The year is 2022. You sit excitedly, tippy-tapping the perfect Instagram caption on the perfect photo. Because guess what! You’re called back for a co-star on a major series and you’re feeling pretty confident! You wait in anticipation, ready to post your victory…
…and then you see an influencer with no professional acting experience booked the role and your dreams of stardom are shattered.
Some performing artists view Instagram as an amazing tool, while some consider it a necessary evil. Whatever your opinion, promoting yourself on social media is the name of the game in 2022. And with the right tools, you can not only snag those dopamine-producing likes, but actually harness the power of Instagram to help you get the attention of casting teams.
Need some tips to boost that social media savvy? Keep reading for the 10 Instagram commandments that will pump up your follower list and make casting directors do a sitcom-style double take.
- Put your headshot center stage.
Your cat is adorable, but unless you’re Grumpy Cat’s agent, your profile pic needs to be a clean shot of your gorgeous face! You’re uploading all your headshots and branding images for the likes and praise anyway, so pop one into the prime slot. Not only does it show you’re a pro performer, it also makes sure casting can find you in the virtual sea.
Still working from pre-quarantine headshots? Might be time for a refresh. Check out our list of the top 10 NYC photographers for actor headshots.
- Make sure you have a public profile.
Being an actor means spending 24/7 trying to stand out, so don’t let your settings keep you in the shadows. You want as many people as possible to see your killer career strides!
Just remember to keep it professional and make a second profile if you need it. New film reels on the public profile, drunken nacho nights on the private one.
- Keep your bio current.
Listen, we all hate going home for Thanksgiving and hearing the inevitable “So, what’s next?” about our acting careers, but the truth is that industry people need to know what you’ve got up next.
Keep your bio as up-to-date as your backstage gossip! If you’re showcasing projects that ended years ago, it’s time to move on.
- Be more than your latest gig.
Doing what you love is a tricky game because soon, it becomes the only thing on your social media. Post about your profesh successes, but don’t let your work completely define you.
“I can’t, I have rehearsal” is an industry joke, not a life motto. Do you love interior decorating? Games? Social action? Put it on your instagram. Odd hobbies or skills? Throw ‘em up there. You never know when casting needs someone who can skateboard, speak Portuguese, or whip up a mean crème brûlée.
They’re casting a real human, so be one.
- Talk about yourself…Insta isn’t just for pics.
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but on Instagram, without your words, pics get lost in the noise. If you’re at an event, tell your followers what it’s about! If you’re posting new headshots, share the deets: who’s your photographer? What was the session like? Where did you shoot?
Your audience wants the whole story. They want the fashion history of your dog’s winter booties. Give the people what they want.
- Promote others in your community.
An acting career is never a solo adventure. You know better than anyone that your success is built on the backs of loving friends who took you out to get wasted after you didn’t book that final callback.
Sharing success breeds more success, so pump up your social media industry community. For every few excited posts you make about yourself, share and repost a friend’s new gig or side project! Not only will you build connections and boost your friends, you’ll also have more interesting content than your tenth headshot post in seven days.
- Get those followers.
Follower numbers are the bane of anyone trying to use social media as a promotional platform. They can feel superficial and mentally draining.
What to do?
Don’t waste your money on buying bots, but do take a few minutes everyday to follow accounts with shared followers. Wait for them to follow you back, and then every few days, cull those ingrates who didn’t. You don’t need empty follows clogging up your feed. Unless it’s Lil Bub. Always follow Lil Bub.
- Become master of the algorithm.
There’s good news and bad news about likes. The bad news is that you’re probably not going to beat out your influencer friends when you post a picture at the beach, no matter how much time you spend finding the perfect filter and hashtags.
The good news is, you can close the gap! It turns out, social media science is real. For more likes, follow the data and post at peak times to watch the likes rain down. Don’t stay up all night to post, though. Gotta get your beauty sleep!
- Links, links, LINKS.
Promoting your projects is fantastic, but if no one can figure out how to watch you, it’s a pointless exercise. Always link out to project pages or websites and tag companies for possible sponsorships (real sponsorships, not the fishy ones in your hidden DMs).
If you need a little help organizing, head on over to LinkTree for a custom series of links you can pop right in your bio and easily update. No one wants to spend hours searching for your IMDB, Mr. Johnny Appleseed Smithington.
- Keep your content authentic.
You already pretend to be other people on the stage and screen, so why would you pretend to be anyone other than yourself in real life? After all, we don’t follow celebrities on Instagram for the red carpet photos — we follow them because we want to watch their kids cover them in spaghetti sauce in their kitchens.
People are drawn to real people and that’s what’s going to get you cast. So keep it real, keep it fresh, and keep it YOU!
Looking for a flexible gig in between the perennial auditions? Join a community of working actors just like you (in person!), at Worthwhile Event Services.