Please proceed ONLY if you have already completed our totally unbiased (and unfortunately very real) Mainstream Media Accountability Survey.
Social media is quickly transforming the way we distribute and receive our information. Needless to say, by ignoring this continuously evolving medium, you are isolating yourself from current forms of communication. Which is code for ain’t nobody gonna find you.
These steps can apply to anyone with a product to sell or a message to be delivered. Oh, what’s that? You’re an actor? An improviser? You want people to see your shows and know your name so you can get an agent? Get a paying gig so you can eat something other than tuna out of can, but on crackers, so you can tell yourself it’s fancy? Ahhhhh. That’s what I thought. Let’s take a dive into some successful digital tactics to help increase your social media presence.
1. Make People Care About You
People are inherently selfish. What’s in it for them? What makes you special? Give them a reason to be invested. Provide them some value from the content you share that they aren’t receiving elsewhere. By consistently providing valuable and quality content, you start to gain a following, and that turns into loyalty. You want your name or your new web series to spread? There is no better advertising than word-of-mouth, so make it a goal to have your name popping up in conversation. But make sure it’s spreading the message you want.
Pro Tip: Depending on what you’re working on, I’ve found making an editorial schedule and planning out when you release content tends to help you stay on track with your posts.
2. Own Your Image
With social media messages spreading so quickly, make sure you’re presenting yourself how you want to be perceived. The beauty of this is that, for the most part, you have total control over how you’re perceived by the content you distribute. The downfall is that sometimes you have to use a filter when you don’t want to.
If you want to be considered a professional, I’d suggest those pictures of you hammered at 3am from Saturday not make their way online. I don’t care if you take them down. Once they’re up, they’re up— and live on in the interwebs forever. Just know that. Great future blackmail material.
3. Audience: Know Yours
Who are you trying to reach with your name/message/new show, etc? Figure out who you want to hear you and find them online. Want to build an audience? Get yourself representation? Got a niche you specialize in? That’s where you should be targeting your time and energy. Reaching people where they already exist. Don’t make it harder on yourself and try to lure them to you; your chances of success will be slim.
Take note of where your intended targets are spending their social media time. See a lot of tweets about brunch plans? Bingo. Reach them on Twitter. If all you see is pictures of French toast on Instagram, then reach them there. Facebook is usually a safe bet, as it’s the most widely used social media platform.
Pro Tip: Make yourself a page. Yes, separate from your personal profile. Make yourself a brand page. There are so many more opportunities, and it’s much more professional.
4. Tell Your Story
Figure out what story you want to tell, and then re-read steps one through three. Finding common themes and having direction with your content will help to continue to engage your potential audience.
5. Spread the Word
Remember how we talked about word-of-mouth advertising? Press is a great outlet to explore this. Again, depending on your content and your audience, if you can find a press outlet to help tell your story or review your show (hopefully, it’s good) that helps add credibility. When people believe something is credible, they have fewer doubts. Give them Kool-Aid they want to drink.
Pro Tip: What’s a “press outlet?” Think about newspapers, blogs, websites, podcasts, YouTube channels… TV wouldn’t hurt, either.
6. Be Particular About Keywords
Not to get too technical, but most content on the internet is “searchable” by Google. Basically speaking, if someone types something into the Google search bar, Google scans all the content on the web and pulls up what it deems to be the most relevant.
That being said, figure out what keywords are most important for people to find you with and make sure to include those in the content you release. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Your name
- The names of the other people in your show
- Title of your show
- The theater your show will be held at
- “Chicago” (or whatever city is your home base)
- “comedy show”
- “comedy web series”
These would be good to start with. Sometimes it’s a bit of a battle between creativity and making something easy to find, and that’s a battle you’ll have to fight. But at least you know who you’re up against — Google. Your move.
Pro Tip: Use keywords in a conversational manner. Don’t try to be fancy; market how you talk. Google will be more friendly. Promise.
7. Be Efficient
Most of us don’t have time to sit around posting new social content at all hours of the day, but there are technologies called “social media management platforms” that can help you with this.
Hootsuite is a really good, easy to use, free platform. It allows you to schedule tweets and Facebook posts so you don’t have to post them in real-time. It’s brilliant.
When in doubt, just ask yourself what you can do to make it easy for someone to find you. Think like any normal person. If you want to know something, you type it into Google. So if someone is trying to find your show or your personal website, make it a point to come up in their search results.
As an actor/improviser, you are your product. If you aren’t pushing you, who is? Now go get out there. It’s a vast, fast-moving world… and you have tagged photos to start deleting.
Kiley Peters is the Online Marketing Manager at The Second City. She also writes for Choose Chicago’s “Live Like a Local” blog and is the Founder of LifesAFunnyScene.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kileypeters, @LifesFunnyScene and on Facebook.