Groups are Gold

groupsThere is a point of diminishing returns in creating meaningful relationships whenever you become part of a population that’s too big.

For that reason, FaceBook Groups and Google Communities, and Twitter Lists, and LinkedIn Groups are where the real action is.

Even the Voice-Over Friends FaceBook group that I administer (now 1300+ members) remains fairly intimate because probably only 20% of the members actively post and participate.

Google Plus Communities are where it’s at as far as I’m concerned.  Because of Gmail, YouTube, and GDrive integrations, G+ Communities are becoming increasingly active, and in my mind are more productive…less fluff.  On Google Plus, feel free to join us by sending me your Google+ profile URL at courvo@courvo.com.

  • Google+ Voiceovers
  • AudioBook Narrators Club
  • Social Media VO
  • Transitioning to Full-Time VO
  • Derek Chappell’s Voiceover Blogs

BUT HERE’S THE REAL GOLD IN GROUPS:

Commiserating with your peers in groups is great.  As mostly independent freelancers, it’s nice to touch base with others who understand our challenges.

But you’re missing incredible marketing opportunities if you are joining only VO groups and communities.  On LinkedIn especially, join the professional groups you are hoping to target as client prospects.  Believe me, if you’re hoping to get work in Video Games, start joining any one of the LinkedIn professional groups that are populated with people who work in this sphere.  I just checked…there’s a Game Developers group…it’s private, so you have to ask to join, but most groups are pretty accepting.  There are over 650,000 LinkedIn groups.  If you can’t find the one you’re looking for, start one on your own.  It’s very easy.

Lurk in these groups for a while.  Get a feel for the tenor of the members.  Eventually, you may want to chime in with a question…or maybe as a voice actor you can contribute to a thread.  Offering links, information, and help is a great way to pay-it-forward on these groups.

Inevitably, people there will  come to recognize you and what you do.  The next time they need a certain kind of voice, they might just give you a call.  This is how it works.  Engaging in conversation creates eventual relationships.  Relationships lead to trust, and trust can result in work.

CourVO

Seminar Excerpt: CourVOisier on Social Media

deweesEverybody’s favorite voice over business coach, and prolific YouTube trainer — Bill DeWees — is finally getting out ‘n’ about.

Bill and I are both introverts.  Seriously.   And besides being uncomfortable in the limelight, Bill is just always working.  The guy is busy because he lives what he preaches, and that means he’s not hurting for clients (most of the time).

But lately, Bill is showing a willingness to mix it up with his sisters and brothers in the VO community.  He was a guest at the Midwest VO conference just last week, and back in February, he hosted a weekend workshop in Las Vegas.  Bill invited me to come to that workshop for an hour and talk about social media, and what it can do for a voice-actor’s business.

DeWees had all the presentations recorded on video, and he’s just now releasing them.  When Bill posts those links, I’ll make sure you know about ‘em.  In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from my presentation on Social Media etiquette, and how starting a conversation on Social Media can lead to voice-over jobs.

Don’t believe I’m an introvert?  Watch how fast I’m talking in this presentation — a sure sign I’m nervous in front of a live audience.  When I’m on camera, the audience is NOT  looking back at me.

Dave Courvoisier

 

Put Your VO Demo on Pinterest

pinterest-cOh, the biases voice actors have against Pinterest!

“It’s just for people to share recipes.”
“I’m not looking to buy shoes today!”
“Who cares about what Jennifer Lawrence wore to the Oscars.”

OK, yes, Pinterest is guilty of all those stereotypical statements, and yes, it’s dominated by the female gender, the same gender that make hires for voice-actors, are agents, and handle production accounts.  Pinterest should be part of your general Social Media marketing plan, and it’s not tough.

Pinterest DOES rely heavily on images, though, so get out your favorite head-shot or logo design, and get ready to use it with the demo you have posted on SoundCloud.  It’s easy to just click on the pencil icon next to the SoundCloud player to edit your pic. You’ll also want to acquire the Pinterest Bookmarklet for your browser.

To Pin a sound, just browse to your the SoundCloud file you want to post, and either copy the URL from that page into Pinterest, or click the PinIt bookmarklet from the SoundCloud page.Pin to SoundCloud

There’s a third way too.  Click on the “share’ button next to your SoundCloud audiofile, and in the box that pops up, you can see all the social media share icons…including FaceBook, Twitter, G+, and Tumblr.  Click Pinterest, and choose the category you’d like to assign it to.  When it displays (that’s me in the middle of all those recipes below), a “play” arrow pops up right from the main Pinterest screen.  It couldn’t be easier for someone to listen.

