Entries Tagged as 'social networking'

the 3 amivos podcast – my new canadian voice-over friends

I know it sounds silly, but I still get surprised that people read my web site.

Sure I know people visit the site, but when I talk to people that have read the site (cause there is a lot of stuff there), it’s a (pleasant) surprise.

I say all this because I got a call a few weeks ago from Garnet Williams who told me all about…me. He’d read about me and the stuff I’d done and asked if I would be a guest on his voice-over podcast, The Amivos and Friends Super Funtastic Happy Hour Podcast.

The ‘Amivos’ in the podcast (or VOdcast) refers to the 3 Amivos with include Garnet, Dave McRae and Mike Pongracz – all Canadian-based voice-over talents who decided to put together this show about voice talents.

They were under the impression that I was to be their first American guest on the 4-show old program (as their very first guest in Episode 3 was the great narrator and VO in TO co-mastermind Patrick Sweeney) but alas, they found that I have Canadian blood in me, even though I was born in the States. So I am an Americanadian.

The show was recorded while I was driving back from Pittsburgh, PA and I gotta tell you, that drive never went by so quickly. It was enormous fun because these guys clearly know how to run a great show and are fine interviewers. It reminded me about what was great about radio.

We talked so much that they had to leave out the fun story about how I signed with Tanya and Darryl at Ta-Da Voiceworks while at FaffCon in Ventura Beach and how I met Tanya as well as VO in TO co-mastermind Jodi Krangle at a Deb Monroe Voice-over class some years ago in Toronto (see, I get to hang out with ALL the cool Canadian voice talents).

With my sincere thanks to Dave, Mike and Garnet, I hope you’ll not only want to listen to the show that I’m on (ego? moi?!) but also check-out their past and future episodes.

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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.

why you might be failing on LinkedIn


I’ve been spying on you.

I know, I know, it’s not polite but I did it for your own good.

See I was going through my LinkedIn database, culling out voice talents for a client email blast I was doing.

I noticed something odd about the LinkedIn listings of voice over talents…many (but not all) seemed to forget that LinkedIn is both a social network AND a search engine tool.

By search engine tool, I mean that your listing and text on LinkedIn are listed and impact your search results on all major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing!

So why does your job title on LinkedIn say “owner”?

Or “freelancer”?

Or “president”?

You may be all those things and maybe they are listed on your business cards and letterhead but on the web, those titles don’t help you much.

If you are a ‘voice-over talent’, or ‘voice talent’ or ‘voice actor’, those terms have value on the web because very often (but not always), that’s how prospects search the web for folks like us. It’s a little thing but for organic web search, it can mean a lot.

My simple point is this: with Linked In I think voice-over talents would be wise to be very keyword specific (and thoughtful) as they write their profile. Certainly, personality should come through in your writing – LinkedIn copy shouldn’t be robotic just to please search engines. But I’m just suggesting a little more thought be put into the words you include in your LinkedIn profile.

With LinkedIn being so incredibly business-centric (thus many of your prospects likely search for vendors or information on the site) the right content on your profile can initiate a profitable connection.

There are likely millions of ‘president’ and ‘owner’ job titles on LinkedIn; there are also lots of people who have been in ‘commercials’. But on LinkedIn, they are not as many ‘voice actors’ or ‘commercial voice talents’ – and that could make a big difference for you.

So when WAS the last time you reviewed and refreshed your LinkedIn profile? Maybe now?

I hope this helps.

LinkedIn…you are so NOT premium

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Dear LinkedIn,

How kind of you to contact me, your loyal member (your words not mine) to offer me in your email two free months of LinkedIn Premium!

Thank you!

Um, but wait, it seems for this FREE opportunity you want me to give you a credit card number. Specifically MY credit card number. This confuses me.

See, in my country, free is actually free meaning no financial transaction takes place. If the service is free then no money or credit card is needed.

I have the card and I could pay the fee but I don’t know whether I see the value. This is why I’d be willing to try it for free for 2 months.

I’m assuming you want to take my card information so that after the 60 days of free use is over, on the 61st day you can begin charging my card the $40/month LinkedIn premium fee. I say assumed because after you asked for the card, I stopped the process.

I had a credibility gut check on you, LinkedIn. I started to doubt you…I never thought that way about you before.

As a “loyal member” (remember?), couldn’t we trust each other enough that you would pull the plug on the free option on Day 61 unless I contact you (LinkedIn) and said sign me up?

Come on, we’ve been together going on 8 years. I’m loyal, you said it yourself. What’s the need for a free trial with credit card?

That credit card number thing sounds a bit too siding salesman or used car salesman to me. It seems well beneath what I perceive (perceived) the LinkedIn brand to be about.

But hey, LinkedIn, you have over 187 million members (I’m not sure how many of them are “loyal” like me) so you must know what you are doing.

