The notorious "casting couches" you hear about in stories of old Hollywood are a thing of the past, but there are still those eager to make a buck off performers desperate for a shot at their big break. Just as there are unsavory sites trolling marketers desperate to attract attention online.
But don’t be tricked into accepting less than appealing options. There’s really no need to sell your soul to generate awareness.
Keep your brand on track
Performers must be cautious, and lead with their heads not their hearts. Dillon Slagle, in a piece for the Clyde Fitch Report, notes that many so-called "workshops" are billed as offering potential upon which they can't ever deliver. Of course, there are tons of legitimate acting workshops worth their price tags, but it's not always easy to tell the difference.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) offers guidance to help actors identify these types of scams, citing: "workshop-style situations where a casting director watches your scene or monologue, offers no meaningful critique or feedback, and is presented as someone looking for actors for 'current and upcoming projects'" are essentially paid auditions and against SAG-AFTRA rules.
Similarly, solid marketing tactics and apps will not be of the “too good to be true” variety. If you’re offered a pay for play opportunity, understand that once you stop paying, the back links, followers, shares and so on will disappear. And so will your online search results!
And social awareness purchased from any site, even as an initial boost, is unwise overall, even beyond the harm it does to your search results. The audience you gain will not only be temporary, it will be the wrong people who aren’t interested in your product or services and will never convert. Worse, they’ll never meaningfully connect with your brand. And that means they’ll never help you connect with others either – and that is the true power behind social media marketing: word or mouth via social shares from targeted followers that love what you’re offering.
So what should you do?
Giving SMBs an Online Edge
The promotional potential of social media and the web makes it a great time to be a performer – and a marketer, who we all know are performers at heart! Cultivate an active social presence on your channel of choice, engaging both fans and influencers so you can gradually grow an engaged following and build relationships with not only potential clients, but other marketers as well, yes even competitors.
Do not waste your time trying to be everywhere at once. Pick one channel and do it well. LinkedIn is always an excellent option to start with. After you’ve mastered that and have made it part of your daily routine, branch out to another site – but only if you have the bandwidth to do so consistently.
In tandem with your social footwork, a good actor knows to fake it till you make it – so appearances are key. And just like cost is always an issue for performers who haven't "broken" yet, a small business faces the same concerns. Easy drag-and-drop site options like Weebly and Starzoogle (Sitezoogle's solution for actors) that do not require pricey tech support but offer exceptional curb appeal could win you major points with your CEO.
What you don’t want is an outdated “early web” look – and there are plenty of sites suffering from that exact malady. So although some may guide you toward more expensive options – drag and drop is not a dirty word in the SMB game. And if it is (a dirty word) at your company, be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding. Slicker websites can come later, but your prospective clients are clicking away from your outdated site today.
Taking it Beyond the .com
And finally, taking advantage of the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that are now available is smart thinking, regardless of the website creation tool selected. In a piece for CircleID, Rightside CEO Taryn Naidu notes that options like .actor or .singer offer performers "a novel way to strengthen their brand while streamlining the audience's path to reach them at the same time.” And the same goes for SMBs.
And it doesn't hurt that the domains themselves function as keywords. Will Google potentially rank these
domains higher at some point? The possibility exists. “We know that Google intends to treat new domain extensions like web addresses ending in .com, meaning that they’re going to look at
the text on billions
of different pages and match that to the query in the search bar. Which pages they show first are determined by a score the search engine assigns each page. And, just to make things that much more complicated, the score is calculated based on hundreds of different factors, which can be divided into onsite characteristics and offsite characteristics.” And we all know that search algorithm regularly changes.
Beyond that, from a “marketing the brand” standpoint, these new gTLDs are definitely better than the creations some companies come up with when faced with their business’s .com being unavailable. These types of "lengthy, drawn-out URLs" – are rarely good for business. Naidu offers this simple truth: "If the domain isn't recognizable and memorable, it hasn't done its job.”
Marketing campaigns must be catchy and “manybasketsbyemma.com” isn’t. But many.baskets? Well, I think that would be something folks would remember.
Sound too easy to work for your brand? That’s the final lesson here: Be sure you don’t mistake innovative tactics for get rich quick schemes. One will still require work and offers little beyond an opportunity to succeed. The latter? Well, it will give you 10,000 followers for $100!