Author: Lenka

Actors Mindset Social Media

Actors, this mindset shift will change the way you see social media

Social media give the creeps to many actors, yet you feel like you should be using them. Your agent or manager tells you that. You read all these articles telling you that you should. You also read a lot of articles that scare you about posting the wrong thing and ruining your career. THIS. IS. CONFUSING! Right?

Let’s think about social media in a way you perhaps haven’t considered:

Social media is a medium, that gives anyone the freedom to tell the stories they were born to tell.

No middlemen, no waiting for your break, no waiting for a chance to show what you can do. You are in charge of creating content in a way that you want and know is most on brand for you.

With good, consistent work and authentic voice, you can build a good name in time and attract an audience that loves what you do. Buyers (casting directors, producers, directors, etc.) included.

Social media gives you the power to SHOW what you can do. It’s a S**T TON of hard work, let’s be real, but so is everything else. If you are going to take advantage of that and how you go about that is up to you.

Doesn’t this mindset make you feel empowered?

Now, you may have a few questions popping up in your mind, so let’s elaborate on what you just read.

Do I have to use social media?

NOPE! If it’s not on brand for you, then no. You don’t HAVE TO. You can have a social media presence – having your handle on all social media sites registered, headshot as your profile picture, your logline in your bio and your website link included leading anyone who finds you to the place where they can find your materials. But you don’t have to be posting anything if it’s not on brand for you.

WHAT CONTENT SHOULD I SHARE?

That depends on your brand and your talents. I’m happy to help you figure that out. A great place to start is my e-book Social Media for Actors, where I write in great detail about content creation, community building and much more.

As a case study, let’s have a look at an amazingly talented Actress and YouTuber Mary Kate Wiles (who you may know as Lydia from the Emmy-winning show The Lizzy Bennet Diaries and many other online shows).

Her YouTube channel (which you should totally subscribe to!) is an excellent portfolio showcasing her brand and talents. She teaches buyers about her amazing singing voice by doing song covers. She shows off her screenwriting and songwriting chops by creating original work such as songs and short movies. And she’s being a total ninja by sharing her knowledge about showbusiness that is useful for a part of her online community – all (aspiring) actors. She’s also so smart to start her own show Call Sheet interviewing showbiz professionals – being of use to her community and nurturing those relationships, BRILLIANT! And more…

Mary Kate’s channel is a great inspiration that can teach you a lot.

HOW TO CREATE GOOD & CONSISTENT WORK?

Honestly, when you just start out, your content is not going to be very good. But if you persevere, you’ll get good in time. What helped me personally was to do Bonnie Gillespie’s Self-Tape Challenge. I learned what I wanted and didn’t want to create, I learned editing basics and I learned that a lack of proper technology isn’t a stopper, only excuses in my head as to why I can’t create content were stoppers. Allow yourself to experiment. For support and feedback, you can join the SMFA Ninja Self-Tape Challenge group on Facebook. You don’t have to share your first trials and errors publically, but you can share them with fellow actors and start creating publically once you feel ready.

WILL I HAVE TO DO MARKETING?

YEP! Without it, nobody’s going to know about your brilliant work. Here are a few tricks how to stop feeling icky about marketing:

  1. Lead with value. Tell people about the benefits THEY WILL GET from what you are sharing. Make it about them, not about you.
  2. Know your audience. Use Stanislavski’s character breakdown method to learn more about them: Who are they? (age, interests, work, place of residence, etc.)
    Based on that knowledge, you can then imagine, what would catch their attention and then deliver it to them in a way that serves them.
    Just like you would act differently in a role of a king/queen, doctor, lawyer, father/mother… you would talk differently to middle-aged musical theatre fans, teenage make-up enthusiasts, elderly comedy lovers, etc.

    When you know who you are talking to, it doesn’t feel like marketing, it feels like connecting and sharing value with another human being.

  3. Learn more about marketing. I used to feel icky about it as well and there are certainly marketing and sales methods and tools that dive me the creeps. However, marketing is a lot about studying human behavior and habits, which is something that us, actors, need to study as well, so once you sink your teeth in, you might even find it interesting and enlightening.
  4. Study online creators. The way they do marketing and connect with their audience can teach you a lot about doing promo for your work in a way that is authentic and not forceful.
    Here is a list of awesome creators you may want to start with: IISuperwomanII, Casey NeistatGrace Helbig, Vlogbrothers, Peter McKinnon, Amy Schmittauer, Sunny Lenarduzzi, Anna Akana, Lindsey Stirling, Us the Duo, My Harto, Mamrie Hart, Humble the Poet, Film Riot, Pentatonix, and the list goes on and on. Many awesome creators out there!

