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.

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9 Responses to “voice-over lead generation and avoiding the social media time suck”

  1. Thank you for your detailed post Peter.

    I know how much you like logos/graphics for marketing/advertising so I wondered if it was merely coincidence that your Social Media TIME SUCK graphic had the same blue theme as LinkedIn?:)

    I have had to learn that voice-over talents all market and advertise differently – just like any other profession. Many give valuable information BUT many don’t even take advantage of the social media presence available to them.

    Interesting that ten days ago on his blog, Dave Courvoisier said, There are 5 huge platforms for social media, and each have their strengths, drawbacks, and unique offerings. In order of importance (my take):
    1) FaceBook
    2) Twitter
    3) Google Plus
    4) LinkedIn
    5) YouTube

    I look forward to seeing responses from other voice-over talents.
    I appreciate those that are interactive.

    Best,
    Ralph Hass

  2. I was just reading this article, when your blog post appeared on my radar screen:

    http://socialmediatoday.com/jgibbard/1506781/facebook-marketing-waste-of-time

    When referring to Facebook posts, I think it makes sense to distinguish between Profiles (for people) and Pages (for businesses). Too many colleagues only have a profile which they also use for work-related posts. That’s actually against Facebook policy.

    I have a higher tolerance for self-serving posts on a profile. It’s basically an extension of your virtual living room and you can be as quirky as you like.

    Overselling yourself is never a good thing, and certainly not on your Facebook page. In order for potential followers to be interested, you need to post interesting content. I agree that notifying the world that you have just left the recording booth, is a waste of time.

    Your LinkedIn strategy of joining groups that may be relevant and that have yet to be flooded by colleagues, makes perfect sense. Too many people are a member of groups every other voice talent is already a member of. The likelihood that you’ll pick up any promising leads is rather small.

  3. Ralph,

    I shall not fib….the icon color choice was to elicit images of LinkedIn and Facebook in the reader’s mind. I hope it works.

    What I’d like to know about YOUR list is why you ranked them in that order or importance. Your list isn’t wrong…neither is mine…but I (and I’m guessing other readers) want to know the “whys” of the value (business or otherwise) you ranked those channels.

    Thanks as always for reading and visiting.

    Best always,
    –Peter

  4. Hi Peter,

    To clarify, the list referenced was from Dave Courvoisier at:
    http://www.courvo.biz/2013/05/answers-to-the-two-questions-im-most-often-asked-about-social-media.html

    Thanks.
    ~ Ralph

  5. Sorry, I thought you were referencing that list and put them in YOUR order.

    So OK then, what WOULD be the Hass order?

  6. Hi Paul,

    The thing about Facebook policy– they keep changing it so much everybody pretty much ignores it. It seems so self-serving anyway but, it you’re offering something for free, I guess you can BE self-serving about your policies.

    Yes you can be as quirky as you like but in our business, despite our branding, we are still the brand. Virgin has its brand, so does Apple, but the images of Richard Branson and Steve Jobs still transcend the corporate efforts.

    As far as overselling oneself, I can’t address that point right now as I am too enchanted with the image looking back at me in the mirror. When I finally break my gaze away, I’ll post about it in detail. But I guarantee you, it will be a handsome and talented review. 😉

    Best always,
    – Peter

  7. […] Voice-Over Lead Generation And Avoiding The Social Media Time Suck – Peter O’Connell […]

  8. Hi Peter,

    Since Ralph raised the question using my quote, let me see if I can approximate an answer.

    I ranked FaceBook, Twitter, and Google+ 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively because they offer the greatest exposure in terms of sheer numbers in that order.

    However, I have long been the lone apostle of LinkedIn at conferences like VOICE2010 and VOICE2012, and beyond.

    Your assessment is parallel to mine. The time spent there results in a much better ROI that’s measurable when compared to FB, Twitter, and G+. In addition, the depth and breadth of research tools available to you on LI is superior to the other networks. I use it to do background checks on people and companies who are prospects. I use the groups just as you described. I mine the contacts for referrals.

    Chatting with Lee Gordon at APAC the other day confirmed that fact that thousands of voice actors subscribe to LinkedIn…but how many use it to their advantage is another question.

    Great blog, my friend!

    all the best,

    Dave Courvoisier

  9. Hi Dave,

    Thank you for your comment. See you’re so famous now you’re getting quoted from far and wide.

    Thanks for visiting sir. Chances are I will be visiting you in August…so you might want to FILL your calendar now! 😉

    Best always,
    –Peter

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