“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”
This quote rings true whether your initial contact with someone is in person, on the telephone, or, as I found out…online.
In 2008, after years of dabbling in and desiring to pursue my passion for voiceover, I decided I would give it the time and attention necessary to really make a go of it as a business. I researched, studied, attended workshops, bought equipment, set up my studio, recorded my demo, and built a website.
About this same time, the explosion of Social Media was starting to reach those, like me, who had heard of it, but didn’t really understand it. I was so engrossed with continuing to make sure the ‘voice’ part of my voiceover business was as good as it could possibly be, I neglected to spend the time learning just what my involvement with social media could do in helping my voice business. That was until I received a sarcastic email from a friend, asking me what I was going to order for my last meal, since I was now on death row.
Obviously I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, so when I inquired, he told me to “Google myself”. Being the kind of friend he was, I thought he was again being sarcastic, so I told him to go !@#$% himself too. What he really wanted me to do was type my name into a Google search and see the results. So I did, and to my astonishment, here were the first two results on the page:
Holy Green Mile!! I was floored. This wasn’t exactly the fantastic first impression I was hoping for when it came to potential clients searching for me on the world’s most used search engine. To make it even worse, I had to scroll to page 3 to even find the link to my website. I knew I had to do something so I wouldn’t be sitting in every potential client’s subconscious as ‘that guy on death row’.
I performed another Google search to try and find ways to move my link, first to page 1, then past Inmate 223626. The term ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and ‘SEO’ kept coming up. After reading a few articles about SEO, my head was spinning with so much technical lingo and information that went right over my head.
However, the one thing I did take away from those articles was that the more your name is used, mentioned, referenced, clicked on, sited, and seen, the more chance you have of moving from page 3 to page 1. Enter Social Media!
Since then, I have read a number of articles (I suggest the series by Anne Ganguzza, How To Increase Your SEO As A VO Talent) and continue to try to learn more and more about SEO, but what I have learned from my own trial and error is…the more you’re ‘out there’ on the ‘world wide web’ the more spiders you have crawling all over you. And if you want to rank high on Google, that’s what you want.
Since that initial search in 2009, I have continued to increase my Social Media presence. I started this blog that I consistently use to provide VO info. You’ll find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Soundcloud, Audioboo, Google+, etc. I not only post my own content and relevant information, I reply, respond, comment, and share other great information that other voice artists and friends post. I try to have an active presence, without being obnoxious or going overboard.
Has it helped? Here’s what I see now, on page 1, when I ‘Google myself’:
The page continues with links to my other social media profiles. Thus, I believe my social media presence has moved me to the top of the page, and off of death row.
Now, I realize there are many who consider Social Media a huge time suck and pain in the a*s. And there is no question that it can be. But, with the proper knowledge and usage, it can be a very valuable tool in attracting business and providing you with a reputation as a leader in your chosen profession. Which can also help generate.…more business?
There are right ways and wrong ways to use Social Media. You must choose your own path in creating and cultivating a Social Media Footprint. For a very informative and helpful article on this topic, read, 10 Ways To Enhance Your Online VO Footprint, by Dave Courvoisier.
I would love to hear about your success with Social Media and how it has affected your business. If you have no desire to use social media, don’t understand it, and don’t consider it important, I’d still like to hear your perspective as well. However, if this is how you feel, odds are you haven’t read this far anyway. But I still wish you the best of luck getting your career off of death row.