How to Get Verified on Instagram

Good news! Instagram has finally introduced a way to apply to get verified on their platform.  How does it work and who is it for? Let’s dig in!

REQUIREMENTS

So what do you need in order to get verified?

Your account has to comply with the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. I’d recommend everyone to make a big cup of tea or coffee and read it to make sure you aren’t unknowingly breaking any rules.

Once you know you are fine, you are ready to fill out the form. Where can you find it? Open your Instagram app. Tap on   and then Settings > Request Verification. Enter your full name and provide the required form of identification (example: government-issued photo ID).

Remember, applying doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the verified badge. They need to confirm the authenticity, uniqueness, completeness, and notability of your account.

What does it mean? Quoted from their website help section:

  • Authentic: Your account must represent a real person, registered business or entity.

  • Unique: Your account must be the unique presence of the person or business it represents. Only one account per person or business may be verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts. We don’t verify general interest accounts (example: @puppymemes).

  • Complete: Your account must be public and have a bio, profile photo, and at least one post. Your profile can’t contain “add me” links to other social media services.

  • Notable: Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity. We review accounts that are featured in multiple news sources, and we don’t consider paid or promotional content as sources for review.

They might do a background check on you, so make sure you are Googleable. What might help with that? Having a website, content on social media, profiles on IMDb and acting websites, or perhaps create a Wikipedia page as well. Having been interviewed by notable media outlets might help, too.*

*These tips are only my personal recommendation and it should not be taken as information coming from Instagram or Facebook.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SENDING THE REQUEST

Keep in mind that even if you think you are eligible for verification, Instagram doesn’t guarantee that your account will be verified. If you’ve been denied, you can submit a new request after 30 days. Also remember that even if you’ve gotten a verification badge, Instagram can take it away at any time if you violate some of the rules.

NOT ELIGIBLE?

What are some of the other ways to let your fans know that it’s really you? Include your official IG account on your acting website, link your account with your official Facebook page or Twitter account. You can put a link on your official YouTube channel as well.

Another option is to mention it in bio (I’d refrain from this unless you have a problem with an impostor) or film a short video saying hello and welcoming everyone on your official profile (that’s way more subtle and personal).

VIDEO SPECS:
On your profile (grid): max. 60 seconds, filmed in a square or landscape (16:9)
Instagram Stories: 15 seconds, filmed as vertical video (9:16)*

*Remember to add the Story in your Highlights, otherwise it disappears in 24 hours.

NEED MORE TIPS ON INSTAGRAM? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES AS WELL:

INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: A CREATIVE WAY TO SHOWCASE YOUR BEST STORIES
DO YOU NEED TO PLAN YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED? TIPS FOR USEFUL APPS
HOW TO PREVENT YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT FROM BEING HACKED
GREAT PHOTO EDITING APPS FOR INSTAGRAM

IMPRESSIVE NETWORKING TIP FOR TWITTER

Imagine you are at a networking event, you’ve had a fun convo about something you saw on Twitter the other day and towards the end of the chat, the other person asks you for your Twitter handle so the two of you can connect. Now, you could do it the old-fashion way and spell it out for them. Or, you could let them add you via your QR code and look like a boss! Don’t know how to do that? Lemme teach you!

There are two ways to find your QR code:

  1. Swipe right and look at the bottom right corner.
  2. Go to your profile, click on the three dots (Android) or the wheel (iOS) and click on QR code.

Now, this QR code is going to appear and you show it to the other person for scanning.

Twitter QR code

How can they scan it? They have to also go to their QR code the same way you did, but if they want to add you, they have to click on the camera icon on the bottom of the screen or just swipe left. Now they see a camera and with that, they have to aim it at your QR code.

Once they do that, your profile is going to pop up like this and they can simply click follow.

Twitter QR profile

Smooth, right?

No more awkward typing of your handle, correcting any misspelling, browsing through all the other people Twitter suggests. This way you are going to impress the other person with your understanding of this cool Twiter feature and who knows, perhaps even teach them something new and you bet they are gonna remember you for that!

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Did you like this article? Let me know in the comments, so I know I should write more articles like this. And if you’d like to learn more cool tricks about Twitter, I wrote an e-book Twitter for Actors.

