Entries Tagged as 'facebook'

voice-over lead generation and avoiding the social media time suck

If you have any connections on Facebook in the voice-over business (or Twitter for that matter), you’ve probably seen some of the most famous and public wastes of time ever written. What do I mean?

Have you ever seen posts like:

“Just finished doing a voice-over session for Joe’s Choke and Puke Cafe…ready to do one for you!”

“Looking for voice-over talent for your business, I’m your gal!”

“Boy am I wiped out after doing a narration, a commercial, and an audiobook, phew! What kind of tea are you drinking?”

Oy!

I have friends who post this stuff…people I like and respect yet I cannot for the life of me define one legitimate SEO or financial opportunity such posts create. It smells to me like a complete time suck for voice talents who in reality spent about a 1/2 hour doing any kind of productive recording and the rest of the day on social media trying to make themselves feel and sound important in between P2P auditions.

It’s also possible they are way smarter than I am.

I know VO people tell me they make money off of their posts on Facebook and Twitter but it all smells of “Fiver” (desperation) to me. None of them are generating voice-over income six figures (but neither am I) and most of them I fear are praying to hit four figures by December 31st (this is where I hope to help them).

Harsh, no. Opinionated, probably.

The good news is I’m not really trying to start trouble or hurt anybody’s feelings – I’m leading up to a couple of solutions that will help your business.

I’m going to tell you what I think would not only be a more useful expenditure of your business time on social media but also an exercise that will be quantifiable.

You know, more ROI than BS. Less fishing for compliments or pity on social media and more target shooting for new leads.

And because it’s voice-over, there’s not a lot of math involved.

First, turn off Facebook and close your Twitter and Pintrest pages on your browser.

Now open LinkedIn. You know, the Social Media tool where you can access the email addresses of your connections? Yeah, that one.

NOTE: If you plan on using the emails of your LinkedIn connections to communicate with them (sparingly…very sparing I would add), I HIGHLY encourage you to say that someplace prominently on your LinkedIn profile.

For example, on my profile summary it says “When you connect with Peter on LinkedIn, you’ll be updated periodically via email on his many adventures…enjoy the ride!”

Under “Advice for Contacting Peter” I have also written “When we connect, I’ll share with you or email to you my new ideas, best practices (ask questions, offer answers and be a resource for each other) and even communicate about whether there are ways we might be able to do business together. If you prefer not to receive emails from me (however infrequently) on the above topics, we probably ought not to connect.”

To me, if you are THAT transparent and people take the time (like I always try to do) to review the profile of a totally new contact that they might want to connect with, then it is a fair and level playing field…carry on.

Next, open your “Groups” tab. If you belong to more than 5 voice-over related groups in LinkedIn, you need to decide which have been the 5 most useful or informative groups resign from all the others. You get 50 group joins and you’ll see soon how you’ll likely need the other 45 (at least) to make possible connections with folks you don’t know in a professional, thoughtful way.

#1 Connecting to Your Contacts’ Contacts
Go into your contacts. Don’t open ANY contact that works as a voice-over talent.

Rather look at your non-VO connections (please tell me you have some). Pick one maybe that works in advertising or media production. Then open up that contact’s contact list…as a 1st degree contact, you should be able to see them unless they’ve blocked that view (if they blocked you, move on to the next contact in your connections…there’s more than one fish in the LinkedIn sea).

Look at your contact’s list. Do they have a contact that maybe you’d like to be connected with? Yes? Good.

Now you’re not always going to easily connect with a relative stranger on LinkedIn. First of all, some people aren’t open to connecting to new people on LinkedIn; whether you agree or disagree doesn’t matter, it’s their call. LinkedIn also really wants people only connecting with other people they know (which makes the took fairly useless in my opinion) UNLESS they’ve paid for a premium LinkedIn membership.

But here is one way you can connect with someone else’s connections in an unoffensive way that could lead you to some valuable connections.

With the contact you’ve found with whom you want to connect, click on the “Connect” button. Since the person you are connecting with is likely a stranger, LinkedIn will ask how you know the person.

