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:
- Lead with value. Tell people about the benefits THEY WILL GET from what you are sharing. Make it about them, not about you.
- 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.
- Learn more about marketing. I used to feel icky about it as well and there are certainly marketing and sales methods and tools that give 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.
- 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 Neistat, Grace 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!
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.