In strategy, you first have to determine what is the goal. Is it to build up a solid base of supporters? Is it to activate them to do something (buy a DVD, go to a screening, donate to a crowdfunding effort, tell others about your film)? Usually that is a goal. But if you begin with a campaign where you launch into selling and goading without first building up the base, you will never accomplish that goal. To build up, you have to allow time to do that.

A social networking strategy will take many months to a year to implement and it will be an ongoing effort. First, you will determine whom you are trying to attract into your community and what you have to offer them of interest. Then, you will start to put those assets out there. You will build your engagement pages and populate them with interesting and valuable content. You will not be asking them for ANYTHING. Ideally, you will not need to ask them at all because when you become a valuable resource, they will want to help you in any way they can. You may call on your group for help in achieving a goal every so often and if they can truly see how helping you will help the community in general, they will be happy to do it. You should never do anything that will make them feel that you have formed the community in order to use it for your own purposes. Companies and filmmakers who do this stand to ruin the very thing they have spent so much time developing, a genuine and authentic community that is very loyal and connected to you. That kind of loyalty is extremely difficult to accomplish with advertising and it is really the ultimate goal of all brands.

Too often, filmmakers and companies wait to start considering social networking until they need to achieve set goals and they need them now (usually when selling something). The problem with that is they don’t have a base of support in place from which they can achieve anything. In order to use the tools of social networking effectively, you really must commit the time to grow your base, feed and cultivate it. If you cannot commit to that, social networking tools will not work for you and you should turn to more short term tools like mass advertising.

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