Cosplay and social media work almost hand in hand, it’s common for cosplayers to have a social media identity. Many cosplayers who want to pursue a career in Cosplay also push to have a high number of followers as part of their business model. However, compared to ten years ago, it’s harder than ever. Today, we’re going to talk about why it’s so difficult to grow on social media as a cosplayer.
The Cosplay “Bubble” Has Burst
When cosplay started on social media and became popularised, the initial appeal was that cosplay was this very cool and unique thing to follow on social media. Now however, instead of a few select people online representing a community, a large percentage of cosplayers will also have a social media channel to showcase their work. It’s one of the many ways the community connects and thrives outside of the convention scene.
Having so many cosplayers online has saturated the market to a point where the content has lost its unique charm.
It’s Highly Competitive
Oversaturation in any community however leads to a highly competitive market.
When cosplaying, it’s like walking into a party where everyone is wearing the same outfit that you are. With a platform like Instagram, for example, it’s organised in a way where you use a certain hashtag and everyone else cosplaying that character will pop up. Unlike a convention where there might only be one or two others in a similar costume.
Basically, you’re getting lost in a sea of people wanting the exact same thing and targeting the exact same target audience. Using Instagram as an example again, under the hashtag #cosplay, there are over 3 million posts, with more coming in daily. As a newer cosplayer you won’t appear in “top posts” as they have been taken over by people with higher counts and a higher average like rate. “New Posts” has such a high number going in it, it’s hard to keep up in a sea of other cosplayers.
Targeting The Right Audience Is Tricky
There are several different audiences you can target in cosplay. The largest audiences are:
- Existing Fandoms
Unless you’re cosplaying from only one property it’s hard to find something that everyone will like every time, it’s different from other brands and personalities on social media where you would arrange your feed in a similar colour scheme or style. Some people will follow you because you are cosplaying from a fandom they like, when you stop posting content like that, you are more likely to lose those followers.
If the target is non-cosplayers or a specific fandom, then you’re also competing with other cosplayers, fan art, official art and memes for clickthrough and follows. When you target a fandom, you’re mixed in with all the other fandom-specific content there as well.
Cosplay Is A Secondary Community
Cosplay is a unique medium where it relies on content from other mediums to exist. Cosplay is literally wearing your fandom, and for that to exist you need to have a character or reference to refer back to. Cosplay is a by-product of other industries in the same way that fan art is. If the fandom itself isn’t popular or currently “on trend” then it can be a struggle to use costumes from these properties to grow your audience.
There Is A Slow Turn-around For Content
In Cosplay, we can rarely create an amazing piece of content quickly and as frequently as other content creators. To create that epic image will take a couple months of crafting, then the photoshoot and even then, it’s gamble on how well the image is received online.
In the end, there is a lot more effort that goes into a single costume compared to some other mediums of content creation. Having a slow turnaround makes it difficult to consistently post and keep your audience engaged as well.
People Don’t Press The “Like” or “Follow” Button as Easily Anymore
Majority of cosplayers started creating social followings when Facebooks pages function became a way to create a following for brands and engage with their followers. During this time, following pages was easier, the algorithm supported chronological posts and Facebook was pushing these pages to be viewed by consumers. Now, as there are more and more of these pages, people are much more selective about who they follow. There is a sea of personalities people can follow and there is only a select number of those that will actively follow the content.
Social Media is Pay-To-Play
Social media channels such as Facebook used to push businesses chronologically. Now however, Facebook and Instagram push more of a paid model to reach your target audience. It’s very difficult to grow an audience organically compared to ten years ago. Facebook has so many businesses wanting to push their product, Facebook now operates on a “bid” system for what ad gets shown to your target audience. Whoever has the highest bid will ultimately be shown on the news feed.
Cosplay is a constantly growing market that relies heavily on social media. Whether it’s for the purpose of a career or to widen a personal network, social media has played a massive part in cosplay for years. Even though the bubble has popped and even with the challenges mentioned above, there is still ways to maximise your social media while keeping these points in mind. Hopefully this article has given you insight on the challenges faced with growing a following on social media for cosplayers and will help you understand some of the difficulties you may be currently facing.