Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to Promote Yourself as an Actor (Series) Step 2: Create a Following

Followers. They are everywhere...Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google. Often wonder how you can get in on part of that action? Lets talk a little bit about why this should be important to you and your career as an actor. 

We all understand that filmmaking is a business just like any other. Every business on earth exist to make money and major studios are no different. No one wants to invest millions of dollars just to lose their shirt. So they put in a lot of time and effort to ensure they will see a return on their investment. One way they do this is by seeking out actors with a following. Why? Because they are looking for actors who can carry a film and bring an already established fan base with them. 

Let's say you are one of two actors of similar type and skill who are up for a part. The casting director will likely check online to see if you have a fan page and how many people follow that page.  Who do you think they will hire? The actor who hasn't spent their own time to promote themselves and have left their fan page idle or that actor who has noticeably taken time to see that his or her page is kept up-to-date and relevant. 

Now, you have to understand this is not a guarantee because no one can give you a guarantee.  What, I am trying to give you is something to think about. Just like we talked about in the last blog, you must take time to invest in yourself, because no one else can do it better, and no one will care as much. Most actors already know, it's not always the best actor who gets the part, but the best well known actor that...sometimes...gets the part. So start to create your following now.  Be patient this will not happen overnight. It will be something that will culminate over a period of time. Even more reason not to put it off, but to start now.

As an up and coming actor you really can't afford not to interact with your fans. They are people you will depend on to help launch your career, to introduce your newest work, and share your passion with. Maybe you will even inspire a young fan to live out their dream of becoming an actor. So create your reach as far as possible.  

Let's talk about how to do that. We have already briefly discussed creating a Facebook page and working it in a previous blog. One feature that Facebook offers that you may not be aware of, is that for a fee, they will promote your page for you.  If you look in the top right corner you will find a blue button that says, "Promote page." Once you click on it, a new window will open. At the top it will say, "Create an ad to get more Page likes from the people who matter to you."  Under that, Facebook will incorporate one of your own photos, and show you the sample ad. Then they give you some options to choose from including a daily budget (the lowest starting at $10.00 a day).  Next, you will choose how long you want the ad to run. 

For the benefit of this blog I decided to run an ad myself for 1 day, with a budget of $10.  For my money I received 12 likes not from people I knew, but from complete strangers. Though this is not something I would recommend using daily, it could be used to get your page over that important hump, when you need three or four more "likes" to reach a particular goal. Facebook has admitted previously, before they installed this little feature that people with fan and product pages could expect their post to "gradually decline over time..."  They have implemented this feature to pull in more revenue.  So you will have to decide if it's more beneficial to you, than to them. 

One of your ultimate goals of a Facebook Fan page is to eventually establish an email list. Why? Because this gives you control over what your fans read and receive and not Facebook.  We will talk more about the importance of establishing that email list in a later blog in this series. 

For those of you who have a Twitter and Facebook account, be aware that you can easily link these two accounts together and post directly from your Twitter account. Got more than two social media accounts? Then Buffer is likely for you. Buffer is the new way to manage your multiple social media accounts. The basic plan (meaning no fees involved) allows you to not only link accounts together, but also to create several post at one time and then schedule the time you want them posted. Buffer does most of the work for you. 

They also offer post analysis to show you which post and links people respond to more often. One drawback could be for people who do not use one of the three search engines (Chrome, Safari, Firefox) Buffer recommends. Also you will need to download an extension for any of the three you choose to use. And yes, if your wondering if you can use this with you smartphone, you can. Buffer supports iphone and Android. At this time they do not support Instagram or Google+, but don't let that stop you from signing up. This is still a fairly young app and they are working to add these.  

When it comes to the numerous options in social media this blog could never end.  I think I have given you plenty to think about and to act on this week. Again, I hope you will continue to follow this series by joining this blog. You can do so by glancing to the right and clicking the button that says, Join this site. I enjoy supporting you, the actor. I hope you will support me and this blog in return.

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Photo: Free Digital Photos