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I hope you found this article helpful and please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Do you want other actors to stop worrying about social media? Help them by sharing this article. If you want to learn more about using social media for your career in a way that doesn’t feel icky, please check out my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.

instagram planning apps

Do You Need to Plan Your Instagram Feed? Tips for Useful Apps

Short answer? Yes and… no. It depends on how you want to use Instagram. Let’s have a look at two different ways you can use Instagram.

Instagram Grid is like your portfolio with the best photos representing your brand and Instagram Stories are a great way to share random moments from your day and they disappear in 24 hours. Today let’s talk about the Instagram Grid:

When a user discovers your profile, they browse through your grid and decide if the story your profile tells about you resonates with them enough to want to follow you. It’s important that it has a theme, so it communicates your brand.

Instagram Pro’s (usually bloggers and influencers) even edit their photos in a unified way and carefully plan out the posts so they work together on the grid. Here are some examples:

instagram influencers

However, when you look at the feeds of celebrities and personalities, you don’t see that level of effort as you do with influencers. For people famous outside of social media, it’s all about letting their fans in their lives, showing behind the scenes photos etc. Their feeds don’t look unified, but their face and status is a theme on its own. Here are some examples:

instagram celebrities

What should I choose?

Both ways of using Instagram are right and the choice depends on what you want to get out of using the app.

  • Do you want to focus on your acting career and only use social media in order to have an online presence?
  • Do you what to show what you are working on?
  • Do you want to just share photos from your life as an actor to connect with your fans? 

    If you answered YES to these questions and the thought of putting too much time and effort into Instagram stresses you out, then you should approach it like celebrities do. Just keep on sharing your life as you please.

    OR

  • Are you considering using social media as a content creator?
  • Do you want to start your own side hustle/online business to support your acting career?
  • Do you want to work with brands on sponsored content?

If you answered YES to these questions, then you should use Instagram as influencers do. Just know it’s a lot of work and you’ll need to put in a lot of hours before you begin to see any significant results. However, if you are excited about photography, enjoy expressing yourself this way or you have a particular project in mind, then you won’t mind all the work and you’ll have fun with the process.

Luckily for you, there are some really cool apps that can make it much easier for you to prepare the content for your Instagram in bulk. I’ve talked about batch creating in my e-book Social Media for Actors, but let’s recap why it’s useful to prepare content in bulk:

  • Consistency: If you have enough content prepared, it allows you to always have something to post even on the busiest days. That way you won’t stop posting and keep a consistent posting schedule.
  • Convenience: You don’t have to make time every single day to think of something to post. If you set aside time to prepare it in a batch, it will make your life so much easier.

Unlike with Twitter or Facebook, you can’t automate your posts. Instagram doesn’t allow 3-party sites to post on your account’s behalf. This means, that even when you use apps for planning, all you can do is prepare the posts and set a reminder. You’ll still have to do the publishing by hand.

Let’s have a look at some of the best apps out there:

PLANOLY

I really like Planoly for its friendly user interface. My most favorite function is the grid planning drag & drop feature, where you can upload a bunch of photos, move them around and decide in which order you are going to publish them based on how they look next to each other.

You also have a calendar, where you see photos you posted on each day, likes and comments. In the analytics, you have some useful data, this will help if your Instagram account set on personal and not on business (where you have an analytics function). Another great function is the hashtag storage that allows you to simply add the hashtag cloud to a photo. Planoly has a desktop version that allows you to prepare the content on your computer.

UNUM

UNUM only works as an app, it doesn’t have a desktop version. The app has very similar functions as Planoly does, including analytics, calendar etc. It’s easy to navigate and learn to work with this app if you prefer something more minimalist.

LATER

Later, formerly called Latergram, is a very simple app with a few functions that get the job done. Their desktop version is way more sophisticated than the mobile app with additional functions similar to Planoly and UNUM.  A great thing about Later is that you can also use it for other apps than Instagram, it works for Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as well.

All three of these apps are available for iOS and Android devices and have free (limited functions) as well as paid plans (more features). If you want to learn how to work with the apps, they all have YouTube channels or blogs with tutorials (Planoly, UNUM, Later).

