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Why Social Media Is Not Necessary for a Successful Acting Career

I know I’m probably going to be attacked for saying this, but here goes:
Forget about social media if you want to get booked solid with acting work.

I once spoke with one of my 1-Hr Career Audit clients, and she was very distressed.

I asked, “What would you say is your current biggest challenge?”

She said, “Well, these days everyone is telling me to get on social media. But I’m in my sixties and I don’t like all this technology. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, if I did a great job and was right for the part, I’d book it. Nowadays people keep telling me I’ll have no chance if I’m not consistent on social media. How do I manage all that without getting overwhelmed?”

Well, by the end of our meeting, she had just two simple tweaks to take care of with her social profiles:

  • Make sure they’re up to date with her current headshots.
  • Delete anything embarrassing or unprofessional from them.

That’s it! No need to worry about posting every day, commenting on things, sending messages, etc.

Social Media Is Not Mandatory for a Successful Acting Career

The truth is, if you don’t enjoy social media, you can stop worrying about it. It’s not nearly as critical as most people say. Just because many successful actors have a large social media presence doesn’t mean that social presence was what helped them get there. As the saying goes, “Correlation does not equal causation.”

In fact, a large social presence is often the byproduct of a successful acting career — not the other way around.

So if you dislike social media and social media marketing, you can take a deep breath and relax. I’ve spoken to many casting directors over the years and most of them don’t care about how many followers you have or how often you post. They’re actually unlikely to base their decision on who to hire from social media unless you have over 50k followers or have some horribly embarrassing and offensive things on your page!

“But Martin! If that’s true, why do so many people say I’ve got to be active on social media?”

One word: Sales.

This isn’t always the case, and some products and services are genuinely helpful, but there are plenty that aren’t.

The number of followers you have is unlikely to be the deciding factor on whether a legitimate production picks you. Sure, maybe some indie films will want to bring you on if you’ve got a large social following, but at the end of the day, most good casting directors make their decisions based on talent and how right you are for the role.

The sad truth about social media is that spending too much time writing posts can actually HURT you because it takes you away from spending time on what really matters: technique and genuine networking.

Genuine Networking vs. Fake Networking

Posting photos and random info about what you’ve been working on lately and writing fake comments just to stay “top-of-mind” and get yourself “out there” is not going to help you in the long run. It’s better to attend networking events (virtually and in-person) and meet real people. Once you have their contact details you can stay top-of-mind by touching base with them directly instead of getting lost in their social media feed.

Hundreds of likes do not equal hundreds of dollars in real acting work.

From the thousands of actors I’ve worked with since 2009, I’ve found that a successful acting career is NOT based on getting your name in front of as many people as possible. Counterintuitively, it’s based on getting your name in front of just a few key people. It’s a strategy I call: Becoming Famous… To Just the Right People. When you create deep, genuine connections with just a few people and you do your best to stand out to them, they WILL remember you, and they WILL give you opportunities — over and over again.

It doesn’t matter what method you use to create and nurture those genuine connections. If you love social media, great! Pick your favorite platform and use it to keep in touch with the few casting directors or agents who can help you reach your goals.

And if you don’t like social media? No problem. Just use email (or even postcards). But either way, the key is to be genuine with every message you send.

A Successful Acting Career Is Built on Two Things (and Social Media Isn’t One of Them)

I’ve grown my business to hundreds of paying clients per month and my social media presence is pathetic. I‘m not very active on social media but there are thousands of actors on my mailing list who read and engage with my content. I’ve done all this with an impressive 58 followers on X (at the time of the article’s publication date).

At the end of the day, true acting success is built on hard work, consistency and a mastery of just two things: technique and genuine networking.

Social media is just one way to create those genuine connections, but by no means is it the only one.

Looking to get your big break? Sign up or login to Casting Networks and land your next acting role today!

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Martin Bentsen has used “outside the industry” hacks to help actors book more work since 2009. He’s helped over 6,000 actors grow their careers through his 1-1 consulting, digital courses, demo reel production and actor headshots.   His photography studio City Headshots is ranked #1 on Yelp and Google and he’s spoken at NYU, The New England Theater Conference, The Actor’s Green Room, and other venues.   Want to book more work by thinking “Outside the Industry?” Download his free Actor’s Toolkit and start creating new opportunities for yourself.