Are you worried about your lack of Instagram followers and stressed over selects at the end of class? Chill baby, you are much, much more than an IG handle.
Define your mission statement
A lot of people jump into marketing and Instagram curation because…wait why again?
Marketing 101 – always begin with a mission statement.
Try this exercise:
1. Picture yourself 3 years from now.
What does life look like? What are you doing? Who do you see in your life? Sit on this visualisation for at least 1 minute. Picture all of it.
2. Now visualise your life 1 year from now.
Where are you? What are you doing? Who is surrounding you? Spend at least 1 minute on this.
3. Write it all down on paper.
In any way you need, just scribble it down and let it out baby.
Now you are ready to write your mission statement, which is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organisation, or individual.
To make the mental and physical benefits of dance accessible to all walks of life.Groove Therapy Mission Statement
So why are you here? Is it to inspire people through your dance? Is it to live a blessed life in which you are paid to practise your craft every single day? Is your ultimate goal to dance for FKA Twigs? Would you like to travel the world whilst doing something creative? Or is it because you’d just like to be famous?
There is no wrong answer, but if you don’t clearly articulate why you’re here, you will forever be floundering and just taking on any old dance job because you have no clear direction.
A mission statement defines the goals, boundaries and essence of everything you will embody moving forward. Don’t stress, you are allowed to change your mission statement if your heart tells you to in 6 months time.
Learn about touch points
In marketing, touch points are every single little point of contact between an audience and a brand. Over time, the accumulation of impressions that a brand consistently makes on their clients becomes their reputation.
Simple enough right? The thing is, everyone is out here focusing on Instagram. Great, but Insty is only one touch point. Now open up that journal again and list all the other ways in which people come into contact with you:
- Taking a workshop from you
- Email correspondence
- Phone calls
- Your website/linkedin/fb
- Reading a blog you write
- Seeing the kind of costumes/outfits you rock on stage
- Seeing you perform
- The way you talk to people backstage
- Seeing you on the dance floor
- Seeing you at a music event
- Your vibe during rehearsals
- Seeing your ah-mazing professionalism on set for a music video
- Anything else can you think of that could make an impression on someone
Why is a touch point relevant?
Well think about it – have you ever idolised someone on Instagram and then been disappointed when you met them in person? This is because they are not consistent across all their touch points and, often, it’s because their online persona was manufactured.
Secondly, 80% of your work will come from 20% of the same repeat customers. Isn’t that a crazy statistic? So if you work for an artist, you’re more likely to keep booking work with that artist, but it goes a step further. One job done well will almost definitely lead to a network of flow-on jobs if you make a good impression on all the people involved. Think of all the touch points that go into one gig – casting, rehearsals, costume fittings, hair and make up, photography and performing on set. If you’re a dream to work with, you are likely to keeping booking other jobs with the choreographer, the stylists, the director and the photographers who loved you on set.
Define your tone.
What does your voice sound like? This is how your persona is received across all your touch points such as emails, social media, grant applications and real life. Again, the consistency of your brand depends upon your tone of voice being the same across the board.
Are you friendly, sassy, intellectual or philosophical? Really take the time to think about who you are and how you speak, think and talk. Try and emulate the way you speak in the way you write. If you’re not a natural writer or speaker, this will need some practise until you get the flow. The important thing is that you sound like you. Dancers try too hard to sound smart when they write. It ends up sounding…not.
Try this exercise
Next time you sit down to write a caption, email or whatever else, think about how you’d talk to a friend if you were having a meaningful conversation with them.
Once you’ve written your piece, comb through it to make sure you’re not rambling and all your grammar and spelling is in check. Over time your voice will naturally develop.
Make your schtick easy to find
You need some solid links that highlight examples of your dance skills. Iphone footage of you freestyling in your bedroom is totally fine. So is a solid selfie if you haven’t been able to get a headshot. Just make sure that people can clearly see what you’re about if they go looking for your work.
Put yourself in the shoes of a casting director
Casting directors are busy, overworked, have deadlines to hit and need to quickly compile a shortlist of dancers for the client to scan over. If someone mentions your name to them and they jump online to find you, make it as seamless as possible for this person to type in your name, find you, view your work at a glance and contact you.
