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Inside Job

The 3 Most Common Social Media Mistakes

The 3 Most Common Social Media Mistakes
Photo Source: Vince Trupsin

Actor and entrepreneur Tony Howell founded Creative Social Media in June 2013, offering a variety of services that include personal coaching, consulting, branding, website design, group training courses, and live speaking.

What goes into personal coaching for social media?
I align your online presence with your offline goals, and I turn a virtual dream into reality. If you want to get an agent or you want to get a Broadway show, we look at who you need to know to make that happen and what you need to find and see and discover online, and then we set up your online presence to achieve that.

What are the most common mistakes actors make on social media?
There are common mistakes everyone makes on social media. It’s called social, so it should be two-way engagement, and media—photos, videos, etc.—that can really let your audience experience what it is you’re talking about.

The No. 1 mistake is that they’re shouting. It’s nonstop me, me, me, me, me, narcissism, and braggers. The second mistake is silence; artists who feel like they have nothing valuable to say and are just listening—if they’re even active at all. And then the third mistake…this may be an opinion, but I see people posting shirtless, sexy photos of themselves, and I don’t think it’s necessary to promote your career or your talent. It gets engagement; sure, sex sells, but I’m not sure it’s the most effective way to improve your reputation and relationships.

Do the same rules apply to everyone?
The thing about any rule is that you learn the rules and then you learn that you can break them. And doing the exact opposite sometimes is the most effective thing, so it’s hard to say what’s right and wrong in the world of social media, but there are certainly things that are best practices and are more effective and engaging ways of sharing content.

What’s the first step for someone new to social media?
The first step is to decide who you are, what you want, and who your audience is, and then you work backward from your goal. You need to have a purpose for being on Twitter, not just because everyone else is there. Why are you using that platform? Why do you need an Instagram? What’s different about Instagram from Twitter? So, the first step is really starting with clarity, and I always work to empower the artist first and to give them that clarity. And then I equip them with the tools necessary to reach those goals.

How is social media changing the acting industry?
What I’m hearing from the West Coast is that they’re auditioning people via Google Hangouts; that when you leave the room casting directors are seeing how many Twitter followers you have because, for example, if Taye Diggs tweets that he’s in rehearsal for a play, people are gonna run out and see if they can buy tickets to see that. So it is a bartering chip you can bring to the casting table, but I don’t believe in quantity over quality. Just like you could sell get-rich-quick formulas or magic weight-loss pills, social media is a slow process and sometimes you have overnight success, but then the work comes in sustaining that. So the way I see that it’s changing in the acting industry is that we’re starting to see its power for better or worse. I don’t focus on growing crazy amounts of followers; I really focus on helping people make their own opportunities and audiences.

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