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.
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.
If you have done that, you can add your older stories from there.
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).
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.
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.
Today, I have two tips for keeping track of your brand. One of the things actors–SMFA ninjas work on in GIGFTNT
is their brand and Brandprov
. But how to keep track of all the information and inspiration? I use Canva and Pinterest to keep track of my brand and in this article, I’m going to show how I do that.
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.
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 is a social media site where you can create public or secret thematic 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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you found this helpful? Share your brand manuals and boards with the community. Maybe your ideas inspire someone.
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.
Before you start creating a list, make sure you’ve selected private or public. Lists are automatically set as public, so be careful.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.