Actors hear all the time how much harder it is to be an actor in this day and age. There’s a ton of competition and the industry is basically overcrowded. This simply means more people and fewer jobs to go around. The good news is that social media is something that exists today that young actors of the 90s simply didn’t have access to, because it didn’t exist. While social media can be dizzying and overwhelming, it can also allow you to push your career and your brand forward in ways that previous generations were never able to.
The key is to find your singularity—the thing you do better than anyone else—and to consistently promote that specific flavor and fingerprint of you across all media platforms from blogs to newsletters to videos—any and all content you create. Remember, creating content equals freedom. Rather than seeing content creation as a form of drudgery and another obligation, view it as something that frees you from waiting for the phone to ring and allows you to engage your audience and funnel them into your special world. It empowers you to stop asking for permission to have a career!
1. Be consistent with your brand online.
- On all social media platforms, your content lives on. Screen it carefully as you would an outside observer and be careful to ensure that your content is reflective of the public version of you. Seldom should your content be about “how we got drunk on Saturday night,” as that’s your personal life and generally boring. It’s also quite derivative as so many young people already have that story to tell.
- Choose a “mission statement,” or value proposition, for you (your business) and try it out for a few months. If it doesn’t work, you can change it. For example, your mission statement could be “to regale the world with tales of my misadventures in dating.”
- Keep it clear: When presenting yourself to the public, you should be the girl/guy who thinks/does/wants. For example, I’m the coach who has the highest percentage of clients who book in the industry, and I empower actors to get themselves in the room and book the damn role. You might be the girl who wants love but can’t get it, the dirty bearded man-baby who does fart jokes, the conniving socialite alpha girl who takes delicious pleasure in destroying her competition, etc.
2. Not all content is good content.
- Use this opportunity to really introduce yourself as a performer. Internet content lives on, so really think about the message you’re sending. Subpar content (derivative, offensive but not meaningfully so, porn, etc.) can be a detriment to your career rather than a boost forward.
- No snobbery: Some people do still make a name for themselves with fart jokes and dancing with their puppies in tutus, so don’t feel like your content has to be super high-brow. However, it does have to look good and it does have to be original.
3. Engaging your audience.
- Social media is the proverbial “water cooler” of our era. At work, the water cooler is for chatting, updates, gossip—basically an exchange of info. Use social media the same way. You need to have dialogue with people on social media, which can allow you to build a following.
- Building a following through sincere dialogue can help enormously in the game of gaining online support for your endeavors. People want to feel invested in you personally as well as your career.
4. Be in the know.
- I don’t care if you quote Nietzsche in your spare time and if the walls of your apartment are painted black and if the only people who ever really understood you are a bunch of deadbeat poets. It is no longer okay for you not to know what Vine is or to not be on Instagram. You have to be on social media and go aggressive if you want to work in show business.
- Use Hootsuite to schedule your tweets/statuses for free. These updates should not be perfect. They don’t really matter, so dare to fail on these and test your boundaries. Your “voice” will come.
5. Roll with the punches.
In life and in show business, there’s a strong expectation that you need to roll with the punches. Social media requires you to roll with the punches to an even greater degree, but all on your terms! This is the time to grow that thick skin and to accept that you’re never going to be perfect.
- Depend on failure and make mistakes. You’re not always going to say or do the best thing on social media. That’s OK, no one expects you to, and few people are actually doing it themselves.
- Depend on trolls and haters. This can be the hardest issue for actors to grapple with, and can certainly take some adjustment, but the reality is, if everyone likes you, you’re doing something wrong. As Andy Warhol once said, “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”
- Even so, make sure you don’t become a hater. You’re too smart and have too much value to join their ranks.
6. Final thoughts.
- Start slow. Add one thing to your social media list per month and keep growing.
- Know that this is the new normal of show business and it will never stop.
- Know that as you grow, you will have bigger challenges as you have bigger successes.
- In the end, this is work; but you chose this job. Always remember why you wanted to do this job, and give yourself three reasons to love what you’re doing. It’s too easy to get bogged down in the mire of “business,” so if you need to add a dash of color and spice to the mix, do it. Choose fun stamps, listen to music in between phone calls. Make a silly Vine that has nothing to do with “your singularity.”
This article was originally posted on Backstage