Pinterest-2

On Pinterest, you follow, get followed, and share stuff just like the other popular social networks.  Once you get a few followers, you’ll be surprised how quickly the stuff you pin gets “re-pinned”…maybe to someone who’s looking for a voice talent!

CourVO

 

 

How Many VO Jobs Can You Get From Social Media?

socialmedia-aHere they come:  all the studies, the research, the survey results offering a crystal ball look into Social Media marketing for this new year.

I’m going to list two or three of the top articles published in just the last few days from some well-regarded online sites, but, really, anyone can find them.  My job in this blog is to offer a little perspective for the findings that you can capitalize on for your voice over business.

Social Media Marketing Trends for 2014

10 Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014

5 Social Media Trends for 2014: New Research

Perhaps the most surprising and refreshing bullet-point in that last article is that Social Media ROI Remains Elusive.

Really? So I’m NOT crazy.

Other than some Google Analytics, I’ve always been at a loss to determine hard numbers resulting from my social media marketing efforts.

The author:  Patricia Redsicker, says: “…Start by defining clear, measurable social media goals such as brand awareness (e.g., Facebook likes), lead generation (e.g., email opt-ins or content downloads) orcustomer retention (compare cost of retaining a social media customer vs. a non–social media customer). Then develop a content strategy to achieve those goals (remember that content drives social). Focus on one or two social channels where your target audience hangs out and gradually scale as your audience and your resources grow! Soon you’ll be counted among the 34% who are seeing ROI on their social media efforts.”

I like that answer, and it’s certainly a usable strategy.  But I have yet to turn up HARD numbers that answer the question I always get when I present on Social Media:  “…how many VO jobs have you gotten from your social media efforts?…” 

I hate that question.  I hate it ’cause I don’t have an answer.  I hate it, ’cause I’ve searched for an answer, and I still don’t have an answer.

Here’s why: There’s absolutely no ROI for the time it would take me to trackback the trail.  That, and no one has yet reliably discovered a matrix for reliably tracing relationships, conversations and hearsay.  It’s like mapping the brain.  I COULD probably track back each lead, but — like I said — it would take more time than it’s worth.  Too google+much depends on politics, human psychology (for EACH person), motivations, and cultural pressure.

The other thing you’ll notice in the above articles is that Pay 2 Play is serious….and I’m not talking about Voices.com or Voice123.com.  I’m talking about paying for advertising space on the big social media platforms.  As one of the authors says:  “The free lunch is looking a touch smaller”.

The final point mentioned in these predictions — one that I’ve made over and over  — is that Google+ is here to stay, and will increasingly dominate the social media discourse.  Google WILL NOT STOP until it makes “+” a success.  Mark my words.

Wanna join my Google+ Community for voice actors:  G+ Voiceovers?  Send me the URL to your Google Plus profile page, and I’ll send you an invite.

CourVO

The DeWees Magic

dewees-2This could spoil me…another Vegas weekend, another VO workshop!

2014 seems to be the year for ‘em. Before the Spring is over, I will have attended four here in my home town.

In a sense, local is good…because you can overdo the conference / meet-up / MasterMind / webinar / Stand-Up / Google hang-out shuffle.  I’ve verged on it a few times in my career so far.  Not that continuing education isn’t a good thing.  It is.   And I also totally understand the desire for voice-actors to find camaraderie and community in the real physical world when the virtual universe grows tiresome.  But the travel and the meet-up scene can get tedious if you do it too often.

And… there comes a point when you need to MOVE on all that you learn…to ACT, and not hold back or be reticent in your approach, ’cause you still think you haven’t truly arrived in the ranks of the pros.  Go for it.   All the while, you’ll still be learning, and you’ll still make some mistakes, but that should never prevent you from getting into the work world and start making your own mark.

This weekend was a “VO Revolution” workshop organized by Bill DeWees, and one of his business mentors:  Fred Gleeck ( a Vegas resident).  Bill is one of the nicest guys I know; a hard-working, successful voice actor, and a smart businessman.  More than 100+ of his YouTube videos on the theme of approaching your business with a certain dewees-1common-sense, pragmatic, savvy more than proves DeWees as someone with the “right stuff”.  Just search “DeWees” on YouTube, and start soaking-in the knowledge.  That’s another reason why I like DeWees…he believes in paying it forward.

