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10 Things Guaranteed To Get You Unfollowed On Twitter

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By Marci Liroff

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 and I’ve come to think of it as my good friend. I hate it when people don’t treat my friend right. I’m so happy that there are many new people coming over to Twitter and jumping on the Social Media bandwagon.

BUT, I’ve been noticing some bad behavior that I’m sure stems from most folks just not knowing how it all works. As as social media consultant, I’m noticing that there are so many rules to proper twitter behavior and etiquette – some written and some not so black and white.

Use this guide to help you navigate the often shark-infested waters and avoid these mistakes!

1. Not using my name when you tweet about me

One of the most basic tenets of Twitter is to give credit where credit is due. If you’re talking about someone on Twitter, take an extra moment to find out if they’re on Twitter and use their Twitter name. I cannot stress this enough. This promotes connectivity amongst all of us. This way, if your followers like what you’re saying about the person they can easily follow them by clicking on their Twitter name within your tweet.

2. Clogging my newsfeed with your TWITTER HOUSEKEEPING

The term “Twitter Housekeeping” is probably one I made up. Here’s what it means. When people re-tweet your tweets or mention you in a tweet, proper twitter etiquette dictates that you respond with a “thank you” or a “thanks for sharing/RT”. HOWEVER, and this is a big however….please do not clog my newsfeed with your twitter housekeeping. The correct way to do it is this. Click on “reply” and reply directly to the person like this:

@JoeTwitter thanks for sharing!

Do NOT do this:

Thanks for sharing @JoeTwitter RT @KimTwitter blah blah blah http://blahblah.com

If you do this, then you are clogging my newsfeed with all your responses which should only be seen by the person you’re responding to. This is actually re-tweeting YOUR tweet under the guise of a “thank you”. Not good form and very annoying.

Here’s another example of Twitter Housekeeping that will get you unfollowed:

“@JoeTwitter: I finally caved in and joined twitter world!!” it’s about friggin time. So happy!

The Twitter user uses the “ symbol to RT her friend’s tweet first, then put her comment at the end. Now, why do I need to read this? She should just click on “reply” and reply back to her friend who is now on Twitter and tell her how happy she is. Why is she tweeting this out to all her followers to read?

3. Using twitter like it’s your own personal iChat or email service for all to see

If you’re using Twitter to pick a place for dinner with your friend or give directions to an event and I’m following both of you – do you know I can see all your tweets? Perhaps email or text is a better forum!

4. Still having an egg on your profile and no bio

C’mon, it’s not so hard. Upload a real photo of you for your avatar and write a short bio and include a link to your website if you have one. If you don’t do this very basic thing, people will think you’re not legitimate and professional and will hesitate to follow.

5. Having a naked picture (or some form of nakedness) for your avatar

Need I say more? I’m gonna go one further. I’ll block you if you’re following me with that nastiness! Again, be professional in this professional space.

6. Check your spelling

Take a moment and check your tweet before you send it so that things are spelled correctly and your tweet makes sense. I know we all have to comply with the 140 characters on Twitter and abbreviate and lose some punctuation, but at least try to spell things right! Along those same lines, make sure your link actually works!

 7. #FF pile-ons

Follow Friday (#FF) started as a way to thank someone for something they may have done for you or to welcome them to Twitter and help them get new followers. It was meant to introduce people to your twitter followers by telling them who they are and why they are special to you.

A good example would be the one I received from the lovely Erin Cronican today.

#FF @MarciLiroff A fellow Expert writer for @BackStage who has poise, warmth & skill as a casting director & is an amazing Twitter partner.

Now that is a genuine #FF. It has meaning, it explains why her followers should follow me and gives context.

The kind of “pile-on” #FF I see nowadays looks something like this:

#FF @marciliroff @JoeBlow @KarenTwitter @JimTwitter

It doesn’t give any context or reason WHY we should follow these people. It also puts people in a giant group – which makes me feel a little less than special. Sometimes, I’m grouped with people that I don’t even like or respect.

8. Don’t connect your Facebook status updates to Twitter

Once you start using Social Media regularly you’ll see that the platform of Facebook is ENTIRELY different than Twitter. I liken it to using your “Facebook voice” and using your “Twitter voice”. On Facebook you can talk more extensively on a topic. Because of the 140 character format on Twitter, you have to be succinct and to the point. Comment + headline + link. Bam!

