If you are connected to the world outside your home at all, it would be hard to miss the fact that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are growing more and more every day. On one hand, no matter how Linked In you are, you probably feel like you’re behind in this game. On the other hand, you may not even want to be in it.
No matter how you feel about it, one thing is for sure about the benefit of it: As an actor you can build a fan base and greatly expand the number of people who know you and that you keep in touch with more easily than ever. It’s a way to keep you on people’s minds. So how do you do it?
One of the things you can do is to “become a fan” of something – pretty much you name it, and you can become a fan of it. You can even start with being a fan of Smart Girls Productions Facebook page! The more your face and name show up out there, the more you start to be seen by lots of people.
Are you always working to expand your universe of fans? If you had some exciting news about your career to tell them, would you know how to get in touch?
Here are seven sure-fire ways to grow your industry fan list and make the most out of your contacts:
1. Go through all your notepads, computer databases, address books, cell phones etc. and write out all the information for each contact on an index card (or, if they gave you their card, staple it on).
Like many other actors, you probably collect names and phone numbers from a lot of different people and places: a casting director workshop, a table read, or even just a casual meeting at a bar or restaurant. It can be a challenge to keep track of them all.
Unless you are super-computer oriented, just do it the old fashioned way at first. Write them all out by hand on index cards and keep those cards in one place. Now you’ve got a “master file” of potential fans at your fingertips. At some point put them in the computer or on your Ipad where you can get to them regularly. But make sure at first you have a hard copy everywhere.
2. Bring all of your fans up-to-date on your look, credits, training, and representation.
Send all of the people in your “fan file” a copy of your latest headshot and a postcard telling them about your most recent job or class. If you’ve just signed with an agent or manager, put that on the postcard too.
One tip on preparing your headshots – copy your resume on plain white paper and staple it to the back. Some reproduction places will want you to print the resume directly onto the headshot. But to keep from getting stuck with outdated headshots if something changes, and to show your fans that you’re always in action with your career, copy and staple it instead.
3. Keep up-to-date on their careers also.
Watch the trades for announcements of new projects, or to see if they’ve made a big move to a new company. When you see something that rates an acknowledgement on your part, drop them an encouraging, handwritten note in the mail.
4. Offer to bring their Starbucks one day for 10 minutes of their time – and make sure you stay no longer, otherwise your plan backfires!
Of course, snail mail isn’t the only way you can stay in contact with your fans. Face time is even better. Offer to bring coffee one morning and talk for 10 minutes (or on the phone if they’re too busy to leave the office). You’re not going to get a meeting with Spielberg this way, but you might convince one of your target people if you’re super enrolling.
If they say “yes,” prepare a great list of questions to ask. Go there ready to have an intentional conversation, not just shoot the breeze.
5. Instead of just forwarding today’s hottest viral, take the time to cut out an article you think they might be interested in and dropping it in the mail.
It seems everyone’s email inbox is constantly bombarded with the latest video or spam email making the rounds Stand out with your fans by dropping something in the US Mail.
It’s more likely to get their attention and be more appreciated than the hundredth link to Susan Boyle’s YouTube video.
6. Get involved with a project that you think a contact would also be interested in, and ask for a meeting with them on it.
The most successful people in the industry don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking on their door. They create their own opportunities instead. Same thing goes for growing your fan list.
You could option a script (one of the those $1 options), volunteer for a favorite charity, or pitch a unique new media idea.
7. Offering your services for free is always a good way to make new fans and to get to know industry people.
If you have time available, see if you can find someone in the industry to let you shadow them or be a P.A. (production assistant) on their next project. In addition to gaining valuable knowledge and experience, what you’re really looking for here is a mentor. Someone to take you under their wing and nurture you.
Building up your fanbase takes some effort. Not just taking the time to get out there and meet new people, but also the time to develop those contacts after you’ve gotten their card or information.
Remember, the more important or the more urgent the contact, the more they will be worth your investment of time and money to make them a fan. If they have something “hot” on their plate that you would be right for, you need to act early and often. On the other hand, if they have things cooking on the back burner for now, you can afford to take a more long-term approach in managing them.
If you don’t have enough industry people in your fanbase, then start by doing mailings to them with your headshot of postcards. Smart Girls Productions can help you get a new talent agent or management agency, and even market you to Casting Directors with postcards. Start expanding your fan base today!
If you’re anxious to kick your acting career into high gear, then take action today. You can collaborate with a marketing firm who has provided marketing services to thousands of actors since 1992 by calling Smart Girls Productions today at 818/907-6511. We’ll leave the ringer on for ya!