Bill had invited me to speak on Social Media.   That’s a topic I’m certainly comfortable with, and I hope it helped to open up some possibilities for those who attended.  I’d characterize the group as pretty heavy on the side of relative newcomers to the business.

DeWees admits he is a hard sell on the issue of Social Media, and yet his work proves otherwise.  Bill has chosen his channel… and it’s YouTube.  You won’t find him on FaceBook or Twitter much.  But he does YouTube SO WELL, that it almost doesn’t matter.  I’m not satisfied with one platform, and try to be good at ALL the major top-5 networks (FB, Twitter, G+, YouTube, and LinkedIn)…but can’t claim the dedication and mastery to any ONE like Bill can.

dewees-3The day’s sessions ended with me joining Bill and the other presenters in a panel for general questions.  We talked some about rates, gender differences, passion, P2P’s, and many other concerns you run across in this blog and other forums.

My presentation covered what I called a Social Media Primer for Voice Actors.  I’ll be happy to send you a copy if you email me at courvo@courvo.com.  Most of what you’ll find in it is gleaned from the pages of this blog, but it’s a nice summary.

Among the main points I like to hammer home about using Social media is what I call the 3-Be’s.

1) Be genuine
2) Be generous
3) Be consistent

Honorable mention to the 3-Be’s is be unambiguous.  Most social media interaction is written, and the written word doesn’t suffer sarcasm, quirky humor, or anger very well.  Keep it straightforward.

In the days and weeks ahead, you’ll see me landing more often on the social media topics, and how voice actors can take advantage of the social media platforms.  I know you think I do that already, but I plan to move into that space even more aggressively, and my hope is that you will be the beneficiary.

CourVO

FaceBook Paper App

facebookpaperForgive me.  I’ve been meaning to write a review of the new Zoom Hn6, but life keeps getting in the way. (watch for it later this week)

Instead, I am running across some REALLY great stuff about social media these days, and I hope you don’t mind my sharing it.

Remember how I keep saying social media won’t stand still, so you can’t either?  Well, several new iterations of some of the top Social Media platforms are out, and they deserve a quick look-see.

FaceBook

First, PAPER, maybe the best Facebook app yet.  On its 10th annniversary, the 800 lb. Gorilla in the social media space is launching Paper as the FB app we’ve hoped for all along for your smartphone.  Now with 1.25 billion active users, FaceBook hopes Paper will strike users as being the best user-interface yet for the mass of information that hits the social media network every hour.
Read more about it:
The Verge
Wired

Twitter

The social media platform most voice actors love to hate now offers new tools to filter your search, which is how you should be using twitter anyway.  You can now search on Twittter by people, photos, videos, news, and advanced.  OK, maybe not earth-shattering, but anything to make sorting-out social media a little easier is great!  See Twitter’s tweet about it.  Engadget explains.

LinkedIn

“How You’re Connected” is a game-changer for my favorite social network.  Already providing the richest search tools, and some of the best groups on the internet, LinkedIn’s “How You’re Connected” improves the method for finding the “strongest commonalities” between you and someone who just might hold the keys to your next voice acting prospect. See more on The NextWeb.

Honorable mention:

Pinterest launches a category explorer called “Interests“.

Twitter improves photo editing for Android.

CourVO

My Weekend Reading: The Social Media Marketing Motherlode

g++Social Media may be the biggest digital trend EVAR to fail.

Do you really believe that?

I don’t.

I see it only going up and up and up.  That’s why I can’t shake my obsession with it.

The reason we can never seem to get a  handle on it… the reason we can never seem to settle into a groove with Social Media is because it refuses to sit still.  It’s always evolving.

For years, we knew we could depend on land-line telephones, and the morning paper.  We got comfortable with those stable paradigms.  But the internet, and social media have destroyed classified ads, print news publications, and traditional phone systems.  The replacement for “comfortable” is changing faster than we can get comfortable with it.

So, the word of the day is agile.  Instant adjustment… or slip behind.  Well, it’s not quite THAT do-or-die, but it’s getting there.

Pedal as fast as you can, or as fast as you want, but I think it pays to keep up.  I could be totally wrong.

If I’m not, then I hope to continue to reap the rewards of Social Media exposure, especially in the area of marketing.

To that end, this weekend, I’ll be reading through a treasure-trove of articles I found under the heading  “31 Must-Read Social Media Marketing Articles“…and yes, there really are links to 31 articles that certainly appear to be the best of the best of the best (for this month).  If you don’t have time to read them all, then at least read #9:  “The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014“.

