Lately I feel like I just discovered it even though I’ve been on it for years. You see I was sort of “dissing” social medial for a long time even though I religiously posted on Facebook and Twitter every single day. At the beginning, Facebook was where I was growing and engaging. Then when Facebook went public and changed their algorithm, as a business page, I had to spend money on “boosting” posts for the same exposure to my fans I used to get without the advertising. Slowly, even that engagement died down, and I realized mainly because everyone moved over to Instagram. Most people haven’t shut down their Facebook profiles but where they are most active and spend the most time has now become Instagram.
The latest study shows that Instagram users have grown by 30% while snapchat, Twitter and Facebook users decline, in the case of Snapchat, pretty significantly. So knowing this, I finally decided to get serious on Instagram and as soon as I did, I stumbled upon an ad for a free webinar (yes they’re listening ;-)). I liked how the ad was put together, researched the person behind it, and decided I have nothing to lose so I signed up! If you know anything about free webinars, the intent is to sell you on the entire class. It’s a great way for experts in a particular field to gain credibility, exposure and a few clients. Even knowing all this, after taking the free webinar, I was sold because it was that good. I spent $400 on an Instagram class. Crazy I know! Who would have thought you’d need to pay someone to teach you how to use Instagram. Well you don’t, but to use it effectively for business… few people have figured out how.
Before I give all the credit to one class, my associate turned me on to Gary Vaynerchuck’s Podcast (every creative should listen to) and it’s become my morning mental coffee. Gary slowly helped shape my attitude towards social media from dissing it, to accepting it, to now enjoying it as a business. And almost immediately, after taking this inspiring Instagram class with @HilaryRushford, my attitude adjustment is complete.
You know the attitude I’m talking about. If you’re over 30, all you do is bitch about how necessary social media is, how much you hate it, and you’re only on it because you have to be. The reality is that in the current market, to be successful as an actor, you also have to be successful on social media. How many auditions have you been on where they ask you how many followers you have on Instagram? I’m sure your first instinct is to make a judgement on that question about where we are as a society and “how can they put my acting worth on how many followers I have?"
I get it, I really do, but everything always comes down to perspective. My fiancé is a speaker and he always says to his audience, “stop hanging out with the tire kickers.” Social media isn’t going away just because you don’t like it. Technology isn’t going away, in fact it’s going to continue to change our lives, so unless you adapt, you’re going to lose. Instead of kicking tires and bitching about it, consider that maybe the reason casting cares about your followers is because your followers represent the market. If the social media market likes your content/talent, then maybe the bigger market will like your talent too. Don’t mistake this question to be a measure of your popularity. If you don’t take my word for it, do some digging on Instagram and you’ll come across actors like @austinmboyce who are putting out content on Instagram that is either compelling, inspiring or funny and they have thousands of followers.
These actors are not famous! They’re just taking advantage of an amazing opportunity to showcase their talent directly to the people who can hire them. So really, when you think about it, you’re lucky you have social media as an outlet on which to perform because twenty years ago, the only people that got seen were the ones casting directors called in.
Last but not least, let’s keep talking. Find me on Instagram, follow me, and comment on one of my posts (or in the comments below) tell me what your current attitude is about social media. Did this article help you? Did you look up Gary and Hilary? Cuz… I just gave you the tools you need to stop bitching and start implementing. Now go and #justdoit!
Oh I almost forgot… be sure to turn on post notifications by me after following me so that you DON’T MISS MY BIGGEST GIVEAWAY EVER! In just a few weeks, I’m giving away, a FREE 4 look headshot package and for your free session, I’m also giving away a free styling session, a free makeup session, and a surprise *BONUS* you’ll find out about only when the giveaway is announced.
I look forward to getting to know you on Instagram and… good luck!
Vanie has been a professional Los Angeles photographer for over 17 years and she photographs in Detroit and NYC as well. Her clients include actors and entertainment executives and have been featured in numerous commercials and shows including Justified, Ray Donovan, Black Mirror, Diet Land, The Americans, Grimm, Breaking Bad, Chicago PD and Masters of Sex among others.