If you like watching videos, I publish a weekly show called Quick Social Media Tips for Actors, so make sure you subscribe and hit the notification bell so YouTube sends you a reminder that I published another video.

how to create instagram custom highlights

Instagram Highlights: A Creative Way to Showcase Your Best Stories

Stories are a format that’s hot at the moment. They are easy and fun to make, yet many people feel like they are not worth the invested time and effort, as they disappear in 24 hours. Instagram yet again found inspiration in Snapchat and took it a few steps further and introduced Highlights. Let’s talk about how you can use them creatively!

WHAT ARE HIGHLIGHTS

In case you don’t know what Highlights are, they can be found in your profile and serve to showcase some of your Stories. So if you want a particular story you created to last longer than 24 hours, you can save it to Highlights with a simple click on the circled heart in your story.

how to add your story to highlights

Do you want to add an older story to your Highlights? Since December 2017 you have the option to have your Stories privately archived, check if you have it turned on in the Story Settings.

turn on saving stories to archive

If you have done that, you can add your older stories from there.

add stories from archive

If you want to add even older Stories to your Highlights, you are going to have to upload it to your Stories again and click to be added to Highlights and let it run for 24 hours.
(In case you are wondering: I tried if I can delete it from Stories after adding it to Highlights, but unfortunately, that doesn’t work. It immediately disappears from Highlights as well.)

GETTING CREATIVE WITH HIGHLIGHTS

Now that we know how to add Stories to Highlights, let’s have a look at how can you use them in a creative way. When you have a look at my profile, you can see that I created several thematic Highlights and I created a graphic for each of them (not my idea, I saw other Instagrammers doing it, loved it, and created some in my brand colors and my signature design style).

thematic highlights

Based on what you share a lot of, create Highlights by topic: behind the scenes, audition looks, best of your cat, etc.

If you want to create similar graphics like I have, you can use my favorite Canva, Adobe Spark or Photoshop. You’ll need to create a graphic that is 1080 x 1920 px  (9:16) and you need to place your icons exactly in the middle.

canva story design

Then download them to your phone and upload them to your Stories. Then click to save them in Highlights and it will offer you to create a Highlight or add to an existing Highlight. You create a new one and use these designs as the cover image.

After you’ve done that, just simply start adding stories to the Highlights based on their topic. Simple and fun, huh? Lemme know what you think.

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Did you know I started sharing Quick Social Media Tips for Actors on my YouTube channel? Take a look and subscribe to get notified about new videos every Thursday.

get in gear brandprov

How to Keep Track of Your Brandprov with Online Tools & Social Media

Today I have two tips for keeping track of your brand. In the last ten days of 2017, #SMFAninjas took Facebook, Twitter, and other social media by storm working on their tools. One of the things they worked on is their brand and Brandprov. They answered many Brandprov questions, but what to do with all the questions and answers afterward? I use Canva and Pinterest to keep track of my brand and in this article, I’m going to show how I do that.

CANVA

Canva is my favorite free online tool for graphic design. I’m a visual creature, so I like to have a manual that consists of text and photos. Canva allows you to choose any format (I used the A4 format) and it has a wide selection of typefaces. You can add any color by using hex codes. You can also upload any pictures from your computer.
SMFA brandprov
Canva works in a drag-and-drop way, so anyone can learn to work with it easily. If you want to learn more about creating graphics, check out their Canva Design School.
My brand manual is still a work in progress, as is my brand, but having this manual helps me visualize my brand and to stay aligned with it. You can have a look at it here.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is a social media site where you can create public or secret thematic boards.
pinterest boards
I’ve created inspirational boards for my on-brand clothes that serve me as inspiration for shopping, so my closet becomes 100% on-brand over time.
on-brand fashion
Another board I have serves as an inspiration to create a home that would match my on-brand lifestyle. I also collect inspiration on how to decorate my current room that would help me live on-brand now.
on-brand interior design
Other two boards, I want to mention are my collection of coffee-themed memes and a Travel Bucket List that are both on-brand for me.
travel bucket list and coffee memes
Last board I’d like to talk about is my Mindset board where I have quotes mainly from Tony Robbins and Bonnie Gillespie. Now this board serves me as a place I go to read them over and over to help me remind myself of their meaning. This repetitive action makes it stick in my head as our brains are wired in a way that we need to see and hear something repetitively to really remember it.
inspirational quotes
Have you found this helpful? Share your brand manuals and boards with the community. Maybe your ideas inspire someone.
Would you like to learn more about using social media, content creation and building a fanbase? Check out my e-books Social Media for Actors and Twitter for Actors on SMFA-U.
twitter-lists

Smart Ways to Use Twitter Lists as an Actor

Twitter timeline can seem like such an overwhelming chaos that can put off many beginners. This is where lists come to rescue. Did you know that you can create private or public lists, where you can put users based on who they are or what they post? There are some smart ways you can use twitter lists to sort your tweets or to network like a pro. Let’s talk about that.