Some twitter apps allow you to connect your FB and Twitter accounts so that when you tweet or FB it goes to both accounts simultaneously. This is wrong on many levels.

Your followers (audience) on Twitter is not necessarily your audience (friends) on Facebook. Your tweet or status update is sometimes not pertinent or appropriate to both. At this point in the game (although it’s changing every day) your Facebook friends don’t want to see your updates in space-saving abbreviations and the use of hashtags. Likewise, when that Facebook tweet goes onto the Twitter newsfeed it usually doesn’t fit and isn’t a complete thought/tweet. For me it shows a person who doesn’t understand the social medium platform they’re using. Another huge problem which goes back to #1 on my list, is that when your accounts are connected and you update your status on Facebook you may mention a person’s name in your update, but when it shows up on Twitter it doesn’t correctly use the all important “@” sign to identify the Twitter name of the person you’re tweeting about. Again, very bad form.

9. Using an Auto-bot to send a DM asking for something

If you do anything on Twitter that appears to be an auto-bot (meaning an automatic response NOT from a human) I will unfollow immediately. Twitter is about communication from people, not auto-tweets. Some people think it’s a great idea once we both follow each other to send a DM (direct message) to me asking me to buy something or visit their site. No thank you – I will unfollow you.

10. Beware of scheduled tweets

I know it’s difficult to be on Twitter at all times of the day. Sometimes we need to schedule tweets (I use the Buffer App) BUT – I do this VERY sparingly and monitor it closely! Here’s a great example of why it can be dangerous to use scheduled tweets. Imagine a world event – an election, a verdict that just came in on an important case, natural disasters – then your tweet comes into my newsfeed and you’re hawking your wares “Hey y’all check out my new demo reel!” – don’t you look stupid and thoughtless? I have unfollowed major accounts for doing this.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this. What do people do that drive you crazy on Twitter? It’s always good to share with the community. Leave a comment, share this blog with a friend!

Glad you’re here!
Marci

WHY ACTORS NEED TO UNDERSTAND SOCIAL MEDIA

By Marci Liroff

I’ve been encouraging actors to get involved in social media for the last several years. Seems that they’ve been heeding my call! I’ve noticed droves of actors taking to Twitter lately. Some do it well, some—not so much.

While working on the feature film “Vampire Academy: BloodSisters,” based on the best-selling series of six young-adult paranormal romance novels, I noticed some really bad behavior by a few actors; they were tweeting about coming in for auditions, and how they did on said audition. One actor simply tweeted, “Christian Ozera” (the name of one of the very exciting male characters in the book series) and the Internet went wild with rumor mongering.
To put things into perspective, this book series has a HUGE fanbase. The Facebook fanpage for the movie—which hasn’t even been made yet!—has more than 250,000 fans.
I got an email from one of my producers who asked that all casting news come from the production and that what goes on behind the scenes (i.e. who’s auditioning) should be controlled by us. The producer added that any further “leaks” would compromise an actor’s potential for being hired.
The Facebook fanpage and Twitter blew up with speculation and thousands of fans were hysterically talking about whether the actor who tweeted about auditioning for Christian was going to get the part. I had to call his representatives and suggest that this was perhaps not the most professional approach to getting the role. I knew in my heart that he had tweeted this in an innocent way, not realizing what trouble would ensue from his simple tweet.
Another actor on Twitter and Facebook who wanted one of the lead roles so badly would fan the flames of speculation and neither deny or confirm that he was being offered the part. He even created a Facebook Fanpage for his mission.
Because IMDb is actually a fan site much like Wikipedia, anyone can enter information. We hope and depend that the site actually vets the information, but an actor who was “rumored” to be in the mix, who actually wasn’t, was listed as “rumored” to be playing the role. This added to even more confusion.
I’ve seen actors fired from commercials for tweeting things like, “Hey, I just booked a (fill-in-the-blank) commercial!” Same goes for television shows. The producers, networks, studios see this sort of thing as a leak of information.  This news should ONLY come from the production if and when they see fit and in the venue that they want it to come from. If after reading this you still feel compelled to share this kind of information, you should clear it with the producers first.

