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?

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23 Responses to “social media and voice over”

  1. Aw, shucks…yep FB group – one of the three that seem to post the same things on a regular basis.

    I keep thinking that all these groups tying voice over people together has reached some sort of critical mass confusion and superficial “friendship.” Do we really need so much information from each other? Would my time be better served on social media sites where I can connect with potential clients. Granted, I do get referrals from my voiceover friends – many of whom started out as virtual friends. And I am happy to refer my voiceover friends when a job comes up. But we can only have so many “friends!”

    While I get a bit goosey thinking I’m going to miss something if I don’t look at each group on a regular basis, I think it is better for my emotional and financial health to concentrate on getting to really know a few lovely and talented and great voice talents.

    Meeting these virtual friends face-to-face as we travel around the country and the world has true value and creates lasting real friendships.

  2. And yet Connie I would remiss if I didn’t note that alot of those friends in voiceover I’ve met in real life came from social media introductions.

    So while I am somewhat indebted to this social media beast, me thinks his/her growth has to be harnessed into some kind reasonable organism. As far as i can see, though, that can only be done individually.

    Just for fun I posted this on as many facebook and linkedin groups as I could find….lets see what reaction (if any) that gets.

    Best always,
    -Peter

  3. Peter,

    Good ruminations and certainly all points worth considering.

    I hear what you’re saying about G+, but here’s why I persist on that site. Google and FaceBook are mounting a monumental battle for the hearts and minds of Social Media participants around the world.

    FaceBook holds all the cards, and the lion’s share of subscribers. However, Google is the undisputed king of search, and they can choose to conveniently leave FaceBook and even Twitter posts OUT of their search formula, and indeed, they’ve already started doing so. Real-time Google searches no longer include Twitter posts.

    How does that figure into everyone’s SEO and marketing? ‘Boggles the mind. So no matter how much you post on FB in the future, the numbers won’t reflect it.

    Furthermore, Google is integrating G+ into ALL their products…and that is a considerable outlay. UC Berkeley just made the decision to go with Google for all the email, document, contacts, spreadsheet, and database handling… choosing over Microsoft. They saved $75-million. As long as Google continues to make it easy to post to G+, it’ll continue growing.

    This is why I love social media…it’s the telegraph/telephone/radio technology of this age…and it’s making new things happen all the time. As much as I hate dedicating so much time to it…it’s led to jobs, relationships, and new challenges coming across my plate everyday!

    Happy New Year!

    Dave Courvoisier

  4. Hi Peter,

    No Google+ tried or needed by myself or my business:)
    It is clear we all use social media differently.
    I have noticed the number of voiceover bloggers has certainly decreased in the last year. To do it regularly requires a solid discipline. I joined Twitter this year and it helped generate more readers for my blog by targeting specific markets besides voiceover (eg. sports, music).

    I enjoy the interactions that are possible via social media because my sports schedule and location on the west coast makes contact at voiceover events not possible. The real life connections that Dave, Connie and yourself have alluded too would be nice if the timing is right. You would probably have to put up with me sooner than others because of my voiceover responsibilities in Buffalo with the Bills and Sabres:)

    Happy New Year!

    ~ Ralph Hass

  5. The first thing I thought of Dave when i read the part about Google not including Facebook and Twitter post was “anti-trust lawsuit”. Might it force Google to actually reveal its search algorithm in court? That would be an interesting trail.

    But as pertains to the voice over world, while we have the freedom to create any groups we see fit, I wonder about the value of quantity.

    In the end I guess the audience through their participation in these groups on these channels will determine quality and thereby address the quantity issue.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  6. Well Ralph you’ll just have to come to Faffcon in March!

    Best always,
    – Peter

  7. I completely agree with you about Google+. I think its main appeal is to people who have decided they hate Facebook and what they like most about it is, it isn’t Facebook. The Circles thing is pretty cool, but I’m not sure if “cool” translates to “useful.”

    I also agree that there’s probably more redundancy than we really need in terms of social networking groups for voiceoverists. (Full disclosure: I started one on LinkedIn but did so back when there were few, if any, VO groups there.) I suppose each one serves a slightly different niche and that’s OK. But it does get somewhat bothersome when people feel the need to post the same message to every single one of them.

    And that does not even take into consideration the built-in cross-posting whereby Twitter messages get automatically re-posted on Facebook and Facebook posts get displayed on LinkedIn. And then people add to the cacophony by commenting on other people’s blog posts. Oh, wait …

  8. Well somewhat selfishly, Lee, I ENJOY the cacophony in THIS space. Thanks for adding to the melody.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  9. Hi Peter and Connie (with neither of whom I’ve ever shared a mic…),

    I am glad to read your thoughts about FB and all the other social networks. I, too have an FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing etc. etc. profile but it always feels like a waste of time to me when I spend time reading others posts. It is interesting, yes, sometimes even intriguing, to read about others lifes but do I really need to know that stuff. For the most part it seems like a grand waste of time. I have way too many friends on FB, most of whom I either don’t know or communicate with. I can see where FB and Twitter makes sense for companies who offer products or services and want to expand their customer base. For me, I think I should be in the studio, working. Is there really an upside, like getting new clients, to posting on FB or Twitter?