Instagram is the new website/business card
Don’t stress too much over websites and logos. Instead;
- Create a public Instagram account
- Clearly state what you do in the bio
- Have a scattering of posts that clearly show your dance skills and what you look like at a glance.
- Include an email address clearly in your bio so you can be contacted
This is not about accruing bulk followers. It’s just that instagram is the new business card. Whenever you’re asked to send examples of your work, it’s often better to hand over an IG handle that clearly demonstrates everything that you’re about at a glance.
Sharing your schtick with people via call outs
As soon as you read a call out for dancers on a Facebook status or anywhere else, reply directly with a personal message or email. Keep your application short, sweet and include all the relevant things based off the criteria in the call out. Do not ramble or suck up. Just be professional and personable (i.e. rock that amazing tone of voice you’ve developed).
Just remember; make it easy for a casting agent. The more they have to click around to find you and examples of your dancing, the faster they will give up and move on to the next name on their list.
Do your research, then approach people!
Why wait? Approach others first! If you’re considering approaching a choreographer/organisation, then do your research and tailor your communication to them.
Don’t just tell them you’re keen to work for them. It’s vague, lazy and kind of rude. Instead, look at the kinds of values that this company or person keeps bringing up in their ‘about me’ section or bios and think of how your own skill set could fit in. If you put yourself in their shoes, it would be so exciting to read an email from someone who lists all the same values and offers to contribute to what they do in a meaningful way.
The moral of the story here is this: if you’re just blanket applying everywhere because you need money, you’re going to get blanket rejected.
I don’t know what Beyonce’s mission statement is but I’d say a safe bet is to become the most iconic and game-changing pop artist of all time.
I’m not even a huge B fan but I can’t deny how genius her marketing strategy is and, most of all, how consistent she is. Since her early years Beyonce has gone on to drop visual albums, created a dual persona/double album, created ground breaking live shows, dropped a Netflix special and revamped her messaging from poppy girly tunes to scathing and riotous black power anthems.
You may think ‘but that’s not consistent! She keeps changing the game!’ Yes, she keeps changing the game but she consistently does it in a mic drop way. Every time Beyonce releases something, she surprises us, and the world has a melt down about it. Every thing Beyonce does consistently aligns with her mission to be further elevated to that immortal iconic status.
So what are you consistently doing?
Did you release a concept video once, then upload a class video 2 months later and then sit back in disappointment? Unfortunately, no one remembers sporadic bursts of work (especially if you’re not famous). People remember what they see consistently.
So conversely, are you making your mark across all your touch points consistently? Do you turn up to classes regularly, touch base with people in your industry, go to relevant events and music concerts, train in your spare time at home, create and drop work on a regular basis in a way that defines your tone, approach community leaders to be your mentors, go to support your peers’ shows and consistently treat all the people you encountered in a way that reflects your true self?
Think about it.
Once more for the people at the back: BE AUTHENTIC
Ok what does authentic mean if it doesn’t mean you need to post about it every time you cry? It means that you represent yourself in a truthful way consistently. Now, if you clock my tonality across this blog and meet me in real life you’ll get more or less the same Vanessa. I love street dance in real life. I go to street dance training regularly in real life, I’m sarcastic in real life and I ramble this much in real life.
If you’re a sassy muther, just be a sassy muther all the time, including online. If you’re thoughtful and sweet, just do you boo.
Authenticity is not about your pseudo deep Tumblr quotes. Being authentic is just being the same person across the board.
Glad we’re clear.
Alright, it’s one thing to get to the bottom of this article, maybe you even took notes. But none of this matters unless you take action. What are you going to do about it? Tell us in the comments section below, we read each and every single one of them.
I’m so excited for you.
Groove Therapy is an organisation that focuses on dance as a vehicle for mental, physical and social change. Through an unrelenting obsession to learn, unlearn and contribute to the betterment of humanity, Groove Therapy teaches beginner weekly ‘no mirror, dim lights’ classes across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. For those who cannot geographically attend, Groove Therapy has a series of online courses. Get out of your head and into your body. Dance a little baby.
Header image: Eazy-E by Ricky Powell