Following up on a comment that I posted below this Filmmaker Magazine article, I want to stress that content is going to be the meat of building and maintaining an audience for your work. Do not open up the social channels for your film until you have worked out what you are going to put on them and how frequently. This doesn’t mean start your social efforts a month before your release though. The planning and collecting should have started in pre production and during the production stage. This continuing misunderstanding concerns me, especially when it comes from entities who are supposed to know how to market films.
As part of a filmmaker toolkit that is available on The Film Collaborative site, I included a social media best practices paper that outlines ideas for using the major social channels. Also included in this paper is WHAT you should be doing in the different phases. Here is an excerpt from that paper:
What Do You Want To Accomplish?
Most people start their social media strategy session by asking “Which is better Facebook or Twitter?” Those sites are only tools used to communicate with an audience just like email or media coverage or advertising. They are each different in their own ways, attract slightly different audiences and different forms of communication (i.e. owned, earned and paid media). In fact, social channels are not owned by you, so you should never build a sustainable audience ONLY using those tools.
The first step in establishing a social media strategy is defining specific objectives to achieve. These goals will change over time depending on where you are in the production stage of your film. Your goals during pre production will be much different than when you are in active distribution. The second step is planning out what you will be releasing and how often.
Social media strategy is really content strategy and execution
As I will assume that one of the reasons you are choosing to use social media tools is their affordability, you must commit to 3 things to find success in this space: good content, a fixed rhythm, and a lot of patience. You must be prepared to either curate or create a multitude of items that will get people talking, sharing and visiting again and again. You will need to do this on a regular basis and you will need to be committed to this for the long term.
Social media sites run on a steady stream of content, they are not best used to “promote” or push a one way message. If you are only going to devote yourself to one way promotion, put a sizable budget into advertising (paid media). It works on a quick time line and no one expects a conversation from an ad.
In addition to collecting and curating material from the web that you didn’t create which is of interest to your core audience, you will also need to create material of your own for others to share. These may consist of photos, video clips, infographics, audio interviews, games, graphic “world building” elements, illustrations or animations, digital photobooks, wallpapers, ring tones, music tracks, blog post ideas, ideas for polls and contests. Obviously, these will be created in tandem with the production and someone on the team will need to be responsible for creating and disseminating it. With that kind of workload, a production can’t leave it late and will need a marketing budget (besides the salary of the person overseeing it) to execute these elements.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/intersectionconsulting/3965527421/”>Intersection Consulting</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>
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