No longer content with waiting for distributors to phone them, indie filmmakers are leveraging the power of social media strategies to push their films to international audiences and build sustainable communities around their work. Log on to Facebook, Vimeo, Twitter, or any other social networking site and one will find thousands of filmmakers forging their own career paths. While the competition may be fierce, here are some top strategies for creating a sustainable social media presence.
By far the best way to market your film is social networking and it’s absolutely free. Facebook has proven to be a very viable marketing tool with over 350 million users. Start with creating a “fan page” for your film. The fan page is different from your personal account and helps keep all discussions/buzz in one place. Your fan page should include your film’s trailer, description, related events, links to your website, and release date. Once you have the basics, you need to publicize it by releasing teasers, interviews, contests, and conducting events. I have found that utilizing contests can dramatically increase your fan base, which helps increase your awareness. Remember to tag any of your cast in teasers or other promotional materials as it shows up in all of their networks. This can be powerful if the user has thousands of friends. Once you create your fan page on Facebook, link your updates to a Twitter account. Having the accounts linked keeps the content automated and easy to manage. Twitter is great for spreading the word about contests, events, and news about your film, while building a list of followers. If you decide to follow users, make sure they are relevant and can help build your film. Try to put the majority of your marketing time and energy into social networking and think about how to drive that traffic back to your website.
Even if you have a website for you film, blogs are a great place to gather a community around your work and projects. In order to make your blog effective, you will need to post at least two-three times per week. Providing insight into your shoots and posting production logs when working on your film will draw the eyes of not only your audience, but other filmmakers who may provide you with essential connections for your next project. Be sure to add images and video clips to really make your presence and personality come to life. Personality helps to keep you from drowning in a sea of other blogs, so use it! Blogs can also be hubs of your social media activity, so be sure to link your accounts to it and keep things manageable. While other forms of social media can die out, blogs can definitely help you invest in your audience for other projects. So even after your film is a success, start creating buzz about your next project and watch the already established fan base grow.
The effects of video sharing are largely the same as social networking sites. You have the opportunity to build large amounts of traffic, get your film viewed, and develop an audience for your film. With free websites like TubeMogul, it is much easier to distribute a trailer to the masses quickly and be able to track the results. Tubemogul distributes my films to over twelve websites and the results are perfect. All tagging and description information carries over to all video sharing sites, which makes it an efficient tool for the time-crunched filmmaker. Interacting with your comments is also a great way to connect to your audience. While automation is great, make every attempt to thank people for their comments and constantly sell the next promotion/teaser will be worth its weight in gold. Never let them lose interest in your work. Once your film is distributed, reports can be generated from most video sharing websites that relate to age, gender, and location, which is important to helping you find the appropriate audience. Youtube even offers an audience participation meter that picks out drop-off points in your film. If this analytical data is used properly, you can focus better on your audience and build a relevant community.
One of the most overlooked strategies of social media is participation. The only way to build your personality and connect with your audience and fellow filmmakers is to leave comments on other people’s content. This is the starting point for driving people to you and it works if what you say is genuine. Social networking is all about trust. You want others in the community to trust that you are not just trying to “sell” them something. If you offer valuable content and feedback, then your audience may want to buy from you or at least spread the word.~JG
Josh Gooden offers professional HD corporate and wedding cinematography, as well as, photography services in Virginia. You may find his work at http://www.JoshGooden.com or read his blog at http://www.Joshgooden.com/blog