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You must do it
There is just no getting around it, if you want to succeed in the business of voice over or acting, or any freelance career for that matter, you simply must promote yourself…honestly, no one else is likely to promote you until you are well established. But when does self-promotion become too much? Can it cross the line into bragging?
Thanks to social media, these days it is pretty easy to reach a lot of people in a very short period of time. Social media is ready made for promoting yourself and your business. There are so MANY different platforms that sometimes it seems as though promoting yourself becomes a full-time job!
SHOULD it be a full-time job?
If promoting yourself and your business starts to take up more of your time than the work you are doing, it’s time to reconsider your promotional strategy. Here’s the thing, I see many actors and voice over artists on Facebook who do nothing, every day, but promote themselves and their work. OK, they are probably doing other things too, but I mean all they do all day on social media is promote themselves.
It’s as much about WHO you are.
In this business, success is gained as much by WHO you are as by WHAT you do. Have you ever worked with a know it all? Someone who is endlessly pointing out their success and all the things they’ve accomplished? Did you ENJOY working with them? Probably not. Potential clients want to know what kind of person you are as much as getting to know your skillset. If you are using social media to promote yourself or your business, make SURE to let people know who you are.
How do you do that?
It’s simple really. While you definitely want to put your “best foot forward” and impress potential clients, it’s OK to post about things that upset you or make you angry, providing you provide a positive spin to it such as how you react to that thing or event in a positive way. No one likes a negative Nelly, but it IS OK to share negative things that happen to you, and how you (positively) react to them. Let clients get to know you, at least a little.
Relationships, not sales!
Let’s face it, the entertainment industry, as well as many others, are as much about relationships as talent. I mean, talent IS important, but the most talented performer who is also arrogant and abrasive is not going to book as many jobs as a mostly talented performer who is easy to work with and reliable. Have you heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, but WHO you know that matters”? I believe this is at least partially true. Your promotions on social media should be designed more to get to know potential clients, let them get to know you, and have them think about you to help fill their needs.
What SHOULD you post to social media?
Here is a formula I learned from Amy Jo Berman and her “Unstoppable Actor” series. I’ll share it briefly here, but to get the full effect, head on over and subscribe to her unstoppable actor series! If you’d like, you can see a free preview at The Social Media Switch. Instead of constantly posting what your capability is, what you have accomplished or how much money you made last week (let’s be honest – if that is all you ever do, people stop paying attention to you quickly), try engaging with the people you want to attract in the following ways.
Post educational content. You can either create it yourself or share what others have posted. In this way you attract the interest of both potential clients AND other artists such as yourself. Have you learned a new technique? Share it. Taken a really great class or web training series? Tell people about it. This is a stealthy way to promote yourself and build a positive reputation. You’re not saying, “Look at me and what I can do!”, instead you are saying “Look at what THAT PERSON taught me, aren’t THEY great!”
Inspire or Inquire
What inspires you? Share it. Have a pertinent question or curiosity about your field? Ask it. Even better, share an inspiration, mention what about it inspired you and ask how others feel about it; combine inspire AND inquire. People get to know one another by interacting; interacting on social media is no different. Your goal should be to get to know people and let them get to know you to build your base of contacts in the industry.
Yep, that’s an easy one…post things that are entertaining! Everybody likes cute dog and cat videos. Or maybe you have done something suitable for America’s Funniest Home Videos recently and it was caught on camera? Sometimes it’s a good idea to post something that is JUST for entertainment…no ulterior motive, not trying to sell anything. Maybe, just maybe, it will be entertaining ENOUGH to get someone important to follow you, or better yet comment.
You probably should be careful with this one not to invoke the wrong KIND of emotion (anger), but with something thoughtful, heartfelt, nostalgic, or compassionate…that just might do the trick. The idea, again, is not to promote yourself directly, but to establish some commonality with the people you’re trying to reach.
Open a Dialog
This is probably the MOST important part of the formula. It’s actually hidden within the other five steps as well. Get people talking (and be a part of the conversation!). Post content that is thought provoking, and that is designed to get people talking. The best way to network on social media is to engage people in discussion.
An easy to remember acronym
That’s a lot to remember, right? Well, thanks to Amy Jo, there is an easy to remember acronym to help you remember: EIEIO (like the song Old McDonald Had A Farm). Before hitting the “post” button, simply ask yourself: Is this post educational? Inspiring or inquiring? Entertaining? Does it invoke an emotion (NOT anger!) or serve to open a dialog? If you can answer 1 or more of these questions with a YES, then go for it!
But what about ACTUALLY promoting myself?
Certainly, as a freelance artist you should absolutely promote yourself, your skills, and your business. You just shouldn’t ALWAYS do that otherwise it comes across as arrogant, selfish and a little pushy. Most times, it is best to INDIRECTLY promote yourself rather than directly. If you are going to promote yourself directly, it should probably be no more than 10% of the things you post. So, it should look like this: 9 posts following EIEIO, then one post promoting yourself, your services or your business…lather, rinse, repeat.
I’ll just touch on this, but paid advertising is NOT what I’m talking about here. If you are paying for ads, they should absolutely highlight whatever you are selling directly. What I’m talking about is YOU as a freelance artist, posting directly to your personal or business page on social media. I’m talking mainly about Facebook in this post, but the principles hold true no matter what platform. If you would like more specific guidance on other platforms, head on over to Amy Jo’s website and register for her Social Discover Me lessons, she touches on all the main platforms individually.
At the end of the day
What you are really selling is “you”, and to do that, potential clients need to see a three-dimensional person. Listening to a broken record (for you young people, I’m talking about vinyl records – ask your parents or grandparents about them) repeating the same phrase over and over again gets tiresome. Tell everyone about what you can do, what you HAVE done and share with them your excitement when you have a success…but make sure that’s not ALL you share. Show us who YOU are AND what you can DO.