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How Entertainers Use Social Media to Further Their Careers

A few short decades ago, trying to build up a reputation as an entertainer was often a very slow and expensive process. Musicians had to spend money on physical demo tapes and promo CDs. Actors had to wait in line for hours to audition for roles. Artists had to lug portfolios of their work around to show prospective employers their latest work.

Some of that still goes on today, but more and more, social media is replacing older forms of networking and self-promotion. These days, musicians can hit it big performing on TikTok, actors can post clips of themselves on YouTube, and artists can share every single image they’ve ever drawn or painted on Instagram and DeviantArt.

Here at Special Guest App, we’re dedicated to using social media as effectively as possible to promote our entertainers and connect them with clients who need their skills. To do that, we’ve talked to some of the sharpest minds in the business for their advice on how social media can help you get ahead.

Is Social Media Really That Important?

“[Social media] is absolutely essential for an entertainment career,” insists Eric Schumacher, an actor and filmmaker known for his portrayal of cowboy Wyatt Earp on the Fox TV series Legends & Lies, as well as acting in such films as Revenge of Zoe and The Irish Goodbye.

“It is the simplest and most direct way of finding people who might enjoy your work, and of connecting with other industry professionals.”

It’s often been said that success isn’t just a matter of being good at what you do, but getting yourself out there and meeting the right people. In the past, that meant attending a lot of industry events and shaking a lot of hands. Now, however, all you have to do is send someone a Facebook friend request and, BOOM, you’re in their network.

For actress and model Jarry Lee, who Authority Magazine recently named “Inspirational Women in Hollywood” and who StarCentral Magazine called a “Rising Star to Watch,” social media’s ability to connect people has been massively helpful in growing her career. Instead of going through traditional, “professional” channels, Lee says she frequently gets job offers and audition invitations via direct messages on Instagram.

“Many castings in general now also ask to see one’s social media,” she adds, “so it’s become a factor in the casting process.”

What Makes Social Media so Effective?

As Lee says, having a social media presence is so important today that some potential employers consider it when choosing whether or not to hire you.

A lot of entertainers post mini-blogs on social media to highlight their expertise, capture other’s attention, and gain a following,” explains Holden Harris, founder and editor of lifestyle blog Peachtown.org.

“Telling stories and posting videos on social media helps them build an audience which they can use to prove their relevance and land gigs.”

That, Harris says, is what it’s all about: building your audience. Thanks to modern social media apps, today’s entertainers have the ability to reach more people in a single day than some performers of previous generations played to in their entire careers.

“Social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram garner billions of active users every month,” SkillScouter.com founder Lewis Keegan explains. “This is why most entertainers who already have a fan base on YouTube or TikTok still set up fan pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They know that if they do so, their reach will expand further and they will be able to grow their audience.”

Best of all, much of that exposure is free. You don’t have to pay millions of dollars to attract millions of fans on social media; you just need to be yourself.

“If I had one piece of advice for entertainers, it would be to not go in blind,” online marketing manager Lizz Venanzi says. “Posting on social media may sound easy but today’s consumers, specifically the younger generation, are increasingly critical and quick to call out inauthenticity.”

What’s the Best Way to Use Social Media?

What should you do if you really want to reach audiences through social media? While it can be tempting to simply use apps like Twitter and Facebook as ways to hawk merchandise or announce upcoming events, like Venanzi says, authenticity matters.

In other words, it’s important to view your social media accounts not merely as non-stop press release generators, but as a form of self-expression in their own right.

Jazmine Valencia is the CEO of music marketing firm JV Agency. One of her clients, up-and-coming singer-songwriter Cloe Wilder, is just 14 years old. Nevertheless, in 2020 Wilder has managed to attract nearly 14,000 followers on Instagram alone. How? By treating her audience not just as fans, but as friends.

“Social media allows Cloe to connect with her fans firsthand, and speak on what matters to her most,” Valencia says. “With the release of each upcoming single, fans are able to get a glimpse into what the project will look like first. Not only that, Cloe is an advocate for mental health awareness so she uses her social media to openly speak about mental health issues and encourages her fans to reach out to her.”

Contemporary audiences don’t just want to consume your art, they want to feel like they know the person making it. Sharing the things that are important to you, whether that be something as serious as mental health or as casual as a cooking hobby, makes people feel invested. And an invested audience isn’t just good for supporting you, but also for helping you figure out your next move.

“[Social media] also serves as a great research tool to use when a celebrity is considering what kind of project to consider in the future,” suggests Josh Gair, head of Impact Entertainment Agency.

“Are their fans constantly asking for a particular thing such as a book, movie project, appearance in their home town, etc.? The more data we can gather from social media, it allows us to turbo-charge the celebrity’s goals to advance their career.”

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