"The big thing that's changed is quality of life!"
Bonnie Swencionis is one of the most beautiful women in the world—inside and out.
She was one of the two scholarship winners to the 2014 Social Artist Training, as well as one of the top students. Take a look at her takeaways, advice to artists and online channels below.
What made you decide to enroll in the Social Artist Training?
Social media had always felt like an awkward fit for me. I couldn't tell whether it was for business, or personal life, or both, and what the rules of engagement were. It also felt like an extra thing to do, which was really off-putting for me. I had no concept of what it really had to do with my work, except that having followers was generally viewed to be a good thing by other people. When Tony started explaining how social media can be a resource if you learn to tap into it, I knew I wanted access to that resource.
How was the process/experience?
It was wonderful. Tony held "Facebook office hours" every week, answering questions about our personal websites and presence on each social media network—it's mind-boggling the amount of attention we all got. And because we were in it together on the Facebook group, I made some friends, too. The homework was painless—about an hour a week in the beginning, and half an hour a week towards the end—but it all added up to something much bigger.
What is the #1 thing you learned from the S.A.T.?
The most important thing I learned from the S.A.T. is what social media has to do with our lives and careers as performers. Once that clicked for me, everything else came together logically and intuitively in a way that allows me to make my own choices without fear or worry. The second most important thing I learned was how to use Facebook like a professional. Then, Instagram. Then, learning how to write bios optimized for each social network (including my own website.) Then... I could go on all day.
What has changed in your life post-S.A.T.?
My online anxieties have evaporated: about my website; what, when, and where to post; how to use each network efficiently for business purposes; and what social media really has to do with creative work. So, the big thing that's changed is quality of life. Now, I feel confident that I know what my job is with regard to social media, and knowing that has empowered me to do my job. It's a lot easier to relax and have a good time when I know I've done my job!
What responses have you received—or what results have you achieved?
The most gratifying result I've had: drastically improved quality of relationships with colleagues, reps, casting directors, and industry acquaintances. When someone asks me how to get in touch, where they can learn more about me, or to see some of my work, I now know exactly where to send them. Having an attractive new online presence has been great for my confidence, and my relationship with my reps and buyers. I know if someone comes to me from an online first impression, that they've seen a representation of me that feels authentic and professional. And I'm never worried about who'll stumble across which profile; I know I have all my ducks in a row.
Of course, before I took the course, what I'd have wanted to hear is this: through following Tony's advice, my followers and engagement on every network went up. And that's true, and I'm happy about it. But in taking the S.A.T., I've learned that that's only as valuable as you make it. More than followers, the real result here is my ability to forge relationships with those followers in a way that enriches my life.
What are you currently working on or towards?
I love to tell stories about people who risk themselves for what's important to them. I just finished shooting an independent feature film on that topic in New York, called "Women And Sometimes Men." (You can follow them on Twitter @WASMFilm or Facebook to get updated about opportunities to see it). At the moment, I'm spending pilot season in LA, as well as writing a suite of 3 short films called "Faith," "Strength," and "Clarity."
What's your advice for aspiring artists?
Cultivate your resources, and I don't just mean colleagues. Your artistic impulses and a happy life require nurturing, and they'll pay you back if you take care of them.
Where can we find you online?
To see my work and learn more about me, visit my website at www.BonnieSwencionis.com.
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.