Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for actors – if you know how to use it.
Unfortunately, too often I see actors spin their wheels with social media, use it in inefficient ways, and miss opportunities to leverage these powerful platforms to help further your career.
I put together this Social Media Guide for Actors to help you avoid those traps and get the most out of the time and effort you put into social media.
Before you dig in, here are a couple things I’d like to mention:
• If you found your way here through a link in your social media feed (how ironic!), here’s a little background about who I am and how I help actors navigate Hollywood.
• This is a LONG post, so if you’d prefer to download it as a PDF, you can do so here.
• In addition to this guide, I regularly share new tips and advice for actors through my newsletter – You can sign up to get that here.
• If you have any questions or would like to chat with me about any of this, feel free to message me.
Now… let’s get to the good stuff!
Table of Contents
2. Why is Social Media Important for Actors?
3. What is Your Goal as an Actor?
4. Social Media Strategy
5. What Social Media Platforms to Focus on?
6. Practical Tips to Grow Followers
7. What to Post on Social Media?
8. How to Post on Social Media?
9. When to Post?
10. What NOT to do on Social Media
11. Social Media Trends
The internet is responsible for fundamentally changing how we communicate and exchange information. Even after the initial revolution of the internet, industries continue to be disrupted, including the transportation, media, housing, music industries, and even Hollywood, as how we interact online continues to evolve. On a daily basis, our lives are influenced by the capabilities and conveniences of the internet so much that it’s hard to imagine how we existed before we could access the internet in the palm of our hand.
You might be surprised by how much goes on in an internet minute:
Billions of communication and information bytes are being exchanged nonstop making the entire internet practically one giant social media channel and the place where people spend much of their time.
As an actor, you need to establish a thorough online presence. Unless you are going to hire out the responsibilities for maintaining social media accounts and responding to your multitude of fans, you’re going to have to learn how to navigate the digital world to your advantage. After all, there is an art and science to using social media the right way. And the lack of an online presence through social media greatly hinders your ability to generate awareness for your brand and even get noticed by casting directors.
You can’t resist the reach of the internet. Our online world, social media in particular, is where we read the news, share stories, engage with people we’ve never met in person, and learn directly from the stars and noteworthy figures themselves the intricacies of their lives. The marvels of social media aren’t limited to superficial information; the President of the United States defends his more controversial decisions and shares political news updates on Twitter.
The lack of an online presence through social media greatly hinders your ability to generate awareness for your brand and even get noticed by casting directors.
As of early 2017, there were about 1,870 million active users on Facebook alone. The excessive use of social media shows it’s not practical to justify not having a social presence. Instead, maintain a social presence strategically to boost your brand awareness and engage with your fans. This will ensure you get the most out of social media, without spending countless hours posting across all channels.
Whether you want to be cast for more roles or build your own audience, social media can help you accomplish your goals. Social media has become such an integral part of how we live and communicate that actors can cultivate their own audiences and communicate with their fans directly, sans the need of paparazzi or mega media channels. In a way, social media allows someone with a large following to act as their own mini media company. But instead of paying someone else to run PR campaigns and contact communication outlets to run stories, it can all be done by you.
Building a Following
In Hollywood, public perception is everything. Yet so many aspects of how you are perceived are beyond your control. But you can control what your fans read on your social media accounts. In this way, you are able to regulate the information your fans see. Ultimately, your power and leverage as an actor comes from your ability to reach out to your audience by a simple 140 character tweet.
Actors can also use social media as a free, easy method to connect with their fanbase and as a valuable marketing tool to collect feedback. Interacting with current fans creates loyalty and facilitates the longevity of the relationship. Making the effort to ask questions, read comments and have open dialogue provides valuable information as to what fans want to read about and view. Having that information gives you the tools you need to create meaningful posts that are widely viewed and shared, simultaneously strengthening the relationship with existing fans and reaching new ones.
Social Media Affects Your Casting Ability
The number of people that follow you is more than a popularity contest. Your reach as an actor is a valuable tool for promoting your brand, and now your following also has a direct impact on your casting marketability for roles. For better or worse, actors are getting casted partly based on the size of their social media followings, so that studios can leverage an actor’s fanbase to sell the project. Although weighing an actor’s social media power over their acting talent has created some controversy regarding the integrity of the films, an actor’s audience size is definitely a selling point the actor and their talent manager can take advantage of.
According to a new report by Variety, “talent agencies and casting directors are ditching open casting calls and instead are searching Vine, YouTube, and Twitter for their next leading actor or actress”.
Incorporating social media into the casting process has changed the way casting directors and talent agents – even those that have been in the game for decades – find new talent.
For example, veteran US casting director Mike Fenton said last year, “There is no question that today if you have good numbers on social media, you have become a better choice to be cast.” He goes on to reiterate his point by saying, “if it came down to two professional actors, one of whom had great visibility in social media and one who was barely recognizable, we’d go with the one who could get the numbers.” Meaning that social media isn’t the main determinate of if an actor is cast, but it certainly plays a role.
Those involved in the casting process take online videos seriously and use them as a way to judge an actor’s talent, almost like a screening before inviting an actor to the main audition. In a panel discussion at a recent South by Southwest, casting directors revealed that acting talent may only account for 7% of the reason a particular actor would be cast for a role. They suggested actors start recording short films, comedies, and sketches on YouTube and Vine to get exposure.
