Building an audience is important for any actor or filmmaker. Every acting job you do, each day on set or piece of content you create is an opportunity to build your audience. Here are 32 ways you can grow your following on social media.
1. Makeover your social media bios! Your bio is a mini advertisement for why someone should like, subscribe or follow you! Tell us what you do, what you stand for and what you love! If you have a YouTube account, your ‘About’ section is your bio. This is where you can sell your channel to potential subscribers. Tell them how they’ll benefit by watching your channel and why they should subscribe.
2. Optimize your profile photo. If you’re an actor this should be your headshot. Make sure you use this photo on all your social networks so you’re recognizable to your fans.
3. Design your header, cover photos and YouTube Channel Art. These are all a part of your crucial first impression and help visitors decide whether or not to follow you. This real estate should tell us about who you are and should include your social icons (to cross promote and build your audience on other platforms).
4. Create a Custom Snapcode. If you are using Snapchat, customize your unique snapcode to match your website or the branding for your film. Be sure to add that Snapcode to your your site and social media.
5. Username Consistency. Make it easy for your followers and fans to find you by using consistent usernames for yourself or your projects across all your platforms.
6. Find the people you already know! Connect your email, other social networks, or your phone number (on Snapchat) to find the industry contacts you’ve already made.
7. Add follow buttons to your website. Whether it’s an actor website or a landing page for your film, always include social media icons and follow buttons to convert your visitors to followers. Want to go one step further? Add your twitter or Instagram feed or Facebook timeline to your site.
8. Add some tabs to your Facebook page. Add an Instagram feed and Twitter tab to your Facebook page.
9. Use Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. Knowing how to use hashtags correctly is fundamental to growing your audience on Twitter and Instagram (I show you how here). Hashtags allow your content to be discovered by new people who can follow you.
10. Add a watermark to your YouTube videos! YouTube allows you to add a branding watermark to your videos (in your channel settings) that allows non-subscribers to become subscribers with one simple click.
11. Add your social usernames to your business card. After making a connection with someone in person sometimes it’s easier to ask to connect on social media than asking for a phone number or email.
12. Include your social icons & snapcode in your email signature. Every email is an opportunity to build your audience!
13. Narrow your audience on YouTube. Novice content creators create random videos that they think everyone will like. By trying desperately to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. Think hard about who you’re creating content for. By being specific you will actually attract more of the right audience.
14. Try Live tweeting! Are you on TV tonight or do you write or work on a show that’s on TV tonight? Join the live conversation to connect with fans!
15. Take over an influencer’s account! If you’re guest starring on TV or you’re in an off-Broadway or Broadway show, see if you can do an Instagram or a Snapchat story takeover for an influential account to get access to their social media following.
16. Host a follower contest for your film! The possibilities are endless here! The winner could win a day on set, a background role, or a special online screening and all it costs to enter is a like or a follow! You can even share your contest with influencers to reach a wider audience.
17. Create a trailer for your YouTube channel. This trailer will autoplay for people who are not already subscribed to your channel. Keep your trailer short, exciting and end with a call to action to subscribe.
18. Join scheduled industry chats! Participate in Twitter chats for actors or filmmakers or create your own chat to promote your content or theatre company.
19. Share other people’s content. Repeated sharing is caring and many times is acknowledged by a retweet, a follow or a like. If sharing someone’s image or article be sure to always tag or mention the creator of the post. They may retweet your post and you’ll be introduced to their audience.
20. Clean up your Twitter account. The more influential you appear the easier it is to get that ‘follow’ on Twitter. Are you following way more people than are following you? Flip this ratio by occasionally unfollowing people who have decided not to join your party on Twitter.
21. Get Verified on Twitter! This goes with #20. Getting verified increases your credibility and will increase your follow back ratio. It’s much easier to get verified as a personal brand than it used to be. Twitter will get you started with the process here.
22. Ask to be “Suggested” on Snapchat. Regularly ask your followers to ‘suggest’ your account to others (using the ‘suggest’ arrow on your profile), just like how you’d ask for a retweet, like, or subscribe.
23. Create eye-catching thumbnails on YouTube. Your thumbnail is like a mini movie poster for your content. It’s only job is to get people to watch! Bright, high-resolution, compelling thumbnails (containing the title) usually perform very well. Your video can come up in search, but if your thumbnail is boring no one will click on it (and, obviously, never subscribe).
24. Create a Snapchat geofilter for your show, film premiere or theatre company! Snapchat has some simple guidelines to get you started. Encourage attendees to take photos at intermission, add your geofilter, and share them on social media using #YourShowsHashtag for special discounts! This spreads the word about your show and will build your audience on the platform.
25. Create YouTube playlists! Playlists (like this one) are one of the most underutilized growth hacks on YouTube since they show up in search results just like videos do. If you are creating a web series playlists are also a great way to ensure your audience will watch them the way you intended.
26. Network with artists on Snapchat! Add your name to snapchat directories for artists or use an app like Ghost Codes to meet other artists who may be interested in your projects and content.
27. Promote your account on your other networks. If you have the extra characters in your Twitter bio add your usernames for Snapchat & Instagram. Creatively tell your audience they should join you on your other networks for exclusive content.
28. Just ask them to Subscribe! Don’t assume that if someone liked your video they’re going to subscribe. Invite your viewers to subscribe at the end of your video so they can receive even more awesome videos like the one they just watched.
29. Showcase the behind-the-scenes of your film or #actorslife! Choose one platform to be your exclusive behind-the-scenes network (this works great on Snapchat or using Instagram Stories). Promote this ‘exclusive’ content to your existing fans on Facebook and Followers on Twitter to get them to build your audience on Snapchat or Instagram.
30. Comment on Other Facebook Pages (as Your Page). This is a rockstar way to get more exposure for your Facebook Page with a target audience. Find Pages where your audience is already having conversations and join in (be sure to comment as your page not your profile).
31. Post Consistently and Strategically! When your visibility increases, so do your followers. However, don’t just tweet and post at random times. Find the prime time your followers are on to maximize your every post. If your goal is to grow the audience on your YouTube channel, create a schedule for your content. People like structure and will be more likely to subscribe if they know how often they’ll be getting a new video.
32. Engagement is key! Find like-minded people in the business to engage with everyday. Reply, Retweet, Regram and React! You can also actively ‘follow’ interesting like-minded people on Instagram and Twitter and if you’ve done #1-3 above, they might just follow you back!
Above all, be patient and persistent. Just like a lasting career in the business, an audience takes time to build.
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