Panels at AVN Expo Explore Rules of Fan Engagement

Above, Joey Kim, Shawna Leneé and Goddess Haven; photo by JFK/

LAS VEGAS—At last month’s AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, hundreds of cam stars, porn stars and indie clip producers descended on the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas to engage with fans and make their mark at one of the biggest showcases in the adult entertainment industry. And while they all have their different ways of pursuing a career in adult, they do share one thing in common: a need to build their own personal brand.

During the show, AVN put together two different panels that addressed that topic, both moderated by Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals. Each provided a window into how porn stars, cam stars and content producers in general engage with fans and get the most out of each and every social media platform.

In “Just Looking for Some Touch,” which took place January 24, panelists talked about how they connect with fans in creative ways that extend beyond sharing erotic content. Cam performers Joey Kim and HackerGirl represented the live cam side of the business; Goddess Haven and Will Havoc spoke as producers of fetish content; and Shawna Leneé offered the perspective of an adult star who now focuses on camming and producing her own content.

As someone who works on multiple platforms, Leneé had plenty of tips to offer up. “I’m not bound to work for a company and I’m free to work where I like. … Basically I give them permission to use my name because I’m making some income from it.”

Leneé started off with a discussion about goals, which she said are “majorly important. … Always know your stats, always know your monthly rankings, always know how much money you’re making per hour. Just try to meet your goals. Just keep working at it. And keep your numbers in mind. My numbers are running my head at all times.”

Statistics are also vital to Joey Kim, who showcases her content on “I’m very analytical. I like to see what’s going on,” Kim said. “There’s actually a lot of platforms available in terms of analytics about the people who visit your site. You can see in real-time analytics how many people are on your website, where they’re from, what are their interests, what are they logging on from—an Android, an iPhone, a PC or a MacBook, what model it is. And, like, their income. It’s kind of scary. That’s a whole other topic. That platform is available for you to really get more information about who these people are and what their interests are. Do they like video games? Do they like movies? It’s really good, especially when you’re building a platform for these people, to understand who they are.”

Moderator Tibbals asked about what the panelists are doing behind the scenes to succeed. Havoc spoke up about the importance of “picking a brand and sticking to it, even if it seems monotonous in a way and sort of formulaic.” He said that some people “shoot a huge variety of content and sort of throw it on the wall and see what sticks,” but it can be more effective to focus. “You have to find your niche and find your stride within that niche.”

From the audience, performer Summer Haze—returning after several years away from the business—asked the panelists to talk about ways to engage fans, such as contests.

Leneé said, “Something I see girls do is, if you have Twitter you can say, ‘Anybody who retweets this gets a raffle ticket.’ And you can give away a lot of stuff. You can give away your clips or give away your panties. … You’ll get subscribers that day. You have to make it an action now.”

Each speaker had a different answer about the biggest challenges they face in their line of work. HackerGirl said, “I think the biggest problem is understanding what the person on the other end’s perspective is of you. Their intentions.”

Goddess Haven, who specializes in financial domination and works with iWantEmpire, said, “I guess the challenge for me is keeping it fresh. There are only so many ways I can tell a guy that he’s a loser.” And she mentioned two other issues that had the audience nodding in agreement: “piracy and chargebacks.”

Kim picked up the second point. “Part of the policy for almost any big corporation is that they can freeze your account at any time if your work is ‘indecent,’ and they’re allowed to have that opinion. So that would be my biggest struggle, along with everything else that comes with stigma. I’m rebuilding my website now because it was built on a platform that froze my funds. …

“I’m dabbling my toes into cryptocurrency,” she added, “because there’s a lot more freedom and ability to make things fair.”

Another challenge faced by performers who do a lot of fan interaction is dealing with other people’s emotions. As Haven said, “When people are using you as an emotional dumpster, you’re taking on a lot. If you can’t separate from that, you’re going to absolutely go insane.”

MFC cam performer HackerGirl said she tries to be open to fans. “I think it’s really great to be an ear for people. That’s what people go on the internet for. You’re either spewing it out or taking it in.” But she suggests limiting more intense topics to private conversations. “Keep your open space happy and functioning,” she advised.


