Social media: check yourself...
Simon Wright is a trained careers counsellor and has worked in talent management for over ten years, sourcing a range of talent from runners to series producers across a wide range of programming. He gives his insights into how you can use social media to project and protect your personal brand.
Navigating the world of Twitter and Facebook can often feel like a non-stop battle, as you struggle to find the balance between oversharing, being cool and being ironically witty just to get yourself noticed. Panic sets in when your followers diminish and your self esteem may even take a knocking when your “totes hilare” post is met with a wall of silence. This is a lot to deal with when you’re merely mingling with your mates online, but increasingly your social media circle will include potential employers. So, how do you get them to notice you for the right reasons? More importantly, how do you project and protect your personal brand?
If you're looking for an entry level position in TV and radio then it's essential to be on Twitter. Twitter is where a lot of jobs and work experience are advertised and essential advice dished out that can really make a difference to getting your first role. Actively follow the accounts for all the major broadcasters and independents, do a search for TV jobs or calls for runners, see what comes up and start following them all. @BBCTrainees regularly tweets about events, training schemes, job opportunities, along with helpful advice and frequent twitter chats with a wide range of people. We discuss not only working for the BBC but also opportunities from a wide range of employers.
Social media is about making yourself known but it’s also about boundaries. To help you get the balance right, we’ve noticed a few traits from Twitter followers that really impress us and also some that annoy us, so here goes:
1. Ask positive questions and engage. It’s a great way to volunteer for events and to let people know what you have done, but don’t be overly familiar or flirty.
2. This can be a great way to showcase your work, tweet blogs, showreels or things you are proud of. If you’ve been nominated for something, then shout about it!
"A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, 'Would I mind seeing this published in a daily newspaper?' or 'Would I want my mum to read this?'" – Simon Wright
3. Promote your events and invite people to speak or attend them. Nothing looks better than being proactive.
4. Don’t talk excessively about how drunk or hungover you are, particularly when you're in work or supposed to be in work.
5. Don’t share your feelings on how you would “so like to get to know someone” (whether famous or not) on a more intimate basis. Sure, your friends can see this, but so can your potential employers.
6. When you are working, don’t EVER bad mouth or criticise the production. Even if it is a horrible place to work full of divas and you feel that you’re being unfairly treated, social media is not the place to discuss this, so keep this out of your tweets.
7. Don’t tweet photos of the “fabulous new set” or snapshots of actors or presenters, and definitely don’t reveal plotlines. This can really get you into trouble. No one is going to trust the person who regularly tweets along the lines of “Oh my days, Phil Mitchell gets shot!”
8. You also need to be careful if you are working on a politics programme or a documentary that deals with a particular issue. If you tweet your political opinion or opinions on the subject, that can seriously affect the credibility of the programme and the objectivity of the team.
9. While it’s great to be enthusiastic and passionate about wanting to get ahead, don’t be whingey. If your tweets say, “Oh I’ll never get in,” or “Why am I not hearing back?” it will come across as unprofessional. It’s a big industry and, while it may feel like it sometimes, it’s not all about you. Persevere, don’t pester, and be patient.
10. Facebook is slightly different as you can set your personal settings to make information available only to your friends. However, think about who you're befriending from work on Facebook and the discussions that you're having on there. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Would I mind seeing this published in a daily newspaper?” or “Would I want my mum to read this?” Those sobering thoughts can soon help you in making that decision whether or not to post that photo of you dressed as Cher lying in a gutter.
Social media is a great, instant way to make professional contacts, sign up for industry networking events and find out about “a runner position urgently needed tomorrow!” It’s a great way to engage with peers and employers and also a great way to show off your work and what you want to do. Don’t let all your good work be tainted by some semi scandalous photos from your trip to Magaluf or a heated rant about Taylor Swift. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.