Kevin Brockman, Executive Vice President, Global Communications, Disney/ABC Television Group spoke to me about this topic. He said, “We are very actively involved in guiding our actors and productions in the social media space.  At ABC and ABC Family, after series are greenlit and before production begins, our social media and PR teams walk the actors and producers through a social media 101 that points out the potential positives and negatives in these arenas. Series spoilers are a large part of the discussion and our rule of thumb is, ask your executive producer or Publicity team before posting anything that may be a problem. Our actors, especially on our shows with mystery elements, like ‘Scandal’, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘Twisted,’ are very cognizant of this, as they don’t want to hurt the viewing experience for their fans.” 

Brockman added, “At Disney Channels Worldwide, we host Talent Orientation programs that provide new actors information on what to expect from their colleagues on the Production team and from their colleagues at Disney Channel, and what’s expected of them.  During the Orientation, we cover the subject of social media and reiterate to our actors and their parents that what they say and do on social media, or when communicating directly to their fans, should done with care.  We remind them to “think before they tweet or post” anything, and ask them to appreciate that millions of young fans may look up to them.”

I also spoke to Dan Berendsen, writer/producer/creator of ABC Family’s hit tv show “Baby Daddy”. He said, All five of my cast members have a significant internet presence (twitter, instagram) and are an integral part of the show’s marketing. They are the source of the show’s real social media. We acknowledge that and promote it – they are partners in the successful marketing of the show. Consequently, we talk about what information is best for them to give out and what’s not. To make it work, the actors have to be completely onboard with what you’re trying to accomplish.

Historically, “leaks” and “spoilers” are more likely to come from the studio audience and the extras. There is almost no way to shut that down on a show that’s filmed in front of a live audience – other than to ask people not to ruin the surprise for everyone else.”
 
Of course, I understand the feeling we all have these days to share news within our community of followers on Facebook and Twitter along with your website. I suggest you share it after the project is completed and only when it’s about to air. Another thing to do so that you feel connected is to say something benign like “Auditions went GREAT today! I was so prepared!” That way, nobody gets hurt! 
I’d love to hear your stories about your experiences with Social Media and your interactions. It’s always good to share with the community.
Glad you’re here!
 
Marci
 
 

WHY ACTORS NEED TO GET ON TWITTER

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By Marci Liroff

Twitter, you ask? Do I HAVE to?! Yes, you do and I’m gonna tell you why.

I came to Social Media kicking and screaming in 2009. Being an extremely private person, I was deathly afraid of opening up too much of my life to the public. My friend Angela Shelton just about chained me to a chair and taught me what to do. Dragging my feet and protesting, she made me sign up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a YouTube channel, and a Vimeo channel. I knew I had to make the leap of faith because if I didn’t jump on this Social Media train soon, I was going to be dragged down the tracks by the upcoming newbies in the business.

I was not prepared for how much I love it! OK, truth be told I’m addicted to it! Not only do I use it for work (I interact with my community of actors and find new talent), I learn about all the breaking news on Twitter. Being a news junkie, that’s music to my ears! A couple of years ago I was asked to speak at the #140Conference in NYC on the topic of Social Media and the Casting Director. Here’s my short speech:

 

 

Truth be told, initially my main reason for getting on Twitter was to sell my DVD. Much to my chagrin, I quickly learned that Twitter is not a place to sell yourself. I got my head handed to me on more than one occasion by angry Twitter followers who didn’t like that I was trying to sell them my DVD. I thought, “But, you’re following me! Obviously you want to hear what I have to say!” Turns out that couldn’t be further from the truth and that’s not at all what Twitter is about. I decided to sit back and LISTEN and learn. My friend, actor Ben Whitehair, says that in the beginning you should “use Twitter as a listening device, not a megaphone.” Sound advice indeed!

 Once I stopped squawking about myself and started listening to the folks I was following – a world opened up.

I learned that Twitter was a place to CONNECT to my community – a place to learn from those that I’m following, hear their needs, and contribute great content. Since I’ve been in the biz for over thirty years I realized that I have a lot of great info to give. I’ve become quite the “content curator” over the last few years. I’m finding some really interesting stuff for actors—from other people’s blogs or other casting directors, producers and directors I know, or open calls that I hear about across the country—and mostly posting useful information that has nothing to do with me but will be helpful to actors. It’s about sharing great content. Twitter is limited to 140 characters, so you have to be concise and to the point. You basically want to give a headline and a link to something.