Safety tip: All these apps I recommend because I’ve tested them out myself. I’ve checked user reviews for any red flags when it comes to safety. There are plenty of apps out there that have similar features, but you should always read user reviews and search the Internet for any warnings. Also, read the Terms of Service and think twice before allowing access to your phone or your account. Read more about Instagram safety tips in my previous article.

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Wanna learn more about Instagram? Check out my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.

Let the community know if you are using any cool apps they should know about in the comments below.

news-apps-hollywood

How to Keep Up with Showbusiness News with Apps

Catching up on what’s new in show business can seem overwhelming. There are many sites with new content popping up faster than anyone can read. Luckily there are some apps that can help sort through that and cut down the search time. There are plenty, but let’s start with a few of my favorite ones:

FEEDLY

Feedly is an RSS reader that collects newest articles from websites you select to follow and it even recommends you similar websites to follow. You can also save YouTube videos there and watch them on the go.

You can register in a couple of ways, either with an e-mail address or with accounts on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft or Evernote.

A great thing about Feedly also is that it’s integrated with various apps and social media sites, which makes sharing discovered content very easy.

POCKET

This useful app is going to make reading articles your favorite thing again. You see, when you read articles, you get distracted by banners and overwhelmed by the number of other articles.

Pocket strips all saved articles to bare text, which makes reading distraction-free and easy to focus on.

Pocket is available for desktop, tablets, and mobile. Saved articles you can read anywhere, even when you are offline.

TWITTER

Create a special list for all the show business accounts you want to follow. If you want to learn more about using Twitter list, check out my previous article. My recommended lists you can find on @SMforActors.

Now one thing is to know about these apps and other is creating a system of using them that works for you best. This is going to be individual for every person.

TIP: What I like to do is that I use Feedly to discover articles. I scan them in the app, but if I want to read them, I save them to Pocket and read them on my phone. Why? I get easily distracted on my laptop, but I’m able to read undistracted on my phone for some reason.

One of the best things about using these apps is that they are connected and you can set up processes to make them work for you, so you can cut down on your research time.

Wanna learn how to do that? I’ve written an entire chapter about this in my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.

Let the community know if you are using any cool apps they should know about in the comments below.

social-media-jobs

Social Media Survival Jobs for Actors

Online marketing is a perfect area in which actors can find survival jobs. Why? It’s flexible, can be done from anywhere at any time. Also, there are many companies and digital agencies looking for flexible and creative people.

What jobs can you do in online marketing?

Account Management
Can you manage Facebook pages or groups, YouTube channels, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest profiles? You can get hired by a company or a digital agency to manage their client’s profiles. Search for Account Management or Community Management jobs.
Data Entry
Do you enjoy working with spreadsheets or documents and are super organized? Many companies or freelancers look for virtual assistants to help them out with administration.
Copywriting
Product description, video scripts, captions, website copy, slogans and claims, bios and profile descriptions, all of this needs a creative mind behind it. If writing is your skill, you might be able to put it to use in this job.  Check out SMFA ninja and SMFA-U Prof Quincy Cho and her awesome copywriting business as a great example.
Data Analysis
They say this is the job of the future in the area of online marketing. Do you have the ability to think analytically, can sort out numbers and data into reports, that would help companies make better business decisions? This might be the right gig for you.
SEO Optimization
Do you understand how search engines work, can analyze keywords, do link building, correct HTML & CSS codes and such? SEO Specialists very sought after.
Web Design
Can you code or optimize WordPress templates? Great! You can work with digital agencies and companies as their in-house coder, or you can freelance and offer your services, which will give you even more freedom.
Graphic Design
Companies need logos, wireframes, ads graphics, social media graphics and much more. Graphic design is one of the most sought after skills in online marketing, not to mention amongst the best-paid jobs.
Content Creation
Are you good at photography, filming and editing videos, writing blog posts or creating simple graphics? Companies or agencies need creatives full of ideas both for one-off or regular gigs.
Brand Deals
Influencer marketing is a current trend because brands realize that people’s shopping habits have changed thanks to the Internet. People want to read or watch a review and hear recommendations from other people. So brands hire people with an online presence to review their products.
Sales
Do you have a talent for business? Companies are constantly hunting for great sales people and are often willing to negotiate flexible hours allowing you to work from home, run off to auditions and organize work so it suits your needs as long as you are delivering results.
Emailing
Do you understand emailing services and CRM systems? These skills are very sought after because e-mail is still among the best marketing channels. The best thing is that many tasks can be automatized, allowing you for a lot of freedom to do work when it suits you.
FB or PPC Ads
Can you create Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest ads and you know how to work with Google AdWords? These skills are highly sought after by companies with products or services. Search for Ads Manager jobs.

