HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
You just never know who you will interact with online, Actor Boss! You should know that anyone you do interact with on social media is checking out your profile. What will they find? What will they say?
I took an online course one year that included a Facebook group. Every so often, I would scroll the posts to see if I had any valuable answers to offer the other group members. This group, btw, had nothing to do with acting or the film industry. It was focused on starting a business.
One of the members asked for feedback on her idea about starting a screenwriting course. I gave her my two cents about how that could be beneficial for actors that want to produce their own content.
We had a really good convo. Turns out, she's an award winning screenwriter that lives in Los Angeles. Say what?! I did not realize this before we started chatting, nor did I really expect to chat with a screenwriter in this group.
Randomly, she comments back to me, "You have a really great Facebook page." Now there's an award winning screenwriter in Los Angeles that will remember me as that actor from that Facebook group with the awesome Facebook page.
I don't want you to miss this: your social profiles need to leave such a good impression that they inspire someone to comment about how impressed they are by them. Lots of people scroll your feeds or hover over your name to see a preview of your profile, but are they really impacted by what they see? The crazy thing is that it's super simple to leave that kind of impression with just a little planning.
We've already discussed how actors can (and should) color brand themselves for increased recognition, so let's look at the next best way to build our personal branding kit.
If you want to easily brand your social media, then make all of your banner/profile graphics look the same. You can transfer that design to all of your post graphics as well.
According to Bop Design, "A consistent brand is essential. Humans by nature crave consistency."
This information can help you not only build your audience, but leave an impression that casting directors (or screenwriters) will remember. So let's look specifically at how to create a social banner because it will give you the most visual impact.
Remember, you're creating one design and reusing that same design across all of your social platforms. If your platform doesn't have a banner graphic, you can still use this post to help you brainstorm branded photos or video thumbnail graphics.
Back in the day, you had to pay a chunk of change for an Adobe program to create cool graphics. I know because I was the Editor-in-Chief of my high school's newspaper. Photoshop was all we had.
Then PicMonkey came onto the scene. I used the mess outta that, until one day I realized there was no longer a free option. They now only offer a free trial period that requires your credit card. Boooooo.
Canva is without-a-doubt my favorite way to create graphics now-a-days. They've added a paid version called Canva for Work, so they could absolutely pull a PicMonkey at some point and take away all the freebie goodness. For now, though, they're your best option for creating free graphics for social media.
Not only do they provide correctly sized templates for almost every social platform, they also offer a ton of images and graphics for free. Most paid graphics are only $1. Additionally, you can upload your own photos for free.
I've consistently created free graphics with Canva for a few years now. They also have free training tutorials that are super user friendly. I highly recommend you spend an hour working through those tutorials. You'll be surprised at how much you retain.
Canva has and will most likely continue to update their platform. Therefore, the screenshots in this post may not look up-to-date, but the instructions are still good. If you want to get serious about marketing yourself as an actor, then you need to pay attention to your social media platforms, which means posting better (branded) graphics and videos as part of your social media strategy.
PICK A BACKGROUND
Once you've picked your color palette, it will be easier for you to create graphics. We worked through color branding first for a reason. It's going to impact so much of your branding from this point forward.
Your background can be a solid color, a pattern, or a photo. Any solid color or patterns need to be your power color. If you use a photograph, it needs to be one of your headshots.
Canva will have free designs available once you choose your template (i.e. Facebook Cover), but I suggest personalizing your template since a majority of people use the free options. Your banner will look like everyone else's if you don't personalize it in some way. Here's an image of a few free examples:
I do not suggest paying to create social media graphics because there's no direct ROI. You're already making investments that you truly need for your acting career (like headshots) which you can reuse in your social profiles.
If you start creating products or advertising paid services on your page, then I'd say it's worth buying stock photos because it will make you look more professional, and you'll have the opportunity to make back your money. Until then, use what you've got, and get everything else for free!
PLACE YOUR PHOTO
I think your headshot needs to make an appearance in your banner if you're not advertising another offer or service. It's okay to have a profile that advertises both your acting and your day job, especially if you offer a service that requires you to book clients.
For example, I have an actor friend that's a manicurist. Her default should be her primary acting headshot, no matter what. Her banner photo could promote her acting featuring a headshot (examples at the bottom of this post) or a video banner featuring her demo reel. It could also be a simple graphic or video inviting her followers to book an appointment with her for a manicure.
If you don't use your headshot as your background, then be sure to place it in your banner photo elsewhere. Your primary headshot should always be your default photo so that people know they're looking at the right profile. You can use it again in your banner photo or select another headshot edit. Either works, just make sure people can see your face.
Canva offers free photo frames in various shapes (pictured below), and I have banner photo examples at the bottom of this post to show you the difference between using a background photo or a photo in a frame.
TYPE YOUR NAME
If a friend or contact refers someone to your page, or someone sees you on tv, think about how they would find you from their perspective. They'll need to confirm that they've found the right profile within about three seconds or else they'll abandon the search. Our attention spans have gotten that short.
Feature your name somewhere in the banner. It may seem redundant since it's on your profile, but most people with look at your banner first. Let them know they're looking at the right profile!
Canva has a number of free fonts available, including graphic fonts. Remember to update the colors to your branded color palette. Again, I have examples listed at the bottom of this post.
There's also a menu for Shapes. Grab one and add it to your graphic for a more personalized vibe. The more personalized the banner, the better, and don't forget that less is more in the design world.
I've created three graphics to get your creative juices flowing. The file download is available below the graphic. Feel free to use one of these designs if you like. I've added the instructions for each example, including the terms you need to search for within Canva.
I challenge you to update your banner profiles today! Remember, you can use the same graphics for each banner, but you'll need to open the appropriate template for each social media platform and remake the banner.
For example, if you create your Facebook banner first, then you'll need to open another template for LinkedIn or Youtube to recreate the banner according to those sizes. Otherwise, you'll have a very pixelated photo.
Lastly, don't let creating a free Canva account get in your way of doing this. It's free! So what if you need to create another password?! That's small potatoes when you think about all of the great free marketing you can do with your Canva account.
FYI, I am not an affiliate of Canva, nor do I get compensated for this post in any way. I truly find value in the platform and want you to utilize it as well. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.
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HEY ACTOR BOSS,
I'm a screen actor and certified goals coach focused on helping other screen actors that are not yet a household name achieve their most urgent goal.