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October 23, 2014
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Hard Times: The Porn Industry Looks to Social Media for Salvation
Starlets buff up their networking skills to achieve success

 

@Kayden_Kross on Twitter

For an industry built on unattainable fantasy, the fate of professional porn may lay in the hands of the actors who publicly reveal their most mundane thoughts and routines on social media.  

Long gone are the days when looking at porn required digging through your father’s sock drawer, or worse, purchasing a nudie mag from the judgmental teen behind a shop’s counter. Now, pornographic images are freely accessible simply by turning off Google Safe Search. Internet piracy has left porn companies, like the movie and music industries, scrambling to attract a paying audience.

The profits of the porn industry have rapidly declined in the last 15 years, compelling actors to become more resourceful about finding outlets for their work, the BBC reports. To avoid losing their jobs, adult actors and companies are finding new ways to attract a fanbase.

Alexander Palumbo, the social media strategist at porn giant Digital Playground, starts his day by checking Twitter, reading fan reviews and making editing changes accordingly. Palumbo told CNN he uses the social media platform to establish brand loyalty, “like Disney.”

Starlet Indigo Augustine received a boost in requests for solo webcam shows, appearance bookings and custom videos once she began using social media. This frequent tweeter says she used her success to pay for college, travel the world and find happiness. Now, Augustine is making the transition out of the adult industry and into graduate school with a comfortable financial nest egg. 

Retired pornstar Amia Miley (you may know her from the nude photo that wasn’t Kim Kardashian or from Jersey Shore) still reaps the benefits from her adult career. Her social media presence allows fans to find her movies and send her gifts. Miley says she makes sure to tweet during peak hours and uses a social media manager if she is too busy to post for herself.   

Actress Indigo Augustine uses Instagram to share photos with her fans Augustine tweets about her day, talks to fans and shares pictures

Social media websites suit the porn industry’s branding needs for a couple of reasons. Research shows that people are now more accepting of sexual content than decades prior, says USA Today. People are less discreet about viewing adult content and are more open to publicly “liking” their favourite stars on social media.

Curiosity is another reason why social media works for the adult industry. For anyone who’s ever wanted proof that pornstars eat, listen to music and sleep, following one on Twitter is the way to find out.

“It [social media] is an amazing vehicle for my business,” said Miley. “But the fans want to communicate with me, know what I am up to, and see how I feel about certain topics”

“I always thought it was important that people see that I’m a real person, not a live sex doll,” said Augustine. “If I didn’t share bits of my real life then I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t keep them [fans] as interested in following me and they would probably go follow someone else,” said Miley. “It would also be more boring for me too.”

For fans who long to interact with these “unattainable” actors, tweeting at one in hopes that they respond is a way to fulfill this need.

Miley frequently tweets at her fans and responds to their questions: ““Via social media sites, my fans are able to see a different side to me than they are used to; and that side is pretty damn witty if I do say so myself.”

Augustine conveys a humourous and down-to-earth personality through her frequent tweeting. 

“I have a tendency to parody myself or be generally more absurd that I actually am because it’s funny,” she said. “I like making people laugh.”

If virtual communication isn’t enough, thanks to Amazon Wishlists, fans can now send their favourite actors gifts. Many pornstars offer “goodies” in the form of private videos or personal notes in exchange for receiving something off of their wish list.

“Social media is how fans find out that girls even have wishlists,” said Miley. “Without the ability to let the fans know what a girl with a wishlist wants and how to discreetly have it sent to her…then the wishlist would be just between her and Santa.”

Miley in Bikini Naughty Time Miley uses hashtags to grow her twitter following

Besides their personalities, these successful adult actresses demonstrate Twitter tactics that are often used in good social media marketing strategies. They join trending hashtags, post funny quotes and retweet what others say.

Miley has made a splash on YouTube, a site that does not allow pornographic content. By making teaser videos with names such as “Bikini Naughty Time,” and “Hot Girls Getting Dirty,” she has gained a substantial following.

For stars who aren’t social media savvy, there are companies like 7 Veils, who focus specifically on internet marketing for the adult industry. “7 Veils will help you drive up your star value so you can increase the quality and quantity of your jobs as well as the price you command them,” boasts their website.

Miley says her biggest career accomplishment is “being able to successfully crossover to the mainstream at such a young age.” She has used her networking skills to successfully retire from porn and move forward with other opportunities; after only three years in the industry, the 21-year-old retiree is now acting, modeling and working on a clothing line.

By expressing their personalities and humanizing themselves on social media, porn actors are solidifying their fan loyalty and even attracting some new ones. 

“I was initially very surprised how many people talk to me on twitter who either found me through some of my modeling, or who have just never watched any of my work,” said Augustine.

“I’d say that a good portion of my followers don’t watch my films,” said Miley, who has almost 200 000 followers on Twitter. “A percentage of them don’t even have a clue that I previously was in the adult entertainment industry.”

Miley and Augustine aren’t the only porn stars who have found success through social media. Kayden Kross has more than 150 000 fans on Twitter; Bree Olson (of Charlie Sheen fame) has almost 500 000.

As these successful women have shown, with many companies and actors now implementing social media strategies into their business model, there may still be hope for the future of the pornography industry.

____

Mollie Paige writes for the Toronto Standard. You can follow her on twitter @MolliePB

For more, follow us on Twitter @TorontoStandard and subscribe to our newsletter.

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