How to start with online marketing

Now, from my personal experience, it’s really useful to have a general knowledge of online marketing and a mix of skills even though you may specialize in a particular area.
Digital Agencies
If you have a user-level knowledge of social media and would like to do it professionally, consider getting a day job in a junior position at a digital agency. This is going to be the best learning experience as agencies often need universal soldiers, so you’ll get to do a bit of everything (at least according to my experience, can’t speak for all agencies).
Even though you can often work from home, it’s really good to go to the office as well, because working in a team is incredibly valuable. You can teach each other a lot and it will make you grow faster than being on your own all the time.
Check out Digital Agencies Network to find one the where you live: https://digitalagencynetwork.com/agencies/
Companies
Another option is to look for junior positions in marketing departments of companies. Perhaps your work won’t be as colorful as in a digital agency, but you can still learn a lot by working for a single brand.
Where to get remote jobs:
The upside of these sites is that if you are just starting out and need to get your first clients and references, you might get ones here. Set up daily e-mail digests to cut down on the time spent on that. The downside of these sites is a high competition rate and clients often look at the price and take the lowest.
Here is where all your SMFA ninja training pays off. Just like you create a Show Bible, you can create a list of companies you’d like to work for and approach them directly. Either responding to their job offers or just reach out with an offer of your own. Often companies hire even when they don’t advertise that.
You can also search for remote or digital nomad job-search focused groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.
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Did you like these tips? Make sure to let me know in the comments below and if you’d like to learn how to use social media like a ninja, check out my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.
instagram hacked

How to Prevent Your Instagram Account from Being Hacked

More and more Instagram accounts are being hacked these days, which is quite scary. You are building your account to represent your actor brand, investing a lot of time and effort into it and you wouldn’t want it to go to waste. So let’s have a look at what you can do to prevent a hack from happening.

HAVE A STRONG PASSWORD
A strong password should be AT LEAST 6 characters long, the longer, the better. It should consist of a combination of  Capital Letters, Lower-Case Letters, Numbers, and Symbols. Also, don’t forget to change your password every once in a while and don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. Think twice before saving your passwords in a browser for convenience.

KEEP YOUR E-MAIL SECURE
Whoever has access to your e-mail might be able to get to your Instagram account, too. Do you let someone else use your computer or smart phone? They might unintentionally visit a website that harms your computer or smartphone. Make sure you log-off your e-mail, use a strong password and use a security lock on your phone. Also be careful about using public wi-fi.

USE THIRD PARTY APPS WITH CAUTION
There are some great apps for planning your posts that I recommend using in my e-book Social Media for Actors. These apps are approved by Instagram or even Instagram Partners. Before using any third-party app, it’s important to read their Terms of Service and do some research into what people say about the app.
I do not recommend using apps for buying or otherwise acquiring followers, mass following and unfollowing. These apps generally aren’t approved by Instagram and Instagram is shutting these apps down for API violations.

TURN ON TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Instagram created the two-factor authentication to further secure user’s accounts, but still many people don’t know they can protect their accounts this way.
How to turn it on? 
1. Go to your profile and click on   ios-settings-sign(iOS) or   android-settings-sign(Android).
2. Scroll down to ACCOUNT settings and click on Two-Factor Authentication.
3. Turn on  turn on signRequire Security Code by swiping on the icon. If it’s white then it’s OFF, if it’s blue then it’s ON.
4. Now you need to add your phone number, so you can receive a code. Your phone number will now be linked to your account for further security.
5. You’ll receive a code via text message, insert the number and click Next.
You’ll also notice that you now have Backup Codes for your Instagram account. You should save them safely as you’ll need to use them in case something happens with your account.

I hope you found these tips helpful and continue to enjoy Instagram. There is no need to panic over losing your account or to become paranoid and stay away from anything online. However, it’s good to adopt habits that will keep you safe online.

Would you like more tips like this? Leave me a comment or tweet me @SMforActors.