Here’s where “Groups” come in. In the most fortunate circumstance, in that list of “how do you know NAME HERE” there will be a button called “Groups”. This would indicate that you both belong to the same groups and you can immediately request a connection.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT. Write a short personalized note in your request to connect, do NOT use the stupid form words that LinkedIn provides. You’ll come off looking like a phony.

Not everyone uses Groups on LinkedIn and sometimes those that do use groups aren’t going to be in the same groups that you belong to…which is why I asked you to pare down your VO-related groups.

#2 Groups Where You Can Find Business Leads
Start researching Groups (in addition to your contacts’ contacts). See if in some of those groups there aren’t people who you would like to connect with. If you find 5-10 possible prospects, join the group.

First step after you get accepted to join would be to ask for a connection with those 5-10 prospects. Then look further into the group to see if there are other folks you might consider connecting with. Sort of like “Shampoo, rinse, repeat.”

The other thing that might prove valuable, depending on your depth of knowledge regarding the LinkedIn Group’s main focus is to possibly post question or even an answer in the Discussion forums of a Group.

And if you’re feeling really motivated, start a Group of your own! Boo-yah!!!

#3 What to do with all these leads
Collecting all these new LinkedIn leads could end up being a time suck if you don’t do anything with them.

First off, you now have email addresses for all these folks. If you’re doing a quarterly email blast or something, include them in that.

Second, make sure you export that LinkedIn database into your main contact database or contact manager.

Third and this takes a bit of work but can pay off in bigger dividends, research the FULL contact information of your new contact and send them a letter of introduction or maybe even a handwritten note of introduction. This would be better to do, in my opinion than just sending them something as part of a blanket direct mail campaign. The one to one connection always has a better chance of working in my opinion.

IN SUMMARY, to me what you’ve just done in THIS social media exercise with LinkedIn is alot more profitable that looking at videos of kittens on Facebook. You’re doing real marketing work…social marketing combined with lead generation. If you then combine that with a strong marketing plan…you’ve escaped the time suck.

Please let me know if you think this post was helpful or just a different kind of time suck.

If you want to know more, check out the Voice-Over Workshop.

Thanks.

linkedin company pages

Peter K. O'Connell audioconnell.com

All the world is fascinated with Facebook Company pages and I get that….Facebook is a popular service but it just feels to me Facebook and it’s company page has the long term business impact of neighborhood kids hosting a lemonade stand and neighbors dropping by to buy a cup which they may or may not drink (the O’Connell children will be hosting a lemonade stand today, BTW).

Facebook isn’t the best social media place to do my business.

But clearly, LinkedIn has not only every VO talent in the world (oy!) but advertising decision makers, producers, casting companies and business people who seem to me more likely to consider using my services.

So my question is this: do you have your LinkedIn Company Page set up?

And of course, you’re welcome to follow my LinkedIn page. 🙂

guest blogger- female voice talent natalie stanfield thomas

Female Voice Over Talent Natalie Stanfield Thomas

I met Natalie Stanfield Thomas at Faffcon 2 but I knew of her work before then.

She’s a wonderfully creative voice talent who brings alot of life experience to her voice over work and it make her audio great.

We were talking one day (as we New York State neighbors often do) and she mentioned how she felt how she was upset with herself and her faux communication skills. She said she’d been using social media as a way to communicate with her friends and family more than actually speaking with them.

I said you’ve got a blog post in that idea and you need to write it. She finally did. Here is my friend Natalie Stanfield Thomas:

In the past six months, I’ve witnessed the birth of my friends’ grandchildren on one side of the country and children of another within days of each other on the other side of the country, I’ve been there to offer support when a marriage fell apart a continent away, crashed a wedding and reception I didn’t even know about until some friends told me, gave moral support to a friend who was dealing with a child with emotional/behavioral struggles, cheered from the sidelines while another friend launched her book deal, drooled over the latest cuisines and tastings some of my cohorts saw fit to share, and witnessed countless career-making deals be made between friends in the entertainment industry.

