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The Benefit of LinkedIn for Actors and Other Industry Professionals
There is no doubt that putting together a social media profile is important for professionals in today’s world. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ are some of the popular social media platforms that anyone with an internet connection can create. Attendance is what they think most about. But what about LinkedIn? I remember when LinkedIn first came out. I thought nothing of it but set up the profile anyway. Today, LinkedIn has more than 477 million profiles from individuals, businesses and groups. It is the first professional networking platform in existence today. If the number of users isn’t impressive enough, there were 45 billion profile views in the first quarter of 2016!
Why should an actor consider using LINKEDIN?
why not Seriously, really, what’s the harm in spending time setting up your professional profile? With my rhetorical question out of the way, let’s look at the practicality of what LinkedIn really is. Your LinkedIn profile acts as a digital resume. LinkedIn features help you manage your professional career and keep track of all the projects, experiences, volunteer work, and education you’re involved in. LinkedIn helps others who might be interested in working with you get a quick snapshot of your focus, your character, and your skills.
As an actor, you are in one of the most competitive industries. Anyone who has worked in the entertainment industry for any length of time knows about networking. It’s about who you know and the projects you’ve been a part of. Of course, posting videos on YouTube helps, having a Facebook fan page helps, and possibly even your own web page. Social media profiles like Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram and others help you engage with your audience and fans along with increasing your marketability. But what about your professional image? Fans are great, however, you are in “show business”. The most important part of that word is “business”. If you don’t develop your professional and business side, it doesn’t matter what your fans are because if you don’t get work, the fans will have nothing to appreciate!
HOW CAN YOU USE LINKEDIN?
The best aspects of LinkedIn are showcasing projects, writing articles, getting support from peers, and getting recommendations from people you’ve worked with. Casting directors, producers and filmmakers are always ready to supply talent. Along with agents and managers. Like it or not, you must show them why you are worth their time. You can act or sing, earn your points or earn a penny. But, you are not alone. Most importantly, if you can’t show up to work on time, cause problems, or have an attitude, it doesn’t matter how much talent you have, your personality will overshadow it all. We all want to work with professionals. They want to know who you are. LinkedIn can serve you the most.
Experience Section – The best part of this section is the ability to highlight an experience you’ve had. Are you an agent or management company? What work have you done in the past that is industry related or otherwise? what did you do How did you do it? what did you learn What skills did you acquire? This information is great for someone looking to work with you to know.
Project Division – Like a resume attached to the back of a headshot, projects can be displayed on LinkedIn under the experience it coordinates with. For example, you work with ABC Talent Agency. While there, you were cast for projects 1,2,3. You have worked with XYZ actor/director/casting director. You have the ability to describe the characters you played and other details more fully than what you can do on the back of your resume.
Support – We all have skills. Some skills are directly related to your field of work, while others are outside of your field of work. Different experiences and projects make us use the different skills we have. The support section showcases your most prominent skills. Further, this section allows friends, peers, and networks to endorse those skills. Nothing is more powerful than those who say… Yes, he has these skills and has developed them to the point that I am willing to endorse and recommend.
recommendations – Imagine working with an actor like Leonardo DiCaprio or a director like Stephen Spielberg and they recommend you because of your work ethic or your performance on set! This kind of support will do wonders for your marketability. People like to work with people they like. Recommendations are the best way to show that you are such a person. This section highlights who you are beyond your performance. It highlights your character, your behavior and work ethic. My advice is to prepare your recommendation as much as possible. This will benefit you in the long run.
Volunteer Department – Do you like charity? Are you involved with a non-profit? Why are you involved and what do you do with them? LinkedIn gives you the ability to talk about the charities you work with. Can you imagine what this does to your favorite ingredient? You can imagine how this will help you stand out from the rest and the opportunities that come from this one segment!
Different social media platforms serve different purposes. Most focus on gaining followers, sharing your thoughts or moments from time to time. Others are about showcasing your professional experience. LinkedIn has become a platform to showcase your professional side. The best part about LinkedIn is that it keeps growing. You have the ability to link your profile to other websites and social media platforms (IMDB, website, fan page, etc.) You have the ability to take the time to develop a quality digital resume that will be accessible to those interested in working. Building a track record of support, recommendations, articles and experiences. Don’t do what I did and wait to develop your profile. Get started today!
Tips and tricks
Remember, it’s about promoting your professional side. Half-heartedly tossing out some information just won’t do much good for long. There’s an old saying in the restaurant business… “Presentation is everything”; This means, you can have the best tasting food, but if the presentation is poor, the meal will not be as good. This is because we eat with our eyes first. It’s no different on your resume or your profile. You want it to stand out and be as professional as possible. So here are some tips to help you out.
1.Photograph – If you don’t have a photo, you don’t have a profile. As an actor, getting professional photos (headshots) is part of the business. Especially if you’re a junior talent, you need to get in the habit of updating your photo on LinkedIn with a new headshot every time you update your headshot.
2. background image – New layout for LinkedIn allows for a background image. Use this feature! It adds a unique touch to your profile and allows you to express yourself. Just make sure to keep it professional.
3. Article – LinkedIn gives you the ability to write articles. It is a great way to express yourself and your experience. When you exit a project, writing updates while talking about your experiences can help a lot. Writing about the things that matter to you will help others learn about you and the types of projects that will help you really shine. Plus, every time you post an article, your connections automatically get a notification. It increases your presence in your industry.
Note: BMake sure you don’t post restricted or non-disclosure information about any project you’re working on… If in doubt, check with your agent, manager or legal professional first. Better to be safe than sorry.
4. Support others – Help your fellow artists! They are struggling just as much as you are. If you work with someone who has done you great work or has great character, let others know! Trust me, they will think highly of you and I can guarantee, they will be willing to support and recommend you in return.
5. Be professional – Whatever you do, keep professionalism at the forefront of your mind for LinkedIn. It’s not about pestering casting directors or filmmakers to be in their next film. It’s not about posting what you did over the weekend or talking bad about others. Trust me, social media is a double-edged sword in general. You shouldn’t do this on any of your platforms, however, LinkedIn is the last place you should do this. You’ll be blacklisted sooner than you think!
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