Above, Joey Kim, Shawna Leneé, Goddess Haven, Will Havoc, HackerGirl; photo by JFK/

One member of the audience asked, “Should the porn industry be separate from the cam industry?”

Havoc tackled this head on, criticizing attempts to separate sex workers into different tiers in a “whore-archy.” He cautioned, “I personally think that is dangerous because I think sex workers in general should help each other out. … Ten or 15 years ago a porn performer could have a really good career just shooting for other companies, not producing their own content, not doing webcam, not doing feature dancing or whatever, and I don’t think that’s true anymore. … Most porn performers I know also produce some form of their own content.”

Finally, Tibbals wrapped things up by asking panelists to indentify “something that does not work anymore.”

For Leneé: “Begging.” She said fans get indifferent when the same performers make frequent and desperate pleas for tips.

Havoc opined, “You don’t have to be a cold-hearted bitch to be a good Domme.”

Haven said, “Inconsistency is a huge fail. If you say you’re going to be on at 2 p.m. every day, do it.”

And HackerGirl said, simply, “Don’t copy your fellow models.” And that was a sentiment that everyone seemed to appreciate.


Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals; photo by Jeff Koga/@KogaFoto

The following day, Tibbals moderated a seminar titled “Make That Connection,” designed to focus not only on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, but also on platforms that are specific to the industry. There to share their experiences were Aubrey Kate, AVN’s 2017 and 2018 Transsexual Performer of the Year; Lindsay Banks, a Flirt4Free brand ambassador and Fleshlight girl; Jim Austin, head of business development for Stripchat and XhamsterLive; and Jenna Sativa, AVN’s 2017 and 2018 All-Girl Performer of the Year and a brand ambassador for iWantClips.

Austin cut to the chase, saying, “To be an adult performer these days you have to have a successful social media strategy.” He recalled a time when cam performers had to sit around and wait for traffic. “You felt like you had no control, you had no power. You were stuck in there waiting for the cam site to come up with some successful algorithm to send you traffic to make your day,” he said. “That’s changing. Now the power is in the hands of the stars. And the cam sites have to adjust to that. And I think it’s a really great way the industry is changing, and we fully support it.”


Above, Jenna Sativa, Lindsey Banks, Aubrey Kate and Jim Austin; photo by Jeff Koga/@KogaFoto

Those who sat in on this seminar came away with some solid tips for maximizing their impact on social media. Sativa, who had her Instagram deleted when she had 660,000 followers, says her current strategy is to also have accounts that are focused on non-adult interests, including cannabis and yoga. Banks sees high value in Snapchat and its storytelling features. “Snapchat keeps people tuned into your everyday life. … They form a connection.” And according to Aubrey Kate, who’s been kicked off Instagram five times herself, “Don’t be afraid to try new things.”

Among other well-stated points were Banks’ advice on the benefits of avoiding more hardcore content: “Don’t be too explicit … make people come to your site to see more.”

Sativa talked about using each platform to the fullest: “All your social media should follow a story, and each platform provides a different perspective on that story.” She also schedules her posts through iWantFanClub (an arm of iWantEmpire), so she can get away from the computer and spend time in nature.

Austin advised, “Users love it when you’re real. If you do feel angry or sad or passionate about an issue then you should talk about it, but you shouldn’t fake it. Take a stand but be yourself.”

Tibbals brought up the question of “shadowbanning,” and then explained how Twitter and other platforms will not necessarily shut down an adult performer’s account, but will instead suppress search results, making it difficult to find adult performers.

Banks allowed, “There’s no 100 percent way to protect yourself from that. You can’t advertise if you are in adult.” But she said it may help to have safe-for-work landing pages. “The layered approach is definitely a good idea.”

Sativa gets around the difficulty fans may have in finding her by using hashtags, including #JennaSativa or #Jennasabitch (the latter for her work in femdom).

Near the conclusion of the hour-long discussion, Tibbals again wrapped up by asking each participant for an example of things that do not work.

Banks said bluntly, “Don’t do things for free.”

Sativa emphasized, “Don’t forget to tell people where to find your content.”

Austin advised against “copying other models.”

To which Sativa added, “Make it a tribute, not a copy.”


Above, Jenna Sativa and Lindsey Banks; photo by Jeff Koga/@KogaFoto