Acting talent may only account for 7% of the reason a particular actor would be cast for a role.
The strength of your social media presence is a selling point to add to your acting arsenal. Gathering a large following is something that will take energy and time, but the benefits can definitely outweigh the costs, especially when casting directors are considering:
- Social media presence is a quantifiable point of reference
- Hiring someone with existing exposure and visibility to audiences fiscally makes sense for production companies
Using Social Media to Build Your Brand
Having talent is important, but your ability to grow an audience is a testament of your brand. When used strategically to support your brand, social media becomes a powerful branding tool that can eventually open up opportunities to monetize your following.
One method of generating revenue from social media is through influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on leveraging someone with influence to deliver your brand’s message to their niche audience. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.
A brand is a distinguisher that sets you apart from the competition. It also provides selling points as to why you should be hired over another actor.
Influencer marketing is similar, but not the exact same thing, to a celebrity endorsement, where you are the celebrity, and companies use you to reach your audience to promote and sell their products or services.
A word of warning, in case you are intentionally or unintentionally posting lots of pictures of yourself using products and calling them out by name. The FTC has been cracking down on celebrity endorsements that aren’t called out as endorsements, because it can be seen as deceptive to be paid to promote something and not disclose to your audience that you are being paid to do so. Many Vloggers and YouTube stars with substantial followings use influencer marketing to make money, and the same principles can apply to a well-regarded actor who uses their social media strategically.
Besides using social media to sell products, well thought-out posts and pictures will help build and solidify an actor’s brand. Creating a brand is important for any business, and as an actor you operate like a business. A brand distinguishes you from the competition. It also provides selling points as to why you should be hired over another actor. Your social media content should reflect how you think of yourself as a brand and represent the values and reputation you want to project. When this is done effectively, your audience will respond favorably, interact more, and grow.
It’s easy to think you can jump right into social media, but it actually takes considerable planning and strategy to be successful. More importantly, take a step back and ask yourself, what is your goal as an actor?
If you’re not exactly sure, asking yourself the questions below can help you understand your intentions more fully:
- What is it that you want to accomplish as an actor?
- Are you looking to grow an audience so that you can make money off brand endorsements and deals in the long run?
- Are you trying to further a cause you are passionate about?
- Are you trying to build your own brand and become an entrepreneur?
- How do you want people to remember you at the end of your career? What kind of person do you want them to say you are?
- What can you do with your life that will bring meaning and fulfillment?
- How would the world be different if you were in charge?
Once you establish what your goal is as an actor, you need to create a plan and determine a strategy to reach that goal. Depending on what stage of your career you are in, you may have different micro goals and different social media strategies to reach those bigger goals.
If you’re still having difficulty identifying your goal as an actor, another way is to ask yourself, what is your WHY?
If you want to be a successful actor, start with WHY.
If you’re not familiar with Simon Sinek, he is best known for his thought provoking and insightful book and video about starting with WHY:
Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” describes how truly effective leaders (CEOs, entrepreneurs, and those in the social and political sphere) as well as innovators, inventors, and marketers tend to think differently than others when promoting their product, service, message, and/or vision. They focus on the WHY — the motivation, the purpose, the vision — prior to the WHAT (the product, service, message, or vision) or the HOW. One of his key points is: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
In other words, as an actor, if you have a worthy goal or a ‘why,’ you will be more effective in getting people interested in what you do and gaining their support for why you do it. Things like social media is one big way in ‘how’ you communicate your ‘why’ through ‘what’ you do as an actor.
- People are far more likely to buy what you do IF they also buy into WHY you do it.
- What you do is likely to be different, better, and more appealing IF it is inspired, strongly motivated, and in the service of some clear and appealing purpose and vision. A worthy Why will lead to a better and more compelling What. Therefore, it will be something that more people will relate to, be interested in, and be willing to follow, buy, or support.
In today’s world, social media is a powerful ‘how’ that actors need to use to reach their goals and communicate their ‘why.’ Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you will then need to develop your social media strategy.
Once you establish your ‘why’ for your acting career, your next step will be to determine your exact goals and develop a social media plan to achieve those goals.
The most effective way to plan for this is to implement SMART goals into your planning. It’s a simple way to create actionable and tactical social media goals.
Not familiar with the term? SMART goals are:
- Specific Have you been specific in what you want to achieve?
- Measurable How will you know if you’ve achieved your goal?
- Achievable Is this a goal that you can realisitically achieve?
- Relevant Is this goal aligned with your mission, vision and values?
- Time Specific When do you want to achieve this goal by?
After you have developed and recorded your goals, you will need a strategy to help lead you on the best route to reach your goals. Here are the questions you will need to answer to for determine your social media strategy.
- Who do you need to reach to accomplish your goal? Who is your target audience or demographic?
- What’s unique about you? How do you want present yourself and your brand in a way that is authentic to who you are?
- What social media platforms will you focus on?
- What type of content will you be posting that best resonate with your niche?
The following sections in this social media guide will provide you more in depth insight on everything you need to know to carry out your own social media strategy.
The last component of your social media plan is to develop tactics. Tactics are the details of what you need to do specifically on social media based on the strategy you set in order to accomplish your overarching goal.
For example, if one of your goals is to build up your social media following to 10,000 fans, your strategy could be to focus on Instagram because you generally want to reach millennials interested in comedy. One of your tactics could be to post one comedy sketch every week. Another tactic could be to follow users on Instagram through specific hashtags related to comedy that your ideal audience may likely use.
