Instagram can be a valuable tool for actors when it comes to connecting with casting directors, promoting their work, and creating their own content. But one of the greatest assets it offers an actor is the power of a following. More and more roles are calling for actors with a significant number of followers because they come with a built-in audience for the project. It’s safe to say that an actor who has a big social media presence or is an influencer will have a leg up on the competition.
During her recent Casting Networks livestream, Atlanta casting director Rita Harrell shared with actors, “It’s not going to make or break your career at this point, but you know, it might be something that can help put you over the edge.” Harrell also pointed out the time investment required to grow a following, which should not take priority over the actor’s pursuit of the craft. With the current pause on productions, though, actors might find themselves with enough time to work on both sharpening their on-camera skills and growing their followings. Since many open calls are happening on Instagram, we’re focusing on that platform for tips that can be used when sharing your self-taped performances.
The Instagram algorithm rewards engagement from your followers, and there are a number of ways to encourage it. Interactive stickers on your Instagram story allow followers to quickly respond to it, with the poll and emoji slider stickers as especially easy options that can drive engagement. Another way to inspire a response from your followers is to craft captions for your photos that start a conversation. This might be some sort of call to action, such as having followers weigh in on your content. And don’t forget to alert followers to new posts on your feed. You lose any chance for engagement if they don’t see the post, so try utilizing your story to share a preview of it.
If you have a business account, Instagram offers a tool called Insights that gives you a window into how your content is performing with your audience. It also provides you with demographic information about your followers. You can use Insights to constantly adapt what and how you’re posting in order to ensure the most engagement. Like many things in life, there’s a certain degree of trial and error that comes with building a following. But Insights will allow you to effectively figure out what is and isn’t working so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
One of the most powerful pieces of information that Instagram provides in Insights is the data on when your followers are most active. This includes the times during the day and the days during the week that they’re most likely to be on Instagram. Use this information to work the algorithm to your advantage by strategically posting when your followers are most active and most likely to see your content.
If you’re planning to post a self-tape video you recently did for an open call or casting challenge, it’s the perfect piece of content to practice these three actionable steps. Before posting the video, check your Insights to make sure you’re crafting the post in a way that will best reach your audience. For example, if you’ve previously posted similar videos with different hashtags, see which one performed best and use its relevant hashtags for the new post. Then check the time to make sure it falls within one of the windows when your followers are most active. From there, you can post the video to your feed or IGTV with a caption that asks a question. Keep it relevant, such as inquiring if the character you’re playing feels “against type” or not. Next, use your story to let people know about the new video post and work an interactive sticker into the announcement. Lastly, sit back and watch what happens! These actionable steps are a solid foundation to begin your journey of growing your Instagram following for your acting career. There’s always more to explore in the ever-changing world of social media, but you can start trying these tips right now while you have the time to invest in building a following.