10 Ways to Enhance Your Online VO FootPrint

by | Apr 12, 2011 | Social Media/Networking | 14 comments

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.

CourVO

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14 Comments

  1. Brian Page

    Good blog, Dave, good thoughts. I guess I’m like #2, I pop up occasionally and buzz by like the proverbial gnat…

    Brian.

    Reply
  2. Andy Boyns

    Thanks for this, Dave.
    While a lot of the development of our footprint (I like the concept) is common sense, perhaps because of this it’s especially good to be reminded of these key elements. In this way we can be slightly more focused.
    One of the keys I use a lot is the “delete” key, as I sometimes find myself hastily responding to something and then just before sending remember that my comment will be part of my footprint… do I want that flippant retort to be part of my brand?
    What might seem funny to me… well, is it really that good? Just as we direct ourselves while recording, we have to direct ourselves carefully when engaging in social media, too.
    btw… so why do I start to reply and then delete? Well, sometimes it’s cathartic to write something, so I can get a feeling off my chest without getting into an argument.

    Reply
    • Derek Chappell

      Andy, I like the comparison to directing ourselves when recording. Perfect.

      Reply
  3. Tony Tee Neto

    Thank you, Dave!

    We haven’t communicated directly in a bit, but I love your posts and articles.

    Great advice here, and anyone not practicing these pointers would be wise to start! Then again, if they’re not online and interacting … well, they probably never saw it.

    Reply
  4. John Florian

    Absolutely essential article, Dave! And you practice what you preach!
    John
    VoiceOverXtra

    Reply
  5. Paul Strikwerda

    Hi Dave, we gladly follow in your footsteps as we’re trying to leave a good impression of our brand on the web. I must confess that I have trouble being concise (#3), and I’ll leave it at that.

    No, I wont.

    What bugs me about sites like Facebook and Twitter is the fact that more and more people seem to communicate in soundbites and headlines without ever getting to the real story.

    It’s not a matter of “we don’t have time for that.” How we choose to spend our time is a reflection of what we believe to be important.

    As in the newsroom, we’re all caught up in the urgency of the now and in the immediacy of what’s new. The footprint we leave this very moment, is quickly washed away by the supposedly “urgent” chatter that follows.

    The real challenge is to leave a lasting footprint, and to cut through the clutter of superficial comments and witty one-liners (mea culpa!). But that requires a counter-culture similar to the slow-eating movement.

    It’s time for us to start tasting again, and truly enjoy each other’s company, instead of grabbing a quick bite that’s washed away with a sugary dose of highly carbonated soda. We need more than a moment or two to chew things over and digest what we take in.

    Otherwise we’ll end up consuming empty fillers of little nutritional value, culminating in a loud, meaningless cyber-BURP.

    Reply
    • CourVO

      I agree, Paul…and thanks for your meaty comment… unfortunately, I think these days, the formula for leaving a lasting footprint is to visit and post again and again and again and again….

      dc

      Reply
      • Paul Strikwerda

        I’m afraid you’re right, but isn’t that choosing quantity over quality? I know that there’s power in numbers, but posting a lot is not the same as saying meaningful things. I could send one hundred tweets a week, but does that really make me a mega-influencer?

        I think we’re the victim of tracking technology that cannot make distinctions based on the value of the content. Fortunately, people can, and that’s why I believe that some of us will quickly become disenchanted with the culture of “more is more”.

        Reply
  6. David Gavin

    Were you reading my mind as I woke up this morning,Dave?
    Wonderful article and a great “wake-up” call! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Linda Ristig

    Once again, you expressed the importance of being real, of caring and sharing bits of yourself within text and video through all aspects of social media. Well said, Dave!

    Reply
  8. Rick Lance

    Good points, Dave! This serves as a reminder that “we are what we tweet.”
    Make the most of our time in forums, blogs, etc. and refrain from knee-jerk, argumentative, empty and sometimes hateful statements toward something or someone.

    We live in a great country where healthy debate or simple exchange of information promotes education and growth within ourselves, our professions and our communities.

    Information out to the WWW is forever. We can add or detract from it but we can never delete it.

    Reply
  9. Derek Chappell

    Great stuff Dave, as always. I am going to have my daughters read this because even though they may not be promoting their own ‘business’ on social media sites right now, the things they do post, including pictures, will be there ‘footprint’ forever and for everyone to see. This includes future employers, spouses, friends, co-workers, etc. I have tried to teach my daughters to ‘think before you post’ for awhile now, but as you are well aware with daughters of your own…they don’t always listen to Dear Old Dad. So my hope is that they will listen (read) and absorb from your post instead (I just won’t tell them that you’re really a ‘Dear Old Dad’ too!

    Talk to you soon.

    Reply
  10. Davie Kimm

    Great post Dave! One to bookmark for sure!

    Reply

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