Journalists interested in building brands should do what actors and filmmakers do, follow these tips
By STEVE RAY
Actors and filmmakers shared tips on how to build fan bases this week at the monthly Women In Film & TV meeting in Washington, D.C. But anybody interested in building their brand, especially journalists, can learn from the following suggestions:
The 5 Key Points about the use of Social Media:
- Content – The content (posts updating your latest projects, casting, pictures, videos, etc) should be positive reinforcements of your brand
- Engagement – You should respond to comments, retweets, likes and emails in a timely fashion. This interaction will show your followers that you are more than just posting without regard to your audience
- Reach – Beyond your circle of immediate friends you should encourage your contacts, especially those NOT in the same business, to share and re-tweet & re-post your key content. It’s an exponential way to draw more eyes to your brand
- Community – Support others and build relationships. Become a part of other online social media groups and related circles of influence. You should not be a sycophant with people in positions to hire you, such as casting directors and producers, since you can overdo those “instant likes” without regard to what the content of the posting or tweet might be. Limit your “quasi-stalking” regardless of your enthusiasm.
- Consistency – Keep it fresh, update relevant posts on a regular basis. The average Facebook post is “active” for only about 27 minutes before it’s pushed down in the News Feed beyond what the normal person scrolls down to. Twitter can be lightning fast especially when there is a major news event, sporting event or political issue. Also, remember to post in your Facebook groups at staggered times throughout the day. When you post the same thing (like crowdfunding or event alerts) in five or six groups all at once all it does is push the News Feed down. Instead, use a trick broadcasters use and rotate your messages at different times on different days to reach people who only check social media when they wake up, every few days, at lunch or at the end of the day.
Tools you must have to build an effective social media presence. Your toolbox:
- Your website is your HQ (headquarters). There are a number of free or reduced cost hosting sites that you can use to have a central point-of-focus for all of your social media postings. You can keep it up-to-date with project news, demos or links to YouTube / Vimeo / Roku channels where your video content is hosted. You can tease a new blog entry or article you’ve written on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn and point people to your own website to read the full posting.
- You must have a smartphone or tablet to post from anywhere, and to check on the latest casting notices while you’re on location. And keep a few headshots and a current resume on those devices so you can attach them to an email submission no matter where you are.
- Recommended Apps – Scenepartner, Casting 360, Remote Prompter
- Your business cards should list your Social Media links and have a picture of you in lieu of always having headshots and resumes handy when you meet someone you’d like to network with. There are a number of specials now for inexpensive cards in full color from both the UPS Store (500 for $9.99) or VistaPrint which always has specials; both allow you to use templates or design your own.
In order to build your fanbase you’ve got to make social media as much a part of your business plan as searching out casting calls and auditions. Have a strategy, plan the week ahead on Sundays, research the product / service/ production company / casting director a few days ahead of your audition using search engines, their social media pages and by networking with fellow creative types. Look at casting or production company profiles, set up Google Alerts with keywords, do more promotion by putting email signatures and links to YouTube uploads and submission emails. Be a fan, a friend and a follower.
Show interest in more than just acting. If you like a certain type of music, have a hobby, travel, whatever the interest let people know you have those interests. You never know who is reading your other non-acting content who may have the same interest, and may connect with you on a future gig because of that shared interest.
- Pictures get more hits than videos
Post them to Flickr or Instagram first so that Facebook can’t index them and use them for advertising or other commercial use.
Use SproutSocial to measure reach, audience, demographics, time of day people are reading posts, etc
- What is your brand? Define who and what you are on your Facebook profile. Are you an aspiring director? Scriptwriter? Photographer? Stuntman? Makeup artist? Do you dance and sing or teach as well as act? This is most important for people to understand not just you as a friend online but you as a professional entity on social media.
- Secure your name on social media. If you have a common name be sure to secure your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other sites/apps before someone else does. Get what business groups call the “first mover advantage” on your branding.
Hope that helps you get a handle on an important aspect of “The Business of the Business”
For more than 30 years Steve Ray has been involved in television, film and radio broadcasting, primarily as an audio engineer, actor, producer and voice talent at the major market, network & international level. Check out his website here.