Written for Casting Networks News by Terry Berland @berlandcasting.
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

I know that social media is important for actors, but I was surprised when at an in-person commercial callback, the directors looked up the social media accounts of the talent they were interested in…and they weren’t looking at the number of followers. Let’s look into why they were looking and consider the positive effect that social media may have on your career.

Taking a deeper dive into the phenomena of why a decision-maker may check out your social media, the glib answer would be because they can. Why not, aren’t we all on the internet all day long Googling everything? Don’t we look up someone we are having a meeting with if we have never met them before? Don’t other careers take a look at a person’s social media as part of their hiring process?

Besides the fact that directors are curious, creative people interested in who they are considering as a choice, and having fun doing so, I knew there is something more. I always thought it was quite amazing that a creative team could confidently make a talent choice to fulfill a role with so much commercial production money riding on their choice…all by just seeing them in an audition for five or ten minutes. A tool of looking further at who they are choosing started to make sense.

For this particular commercial callback, there was acting involved, but it was also image-based due to the fact that it was a personal care product. In the images the directors were looking at on Instagram, the talent came to life relating to friends and doing things of interest to them. The directors saw how the person photographed from different angles, all resulting in a positive glimpse into the talent’s life.

Was it a deal breaker? No. But seeing positive, authentic images gave them a feeling of knowing this person better and most importantly, added a reassuring feeling to their decision-making choice.

Having said that, let’s look at what makes up a good social media branding image for yourself as an actor.

Everyone is individual, so fill in the blanks for this to be about you.

Show images of you doing things you are interested in, whatever that is. I am referring to hobbies, sports, theatre, arts, travel, cooking and anything else you can imagine.

To start with, keep it positive. Don’t post anything that will put you in a negative or controversial light. Stay away from politics and sexy booty shots, unless that is particularly what you want as part of your professional image.

Just being aware that your social media accounts are creating a professional branding image for yourself will lead you in the right direction for it to naturally fall into place. For instance, if you are the artistic type, clothing, colors and surrounding images would naturally have an artsy feel to them. Whereas, if you are the more edgy type, your photos will naturally reflect that in the clothing and colors you are wearing and in places you frequent. If you are more of the theatre type, a lot of your images will gravitate around theatre. There is no end to how different people are and this is your platform to express yourself.

Keep the images balanced with situations between work and personal interests. Announce your avails, bookings, work you are doing and readings you are in…whatever it may be.

Do you need two separate social media sites? It’s always a good idea to have a separate website for the posts for family and friends who are not in the business or for information you don’t want public. Maybe your other site would be used for friends’ weddings or kids, births, nieces, nephews, or extended family events that you want to keep more private.

Think about adding political statements. Some people want everyone to know their political stance and others don’t. You may want to save that for the personal social media page you have created. It’s up to you.

We are all looking to connect, and like it or not, this definitely is a way to have other people in the industry get to know you. I know social media is working because there are many actors who I see often on my Instagram, resulting in when I see their submissions or they do audition for me, I feel familiar with them in a positive way. And the icing on the cake might be that I think of them for an audition they have not been submitted for.

The main thing is to be aware that producers, casting directors, writers, or anyone else in the business might at some point be looking at your social media. The exciting thing is you can choose the authentic image you want of your life and create it on your social media. You are in charge.

If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.