Twitter lists

Before you start creating a list, make sure you’ve selected private or public. Lists are automatically set as public, so be careful.

PRIVATE LISTS

Are great for sorting your tweets. You can create lists with specific people and browse their tweets in a more mindful way with a specific goal. Wanna catch up on some industry news? Curious what your target Casting Directors and Agencies are up to? Need to catch up with SMFA ninjas community? Having a specific goal in your mind will help you not waste hours on social media.

Recommended list ideas:

– SMFA ninjas
– Casting Directors
– Actors, Directors, Producers etc. (either together or separately, up to your preferences)
– Showbiz News
– Online Creators (that you learn from)

A cool trick with lists is also that you can put people in them even when you don’t follow them.

So if you are worried about following a lot of Casting Directors and looking desperate or like a stalker, you can just add them in your list and engage with them without following at first.

You can always follow them later when it feels right to take that next step. Make sure you sync it with your Show Bible.

PUBLIC LISTS
There is an unwritten rule on Twitter that public lists serve as a place where you recommend people you think other’s should follow. People can then go follow either the recommended users or a whole list. For example, I really want to recommend all the badass SMFA-U Profs as they all bring so much value to the community with their courses, so I created a public list. You can find more of my lists with recommended accounts here.

Another great use of public lists is to recommend the cast and crew of your project or film. Not only you’ll show who’s working on your project, but you’ll show appreciation to your cast and crew, as they might gain followers, fans or even get more work.

You can also use a public list as your portfolio, a list of projects you’ve worked on and want people to check out. Producers might appreciate this as you are helping with the project’s marketing by drawing attention to it on social media. Of course, make sure you align your actions with their marketing efforts. Are they actively tweeting information about the project? Then they are trying to make a buzz about the project and now is a great time to lend a helping hand.

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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. Need to learn how to add people to lists? Click here to get to Twitter Help Center.

facebook vs. youtube how should you upload videos

Facebook vs. YouTube: How to share videos on Facebook

“I want to share my video on Facebook. Should I upload it directly or can I link it from YouTube?” is a question I often see actors ask. Facebook is heading in the direction of video-first platform, so it prefers native video over video linked from other websites, especially YouTube, who’s their direct competitor. Research by Quinly has even shown that native video on Facebook performs 10X better than linked video from YouTube.

Quintly Study of Facebook Interaction

Source: Forbes, Quintly

IF YOU ARE AN ACTOR

You just want to share your demo reel or a clip from a project you are acting in. In that case, it’s better to upload it directly to Facebook because you don’t need to worry about views and engagement splitting across platforms or losing video revenue like creators do.

Either upload your video on your Page or on your Personal profile. If you are uploading it to your Page do that through the Publishing Tools, which you can find in the menu of your Page. While uploading, always set it to Save as a Draft, so it doesn’t publish right away. Why? Sometimes FB/Internet connection is faster than you are in optimizing your video. This gives you the assurance you can edit it properly before posting. Especially subtitles are a good to add as a lot of people connect to FB via their phones and watch videos with the sound OFF.

If you are uploading it to your Personal profile, don’t forget to check privacy settings to Public otherwise when people share your video, it’s going to show up as Attachment Unavailable. You don’t want that.

IF YOU ARE A CREATOR

Another story is when you are a creator, you upload videos regularly and you monetize your videos on YouTube, which at the moment you can’t do on Facebook, you can do what creators do. They post a teaser, like the first 15-30s of the video, they upload it natively and they give people a call-to-action to watch the rest of the video on YouTube (and share the link in the post or in the comment). That way they are not losing on the revenue and the views on YouTube while getting enough exposure with a native video on Facebook.

Lilly IISuperwomanII Singh Facebook Page

Source: Facebook Page IISuperwomanII

One thing to keep in mind: Facebook is changing fast and in the future, it may be a more interesting place for sharing videos and making a living as a content creator. Recently Facebook introduced the Creator App, where you can gain knowledge, join the community of fellow creators and much more. Definitely, check it out.

Keep your eyes closely on the development and follow @SMforActors for all the relevant updates on social media.

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If you’d like to learn more about social media and how to make them work for you, invest in yourself by getting my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.