I’m going to pass on the introduction to your so called free trial for your LinkedIn Premium service right now. It just doesn’t feel very premium to me.

And to be honest, neither does your brand at the moment.

Your loyal member,
– Peter

the new linkedin “recommendation” or “like”?

A few weeks ago, I started getting email notices from LinkedIn that some people had endorsed me. A lot of people. I have received LinkedIn endorsements before (and thank you) but clearly something was up.

If you have been on LinkedIn at all, you’ve probably seen or more likely received recommendations or endorsements from people who want to publicly compliment you on the work you do or have done for them. They would write something professionally kind, note three things that you excel at and then you would receive the notification. It’s a lot like a personal reference with someone writing it but with LinkedIn, you’d have the opportunity to approve, request and amendment and publish.

But I was suddenly getting so many! Had I gone viral? What did I do?

Well it seems that LinkedIn, bowing to the Facebook “Like” phenomenon, had changed from the more thoughtful recommendations of old to a quick hit kind of “like” button.

Let me be clear–I am completely and utterly grateful for anyone who would take time out of their day in even a superficial social media way to say something nice about me. And I am glad to do the same for others who are deserving (oh yes, I’ve had people actually ask me to endorse them on LinkedIn in the old format–that was a unique situation at times).

But as grateful as I am (and I am) I liked the old LinkedIn recommendation system better. And it’s truly not because I don’t like change.

It took more time and thought for someone to write out a LinkedIn recommendation in the old format and so to me, what was written about me and what I read on other people’s pages carried more weight and was more important. It had a bit of gravitas.

Now, it seems to me to be just a bit frivolous and not as professional. And to me, LinkedIn’s point of difference versus any other social media channel was its professionalism.

What do you think? Am I overthinking this or were you thinking the same thing?

social media and voice over

If you’re looking for expert advice in this post, you ain’t gonna find here today…nah.

Today you’ll just find some observations of how social media and voice over are intersecting and maybe some thoughts on if any of it is still useful.

How do you like Google+ so far? Have you hitched your wagon to that social media train yet?

Me? I’m not feelin’ it. I’ve tried….I’ve got circles and connections and posts, oh my. But so far it feels too much like work to keep up with another network. I’ve got lots of connections…many from people I have NOTHING in common with (I’ve been trying to do something different…learn from people outside my normal circle). But I’m not finding much of it interesting. Again…this could all just be me…for others it may be a panacea. And I’m not trying to insult the network…I don’t think it’s bad or difficult to use or anything. I just don’t find myself wanting to check it out.

Oddly, I’m feeling the same about Facebook. I certainly read it more often than Google+…and yes I get drawn into silly chats, and try and make funny comments that probably amuse me more than any other readers…but I also find myself internally cursing myself when I go on it for wasting my time. I feel I should be doing something either more productive or constructive. It’s almost like I can feel part of my brain melting away, never to be thought from again, when I’m on Facebook.

For the purposes of helping my business, I post blog post links on Facebook (and Google+ and Twitter and LinkedIn) just so I can bore a broader audience, but even this gets tricky (the post part is tricky, not the boring part…just think how bored you are right now after reading only THIS far and how easily I was able to manage to elicit that reaction from you).

On Facebook, there are personal profiles and “Like” pages, on LinkedIn and Yahoo there are Groups or Boards, on Twitter there are hash tags -all with the imagined purpose of allowing you to share your thoughts among the widest audience possible and with whom you share some common interest…in this case voiceover. Conceptually, that’s awesome but operationally…oy!

Well my friend, who is both talented and lovely and a great voice talent with whom I have shared a microphone on more than one occasion, Connie Terwilliger pointed out on a forum (it might have been FB but to show you how mind numbing it has all become, I can’t remember which forum) recently how she wished that all these groups would just merge because of both the duplication of information across multiple channels (and some people are artists at managing this, Paul Strikwerda being my idol on managing all these channels to get his message out) and just the sheer volume of channels to keep up with. I’m paraphrasing here and if I’ve inadvertently mis-quoted Connie, she will right my wrongness without malice (I hope).

What was interesting was that another friend, who is both talented and lovely and a great voice talent with whom I have never shared a microphone on any occasion, Terry Daniel made the observation, as one of a group’s moderators, that he wouldn’t want to merge his particular group because it’s a niche voice over group – many (but not all) newbies to the field of voice over join his group. OK, makes sense from his perspective too.

All I kept thinking was: more niches, more channels, more work.

But are there more readers? I bless those with the time to sift and digest the multitude of voiceover groups, posts, tweets and twhats…they hurt my head. I gotta work, it’s more relaxing.

Where do you stand on any of this? Is my brain just shutting down early? Or might we be approaching a turning point in people’s reaction to and interaction with social media…especially as it relates to voiceover?