How to Harness the Power of Social Media for Your Acting Career

Never has the up-and-coming actor had so much personal power and control!

Everyone is familiar with the concept of marketing yourself in acting or any other pursuit through your Facebook page or Twitter or any number of apps and sites, but here I’d like to delve a little bit deeper into social media and talk about some of the ways in which the savvy actor can use it to build his or her acting career.

1. Personal vs professional account

At first glance, you may be wondering: ‘So what’s the big deal? I’m on Facebook. I use Twitter.’ But there is a definite difference between social media accounts for personal use, and the benefits you might gain from using social media as an actor, on a professional level. To begin with, it’s important to realize that using the same account both personally and professionally may not be a very good idea. On the most basic, practical level is concern for your own safety: Networking is an integral aspect of propelling your career forward (both on social media and face to face, in the “real world”), but it’s going to be pretty hard to feel comfortable adding all of these work-contact strangers to your Facebook profile if this is where you’re accustomed to posting adorable snapshots of your toddler son, or announcing details of where you’ll be going out to eat dinner that night. In short, sharing all of this with people you don’t really know is flat-out dangerous. Instead, split the two up. Keep your family and real-life friends on your personal profile, and talk to them about whatever your heart desires. Set up professional actor versions of each account, on which you will announce, promote, and discuss all things career-related; to these you can add colleagues and employers, potential colleagues and employers, and members of your fanbase.

2. Strengthen and develop your professional brand.

Now that we’ve gotten the basic explanation out of the way, we can move on to how you can use your professional social media profiles to really take your brand and run with it. First off, be sure that you do actually have a solid handle on your brand, and that you understand and can skillfully communicate what you as an actor are all about. If this is something that sounds a little foreign to you, you have some serious (and important) work to do on exploring branding, type, and image! Once you confidently know your brand, you can use social media as a tool to connect with others and get your name out there in a style that directly reflects back on and resonates with your brand. Share pictures, jokes, and articles which tie in with your brand. Comment in ways to support your brand (which is not quite as contrived as it may sound, I promise). The thing to remember here, of course, is to be judicious with your postings; no one likes the feeling of being smothered, or feeling unable to turn around without running smack into more noise from a particularly loud and filterless individual. Keep your blatant self-promotion posts to a (very) healthy minimum, and adopt, as a rule, the motto that you should only post things when you’re sure you’re sharing or expressing something that could genuinely be of interest to others. Quality over quantity!

3. Promote work you’re doing.

Another task social media is absolutely wonderful for is promotion. People promote just about anything – political agendas, humanitarian causes, the birthday party they’re throwing next Saturday for their poodle – and now you can use this tool to promote your acting work. If you recently appeared in a music video that just got finished, or a commercial that just aired, this is the place to share the news! Better still, you can link to videos of the aforementioned accomplishment, or even better yet, share the link to your Cast It Talent Profile.  Pro members could drive viewers back to a demo reel or clip of a recent turn on TV and make those videos visible to the public, so casting directors, producers, directors, etc. could see your work easily by clicking on the your own Cast It Talent URL.  Doing this can help fan the flames of that video being seen, shared, and seen and shared some more. Another useful thing to post about is any time you’re involved in a live performance – be it a play, benefit concert, or actors’ showcase. Get loud and be proud: let people know when and where to come see you perform, as well as any helpful and exclusive tidbits like a pay-what-you-can night, a discount code to save a couple bucks on tickets, or just where that hidden sweet spot is to find great parking on an otherwise hellaciously crowded street. As a show runs, if you receive any positive reviews, you can link them here as well. The publicity is good for your personal acting career, and it’s good for the show you’re doing and anyone who is taking part; a win-win all around. And everyone loves an enthusiastic team player. (Bonus tip: if someone with whom you’re friends on social media does actually come to your show to support you, be sure to give them a hearty and gracious shout-out by name next time you’re online! People love to feel recognized and appreciated, so this attention to detail is sure to win you friends and long-term supporters.)

4. Reach out to others.

Perhaps the most incredible gift bestowed upon us by the social media gods? The heretofore-extremely-rare opportunity to connect directly with celebrities and other Hollywood industry insiders, people with whom we’d ordinarily never have had even the remotest chance of contact. This is cool for people who are fans…but it is even cooler for people who are striving to work as professionals in the same field as these famous outliers. It has not been unheard of for some actors and other performers to get a leg up in the industry in the recent past, thanks, in part, to the relative accessibility of some very valuable contacts. (Remember that kid named Justin Bieber? … Meh, on second thought, let’s not spend time remembering that one.)

Jesting aside, though – make the most of social media as a tool for connecting with others. Focus careful and consistent attention on developing your brand and followers, observe and study those actors, writers, or other industry folk whose professional acquaintance you sure would like to gain, make sure you have something worth sharing or showing off in the first place (ie, your new slick, self-produced web series), then take a leap!

A performing career has always required a preternatural degree of talent, focus, energy, drive, determination, and perseverance (and let’s not forget, of course, that scarcer-than-scarce little sprinkling of luck). Actors’ tools have morphed and changed throughout history, no question, but I seriously doubt there was ever such a time of explosive development in these tools as the time we are living in here, right now. Still in the fledgling early days of things like websites and social media, we have the unparalleled chance to grab these incredible opportunities with all our might, each of us molding ourselves a brand new set of tools out of our individual unique creativity, and go into battle with better and more useful resources than ever before. Never has the up-and-coming actor had so much personal power and control! So take that gift, explore it fully, and use it with no less than the very best of your determination and ability as an actor to succeed, to thrive, and to win.

We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter and we would definitely appreciate a visit to the Cast It Talent website. Stop in and tell us what you think!  Start building your online brand with Cast It Talent as the centerpiece.  

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Elizabeth Elizabeth Sekora is an actress and classically trained soprano living in Los Angeles. She has 24 years of experience in theatre, film, opera, television, and voiceover work, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. www.elizabethsekora.com.