Now that you understand the 4 main components that go into a social media plan, here is a brief overview of what your social media plan should have:
Your WHY Statement
• Goal 1
Why: Similar to a mission statement, why do you want to be an actor? What is the ultimate goal you are trying to work towards that your fans can relate to and support?
Goals: What goals will you need to accomplish in order to satisfy your ‘why’ statement. For each goal, it is important to have a success metric (key performance indicator) that you will use to measure your progress towards reaching your goal and knowing when it has been met.
Strategy: These are the specific guidelines and direction you need to most effectively reach your goals.
Tactics: What are the specific actionable tasks you need to do based on your strategy that will help reach your goals?
There are a lot of social media platforms out there, but only a handful make sense for actors who want to grow their fanbase. With the number of social media platforms out there and the time it takes to manage multiple accounts, you don’t want to be actively using every single one. However, you definitely want to secure the same user name or handle on all of the major social media accounts so that no one can use your name.
A general rule of thumb is to be on the platforms that your ideal fans or target audience uses the most, typically 2-3 sites. What follows is a summary of key benefits for each of the most popular social media accounts so that you can make the most strategic choice for which platforms to use.
Facebook is the original social media king, with almost 2 billion users worldwide. It’s the site most people join and a safe bet that most actors will probably be at least somewhat active on this platform. Facebook is especially useful for providing great audience insights and tracking information from Facebook ads. Their video stream service, Facebook Live, provides a lot of opportunities for actors to engage with their fans and cultivate a strong following. Be sure to create a business Facebook account instead of solely depending on a personal account to promote your acting. Although Millennials dominate this platform, Facebook tends to have a slightly order audience compared to other platforms, making it a must use if your target audience is over 35.
When it comes to entertainment and celebrities, Instagram is the #1 platform right now. It has expanded a lot in the past few years and now has 700 million active monthly users. As a visual platform, it’s the easiest to upload engaging photos and videos to. With the addition of Instagram Stories, the same feature that made Snapchat popular, Instagram has become the all in one platform. Not only does it have Snapchat-like face filters, it has its own live video function to create deeper fan connections.
Although it is on the decline in terms of attention, Twitter is still a popular platform for actors and celebrities to communicate on. According to a survey done in 2016 by Variety Magazine, Twitter is the second highest used platform for engaging and interacting with celebrities. When it comes to being social, Twitter is the ideal platform to interact with fans directly and keep your name in front of businesses and agents that have the potential to hire you.
Youtube is the platform most used for video content. If you’re trying to make a name for yourself, this is the platform you need to be on to create easily accessible and original video content. Starting your own Youtube channel is a good way to showcase your talent and build your audience to jumpstart your career. As an added bonus, when you add your videos to Youtube you automatically help your search engine discoverability.
Although Snapchat lost a bit of its luster when Instagram and Facebook copied its core features, it’s still a network to consider using, especially if you appeal to the Millennial crowd and younger. It has the allure of being more personal and intimate for fans, making Snapchat a useful tool for deepening fan relationships rather than simply accumulating many unengaged followers.
By now, you should know the importance of having a social media following for your acting career. The fact is, growing a following is not easy, especially in the beginning. In a nutshell, the big keys to growing an authentic social media following are to be social and put out engaging content.
There are tons of ineffective tactics to increase your following, like spamming yourself and following every random person you come across in hopes that they will follow you, only to unfollow them after a period of time. Some people even use services to “buy” fake followers.
But these tactics only provide short term success, and ultimately end up hurting your fan relationships and discrediting you over time. If it sounds tempting and seems too easy to gain a large amount of followers, don’t do it! It’s too easy for others to tell you used a get-followers-quick scheme. These tactics are not to be confused with legitimate methods of increasing your number of followers native to each platform like Facebook Ads.
To compete with all the noise on each social media platform, you need to understand how each one works and its culture. For example, Instagram is a visual platform, so you’re not going to post a bunch of images with text all over it and expect high engagement. Remember, each platform operates a bit differently so you need to know the norms.
The most logical starting point, especially if you’re really new, is to get your friends and family to follow you. That gives you a base to start with. People will be turned off or find you untrustworthy if they receive a request from someone with hardly any followers or not many posts.
Then, start with one network and master it. This helps you focus on cultivating and interacting with your fanbase in one location. You can always cross promote your audiences down the line. Consider the below tips to increase your social media presence:
- Follow all the people you genuinely like: musicians, artists, celebrities, actors, producers, directors, athletes, etc. This is not so they follow you, but so you can see how they operate and learn what makes them effective.
- Take a community approach to meet and interact with others in the acting community and entertainment industry.
- Link your other websites and work portfolios to your social media channels.
- Make sure you fill out and optimize all your social media profiles completely.
- Be patient! Building an audience can take some time. Everyone has had to start at the bottom and build their way up.
How to Grow a Following on Each Platform
People always want shortcuts, tactics and hacks to get more followers on social media. Doing these things often won’t bring you meaningful and engaged followers.
The question you always want to think about is, why should someone follow you? What value are you providing the other person if they follow you? Often people will follow you simply because you followed them, but that’s not a long-term strategy. There are two general reasons why people should follow you:
- You provide cool content, and they want to see more. You provide some form entertainment or educational value.
