When an audience doesn’t talk about your work

September 3, 2014
posted by sheric

At the heart of word of mouth marketing is the audience’s willingness, even excitement, to share your work. The problem with relying on that as your main marketing (or sole marketing) tool is your work really has to be remarkable, as in worth remarking on. Or you have to create or curate a bunch of online content that will make them want to share it. The problem with the lionshare of indie films is they just aren’t that remarkable and word of mouth will never work as the sole marketing tool for those films.

Doing “grassroots outreach” with a trailer that is sub par is not going to work.

Putting behind the scenes video clips that aren’t funny or don’t feature notable actors or crew that have a following willing to share it is not going to work.

Getting an aggregator to put your film on every well trafficked digital platform and expect that it will sell itself is not going to work.

Making every post on social media only about your film is not going to work. Word of mouth does not mean only you talking about yourself. If no one else is amplifying for your film, especially if it has been seen at a festival or it has made a few sales on digital platforms, there’s a problem with the film that no marketing is going to fix. Either commit to fixing the film or move on to another project.

But let’s say that your film isn’t yet available, though you have been populating social channels regularly with, ideally, content that your audience should find valuable to their lives (it is informative, entertaining, thought provoking, evokes emotion etc) and they still don’t respond….this video explains why populating your own social media channels cannot be your only tool for marketing. Maybe your audience is made up of social media lurkers. People who listen, but do not respond or share. Lurkers make up the vast majority of the internet. Just because they don’t share doesn’t mean they aren’t being influenced by what you and others share. And sometimes those influences come from many places that aren’t social media, like traditional publicity, advertising, festivals and events, and search engines. If links to your work show up in many places online (not just the ones you put there), it helps in your search ranking and it helps reinforce that your work is something to pay attention to. It is all of these tools working together that provide a tipping point to sales.

If you think social media will do the job all by itself, you probably need to give more thought to your marketing strategy.

Here’s more about how to set up a cycle of influence that could lead to better WOM and sales.

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