YouTube and the Dancer

YouTube logo is courtesy of Google ImagesOut of all of the social media tools available, YouTube is arguably the most valuable to a dancer. This subsidiary of Google is a video-sharing site that is user generated and appeals to the inherently visual – like dancers.  This site enables you to upload as many videos as your heart desires (e.g., class combos, performances, tutorials, interviews) as long as they aren’t longer than 15 minutes.

Maximize YouTube by Creating a Channel

One of the useful features of YouTube is that it allows you to create a user channel. A channel can serve as a one-stop-shop to view all of your uploaded videos. In essence, a YouTube channel can be used as a dancer’s online resume or portfolio.

A bonus to creating a YouTube channel is that other users can subscribe to your channel and receive notifications when you have posted a new video. What does that mean? YouTube becomes your personal PR representative by  inviting subscribers back to your channel. That doesn’t take you off the hook though. When you add a video, make sure you let your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know.

Nothing is Going to Sell You like Your Work

If you’re looking to get an agent, post a video of yourself in a favorite class, ideally with a notable choreographer in the industry. This provides viewers with a sneak peak at what you’re capable of. You never know, it might land you your next big gig.

Got a demo reel? Definitely post that, even if your agent already has. Depending on how much you work, you can break it down to the previous year or compile all of your work into one reel. Better yet, make both! Check out Answers4Dancers for examples of “killer reels.”

YouTube is Free but Quality is Not

If you’re looking to raise the quality of your work investing in a good camcorder and a software editing program is a good idea.

Flip Ultra HD is an affordable way for dancers to create quality YouTube videos The Flip Ultra HD camcorder was designed for dancers. It is not only reasonably priced and sleek enough to fit in your dance bag, it also has a flip-out USB arm plugs directly into your PC or Mac.

A great feature of the Flip Ultra HD is that it has built-in software that lets you easily e-mail videos, edit individual clips, make custom movies, capture still photos from video, and even upload videos to YouTube.

In my opinion, the best part of this camcorder is the stand-up design. This  allows you to place it on the stereo and easily jump into the shot with your dancers.

Tips for Posting Videos on YouTube

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Give credit where it’s deserved: When posting a class combo or performance, make sure to list the dancers’ names performing in the video. This will mean more to the dancers than you realize. Also, if there is someone who helped edit the clip, do not forget to mention them. It’s okay to get help! In fact, I encourage it. It is a great way to learn from experts and expand your artist network.

Also, make sure mention the artist and title of the song in the clip. This is important for two reasons:

  • It’s just polite. The artist obviously inspired you – let them inspire others.
  • It creates an association between you, the song and the artist. If it’s a good routine, you can bet the next time the viewer hears that song on the radio they will think of you (and probably taking your class).

Remembering or forgetting attributions makes a big impression. The viewer will learn a lot about your personality and values through these mentions, or lack of.

Gratitude will take you a long way in life – and this industry. I know you do not want to be remembered for being a greedy dancer so do not make this easy mistake.

It’s not narcissistic, we want to see you: I know a lot of humble dancers that will not record themselves in their choreography clips. Your clips can include a couple other dancers but please get in there too. We’re watching because we want to learn from you. So just get your butt in there, OK?

Courtesy of Google Images

Silence the chatter: It may be bumping in the studio but it’s not for the viewer. The acoustics in dance studios are not ideal for a camcorder. Instead, mute the sound from the clip and lay a sound track over it. It’s more complicated but the quality of the music makes a world of difference for the viewer.

Be short: Adding a visual intro is a great way to set the stage for your clip but keep it brief. Provide the basic information, proper attributions and then get on with it. We want to see the good stuff. Kevin Maher’s “In the Dark” clip is a good example of this.

Mirrors are not your friend: Record yourself from the audience’s perspective. If you set up the camcorder from behind you, the reflection in the mirror is distracting and just plain unflattering. Reserve that angle for your own choreography archive.

Take a look at this clip of Tucker Barkley‘s class combo to “Kiss Kiss” by Chris Brown. Choreography? Amazing. Dancers? Phenomenal. Angle? Not so hot. Can you see how distracting this angle is? Good thing for Tucker he’s so talented that it makes up for everything. He’s the exception to the rule.

I should probably mention this clip is 3 years old so that explains a lot.  Yes, it’s an oldie and out of focus but still pretty damn awesome. The 312,655 views of this video makes me think I’m not the only one who feels that way.

The who, when and where: Whatever you do, do not forget to list yourself as the choreographer, and when and where viewers can take your class!

YouTube Channel’s to Check Out:

Courtesy of Google Images

Kevin MaherKevin’s channel is a no frills channel but the quality is there. The videos are crisp, from a flattering angle and he consistently thanks his students who show up and work hard for him every week. In addition, he always thanks the people who help edit or create the clips. Very classy, Kevin.