- They know who you are or they resonate with your brand and talent. They want to follow your story and journey to see more.
Here are some key strategies to grow your following:
Since Facebook is a bit more of a content publishing platform, you need to post content that your fans would be more inclined to share to increase exposure and hopefully like your page . Don’t rely just on your personal account as it has its own limitations of no more than 5,000 friends and no insights or analytics. Be sure to create a business Facebook page for yourself as an actor / entertainer, and then get people you know to like your page. You can even use videos you created for Youtube and post them natively to Facebook. Videos, especially live streams, are interactive and generate a lot of conversation about you, thus increasing your fanbase.
The key for Instagram growth is taking a community approach and using hashtags. Using the right hashtags that are relevant to your posts and your brand will increase your visibility and help you engage with others effectively. Try leveraging Instagram stories to create intriguing, off the cuff content like behind the scenes or showing your process.
To get subscribers, create cool content that provides either entertainment or educational value. Your videos should contain content that people will want to share. Also try varying the lengths of your videos; some viewers want short videos that are to the point, while others are willing to watch an extended version. Depending on what kind of video you do, make sure to optimize things like the title, description, thumbnail and tags.
Some of the tips mentioned for the other platforms apply here as well. Posting good content that gets people to retweet is a great way to increase brand awareness and potentially new followers. Hashtags are big too so pay attention to what’s trending. Consider using a social media scheduling tool, like Hootsuite or Buffer, to schedule your tweets for you at predetermined times. You can also use Twiends to find new Twitter users you can connect with.
This platform is ideal once you have a large following on another platform, and you want to deepen the connection you have with your fans. As of now, there is not an easy way to discover new people to follow within the platform, which has been the biggest knock against it and why many people choose to use Instagram Stories. Cross promotion (posting on Instagram or Twitter that you have a Snapchat account) will help you transfer your following from one platform to another.
What you post is going to be dictated by your career goals.
The act of posting on social media is essentially a small, individual step to reach the overarching and mini goals you defined initially. Although it may seem like what you post isn’t directly helping you reach your long term goals, if posts support your overall strategy, you are progressing forward and getting closer to achieving the goals you have set for yourself.
After you’ve figured out which platforms are most effective based on your strategy, here’s what to keep in mind when considering what to post:
Document Your Journey
We all love a good story. Telling your story on social media by documenting the process of working your way up as an actor can give you a lot of content to post and create a captivating storyline for followers. If you have an engaging story, people will want to see you grow in your career, so use social media as a tool for telling that story. Additionally, it also provides a way for you to track and look back at how you’ve progressed over the years.
In our results-obsessed culture, it’s easy to feel the pressure to want to exaggerate or even fabricate your success or lifestyle. Fake it until you make it, they say.
However, recently high profile celebrities have been caught posting staged or photoshopped pictures. Experienced bloggers have even voluntarily detailed the tricks they use to enhance their photos and profiles. After these occurrences, authenticity has become more important and valued as people have become more aware that everything might not be what it seems online. So don’t try to put up an illusion of success. If you get exposed, it may do damage to your brand and reputation, and it will be hard to rebuild trust with your fans.
Building Your Brand
Your social media channels are more than just an easy way to share your life with your followers. When used effectively, your social medial channels are tools in your marketing strategy for building your brand. The ability to write your own narrative by posting pictures and content that you create and engaging with your followers allows you to essentially remain in control of your brand image. After you have defined what you want to achieve (your overarching goal) and how you want to be perceived (your brand image), you want to be sure that whatever you post on social media supports those goals and reflects your brand identity.
If you are unsure if your current content supports your brand identity and how you want to be perceived, take an objective look at your social content. If you are a politically oriented person, someone who doesn’t know you should be able to look at your posts and get that sense. If you are branding yourself as a comedic actor, then your profile and posts should show how funny you are. Not only is it important to create a cohesive brand image for your fans, but posting content that supports your career goals and brand image helps casting directors get a clearer view of your acting abilities and know if you are right for a role.
Because of our celebrity-crazed culture, there tends to be the perception that Hollywood actors are put on a pedestal above everyone else. But, when you move past all the glitz and glamour, actors are just regular people.
With social media, you want to humanize yourself so you are relatable. After all, part of an actor’s brand is being someone fans can relate to. It’s important to reinforce your relatable image, because we connect with other people much better when they come across as someone just like us.
Keep this same mentality for when you respond and engage with your fans as well. Since social media makes it easier to communicate, people who might not otherwise be able to contact you now have that ability. Interacting with fans is a great way to humanize your brand and show you are in fact a person that other people can connect with. On the other hand, never responding or doing so in an arrogant way can result in lost fans and a negative brand image.
Variety is Good
Generally speaking, you want to post a good mix of content. This means not always posting pictures or video with the same composition or style. Give fans some variety and experiment with what you post to see how people respond and engage. Varying the content will help you determine what works and doesn’t work well with your audience. If a certain type of post isn’t resonating well (you’ll be able to tell by the number of comments/likes/responses/shares), then limit those types of posts or stop altogether.
Posting on social media is often a trial and error process, where you want to try different things and change things up so fans stay engaged.