I did all of this, and never left my desk, in fact, for the most part many of these exchanges occurred without any real human contact at all. I had all of these interchanges with my close personal friends and family members, through Facebook and Twitter.

It suddenly occurred to me that I have been lulled into the false sense that I was actually cultivating my relationships.

It was so astonishing, as a matter of fact, that one of my friends remarked in an email exchange that he too had just realized that since we often comment on one another’s pictures or status updates on Facebook, he had not realized until that very moment, in that very email, that this was the first intentional contact we’d had with one another in SIX MONTHS.

Our job is communication, it’s what we’re supposed to be good at, so why then am I sitting here making a ‘to do’ list of intentionality?

I am reminding myself that PERSONAL contact with the people important to me, friends and clients is something I have to cultivate. The electronic media that makes networking so simple, also has an insidious side. It has the ability to afford a false sense of connectivity, to make you believe you are staying involved, when in reality you are on auto pilot. Remember, the only time you can coast is when you are going down hill. So I’m awake now and pedaling forward. I’m making personal contact with the people I interact with in my social media.

So how about you?

When was the last time you had a real conversation with the people in your network? Think about it, and do me a favor will you? If you see yourself in any of this, don’t ‘tweet’,’plus’ or ‘like’ it until you’ve first called someone and told them about it.

the oversharing voice talent

audio'connell voice over talent_microphone on stage

There are two or three voiceover coaches who post so much on Facebook, Voiceover Universe and Twitter et al about their latest seminars in Tupelo, Mississippi or where ever that I’ve simply unfriended them. Social media for them is an endless informercial, I guess.

Oy.

Evidently so many voice talents have sooo much new business – based on all the Facebinkedinwitter posts I read from them – that there may be no voice over jobs left for me (or you for that matter) so we all should just quit. It’s like an accountant in April posting “I just completed another tax return!” Um, pal, that what you’re supposed to do.

The debate over the best microphone has become so intense that two voiceover talents will duel to the death tomorrow morning– their weapons of choice will be a Neumann TLM 103 and a Sennheiser 416. It begs the question if two voice over talents die in the forest, who will announce it?

And it will surprise you to learn that voxmarketising is NOT the only blog on the topic of voiceover – at last count there were 14 billion voice over blogs, all of them debating whether breaths should or should not be edited out of narrations.

Obviously I’m being silly but the truth is: in the voiceover business, we talk a lot.

When it’s not on mic, it’s on line.

The trouble is we’re ALL talking about the same things…over and over. And I think I’m getting burnt out.

That’s a bad thing because while I thought I was contributing to the conversation, I wondering now if I’ve simply been contributing to the noise.

Paul Strikwerda, my Double Dutch voiceover friend, recently wrote about this issue, which I have been bandying about in my head for a while. He’s felt tad bored by what he’s read.

My concern is not that I’m bored (I know how to fix that – change the channel, hit the off switch) but rather that I’m the one being boring. I’ve actually cut back a bit on my social media and blogging because I didn’t feel I had anything interesting to contribute. I’m not sure “my perspective” is always enough.

Thinking about it that way made me feel a little better because at least I was thinking before typing. I think when it comes to Social Media, that’s not done a lot (and it’s not an issue exclusive to voice over talents, believe me). I’ve also been guilty as charged so don’t think I’m casting aspersions (so please, no emails from aspersions looking for voice work).

It seems we’re now all (and that “all” was a lot smaller when I started in Social Media) talking about the same voice over topics and from where I sit (just one man’s opinion here) the individual perspectives don’t always seem unique enough or even thought-provoking…and again, myself included.

I know we all just want to be heard and we all enjoy freedom of expression and that’s great. I don’t want it stifled but shouldn’t we all consider a little self-editing? Just a little?

I don’t know about you but I do NOT want to be the “oh not THAT guy again” brand. The line between frequency and obnoxious gets thin fast in social media; brands are now suffering (and not reaping).