Casting Directors used to be an elusive and exclusive bunch. That business model is outmoded these days and I think you’ve noticed the abundance of Casting Directors who have made themselves available to teach/coach/and advise you on the acting business. You may hear on Twitter that they’re casting a project – but follow their lead and go about the usual channels to procure your audition. Here’s a list I put together of CDs who tweet. You’re welcome! Here’s another list from Wayne Chang (@wonderfulcow on Twitter) of CDs who have websites.

Last year when I was casting my movie The Sublime and Beautiful  I was contacted by an actress in Los Angeles who had been following me on Twitter and Facebook. She said she could be considered a local hire and were there any roles for her? (We were shooting on location in Lawrence, Kansas and had no money in the budget to bring actors from L.A. except for the lead characters). She sent her demo reel,which was very good, and I sent her the sides for the role I thought she’d be right for along with our script. Within the week we had auditioned her and hired her for a pivotal role in the movie. I had not even known her work before she introduced herself on Twitter. Here’s what she did right: she used good Twitter Etiquette. She was polite and had already established somewhat of a “relationship” with me already on Twitter and Facebook before tweeting her request to me about the role in my movie.

A couple of years ago I got a tweet from a woman in Akron, Ohio who was in charge of hair and makeup on a theatre production of A Christmas Carol for a charity which sends kids fighting cancer to summer camp. She was put in a bind by the producer when she was told (two weeks before their preview) that he had NO budget for hair and makeup and that she would have to get it herself…somehow!  She tweeted  asking for donations of hair and makeup for her play.  I contacted her to make sure it was legitimate, then reached out to my makeup connections from my movies and TV shows and in a few days I received a GIANT box from one of my makeup artist friends full of make up, wigs, and facial hair.  Another makeup artist friend hooked up the Ohio woman with a deal from MAC makeup.  Everybody came together in a matter of days…all through the power of Twitter.

OK, so I was now officially hooked!!  Hey, this thing really works! I love how a very large community of strangers became a small community of friends, helping each other. Twitter just made my world a little smaller and I loved it!

Many people mistake Twitter as their own personal P.R. firm and they talk about “me, me, me” all the time. Isn’t it boring to hear someone talking about themselves non-stop? Don’t repeat the same EXACT tweet. It’s against twitter rules and you could be reported & kicked off for spam. For example I always get these kinds of tweets: “@marciliroff are you casting anything?” Then I check the tweeter’s feed and see that they have asked this same question to 50 people. That is considered spam and I block and report them. OR – if you get a tweet like this from someone you don’t know – “@marciliroff check out this link http://blahblah.com”- BEFORE YOU CLICK THE LINK – check out their twitter feed and you will probably see that they’ve sent this same link to hundreds of people. This is spam and you should block and report them.

Think about Twitter (and all Social Media for that matter) as a cocktail or dinner party. Would you barge into a stranger’s house and scream, “Watch my short movie! Here’s the link!” So when you’re approaching a casting director or ANYONE on Twitter and in Social Media, get into the conversation and establish a relationship first before asking any favors. It’s just good manners.

Another gem I want to share that many twitter users don’t seem to know is this. I blogged about this a few months ago and it is hands down the most viewed blog I’ve written. What Everybody Should Know About Twitters Dirty Little Secret. I won’t go into detail here, but as I mention in the blog, you may need to read this a couple of times to fully understand the concept.

Another widely read blog is “10 Things Guaranteed To Get You Unfollowed on Twitter”.

In the beginning you’ll notice that you don’t have many followers. Don’t worry, your twitter follower count will grow when you start following people and get in the conversation. You should also retweet (RT) content that speaks to you and that you think others might benefit from. Thank people for RTing your tweets – it’ll encourage them to RT for you in the future. But it’s really not about your “follow” count. It’s about interaction between you and your followers. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of followers if you’re not responding to their questions or RTing their content. It’s about joining the Twitter conversation and content is king. I’m not interested in following someone who just blasts out tweets and doesn’t interact with their community.

If you want to learn from some of the best on Twitter, here are some good people to follow to learn more about Social Media.

I’d love to hear (in the comments) how you’re using Twitter (and other Social Media platforms) in your work. Let me know what’s working and what’s not working!

Do you have any questions for me? Feel free to ask them here!

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Glad you’re here!

Marci

 

 

 

 

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