Social media is a double-edged sword. When wielded wisely, it can help you research, network, build relationships, and advance your career more quickly than ever before. When used carelessly, it can make you look foolish and do your career serious harm. Here are 10 things an actor should not do on social media:
1. Nice to meet you. Can you do me a favor? A follow is an extended hand reaching for a handshake. It’s not an opportunity to ask for a favor. Don’t ask for feedback on your headshot, website, or reel from people you’ve just met on social media. Just like offline, build the relationship before you ask for a favor.
2. Don’t be bitter. Yes, sometimes it can be hard to stay positive in this business, but social media is not your diary. The quickest way to being unfollowed or unfriended is to send negative energy out to people’s news feeds. If you want to rant, vent, or confess on social media, keep your account private.
3. Loose lips. Don’t broadcast about a role you’ve landed until given the OK. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Broadway show, national tour, commercial, or TV series. Ask what the company’s social media policy is before you post the good news! Actors have lost jobs for doing this. Don’t sink your own ship!
4. Nice to meet you. Can you send me some money? You wouldn’t dream of asking someone you’d just met for money, right? The same common sense applies online. I’m sure your crowdfunding campaign is a worthy cause, but don’t ask industry pros to contribute or spread the word about it unless you have a relationship with them.
5. Share your self-tape! If you put yourself on tape for a project be sure to follow their submission instructions. If asked to post on YouTube or Vimeo, don’t post the video publicly or you risk giving away plot information.
6. Create controversy. Steer clear of controversy and polarizing subjects, unless, for instance, you’re a comedian and polarizing is your thing. If it’s a subject that causes conflict at the dinner table then rethink bringing it up on social media. Remember, the world is watching!
7. Spoiler alerts! #Setlife photos and videos are a fantastic way to engage your fans and followers by giving them a behind-the-scenes look at your latest gig, but please don’t give away any plot information and always ask if it’s OK for you to take pics when you’re on set.
8. Don’t be a bully. If you don’t agree with someone on social media then unfriend or unfollow them. Don’t leave hateful comments or try to teach them a lesson. Remember the golden rule: Tweet others the way you want to be tweeted!
9. Keep it clean (and legal). If your feed is a constant stream of photos of you partying with your friends or doing anything illegal it can keep you from getting an acting job or even cost you your day job. Why risk it?
10. Don’t send general questions. For instance: “I want to be an actor. Do you have any tips?” If you have a question make it specific. Even better, engage with them about content they’re sharing rather than making it all about you!