comic creator, other creators are more likely to follow you.
                            • ex) MyName @ Comic Name
                            • Follow-backs are common within the same creative sphere
                          • I see contracted creators talk about their tips, working conditions, non-NDA contract information, and etc. the most on Twitter. Good for getting industry behind-the-scenes information.
                        • Avoid certain word combinations like "looking for artists," "I want to commission" as they attract a shit-ton of bots.

                         

                        Twitter Posting

                        • Don't use hashtags, unless it's trending in the sidebar.
                          • Even then, 1 or 2 hashtags is enough. More than that looks like spam.
                        • Incorporate keywords into your tweet instead. Your tweets can still be found that way.
                        • When posting images, short captions do well. Short as in super short sentence, a word, or even just an emoji.
                        • Retweet previous tweets to share them again and boost visibility.
                        • Don't pay for Twitter Blue, it does not boost your reach.
                          • Many users have extensions to automatically hide Blue accounts.

                         

                         


                        TikTok Basics

                        • TikToks are frequently reused for Instagram Reels or Youtube Shorts.
                          • I use Snaptik to download without the floating logo.
                          • Most Instagram/Shorts trends originate from Tiktok.
                          • What fails on Tiktok may do well on Instagram, and vice versa.
                        • Works with the free video editing app Capcut.
                          • Many TikTok meme templates are done via this app
                        • Not all of your posts will be shown to all of your followers
                          • People mainly stay in the For You tab, and rarely venture into Following tab
                          • The goal is to get your videos pushed onto people's For You tab by having people engage with you in the Comments & by increased Watch Rate
                        • Aim for casual approachability rather than polished professionalism
                          • Videos taken on your phone
                        • Tiktok seemingly changes its algorithmn frequently.
                          • As of March 2024, they're favoring horizontal videos with 1+ min time

                         

                        TikTok Posting

                        • The first 3 seconds are vital.
                        • Use 5 hashtags or less, related to your comic genre.
                        • Use the description box to direct people & for better SEO.
                          • ex) MYCOMIC is free to read on Webtoon #manga #horrorcomics

                         

                         


                          Instagram Basics

                          • Switch to a Creator account for follower and post analytics.
                          • Reels is the best way to reach new audiences.
                            • The in-app Reels editor is trash. Use Capcut to make your videos.
                            • What fails on Instagram may do well on Tiktok, and vice versa.
                          • Trending reel sounds have an arrow symbol next to their sound names.
                          • Meta's free Creator Studio (a.k.a. Business Suite) lets you schedule post, analyze the best time to post, see all comments, etc.

                           

                          Instagram Posting

                          • In Stories, you can use the Link stickers to guide people to your comic/store/etc.
                          • A recent Reels strategy is to make a very short looping video with a long-ass description. This is so people will stay on the video while reading the caption, so the watch completion/retention rate shoots up = spreading your video out to a wider audience.
                          • Use hashtags strategically.
                            • Generally 3~5 hashtags per post.
                              • Hashtags recently is more about categorizing your work. There isn't a Recently Posted section anymore.
                            • Mix up hashtag popularity to reach both wider and super niche audiences.
                              • ex) a tag with 100K+ posts, one with 50K+ posts, and another with 10K+ posts
                              • Make sure the hashtags are related to your comic genre and your intended audience.
                                • Popular hashtags may not always be suitable, as they can attract uninterested (or hostile) people.
                          • Can use online hashtag generators for finding similar hashtags.
                            • Don't repeat the same hashtag combos for every post.
                          • Interact with others' posts in your frequently used hashtags
                            • Commenting recommended. Liking may or may not count.
                            • This signals Instagram's algorithm to suggest your content to interested people. Plus it helps with the others' growth and visibility.
                          • Aim for a post every 3~5 days.
                            • See how that schedule does for you and adjust if needed.
                            • Posting everyday may fatigue yourself, your followers, and attract more spam bots.

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                          Other Platforms

                          Reddit

                          • Find a subreddit for your genre/audience.
                          • Read posting rules. Many subreddits may delete your post or ban you for self-promotions, except on specified days.
                          • Creator-centric places like r/webtooncanvas can be filled with creators who rate-bomb you, so tread carefully.
                            • Readers in webcomic subreddits doesn't always represent general readership opinions and interests.
                            • r/comics is geared towards 4-panel comedy shorts
                          • Much like Twitter, Reddit is a very community-driven place.

                          Youtube Shorts

                          • Doesn't feel as punishing as Instagram or Tiktok, who might penalize your posts if you don't upload constantly.
                          • In-app videos tools are trash, so Capcut recommended (or reposting from Tiktok/Instagram)

                          Tumblr

                          • People don't reblog original art as much as they used to.

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                          Other Notes

                          • Webtoon Canvas social media team encourages you to tag them in your posts.
                            • Their accounts are generally followed by other creators, so it can be a great place to find creator friends.
                          • Tapas social media team doesn't engage.
                          • Follow big comic creators who are great at promoting their own stuff & analyze what you can learn from their methods.
                          • Make creator friends so you can uplift each other & occasionally vent about the struggles of self-promotions.
                          • Don't forget to maintain your existing community of supporters, not just gaining new ones.
                            • ex) livestreams may not bring in new readers, but will strengthen the community's bond with you.
                          • Have fun with your posts! Not every post needs to be for promotions.

                           

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