SEO and marketing opportunities available through Social Media are so enticing (based on cost) that I think we all forget sometimes that for Social Media to be effective, we have to be maybe less frequent but certainly more interesting. And that’s not always easy.

Nor should it be.

What do you think? Or are you even paying attention anymore? 🙂

will you help Mary get her EMMY?

Sometimes I forget that people actually read this blog.

Saturday night, my agent Erik Sheppard from Voice Talent Productions called me (I was hoping it was for a gig but was pleased to hear from him none the less) about Mary McKitrick’s EMMY-less EMMY win. He read my blog post and it really bugged Erik (as a voice talent and as Mary’s agent too) that she got stiffed on receiving the award with the “Wild View” Regional EMMY win for best audio. Mary, as you’ll recall, was the narrator on that series (a pretty major part of the audio team in my opinion and evidently Erik’s too).

And Dave Courvoisier’s opinion too because Sunday Courvo called me with all sorts of ideas about getting Mary her award and would I help etc. Meanwhile, poor Mary is fairly unaware that all this is brewing save for the supportive calls she’s been getting from her fellow talents and representatives on her win sans award.

So in a democratic society, we did what all people do when they feel wronged – Erik, Dave and I (mostly Dave cause he knows how to push the social media buttons best) started a Facebook page. The purpose of the “Statue for Mary” page is to centrally organize enough on-line support to gain the attention of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences to change the structure of their awards program to include voice actors as awards recipients in some manner…and get Mary her EMMY.

The Facebook page is here. Please “LIKE”, share and comment on it if you are supportive of its objectives which are stated on the Facebook page as follows:

Mary McKitrick, an experienced and talented voice over artist, was recently engaged to serve as narrator in the beautifully produced wild life series “Wild View” (www.wildviewseries.org).

With Mary as one part of a truly talented team of media pros on this series, “Wild View” has received many deserving honors, including the regional Emmy Award for “Best Audio”.

Unfortunately, the Emmy Awards do not recognize the narrator (in this case, Mary) as part of the audio team in spite of a narrator’s significant contribution to project’s like “Wild View” and many series and documentary programs like it.

So the attention getting goals of this page, completely created without Mary McKitrick’s participation, is twofold:

1. Secure for Mary McKitrick her well-deserved EMMY Award as narrator on the “Wild View” EMMY Award winning audio production team

2. Encourage the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences to review and update its award criteria to include either categories for or the inclusion of narrators as EMMY Award recipients in its regional and national awards

Actors get EMMY’s. Voice Actors (narrators) evidently get bupkis. That just seems wrong.

If you agree that these two goals are worth supporting

1. Please add your “LIKE” to this page

2. Please share this information with others who you think would support this page’s goals and ask them to come “LIKE” it too

3. Please also write about this page, it’s goals and your supportive thoughts about this project on your blog, twitter page or any other social media channel you feel worthwhile (links are a good thing)

community pages on facebook

I’m sure there was some kind of furor about the community pages when they debuted – I guess by my research – about a year ago. I don’t remember caring much about the topic then but I do remember hearing about them. I just didn’t think it would ever relate to me.

Except now audio’connell Voice Over Talent has one and there’s nothing I can do about it.

This actually doesn’t make me happy.

This is how Facebook defines Community Pages:

“Community pages — the pages that link from fields you fill out in your profile — are for general topics and all kinds of unofficial but interesting things. You “like” these pages to connect with them, but they aren’t run by a single author, and they don’t generate News Feed stories.”

So when I saw in a Google Alert that I had this community page (which I immediate thought I had set up some long time ago and just forgot about – I’m getting to that age now) I wanted to make some changes to it. Which let me to this little Facebook provided factoid:

“Can I edit the content on a community page?
No. Community pages display Wikipedia articles about the topics they represent when this information is available, as well as related posts from people on Facebook in real time. At this time, there is no way for you to add your own pictures or edit information on these pages.”

If one uses social media to control branding (as much as possible) this lack of control is not a good thing. I don’t think I like it and at this moment it is a pretty negative element of Facebook in my eyes. To be continued, I guess.