Examples of ideas and types of things you could post:
- Talk about projects you’re working on
- Show what the life of an actor is like (the good, the bad, and the ugly)
- Behind the scenes work for a role or gig you are involved with (just make sure you have permission, so you don’t reveal anything you’re not suppose to)
- There are fun types of posts like: Motivation or Man Crush Monday, Transformation Tuesday, Woman Crush Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Flashback or Flex Friday, etc. A quick Google search will show you themes for each day, so that you can post the appropriate ones that make sense for you
- Create posts based on holidays or national days. For instance, if you love hamburgers, post a photo of you at your favorite hamburger spot for National Hamburger Day. Here are some sites to reference so you know what National Days are coming up:
- Your hobbies and interests; what you are passionate about. Ideally, you want to show yourself actually doing it or being involved in some way.
- Make fun content like videos that showcase your talents
- Incorporate causes or communities you are involved with
- While it’s okay to get a bit personal, like posting things about your family, leave the drama out
Before making a post, remember that your fans are not the only ones looking at your social media accounts. People who can potentially offer you your next role may be reading as well. Although there’s a lot to consider before posting, the benefits of creating a well thought out, strategic post outweigh the time it takes to ensure that the content is meaningful and supports your acting goals and brand identity and image.
Now that you know what to post and where, how should you go about posting? Here’s what you need to know.
These may not seem important, but prefacing your video or photo posts with a caption can add needed context to your content. After all, people do actually read them!
Even if it’s apparent what the video or image is, it’s still helpful to provide some kind of caption to let fans know what is going on or explain the importance of the post. Don’t just state the obvious, but elaborate a little more on why the audience should care.
Social media can be a very convoluted place due to the constant competition for attention. Generally speaking, best social media practice is to be as brief as you can when captioning your content. Exactly how concise you need to be depends on which platform you are posting on. Twitter limits you to 140 characters, but Facebook won’t cut you off. Instead of aiming for a certain character limit or word count, ask yourself if the information you are providing is relevant to the overall context of the message or if it is extraneous and can be taken out.
If a post requires a longer backstory or you want to share deeper thoughts that take a bit longer for a fan to read, don’t be afraid to do so. Experiment with long form posts as some fans will take the time to read longer captions if it’s good. Again, a good mix of short and long posts adds variety and keeps fans engaged.
Identifying Your Voice
Your voice and personality must come across through your posts in order for fans to relate to you and develop a connection. If you are posting a video or image, readers should be able tell you uploaded the content, and not someone else, from the tone and voice in your captions.
The key is to always strive to create authentic content. When adding a caption, keep your voice or tone casual or informal. Some actors don’t really worry about grammar or proper punctuation, and that’s ok if it supports the image you want to portray or is really how you communicate. Just refrain from doing anything really annoying like tYpInG LiKe ThIs or using many exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!! Of course, how you identify your voice and naturally present yourself should always shine through.
How often should you be posting? It will always vary by actor and audience, but you want to try to go at a pace you can commit to being consistent with. If that’s once a week, then so be it. Ideally, shoot for daily or once every few days. It’s important not to force anything and post just for the sake of posting. Quality over quantity.
Since it’s more common for actors to tweet multiple times a day, your frequency on Twitter can be a bit more than other platforms.
Using hashtags, especially on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, will increase the exposure and visibility of your posts by making it more searchable and easier to find.
For example, if you’re on set and posting a behind the scenes photo, you can use these hashtags:
The use of hashtags also give your posts context and make it easier for your audience to connect to similar content they may be looking for.
Hashtags can also be used to add humor and fun into a post, so it doesn’t have to be dry.
For Instagram, there’s a 30 hashtag limit. That doesn’t mean you should be using all 30, as that can look a bit messy, and you might start to use hashtags that have nothing to do with your post. Stick to a good 6-10 relevant hashtags. It also helps the post to look cleaner if you use hashtags in a separate comment, rather than as part of your original caption.
Research what other hashtags actors use and add it your list if it is relevant to your post. Write out a group of hashtags you tend to use frequently on your phone with a note taking app so you don’t have to keep typing it them out every time you post.
For Twitter and Facebook, a good practice is to keep it to no more than 2 relevant hashtags.
Our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text—90% of the information sent to the brain is visual, and 93% of all human communication is visual.
This makes it easy to see why the quality of your photos matter, so make sure you are only posting clear images. Photos on your smartphone are usually good enough, and they help maintain authenticity, but make sure they aren’t really grainy, too dark or overly exposed.
As you progress in your acting career, having high quality photos from professional photo shoots becomes increasingly important for your brand. This doesn’t mean everything has to be super high res and polished all the time, but when you post on visual platforms like Instagram, high res photos stand out better and get peoples’ attention.
On the other hand, overly polished content is a declining trend, especially for video. This is why live video functions on Facebook and Instagram have been gaining traction. Viewers can relate to in-the-moment, raw video content that is unedited, mistakes and all.
Although what you post is important, you have to remember to engage and answer comments and questions also. Remember, social media should not be used only as a one-way broadcasting tool for your brand and content; it’s a medium for two-way communication between you and your fans or audience.
As you grow and build a larger audience, it may become more difficult to keep up with engaging your fans, but don’t use it as an excuse. If celebrities like Elon Musk and Taylor Swift can take time out to randomly answer and engage with fans, you can too.
There has been a lot of research done to find out what are the best days and times to post on social media. Posting when a high number of users are on a given platform maximizes your reach so that more people see your post. Well, at least that is the logic, but it doesn’t always pan out that way.