    Happy New Year!
    Bernard

  10. thanks for helping me feel less alone in this quandry, peter. i’m consciously cutting back on all the social stuff. partially because of the time suck, but also because it’s not helping me keep a positive attitude for my work. i get increasingly annoyed with people who aren’t doing anything, but feel i need to know…and dangerously close to depressed reading about friends who ARE doing a whole lot of neat stuff, when i am not.

    still, i will not totally bail. like you, some of these web spots are the only ways i can keep up with good friends, most of whom i met online to begin with.

    rg

  11. Hi Bernard,

    Yours is the million dollar question – ” Is there really an upside, like getting new clients, to posting on FB or Twitter?”

    I can think of three people in VO who swear they get business from posting on social media. Personally, people have come across stuff I’ve written here or on other social media channels and wound their way over to me to have a discussion but I would be hard pressed to say that’s how a voice over client decided to work with me. Now, voice over talents who want to study with me via the Voice Over Workshop HAVE found me via social media and we’ve worked together.

    So my answer is that because of the benefits the additional content social media posts offer to organic Search Engine Optimization, I believe that Social Media doesn’t hurt. But the ROI of your Social Media efforts in relation to other marketing efforts makes me wonder just a bit. I’m not saying no (and I’m no expert) but I am saying study it AND when reading through Social Media…have a purpose or a goal – that might make you feel less like you are wasting your time.

    I hope that helps and I am so glad you visited the blog.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  12. RG:

    Like I said with Bernard, I think if we all set objectives for what we want to accomplish with our social media intake and really try and tie it in with a marketing or financial objective (and that will be decided individually), we’ll all feel like we’re accomplishing something.

    So if you find yourself reading political posts and watching videos with cute kittens – that’s play time not pay time. :))

    Best always,
    – Peter

  13. I can’t believe a voiceover artist can get jobs by being on social media. If I’m wrong, I would like to hear from someone who has been successful and learn how successful and what he/she did. So far, I’m unconvinced!

  14. Shirley, Drink the cool-aid.

    I joined a Facebook group a couple of years ago that was for people who created eLearning – introduced myself and that same day an eLearning producer joined the group and contacted me about doing a job for him. I am now a shareholder in the company and have been able to get a couple of my other voiceover friends (who I met through social networking) work with this company.

  15. Hm, that is very interesting Connie. 2011 was a year where I seem to have gotten pigeon-holed for e-learning projects in the broadest sense. I’ve voiced projects and product videos for American Express (career and performance training), HILTI (product training for employees), SAP (employee training), Tetra Pak (employee training) and Presonus to name a few. Most of it in German. Maybe I should join that FB group… ­čÖé How did you become a shareholder?

    Bernard

  16. Hi Bernard,

    I know which company Connie is speaking about because she was kind enough to give me feedback (along with others) before I took out a subscription. Unfortunately, this particular company was the poorest example I can give for a voiceover ROI. Timing is everything – and you never know sometimes until you try a new marketing approach.

    Time to say Happy New Year – and Gl├â┬╝ckliches Neues Jahr – to all!
    Connie, please pass the Kool-Aid…

    ~ Ralph Hass

  17. Shirley – the company met my proposed rate for the work and gave me a stock bonus if I met their deadline.

    Ralph – can you explain what you mean in your comment. Took out a subscription to what?

  18. I was referring to RG’s company Connie.
    Not sure if that is the company you are a shareholder in or not.

  19. I still don’t know what company you are referring to when you say RG’s company. If you are referring to one of the pay-to-play sites, that is completely different than a private company contacting someone to do some work for them.

    In the case of this particular company that found me through Facebook, I think the ROI is working out great. If you are talking ROI on one of the P2P sites, then each of us has a different opinion on how they are working. I dropped my subscription to one of them because I didn’t see the ROI.

    In any event, if you ARE referring to a P2P site, then we are talking apples and oranges.

  20. Connie and I touched base by email to clarify.
    Should point out RG was not Rowell Gormon:)

  21. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Peter!!

  22. Connie’s example is my idea of how social networking can work for someone in any business. I don’t know what forum she posted in or what she said, but Connie is a credible VO; some guy in the forum in need of services recognized that an decided to do business with her.

    What doesn’t make sense to me is marketing to your competitors.

    Many people in these forums do not see other VOs as competing with them, but they are dead wrong about that. Joe the “voice seeker” may start out thinking that Peter is perfect, but hears Connie and thinks maybe she’d work too, while surfing around he hears Paul’s European English and decides maybe he’d work too. We are all competitors in this business if we meet the type-criteria of the “voice seeker.”

    As for all of these channels of communication, I’d suggest that you avoid time-sinks (think heat sink). Blogging is good to establish credibility with your target market, but you need to consider carefully your use of facebook, Twitter, Google+, and any other social network. I no longer participate on facebook because when I write the story of my life, I don’t want facebook claiming that they own the copyright to it. It’s funny, but I’m not being funny. LinkedIn is currently an exception because it put its roots down as a business networking site rather than a fun ‘n games site.

    Skillfully used, any of these channels can be useful; just be certain that you are exploiting them rather than allowing them to exploit you.

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