Does social media marketing work for voiceover?
In my limited experience promoting myself online, I have to say, the answer is yes! There is a formula for business that applies to voiceover marketing specifically. That is the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of your time should be spent doing marketing and only 20 percent of your time is filled with recording (as it is applied to voiceover work). I have known this rule for years, and as I was starting out in voiceover I thought that meant auditioning on the play-for-play sites. Indeed, during my first year as a professional voiceover talent I spent the majority of days auditioning. I have hundreds of audio files that I submitted online with no positive results. I was wasting time and energy chasing after jobs that were never going to be awarded to me. (That’s a story for another post). What I should have been doing was marketing myself on social media. Why? Well, first of all your social media connections are made up of people you know or who you have something in common with. People that make up you contact list are connected to other people who may be able to help you broaden your network in terms of helping you find work. This applies to every type of work and not just those interested in voice over. While I come from a marketing background, I am not as familiar with social media marketing as others are. I have a Facebook account and I am on LinkedIn, but I never gave much thought to how many people are connected to me through those platforms. I also didn’t give any thought to my Instagram account. In my limited use of social media I made the mistake of not letting my friends and followers know what I am up to. Sure, I posted pictures that have some significant meaning to me, but I was missing out on the networking possibilities that are now allowing me to share what I am working on and more importantly asking for support from each of my social media networks so that I can continue to find more and more professional voiceover work.
As a voiceover actor I was trained by a coach who told me that I was a natural and I would go far because I had an understanding of how to approach the microphone and what was required to breakdown a script. What I didn’t know was that my voice, which is deep and resonant lacks cadence, and also, while I sound good on the microphone, I still need to practice and train myself to have greater inflection when talking to my audience. That lesson alone has cost me a lot of time in auditioning for projects that I lost because I was not using enough inflection in my cadence while I was recording script after script for twenty to thirty auditions a day. Fortunately, I am learning from my errors and practicing making my voice more audience friendly.
As I have been inflecting more and adding different emotions to my reads, I find that I am sounding better (at least in my opinion). So, after recording and producing a new demo I decided to share what I have been working on. I went to Facebook and posted just the first ten seconds of my new demo recording for my friends to listen to. While the recording was the focal point of the post, I realized that asking for support of my voiceover career was also a priority for finding more work. I didn’t know who in my social circles can help me land the next voiceover job, but I thought I’d experiment with some social media marketing by asking for help and it worked! I asked people who I am friends with to listen to the short snippet of my demo and asked for help because I am looking for more clients who use voiceover for explainer videos and corporate video voice over work. From that one Facebook post I received a DM asking if could voice a video intro for an online video from a friend who I haven’t seen since high school. I accepted the invitation to audition and set to work recording the script. I was in my booth playing around with different takes of the script and thinking it would sound best as a warm invitation. I recorded a calm, yet authoritative version of the script and sent it off to my friend. The next morning I woke up and realized that the script needed to be more energetic in the read. I recorded a new version of the script that flowed well as I focused on my cadence and inflection. (I tied that thought back in.) I quickly started recording again and this time everything came together easily. By focusing on the use of the script and not on what matched the sound of my commercial voiceover demo, I was able to submit an even better recording to my friend. He agreed that the revised audio was much better than the take I sent over the evening before. My friend was so pleased with my work that he has extended an invitation to record a new script every month or more. Now I have a new client who will be sending me scripts regularly because I decided that it was time I tried doing some marketing on social media.
This is only one example of what social media marketing can do. However, the result I gained from making a post and sharing a file produced a paid work in less than 24 hours. I know that this is only one example that came from a simple experiment with posting online and asking for help, but it worked. Social media marketing doesn’t have to be hard or cost a lot of money for sponsored ads. In my case it took some thought to let my guard and simply ask for help finding work. I am not someone who likes to be vulnerable and posting a request for help or opening up about what I wanted from the post was not easy for me. Most of my friends gave me likes and there were few encouraging comments, but for the people who read the post and thought to themselves, “I have a project that Paul can do.” The immediate action and results proved to me that my efforts were worth me opening up to make myself vulnerable. I will continue to post on social media and use the different sites to build up my voice over business. Oh, and for the record I stopped paying to audition on the pay-for-play websites two years ago and I haven’t seen that decision affect the amount of work I am doing in my business.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this blog, check out my post on vocal warm up exercises.