With so many theories, when is the best time? Unfortunately, there’s no magic time that works best for everyone, as every platform is different and behaviors vary by audience.
However, this doesn’t mean all this information is useless.
There are recommended days and times that top marketing experts have found through research and analysis. The optimal times listed are great starting points; test out which times work for your audience and schedule most of your social media communication then.
Use the following information below as starting points to test and see what works best for your audience.
To maximize your reach on Facebook, aim to post Thursday through Sunday, as more users tend to be on later in the week. Generally, the best times to reach your fans are between 1:00pm – 3:00 p.m. Some additional pointers include:
- The top day and time is Wednesday at 3:00pm
- There aren’t many night owls on late; the worst times to post are 8:00pm – 8:00am
- While not peak days, the best times to post on Saturday and Sunday are 12:00pm – 1:00pm
To achieve the highest visibility on this platform, you should try to tweet from 12:00pm – 3:00pm on Monday through Friday. The 3:00pm slot is also the prime time to get the highest amount of clicks and retweets.
- The top day and time is Wednesday 5:00pm – 6:00pm
- The best general times to Tweet are from 12:00pm – 1:00pm and at after 5:00pm on weekdays
- Highest tweet volume occurs between 11:00am – 1:00pm
Times to avoid include:
- 8:00pm – 9:00am throughout the week
- After 3:00pm on Friday
Instagram users might like a mid-week distraction. The best time to accrue those views is on Wednesday, with Monday being the least most effective day.
Besides Wednesday, the best times to post are Monday – Friday at meal times:
- 8:00am – 9:00am
- 12:00pm –1:00pm
- 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Specific best times on each day include:
- Sunday at 5:00pm
- Monday at 7:00pm
- Tuesday at 10:00pm
- Wednesday at 5:00pm
- Thursday at 7:00am and 11:00pm
- Friday at 1:00am and 8:00pm
- Saturday at 12:00am and 2:00am
Other Factors to Consider
The date and time of when you post on social media posts are just 2 variables out of many that determine your effectiveness in the news feed.
Even if your content was intriguing and the caption descriptive, some other event that is going on in the world at the same moment you post could be why your content didn’t get the visibility you were hoping it would.
In other words, don’t always assume that timing was the issue if you’re not getting the reach and engagement you usually expect. Make sure you spend a balanced amount of effort considering and testing the best times to post for your audience, but don’t put too much time trying to find the best minute to upload your post. Consider other factors as well like your caption and the quality of your content.
We’ve gone through a lot of information on what you should be doing on social media. What is equally important are things you definitely want to avoid.
Don’t overdo it with self-promotion.
Social media is a great tool for building brand awareness and marketing your talents, but it’s important to not use it to push too many advertising messages or broadcast overly self-promotional marketing material. This means you want to strategically space out posting promos or trailer to tell people to watch your upcoming project. Aside from being annoying, it makes your social media channels look very unprofessional.
Don’t spam or ask for favors from industry professionals or casting directors, especially if you don’t know them.
In the digital age, it’s easier to reach and access certain people in the industry to ask for favors, but that doesn’t mean you should. As you can imagine, it probably happens quite frequently for these people. The last thing you want to do is create an unfavorable or desperate impression on people that may affect your ability to get hired in the future.
Don’t post too many personal or fun unrelated posts.
You need to balance your fun or everyday life posts with what you’re doing acting wise to show you are current working. It’s okay to have fun with social media, but be mature and know that you’re being judged for roles based on what you post. If you’re going on weeks and months of just posting how you’re out having fun and doing hobbies with nothing related to acting or working, it may send the wrong message.
Don’t accidentally leak sensitive information.
You don’t want to accidentally “leak” information by posting about your auditions for specific roles; you should always clear it with the producers first.
If you’re on set, make sure what you’re posting is okay and is not going to be a spoiler or something that shouldn’t get out. Before you go blabbering about roles you just got, know the company’s social media policy first before sharing good news. If you’re unsure, ask and get permission.
Often, the producers, networks and studios see this sort of thing as a leak of information. This news should ONLY come from the production if and when they see fit and in the venue that they want it to come from.
DON’T send out negative vibes.
Generally, social media is a place for people to keep in touch with friends and follow their favorite bands, brands and celebrities. For some, it’s a way to escape or distract themselves from work or boredom. Since social media is supposed to be a fun and safe environment the last thing you want to do is put out negative vibes in your post. You don’t want your brand to be associated with hate or negativity.
It’s okay to share if you had a bad day but don’t go ranting or venting about all your problems.
DON’T be impatient.
When you’re not seeing results as soon as you expected, the problem is usually your expectations. Building your brand and career in show business is a long journey, just like in any other industry. It’s easy to get tempted into tactics that are not exactly legitimate or socially accepted, like buying or engaging in spammy practices to get followers.
The biggest psychological trap of social media is comparing your life and career to someone else’s. You cannot do this, or you will drive yourself crazy. Remember, you are on your own journey. Furthermore, what we see online isn’t always the full truth.
DON’T get too caught up in vanity metrics.
You don’t want self-validation to be tied to how many likes you get on your post. Social media becomes a dangerous place when you base self-worth, self-confidence, or self-esteem on likes, comments, views, followers, etc. While these things can have astonishingly positive effects, you want to avoid the need for instant gratification or validation.
DON’T stir up drama or controversy for attention.
