Everyone tweets. Business owners, famous musicians, men with orange skin—they’re all doing it.
Social media is an increasing part of our lives. That may be especially true for actors—and I’m not just talking about the cool kids in their 20s, but performers of all ages and types. The trick is knowing how to make a platform like Twitter work for you without alienating the people you’re trying to impress.
Let’s start with your profile picture. Please don’t use a headshot. Try going with a picture that sheds a little light on you as a person. Show off your interests, your personality. It could be a travel shot (as long as it’s not an image of you puking on Bourbon Street) or a picture of you doing something you love (like reading my column!).
Moving down, keep your profile short and sweet. Be honest and specific about your location. New York is not the Big Apple and Los Angeles is not the City of Angels. Brooklyn and West Hollywood will work much better. Also, don’t forget to make your account public so those you want to find you can, and you should definitely include a link to your acting website.
Now you’re ready to make some new industry friends. To really connect with people, it’s not just about following agents, managers, and casting directors in the hope that they’ll return the favor; you have to attract their attention in a smart way.
First, consider your tweets. They can be related to your adventures as an actor, but don’t limit yourself to just that. Try to open it up a bit. Comment on current affairs, life experiences, whatever’s on your mind. That’s the stuff that attracts like-minded tweeters and earns you followers.
Second, make yourself part of the conversation. Don’t just retweet. Jump into existing threads. Offer your advice, opinions, and support. Hopefully, people will start to wonder who you are and they’ll go check your profile. That’s how the relationship-building starts. Who knows? You might even get a retweet.
Just remember: Don’t make it all about you. The key to social media is to be of value to others. That’s why you get followed. So don’t join a conversation to pull it back to yourself; join to add something of value to the conversation.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when you’re following this advice and an industry person inevitably follows you back, that person doesn’t suddenly become your best friend. They’re not coming over to your place to watch Netflix. Don’t assume a relationship exists when it doesn’t. What you have with a new follower is a seed that needs to be watered. But water it carefully—don’t drown the seed with compliments and sucking up.
Here’s another valuable way to use the platform: If you’re taking a meeting with an agent, check out their feed first so you can learn more about them. Mentioning some common ground could make a positive impression when you’re in the room together. Also, empowering yourself with personal facts about the person you’re meeting will make you feel less intimidated. You’ll be able to see them as an actual human being, not just someone with the power to advance your career. And getting a feel for their sense of humor, interests, recent vacations—it can all lead to a great icebreaker in the room.
Lastly, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not on Twitter. My social media footprint is actually quite light. That way, I’ll be safe when Skynet takes over. Happy tweeting!
Ready to get to work? Check out Backstage’s Los Angeles audition listings!