Social media is a fantastic marketing tool, so it’s no surprise that celebrities have jumped on this bandwagon. It’s interesting to think about the effect this online sphere has on the more X-rated industries however, and just how the adult industry is managing to harness this tool, bearing in mind the constraints (Facebook doesn’t allow X rated photos) and the maintenance using these tools properly requires.
Lauren McEwen is a cofounder of 7Veils, a USA based agency which specializes in creating social media strategies for the porn world, and she’s very vocal on why it’s something all adult stars should get into. She’s surprisingly down to earth, with a great business mind, and her acumen is another step in the long process of making people realize that licensed consensual porn doesn’t need to be seen as second class or seedy.
The adult industry has played a major part in technological changes over the last decade, with the decision to use the Blu-ray format essentially ending the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD wars- and making Sony executives very happy. Their interest in 3D has also helped televisions develop, and whilst we can’t completely say that porn has helped 3D establish itself in the mainstream, it certainly has been very receptive of the new tools.
It’s the arena of social media that I’m focusing on here, and I asked Lauren why she thought it was important for adult stars to have a digital presence.
She replied, ‘If you are asking why social media is important for adult stars you are really asking why is social media important for any business or brand. Porn stars are a business, a brand and a personality. It is important for them to get to know their fan as much as any other public figure. Whether they are improving their reputation, growing their network, promoting their content or simply connecting with fans, social media is the most powerful direct access media tool available.’
I like the fact that Lauren approaches adult social media the same way as any brand, and that she doesn’t differentiate between work for adult stars and the mainstream. What sort of challenges are involved in working with adult stars though?
‘I am not mentioning anyone (adult stars) on Facebook that is because it is much harder for adult to operate on Facebook due to the strict terms of service. There are a few nice pages that have beautiful landing pages like Playboy and Sasha Grey, but pages get deleted so often that adult stars are often reluctant to use Facebook.’
What advice does Lauren have for adult stars regarding social media?
‘Don’t phone in your social media. You cannot get on social media and expect that if you automate everything, and link every account, that you are going to get a good response. No one likes to think that your social media is not genuine. Take the time to talk to people.’
‘My biggest competitor is your brother’s friend or your best friend’s niece. Because social media is used for both business and personal reasons many people are comfortable turning over their social marketing campaign to someone who just happens to know how to tweet or post on Facebook. Just because you know how to post an update or tag a photo does not mean that you know how to run a marketing campaign. If you are going to hire someone to bring your social media up to its potential, make sure you are hiring someone who is qualified and not a friend who knows how to tweet.’
She makes a valid point here, and I can relate to this professionally, as often the ‘young cool kids’ in an agency get assigned the title of social media expert, without any strategic plans or web know how, just a love for Facebook updates and little long-term solutions.
I was curious about the future of adult social media, and how it would continue to reach people.
‘I think that social media is going to become more integral in the adult world. It will be integrated with mobile and cross supported on multiple platforms. There are some pretty big developments coming out in the next year (3D as mentioned plus a few embargoed things..) that have the potential to set the new trend in social marketing, one of which I am a part of.’
7Veils may be breaking new boundaries in terms of adult social media, but other adult entrepreneurs are also getting a piece of the pie. PornStar Tweet is a website run by the NaughtyTweet network which acts as an aggregator for porn stars worldwide and give porn fans a nice interface to browse the inspired ramblings of their favourite adult stars. It is sites like these that make social media more accessible to consumers, and if you tie this in with a savvy social media strategy you could be well on your way to creating some buzz around your brand.
Lauren has some thoughts on how adult stars use social networks. ‘There are so many who do it well. Jesse Jane does an excellent job. She is very funny, shares experiences from her life and responds to people when they talk to her. Sasha Grey (@sashagrey) has a great Twitter. She will also respond to you directly.’
Bearing in mind the huge rise in Tweets (around 1 billion tweets are made every six days) I could imagine that the adult industry would be very receptive to the 7Veils agency,
‘The response has been very positive’, said Lauren. ‘I spoke on a panel at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas this past January and at the Ynot Summit in San Francisco at the end of June. Overall the industry has been very welcoming. Everyone is very interested in, and enthusiastic about, social media. There was a need in the adult industry for good social media strategy and management’.
Lauren’s background doesn’t lie in porn however, as she has a strong technical background.
‘I have a BA from Smith College and an MBA from ASU’, she tells me. ‘ I have a strong computer technical background, business background and have studied marketing and social marketing strategies’.
What’s the secret to her success then?
‘I think what is needed is the ability to think critically about social business. You need to be able to not only see how the various networks are interacting with each other, but why they are successful. I have always been interested in the adult industry. I find its role in society to be highly significant, highly misunderstood and very formative. I also really enjoyed the subtle differences in social media strategy from traditional business to adult.’
I wish Lauren and 7Veils the utmost success in their venture and hope we get to see more smart tuned in women taking initiative and making social media accessible- no matter who the client is.