Anything online lives forever, even after you’ve taken it down. It’s easy for anyone to take a screenshot or grab and repost the image of the original message. Keep this lens on when you are posting something that might be controversial or intentionally attention-seeking.
There are certain topics that the internet specifically grabs onto and tears apart. Yet, many celebrities and social media personalities continue to post content that creates a feeding frenzy of negative comments. Avoid all the effort and time it takes to undo or defend a controversial post by not posting it in the first place.
As an actor, you might have the tendency to always want to perform or be the biggest personality in the room. After all, that’s why you are pursuing a career in the spotlight. But it’s important to be mindful that not every post needs to scream “look at me!” There are certain types of content like excessive nudity and other attention seeking behaviors that make you come off as overly self-promotional or needy. Since casting directors and other industry insiders have full access to your accounts, you don’t want to post content that could damage your reputation or typecast you.
DON’T limit yourself to social media.
Be sure to put yourself out there and do real life networking also. Show business is hard! Actors should often take on certain projects or attend specific events to get seen and meet important people. Take advantage of face-to-face networking; it’s the best way for someone to really see what you’re like and have a meaningful conversation with you.
The world of technology and social media is constantly changing. Although it’s important to understand the basics of how to navigate social media, actors also need to be aware of the trends and changes that are happening in order to best adapt, successfully grow their fanbase and interact with their audience.
Since approximately 20% of all digital media time is spent on social sites, it’s important that actors understand how best to leverage the tools that are available to them. Here are some of the larger trends that have occurred in social media in the past few years and ways to incorporate them.
Statistics show that people spend nearly 80% of their social media time on mobile devices. With 2.6 billion smartphone users, this means that your fans are most likely going to engage with you through their phones. This should come as no surprise, as mobile has become the preferred method of choice for most users to access the internet. We live in a mobile-centric world, without any signs of slowing down or stopping.
With that being said, all online content must be created and optimized specifically for the mobile experience. If you have a website, make sure its responsive for viewing on mobile devices.
One often untapped, yet highly effective, method for growing your social media audience is to collaborate with others to create content. It’s common to have the mentality that all other actors are your competition, but working with people who have their own following is a great way to help both sides out. It may not always be a practical solution for actors to team up, but using the right medium, such as a collaborative YouTube video, is definitely a unique and efficient way to accelerate your audience growth.
Obviously if you’re just starting your social media presence or acting career, you won’t have as much of a following, so people who do have larger followings are less likely to collaborate. In this situation, the best course of action is to find an actor with a similar audience size, values and career goals as you to work with. Your similarities will help ensure an easier transfer of their audience to yours and vice versa.
Twitter on the Decline
Despite being embedded in popular culture, it may come as a surprise that Twitter has been a stagnant social media platform for quite some time and the number of Twitter users lags behind Facebook and Snapchat.
Since Twitter doesn’t have the same reach as other social media giants, advertisers tend to spend their marketing dollars on other social media platforms like Facebook. Twitter is attempting to win back lost customers and gain new ones by investing in live video enhancements. Although Twitter will have to make some big changes in order to change its trajectory, it is still a worthwhile platform to have a presence on as an actor.
Twitter’s popularity, but lack of growth, should be something actors keep in mind when deciding which social media platform will help them grow their fanbase. Ultimately, the attention right now is on Instagram so it makes the most sense for most developing actors to focus there.
Incorporating live video is a must for any actor looking to build a deeper connection in real time with fans. Many developing actors may not have the social media following just yet to get the most of out of this feature, but it’s good to be aware of the advantages of live video.
The popularity of live video streams is evident by the number of social media platforms that have developed their own version. All the major players give users the opportunity to post live video, including Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, and even Twitter through their acquisition of Periscope.
When you have all these social media giants getting in on live mobile video, it’s a huge sign that you need to consider incorporating it into your social media strategy.
Here’s why live video is such an attractive tool for actors and artists:
Intimate Engagement: It takes engagement and fan interaction to the next level when fans
can see and interact with you live.
Convenience and Accessibility: It gives you the ability to easily broadcast in the moment, behind the scenes content all from your smartphone.
Unique Appeal: The idea of video being streamed live is intriguing and gets people’s attention much more than a prerecorded video. The raw uncut feel of this type of video comes off more authentic and engaging.
The overall reason to use mobile live video is real time engagement, because it gives your online audience the ability to interact and make comments live while you are streaming. This function helps to create deeper personal connections with your fans. Without this real time interaction, it’s really no different than just uploading a pre-recorded and overly edited video.
Ephemeral Content: Instagram vs. Snapchat
The trend for ephemeral, or short-lived content that disappears after 24 hours, was first made popular by Snapchat back in 2013. This type of content, where users could piece together photos and videos into a “story” that followers could view as many times within a 24 hour span, created a sense of urgency to watch. It was unique compared to other social media platforms at the time because it triggered FOMO (fear of missing out) due to the short lifespan of the stories. Of course, that wasn’t until Instagram and Facebook created their own way for users to create ephemeral content to compete with Snapchat.
Recently, Instagram has announced that its Stories feature is now being used by 250 million people every day. Since Instagram Stories was introduced a year ago, Snapchat has fallen to 166 million daily users.
To counteract the competition, Snapchat has tried hard to differentiate itself by finding ways to innovate. They rebranded themselves as Snap Inc and clarified that they are “a camera company,” and not just a singular app. They also released Spectacles, sunglasses with a camera that captures video and directly uploads it to the app, as a long term strategy to regain market share and increase their daily users.