I’ll even break it down further.  #2 of the Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends is:  Google+ Will Become a Major Factor.

I so believe this to be true that I predict sometime this year, I will mostly give up on FaceBook as a Social Media marketing or community involvement tool… and move my attention almost solely to Google +.

Join me?  I have a G+ VoiceOver Community on Google now that is at 355 members and still growing.  We’re getting some pretty good conversations going there.  If you want an invite, then send me the URL to your Google+ profile page.  My email is:  courvo@courvo.com.

Now, back to my mandatory reading.

CourVO

 

Numbers, Stats, Figures

Tsocialmedia3he sheer preponderance of numbers in our world today is overwhelming.

Looking at them, you get jaded in short order.  The eyes gloss over.  Relevance and perspective can get lost.

Not to add fuel to the fire, but I ran across a site the other day that may have that exact effect on you.

HOW MANY PEOPLE USE 370 OF THE TOP SOCIAL MEDIA, APPS, AND TOOLS (January 2014 data)

First of all 370…!!!!!!!  Amazing.  Some sites here I’ve never heard of.

The list is alphabetical, so you have to get to the last page to find Twitter (500 million) and YouTube (4-billion views per day, 1-billion users).  Google+ is at 300-million, and FaceBook is at 1.4 billion worldwide.  LinkedIn, 260-million

I know these gross numbers don’t tell the whole story.  For instance, the list claims only 215 million ACTIVE users on Twitter.  Gee, only 215 million.

Take a look through the list for Tumblr, MailChimp, InstaGram, Vimeo and others.

I stare at the mass of numbers, and start to gloss over, yes…but I also see a darn good argument against those who would pooh-pooh Social Media.

The opportunities in these figures boggle the mind.  See you on Twitter..and have a wonderful weekend!

CourVO

5 Social Media Strategies to Build Your VO Brand

brand-aAt NMX (The New Media Expo Conf) the other day, I heard Michael Hyatt speak about branding.  He’s the Chairman and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers…a prolific thinker, blogger, and speaker.  He offered a multi-point plan for developing your personal brand, and two of them really stuck with me.

1)  Everything you do/are is a branding impression

2) Develop a value equation that looks like this:  Your professional identity plus your target michaelhyattaudience plus your unique solution equals their transformation.

His suggestion was to build the following narrative:

I am _________.
I help ____________.
I understand/do _________,
so _______(result or consequence)

My personal opinion is that Social Media is an excellent (free) way to extend your personal brand.  The real purpose of  today’s blog is to direct you to Susan Gilbert’s article on Personal Branding Blog.  Put this site on your RSS Feed.  I know there are a million and one schools of thought on branding, but this blog hits a lot of them over the course of time.

Her 5 points — all of which I do, and all of which apply to voice-actors — are:

1)  Make more connections on LinkedIn
2) Get in on the conversation on Twitter
3) Be found on Google search through Google Plus
4) Showcase your expertise with Klout.
5) Create a personal landing page through About.me

[See her original article here:  Pump Up Your Brand with These Social Media Strategies]

I highlighted #3, because I think this is where a lot of voice actors fall short.  I was speaking to my friend and fellow social media brother — Derek Chappell — about this.  We both administer Voice Over Communities on Google+, and neither of us can seem to get much interest going there.  Oh, we have people signed-up…but no one seems to want to visit and get into conversations.

Drop me a line with your Google+ Profile URL, and I’ll send you and invite to my G+ VoiceOvers community on Google Plus.  Start out 2014 by taking a serious look at your personal brand.  Start by building your Google search score, and your brand reach on Google.

CourVO

 

Social Media Moderation – Part II

social-mediaJust two days ago, I pointed readers here to the blog of my friend Derek Chappell.  There, a guest blogger — John Lano —  used some advice from several voice actors to compose  a two-parter on the use of Social Media for voice-actors.

In part one, I was honored to be asked about my recommendations for moderating social media forums.  Bob Bergen, Paul Strikwerda, and Robert Sciglimpaglia were also quoted.

In part two, you’ll hear from Tom Dheere, Bobbin Beam, and Mr. Bergen again…and this time the topic leans toward you as the user, and what’s appropriate for building, protecting, and furthering your brand & business.

Please take the time to read… it’s really good stuff.

 

http://thevoiceofyourbusiness.com/blog/2013/12/19/voice-actors-social-media-is-your-conduct-appropriate-part-2-2/

CourVO