There’s no ignoring it. We’re all drawn closer by the internet. Intimately.
That’s certainly a function of your willingness to use it, but apparently most of us are…partly to bridge the “lonely” gap, partly to learn more, certainly to build relationships, to explore new digital worlds (online marketing?), and sometimes even to not feel left behind by the pace of technology.
So…we’re out there. We’re on FaceBook (600,000,000 worldwide and growing), YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, VO forums, Blogs, Skype, FaceBook Groups, and more. We email, we respond to engaging threads about our VO business, and we like to think we contribute in some small way.
YOU ARE YOUR BRAND
What you are doing with each digital interaction is extending a piece of YOU to the world. You are creating your “FOOTPRINT”. It’s a digital footprint, and it’s a voice over digital footprint if you’re at all trying to build your VO business using social media.
Much like you build your reputation among friends, family, and workmates in your city/town…you are growing your digital image online…and it’s highly personal. Even more so now than before. People seem to be willing to share more on FaceBook than they EVER used to reveal to strangers (often times to their detriment).
In fact, YOU are your brand in more ways than that fancy logo, and your colorful business card.
PUTTING YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
What, then can you do to leverage this extension-of-you to the best possible advantage?
I humbly submit the following list of 10 suggestions, and some real-world samples for each as a starting point — YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary according to the effort you put into it, your comfortableness with the medium, the time you can afford to spend, and your ability to creatively build your own list of suggestions.)
1) CONTRIBUTE. Your perspective and knowledge may benefit someone else in ways you never anticipated, and it takes nothing from you. If someone posts a question or topic with which you’re familiar, throw in your 2-cents.
2) ENGAGE. Don’t just lurk. Be known. This doesn’t mean you have to be chatty every day, all day. Just pop up once in a while when you can contribute (see #1), and show yourself.
3) WRITE CONCISELY, PERSONABLY. Social Media prompts more writing than at any other time in the history of man. We’re writing more now because that’s the main form of interaction online. I’ve written about this before in “A Word About Words“. This takes practice. Space your paragraphs (and any more each sentence is a paragraph) for visual ease, and don’t be wordy. No one has the time any more.
4) AVOID ENDLESS ARGUMENTS. Sometimes you just have to make your point and move on. The more emotion enters into an online argument, the more misunderstanding it creates. Call the person and hash it out on the phone, or take it to a private email thread. It’s not likely you want to be perceived as contentious. Prospective clients can find these debates online through simple searches.
5) BE CONSISTENT. Don’t change your avatar a lot. If you post your logo, post it everywhere the same. If you’re a naturally helpful person, be helpful online. If you have a zany wit, be witty in a zany way…just try to maintain that personality, and people will come to appreciate your character. They might even recognize your “voice” through your posts, and suggest you for a voice job they think would fit that character.
6) ADD LINKS. This is the single most appreciated feature of anyone’s post, tweet, blog, or FB wall update. Making a point? Add the link. Seen a great video? Throw in the URL for YouTube. Just visited a helpful blog? Where’s the address?
7) RETWEET and REFER. Flattery will get you everywhere, and when you retweet someone’s meaty tweet, and refer others to a great blog or website, you are flattering the author, which will win you points every time.
8) ASK QUESTIONS. You don’t always have to be a know-it-all. When you ask a legitimate question, you give someone else a chance to shine, and you learn something in the process. VO people are usually very helpful, we’ve all been there, and there are no dumb questions.
9) SHARE SOMETHING PERSONAL once in a while. You don’t have to give your kids’ Social Security Numbers…but you might offer that you just finished a big project, and it feels good to be done. Some think these posts are frivolous, but I differ. When done right, they reveal a window into your personality, and you’ll find sometimes you get the most responses to THESE types of offerings (BTW, VO Terry Daniel is a master at this, so ask him how he does it.)
10) POST VIDEOS. They’re hot right now, so either link to them a lot, or take a deep breath, fire up your laptop webcam, and do one of your own. I offer some helpful free tips for this at ONCAMTIPS.com. This is a great way to build #1, #2, and #9 above.
Honorable mention: Don’t just “like”…comment and say why. Sometimes those threads run far and wide, and can be lots of fun, or very educational.