For actors, Instagram makes the most sense to be your primary method for building a fanbase. In addition to posting photos and videos, be sure to use Instagram Stories to piece together a more off the cuff experience documenting your journey as an actor and highlight your personality. Gives followers a behind the scenes tour or preview of upcoming projects, events, or shows.
Just make sure that if you’re on set for a project that the content is okay to post and not violating any confidentiality agreements.
While Snapchat certainly has benefits too, it is a more closed, private network compared to Instagram, so it doesn’t make sense for less established actors to use it as their main marketing platform.
Harnessing the power of ephemeral content is an important method for building a stronger connection to your fan following, but not necessarily to grow your fanbase. Short snippets and stories from your day to day activities make you relatable and personable, which deepens the trust you have established with your audience.
The last section of this social media guide will briefly go over the basics of analytics. One of the big reasons why social media is such a powerful marketing tool is the immediate feedback you get from your fans. This feedback is important for letting you know what is working or not working, easily allowing you to make any necessary adjustments to your social media strategy.
Because every audience is different, social media is about trial and error. You want to test new things while also trying to recognize patterns of the type of posts your fans engage with the most. Your analytics data is what makes this possible.
How to Access your Facebook ‘Insights’
Facebook calls their analytics ‘Insights.’ From your Facebook business page (you don’t get analytics with a personal Facebook page), click on ‘Insights.’ On a mobile device, it should be on the top right tab. On desktop, the link should be a tab on the top of the page towards the left. It is next to links like ‘Notifications’ and ‘Inbox.’ Note that the mobile version of ‘Insights’ is very limited compared to the desktop version.
When you first click on ‘Insights,’ it will show you a page summary based on the last 7 days to let you know how you’ve been doing compared to the previous week.
How to Analyze your Posts
To look at feedback from your posts, you will need to access ‘Insights’ on desktop to get all of the information you need. From the ‘Insights’ screen, click on the ‘Posts’ tab on the left side column.
You will see a ‘When Your Fans Are Online’ graph that will help you figure out what days and times you should post to best reach your fans.
Click on ‘Post Types’ on the top to show you which type of content (status updates, photos, links or video) tend to reach and engagement your audience the best.
Below this will show you data for each individual posts starting with your most recent ones on top. It will tell you the data and time you posted, which is good to see if there are any positive trends.
Reach – the number of unique people who saw your content.
Engagement – the number of unique people who engaged with your content in some way like commenting, sharing, clicking on picture or watching a video.
Clicking on each post will popup a window to give you specific data on different engagements, like clicks, reactions, shares, comments and video watch times. It’s important to also pay attention to the negative feedback from each posts displayed at the end.
To analyze your posts, look for trends from how people respond, positively or negatively, to what you post. This will let you know what type of content you should be posting more or less of. If you notice a post getting a lot of shares, you definitely want to post more of that type of content. If you see a post getting a lot of negative feedback, like followers hiding your posts or even unliking your page, you may need to reconsider posting that type of content again.
For more detailed information, you can check out Facebook’s guide to ‘Insights’ here.
How to Access your Instagram Insights
To see analytics for your Instagram posts, you first need to make sure your account is a business profile. If you’re not sure, you can refer to this link to learn how you can convert a personal profile into a business profile.
To access Instagram ‘Insights,’ click on the bar graph icon in the top right corner of your Instagram profile. It will give you an overview of your analytics for the past 7 days. If you post frequently, you can potentially get some good insight into the best days of the week to post based on the graph.
If you don’t see the bar graph, then it means you have a personal profile and will need to convert to a business profile.
How to Analyze your Posts
In the ‘Insights’ screen, there should be a ‘Posts’ section when you scroll down a bit where it will show you the last few posts you’ve made, starting with the most recent.
Click on ‘See More’ for a great way to analyze all your posts. You can filter and sort your posts to display your posts by type, metric and time period. By default, it will show you the number of impressions for each of your posts but you can change it to a number of other metrics. For example, change it to ‘engagement’ to see what are all your top engaging posts and maybe you’ll notice a trend.
You can also see data for individual posts by clicking on the individual posts from your profile page. You should see a link below your photo or video that says ‘View Insights.’
The small popup screen should tell you:
You should be familiar with what most of these numbers are, but there’s a link you can click below this popup called ‘What Do These Mean?’ if you need more clarification.
How to Access your Twitter Analytics
To access Twitter Analytics, go to twitter.com from your desktop and click on your profile photo in the top right on corner of your screen. There should be a drop down menu with ‘Analytics’ as one of the items so click on that.
How to Analyze your Tweets
Similarly to Facebook, you’ll see a summary of data, but for the past month.
To see data for all your tweets, click on the ‘Tweets’ tab on the top of the screen. By default, it will show your tweets for the past month, but you can change the date ranges in the top right hand corner.
Impressions is like Facebook’s reach, which tells you the number of unique people who saw your tweet.
Engagement is the same as Facebook, but it also gives you a percentage of people who engaged with your tweet by dividing the number of people who engaged with the post by the total number of impressions. This is the engagement rate.
Just like with Facebook, you’re looking to see which tweets have the highest engagement rates and analyzing further understand why it did. You want to see if there’s a trend with the posts that are getting high engagement rates so you can continue tweeting that type of content.