There are a handful of questions that are asked of me on a regular basis. One consistent topic that comes up is that of social media. Most often, actors want to know specifically about followers on social media and their importance in booking a job. I’m here to help… answer both the frequently asked question and unasked ones that, perhaps, matter even more.
Commercial actors should never be uninformed about social media.
Let’s just get to the biggie question, shall we? What role does the number of followers an actor has on various social media sites play in them getting commercial work? In my experience, it’s little to none. In 11 years, I’ve been asked to consider/seek actors with a big social media following once. So, yes, it does happen, but not very often. I don’t believe it is even considered when there isn’t a specific request made by production/ad agency/director. Your headshots, your resume, your commercial type, your training and your skills would far outweigh a social media following when you are being considered for a commercial audition.
Perhaps you should think of social media stars like you do celebrities. Of course they will be used in commercials (ahem, Super Bowl commercials over the last several years) but there is plenty of work (more, actually!) for regular, “non recognizable” actors.
You can officially release the stress of accruing a large social media following to further your commercial career.
Does social media matter at all? YES. But not in the way you might think. Commercial actors should be aware that your social media accounts may be checked before being hired on a commercial.
What I’m saying is… your social media accounts could be used against you.
When you appear in a commercial, you are essentially representing the brand. Some of the bigger brands are making it a habit of performing background checks as well as looking into social media accounts. What are they looking for? It likely depends, but I know for sure some look for offensive political posts, offensive language (and how often you use it) and explicit sexual posts. In theory, the brands care about how often you are offensive and how easy it is to find your offensive posts online. Some check this out statically. I have no idea what program or service they use, but they come up with numbers. Sometimes they will ask you to remove such posts, and it’s also possible you simply won’t get the job without knowing the reason.
Your website is fair game, and so is your blog. (As does whether you’ve had a DUI when being considered for an alcohol commercial. But that falls under a background check, and best for another column)
Your public persona is important.
I can also add that recently I’ve been pointed to a whole heck of a lot of Instagram accounts to view additional photos and videos (usually to prove a skill or show a live performance). Generally, I recommend you put the videos and photos on your online actor account, because casting directors don’t have time to go to a different site (think thousands to 20,000+ submissions to look at over in a few hours), but there is a time and place where this could be appropriate and effective. Something to think about.
In the end, the choice is all yours, when it comes to your social media accounts. You can publicly say whatever you would like to say as often as you like to say it. I’m simply giving you the heads up that there could be repercussions and there could be rewards. Make an informed choice and let the chips fall where they may.
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