The Benefit of LinkedIn for Actors and Other Industry Professionals
There is no doubt about the importance of a well-structured social media profile for professionals in today’s world. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ are some of the most popular social media platforms that anyone with an internet connection can create. They are also the most thoughtful in terms of presence. But what about LinkedIn? I remember when LinkedIn first appeared. I didn’t think anything of it, but I did set up a profile anyway. Today, LinkedIn has more than 477 million profiles ranging from individuals, companies, and groups. It is the number one professional networking platform out there today. If the number of users is not impressive enough, the number of profile views during the first quarter of 2016 was 45 billion!
WHY SHOULD AN ACTOR CONSIDER USING LINKEDIN?
Why not? Seriously, actually, what harm does it do to spend the time setting up your professional profile? Outside of my rhetorical question, let’s look at the practicality of what LinkedIn really is. Your LinkedIn profile serves as a digital resume. LinkedIn features help you organize your career and help you keep track of all the projects, experiences, volunteer work, and education that you are involved in. LinkedIn helps other people who may be interested in working with you get a quick snapshot of who you are – your focus, your character, and your experience.
As an actor, you are in one of the most competitive industries. Anyone who has been in the entertainment industry for some time knows that it is all about networking. It’s about who you know and the projects you’ve been a part of. Sure, posting videos on YouTube helps, having a Facebook fan page helps, and possibly even your own website. Social media profiles like Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram, and others help engage with your audience and fans, as well as increase your marketability. But what about your professional image? The fans are great, however you are in “show business”. The most important part of that term is “BUSINESS”. If you’re not developing your professional and business side, it doesn’t really matter what fans you have because fans won’t have anything to look up to if you’re not working.
HOW CAN LINKEDIN BE USED?
The best aspects of LinkedIn is the ability to showcase projects, write articles, gain peer endorsement, and receive recommendations from those you’ve worked with. Casting directors, producers, and filmmakers are always ready for talent. The same goes for agents and managers. Like it or not, you need to show them why you are worth their time. You may be able to act or sing, hit the spot, or meet a dime. But you are not the only one. More importantly, if you can’t show up for work on time, cause trouble, or have an attitude, no matter how talented you are, your personality will overshadow all of that. We all want to work with professionals. They want to know who YOU are. This is where LinkedIn can serve you more.
EXPERIENCE SECTION – The best part of this section is the ability to highlight the experience you have. Do you work with an agent or a management company? What work have you done in the past related to industry or otherwise? What did you do? How did you do it? You learned? What skills did you acquire? This information is good to know for someone who wants to work with you.
PROJECT SECTION – Like a resume attached to the back of a Headshot, projects can be displayed on LinkedIn under the experience with which it coordinates. For example, he works with ABC Talent Agency. While you were there, you were cast for project 1, 2, 3. You worked with the XYZ actor / director / casting director. You have the ability to describe the character you played and other details more fully than you could on the back of your resume.
ASLEEP – We all have skills. Some skills fit directly with our field of work, others outside of our field of work. Different experiences and projects make us use different sets of skills that we possess. The Approval section displays your most prominent skill set. Additionally, this section allows friends, colleagues, and the network to support those skills. There is nothing more powerful than others who say … yes, you have these skills and they are developed to the point that I am willing to endorse and recommend them for it.
recommendations – Imagine working with an actor like Leonardo DeCaprio or a director like Stephen Spielberg and they give you a recommendation for your work ethic or your acting on set! That kind of endorsement would do wonders for its marketability. People like to work with nice people. The best way to show that you are such a person is through recommendations. This section highlights who you are beyond your performance. Brighten up your character, your demeanor, and your work ethic. My advice is to develop your recommendation as much as possible. It only benefits you in the long run.
VOLUNTEER SECTION – Do you like charities? Are you involved with non-profit organizations? 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 liking factor? Can you imagine how this will help you stand out above the rest and the opportunities that can arise from this single section?
Different social media platforms have different purposes. Most focus on gaining followers, sharing their thoughts or moments in time. Others try to show their professional experience. LinkedIn has become the platform to show your professional side. The best part about LinkedIn is that it keeps growing. You have the ability to link your profile to other website 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 To work with you as you build a history of endorsements, 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. Giving some information half-way just to have it is not going to work well in the long run. An old saying in the restaurant business is this … “Presentation is everything”; that is, you may have the best tasting food, but if the presentation is poor, the food will not taste as good. This is because we eat with our eyes first. This is no different with your resume or your profile. You want it to stand out and you want it to be as professional as possible. So here are some tips to help you.
1.PHOTO – If you don’t have a photo, you don’t have a profile. As an actor, getting a professional shot (headshot) is part of the business. Especially if you are a junior talent, every time you update your Headshot, you should get in the habit of updating your LinkedIn photo with the new Headshot.
2. BACKGROUND IMAGE – LinkedIn’s new layout allows for a background image. Use this function! It adds a unique touch to your profile and allows you to express yourself. Just make sure you keep it professional.
3. ARTICLES – LinkedIn allows you the ability to write articles. This is a great way to express yourself and express your experience. Writing updates when you leave a project talking about your experiences can be very helpful. Writing about things that matter to you will also help others learn more about you and the types of projects that will really help you shine. Also, every time you publish an article, your contacts automatically receive a notification. This increases your presence in your industry.
NOTE: BMake sure you do not post any confidential or restricted information about any project you are working on … If you have any questions, please contact your agent, manager or legal professional first. Prevention is better than cure.
Four. SUPPORT OTHERS – Help your fellow actors! They are fighting as much as you. If you work with someone who you think does a great job or has great character, please tell others! Trust me, they will think highly of you and I guarantee it, they will be equally willing to give you an endorsement and a recommendation in return.
5. STAY PROFESSIONAL – Whatever you do, keep professionalism in the foreground for LinkedIn. This is not about harassing casting directors or filmmakers to appear in your next movie. It’s not about posting what you did over the weekend or badmouthing others. Believe me, social media, in general, is a double-edged sword. You shouldn’t do this on any of your platforms, however LinkedIn is the last place you want to do this. You will be blacklisted faster than you think!