Courtesy of Google Images

Rhapsody JamesRhapsody’s channel is raising the bar for choreographers by creating clips of class combos that are music video quality. She also incorporates similar backgrounds images that reinforce her brand. This is one choreographer who really gets it. Bravo, Rhapsody.

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Posted in Brand, Dance, Social Media, Social Media Tools | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

I Hate to Break It to You Dancers but You are a Brand

Brand Whether you’re an aspiring dancer, consistently working in the industry or a dance educator you are a brand. I hated the term “brand” when I first heard it and to be honest sometimes the word still makes my skin crawl.

But you are one and there’s no getting around that. You are consistently representing your own personal brand. That includes when you are on social media and networking sites.

Here’s a better way of thinking about it – how would you want to present yourself in an audition? Would you walk into the audition looking like a slob? Or would you want to be that chatty dancer in the corner or that girl or guy who asks the same question the choreographer just answered? Of course not. Yes, you are an artist first and talent is what makes or breaks your career but you can get typecast in social media just like you can in an audition.

What I am suggesting is that you be thoughtful when you enter the social media scene and present yourself in the best light.

Take Those Earbuds Out and Start Listening

ListeningApproach social media like you would any other skill; watch, look and listen first. The temptation is to jump into whatever social media platform and start talking. Would you ever attempt a triple pirouette without learning the basics of a single? Not if you don’t want to injure yourself. Start small and listening is the first step.

Note to those dancers who are busy yapping – please stop spelling “dance” with a “z”. It’s not cool and it never will be.

Simple and FREE Monitoring Tools

1) Google Alerts: Google alerts is a great tool to figure out what others are saying about you, your competitors and the entire dance industry. It is one of the easiest tools out there to use. After you sign-up, all you have to do is enter search terms like your name, your studio’s or competitor’s name, or topics you would like to learn more about (dance education, hip hop, the dougie, etc.).

I suggest you set up separate alerts for each search term or related search terms. These alerts will be sent directly to your e-mail address. I also suggest that you change the setting so that you don’t get an e-mail alert in real-time unless you are dealing with an imminent issue. Choosing once a day or week is usually more manageable and certainly less annoying. Don’t get frustrated if you aren’t getting the results you are looking for. Tinker with your search terms and you will find what works best for you.

2) Tweetbeep: This monitoring tool is similar to Google Alerts except it only monitors Twitter. Sign-up and enter search terms just like you would in Google Alerts. Simple as that. If you’re looking for more advanced Twitter monitoring tools, check out this post from the Social Media Examiner.

3) Google Videos: YouTube is probably the most common social media tool that dancers are using to promote themselves. Looking to hire a dancer or choreographer? Enter their name and you can see previous work. If you’re a choreographer, this will be a helpful tool to see if students are posting your choreography without your knowledge.

4) Blog Pulse: This monitoring tool zeros in on the blogosphere. This is helpful for you heavy hitters in the industry to get feedback on your work.

5) RSS Feed: This stands for really simple syndication. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. Google Reader is a commonly used news aggregator to view all of your RSS feeds.

Twitter is another great monitoring tool. Search for your favorite dancers, choreographers or dance media and follow them. Even if you do not want to have anything to do with Twitter, I suggest you at least sign-up and reserve your name so no one else takes it and poses as you. It is much easier to identify fake accounts these days but you don’t want to deal with any reputation management issues. I just think that it is better to be safe than sorry.

It will be uncomfortable at first for all of you Twitter newbies. You’re probably thinking, “I don’t know these people, isn’t it weird if I follow them?” True, but how many people on Facebook would you actually consider your friend? Yep, that’s what I thought.  It’s not as weird as you think and following expert’s tweets will strengthen your dance education and awareness. For more tips and information on how to use Twitter, check out this post by Mashable.

What I suggest is that you also follow social media experts. They have some great insight on how to utilize social media to further your career. Also, go ahead and follow your favorite news media and other accounts that interest you. Twitter gives you the ability to set up lists so you can organize the different types of accounts you follow (dancers, bloggers, social media, news, etc.).

TweetDeck is a great platform to download to help keep organized. Just be careful with the notifications, it can really encourage adult A.D.D.

Here is a list of some social media experts you might want to check out on Twitter: Leo BottaryChris Brogan, Jamie CragerTodd Defren, Jason Falls, Geoff Livingston, David Meerman-Scott, Scott Monty, Stefanie Moore, Jeremiah Owyang, Christopher S. Penn, Jeremy Pepper, Ike Pigott, Brett Pohlman, Mark Ragan, Bill Sledzik.

Listening on Twitter will help you understand what a personal and business brand looks like. Take tips from people you follow that you find interesting and emulate them. Once you feel like you have a good foundation, then go ahead and join the conversation.

Posted in Brand, Dance, Monitoring, Social Media | Tagged , , | 5 Comments