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.
***
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.

instagram photo editing apps

Great Photo Editing Apps for Instagram

Instagram is an excellent social media site for actors! It’s simple, visual and it’s easy to connect with a lot of creatives there. Not to mention this site has a great potential for actors as a side gig. But more on that in my eBook Social Media for Actors. In this article, I’d like to talk more about photo editing apps.

Some people use Instagram as their visual diary and not give much thought into editing – that’s perfectly fine. However, if you’d like to up your game with great photos, you’ll have to learn some editing skills. No need to get worried though, there are some amazing apps that you can use on your phone that will do the job.

SNAPSEED

snapseed

This app from Google can improve your photos just in a few clicks. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. What makes it so great? It’s user-friendly, has an in-app manual that will teach you how to edit your photos and most editing tools have an automatic mode that will improve your photo. It doesn’t always work 100% (especially white balance or brightness), so use it in moderation. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like me to create a video tutorial for this app.

VSCO

vscoThis app has some amazing presets that work magic with your photos (pst, my favorite is F2!), but it’s not exactly very user-friendly. At first, I got discouraged from using this app exactly for this reason, but I’m glad I pushed through the learning curve and these days I don’t edit my photos without it. In addition to the presets, you can edit the photo in any way you like. VSCO is available for Android and iOS. What more, VSCO isn’t just a photo-editing app, it’s also a community of photography lovers.

MORE photo-editing APPS

There are a few more apps that I’ve experimented with, but don’t use regularly. They usually allow some basic editing and have some filters more similar to the in-app ones Instagram offers. Some have additional features (light leaks, lens flares, advanced face tuning, etc.) you can have some fun with.

  • Photoshop Express
  • Photoshop Lightroom
  • Prisma
  • Aviary
  • Pixlr
  • Enlight
  • A Color Story
  • EyeEm
  • Airbrush (free version of Facetune)

More ADVANCED INSTAGRAM tips:

  • Choose a theme – let your photos tell the story of who you are and what are you interested in
  • Edit photos in the same way – consistently looking grid looks better as a whole
  • Your grid is like your showreel – post only your best work
  • Post consistently – no need to post the photo the same day you took it, plan your grid ahead in 3, 6 or 9 photo series
  • Stories are the place to experiment as they are more raw and forgiving

Now, you don’t NEED to do all this if it will take the joy out of using Instagram for you. But consider applying these tips if it excites you to get creative and you’d enjoy building a beautiful grid.

Wondering what to share, how to plan your posts and grow your audience? Learn all about it here.

best-image-tools

Great Tools for Creating Images for Social Media

You don’t need to be a Pro Graphic Designer or a Photoshop Wizzard to be able to create professionally-looking on-brand graphics for your social media profiles. There are plenty of online tools that are for free or cost a few bucks that will help you get the job done. Here is a list of some of my most favorite tools that I use regularly and can only recommend:

CANVA

Canva is one of my most favorite online tools ever. You can create impressive graphics in minutes. Don’t know anything about graphic design? Canva has you covered with its Design School that will teach you all about color and font combinations and much more.

PABLO BY BUFFER

If you’ve read my e-book Social Media for Actors you know that I recommend Buffer as a great tool for planning your posts, especially for Twitter. Buffer, however, has a great tool for creating images called Pablo that allow you to create and plan the post within one tool.

MAKERBOOK

Makerbook is your ultimate resource for images, icons, audio, video, fonts and much more. Whatever you are looking for, this directory will help you find it.

PEXELS

Is my go-to website for free images. Please make sure you study the license on each image and that you know what are you allowed to use the image for. It has happened to the best of us that we got it wrong.

BRAND COLORS

This tool will come handy for anyone that works with brands and is creating sponsored posts. Not always brands send their graphic manual, but on this website, you can find hex color codes of all the most well-known brands and social media sites.

ICONFINDER

Iconfinder is a great website with all sorts of free or low-priced icons available to use for personal or commercial purposes. Icons are a great way to communicate with images that sometimes speak better than words or help divide and structure blocks of text.

GET COLORS FROM IMAGE

Have you ever seen a perfect color on an image and thought “that’s my brand color!”, but wondered how can you get the hex code in order to use it on your materials? This tool has you covered. You just need to upload an image, click on the color and it will generate the hex code. Neat, huh?

Of course, there are plenty of other great tools out there! Which ones are you using? Let the ninjas know in the comments below. 🙂