Tag: SMFA-U

how to create instagram custom highlights

Instagram Highlights: A Creative Way to Showcast 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.

***

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.

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.

***

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.

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.

***

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.