In 2017, I answered 2,149 questions in my Facebook groups, online courses, on panels, emails and direct messages from actors about their social media (yes… I kept track on a giant spreadsheet).
So here are the answers to this year's most Frequently Asked Questions about social media for actors...
"If I could only do one thing to work on my social media right now, what would it be?"
I’d suggest you work on creating an awesome first impression!
Most actors jump to building a following or networking with people or spreading the word about their new show without ever optimizing their social media profiles for success. If your profile doesn’t look good then all your audience building, networking and promotional efforts will be a waste of time.
Start with the basics first: optimize your header and cover photos and create bios that attract the people you want to know. Nowadays the first place you might meet someone is online! Whether it's because of a self-submission, social networking or even through a Google search.
Your first impression is crucial! In fact, you only have about 2 seconds to make a 1st impression on social media. I’d suggest you create a first impression that really rocks!
"Do I have to be on social media for my acting career?"
No- you don't have on be on social media at all if you don't want to. But keep in mind that times are a-changin'. Snapchat/Instagram takeovers, live tweeting, and posting requirements are popping up in contracts all the time now. AND becoming a social rockstar (which is totally learnable) can definitely open up opportunities for your career by increasing your visibility and castability as an actor. But it's totally up to you. 😉
"I'm finally getting my Instagram account up and running. What's the best process to get followers (when I'm starting with nothing)."
Great question! I love Arthur Ashe's quote: “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
Before you start meeting new people on the platform "use what you have" already. After you've added your immediate group of friends, think about who you've worked with in the past that you can re-connect with. Instagram makes it super easy to do this! You can invite your Facebook friends over to the platform or even the contacts on your phone.
Then "do what you can" for 5 minutes a day to meet new folks on the platform. Here's a quick exercise to try:
Take out a piece of paper and write down 5-10 Instagram accounts that have the same audience as your account (fellow voice actors, musical theatre actors, industry publications for actors, a similar web series, etc).
Choose one account from your list to start with and spend 5 minutes a day engaging with that account's followers by liking their posts and leaving thoughtful (non-spammy) comments. Many of these accounts will return the favor on your posts or follow you. Anyone who views their post will see your comment and may click over to your account to have a look!
You can do the same daily exercise for any hashtags your audience uses. You can like and comment on Instagram posts using those hashtags to build an engaged, like-minded audience.
So "start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can” for 5 minutes a day and you'll see follower growth in no time.
"Is it necessary to say actor in my bio?"
A-lister’s bios can be cryptic because we know who they are. Your bio is searchable on platforms like Twitter so adding your profession (actor, voice actor, musical theatre actor) could lead to opportunities. On Instagram your bio is not searchable, but using a keyword like 'Actor' can help us key-in to what you do!
"I read that it’s nice to thank all my new followers publicly- This is a lot of work. Should I be doing this?"
Thanking everyone who follows you (especially as your following grows) can be a huge time suck. It’s nice to show gratitude but, if your timeline is filled with thank you tweets, you look super friendly, but super boring. I selectively thank new followers or hop over to their page and comment or like one of their tweets to acknowledge them! Remember...your #1 job is being an actor, not sitting on social greeting your new followers.
"How important are social media follower counts?"
It’s true that social media follower counts and subscriber numbers have helped actors get cast in everything from blockbusters to network TV to indie films, reality TV and webseries BUT, at the end of the day, your goal as an actor should be a lasting career not a million followers. No one will keep watching your work if you can’t deliver on-set or on stage.
Follower counts are NOT more important than talent, however, they are a part of your brand (and your first impression online). AND they can be crucial if you are creating your own content or are planning to do any crowdfunding campaigns, so be sure to collect your new friends and fans on social media with every gig you book. I show you specifically how to do this here.
I invite you to stop focusing on growing a 'following' and instead think about it as 'building an audience'... for yourself, your projects and the things you care deeply about. It becomes more fun that way!
"How many hashtags should I use in my posts on Twitter?"
Good question! Too many actors are guilty of hashtag abuse! Hashtags are an essential part of your social strategy, but use them in moderation. Two to three hashtags per tweet is ideal, anything more looks like spam.
"Do I have to use the same headshot on all my platforms?"
You don't have to.... but you should. It can take 7 to 12 times for someone to recognize a brand online (and that includes a personal brand). These connections can lead to work...so why make this more difficult?
Do casting directors, producers, directors and other people who matter really look at your social media before casting you in a project? Should I be deleting stuff?
I can't speak for everyone but I know a lot of them do (especially if they don't know you). Casting directors can only call so many people in for each audition. If they don’t know you (especially if you are self-submitting) they might Google you. And what comes up in a Google search- your social media. So it can be part of your first impression in this business.
I suggest you do a Facebook Photo Audit of your profile a few times a year. Make sure you aren’t tagged in any photo that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Also look at the first 20 posts on each network. It’s likely that if someone is looking at your social media they are just going see those. Make sure that first impression reflects the actor they’re gonna work with in the room.
I hope these FAQs were useful for you, too.
Want to really start rocking your social media for your #Actorslife? Grab your free copy of my ebook The Ultimate Social Media Checklist for Actors here.
See you on social,