For child actors working to launch their careers (and the parents who support them), building awareness outside of auditions can be one of the greatest challenges in their fledgling professional lives. Luckily, there’s an inexpensive yet potentially powerful marketing tool at your disposal that can help you connect with entertainment industry professionals and keep your young performer in their spotlights whether they’re auditioning for them or not: social media.
Today’s young people have never known a world without social media. The two have grown up together, but just because kids have always known it doesn’t mean they’re the experts. “Privacy” has a different meaning for this generation, making it easy for the slightest misstep on Twitter or Instagram to turn into an embarrassing mistake or something far more damaging.
Regardless of what platform you choose to promote your young performer’s career, for the safety of the child. the account must be 100 percent monitored by a parent. If personal accounts already exist for older children, make sure they’re kept separate from professional ones and try to limit access to include people you actually know; you might even consider closing personal accounts down altogether and start from scratch on a professional level. Kids often include friends in photos, so before you or your child share these kinds of images, get permission from their parents first in order to avoid trouble down the road. It’s a fact of life that parents and kids clash over control issues, but for minor actors, the importance of parent monitoring cannot be overstated. No one ever said parenting was easy.
The old saying about failing to plan is considered a truism for a reason; it’s true. It might be tempting to take a freewheeling approach to promotion via social media, but a carefully considered strategy is a far more effective way to increase the visibility of your rising star. When choosing people or organizations to follow, do your homework and be highly selective. If something in their profile or web site raises a red flag, just move on to greener pastures. When it comes to posting content, try to establish some sort of consistent schedule around your young actor’s busy life. Encourage them to share updates about auditions, new headshots, fun on the set, or personal successes (and challenges). Giving followers glimpses of personality is a great way to tell your child’s story and spark engagement with your carefully chosen followers.
Everyone makes mistakes, but for people in the public eye, mistakes made on social media have a way of spiraling out of control. If your young performer is just beginning his/her show business journey, minimizing the effects of poorly chosen words or images may be as simple as clicking on the trashcan icon, but it’s a good idea to help them start off on the right foot. As the parent, you will be monitoring your child’s activity, but when you come across a troubling post, rather than simply deleting it, take the time to help your child consider the potential consequences of every status update and develop good habits that they’ll carry with them throughout their careers.
In addition to being a great marketing tool, social media can also help prepare your child actor for the real life experiences of a working actor. Rejection and criticism are part of the job for performers and anyone else in the public eye, and neither is in short supply on social media. Helping your child understand and separate the constructive from the destructive will serve them well throughout their personal and professional lives.