Keeping up with your crazy cousins, reconnecting with your high-school crush, maybe even documenting your every meal—you use social media in your everyday life. Yet developing platforms for your film is a different story.
If your budget is small, social media should represent a healthy percentage of your film promotion efforts. Platforms are still free (snazzy websites are not), and if you play your cards right, you will expand your reach beyond friends and family, connecting with the right affinity groups and dedicated film fans.
Have you begun work on your film? Do you have a title? Now is the time to start building a community that will someday turn into an audience.
First, let’s run through the major platforms. Be realistic about your potential audience demographic, and then follow your nose. Fish where the fish are. Facebook and YouTube are musts; Twitter and Instagram are the next tier.
Facebook is the behemoth, encompassing the general public and fans of all ages. This is the place to build a lasting community around your film, one that will evolve while the film makes its way through the distribution windows and beyond.
Set-Up: To create a fan page for your film, you must already be on Facebook as yourself—no way around it. Add colleagues as “admins” on your film’s page, though make sure you trust them to represent the film. You can schedule some posts ahead of time directly into Facebook—click the “Publish” dropdown menu and select “Schedule.”
What: Upload photos and share videos. Promote festival premieres, theatrical screenings and VOD releases. Give peeks behind the scenes from your production process. Share links about the cast, crew, and relevant issues in the film. Connect with potential fans by asking questions and responding to their comments. Shares > comments > likes.
Note: A @handle is a specific person’s account. With it, you are talking about or to a specific entity. Meanwhile, a #hashtag is a topic: #Oscars. By using a #hashtag, you automatically join in the conversation; anyone can see your post if they are following the #hashtag, even if they don’t follow you.
When: If you are still in production, you don’t need to post more than a few times per week, and only if you have good content to share. As your premiere nears, post once a day, and even more frequently if you have lots of good content. As a rule of thumb, never post more than three times a day.
Time Commitment: A strategic user could schedule posts for the week over the course of one morning. Leave room for posts that arise during the week, though.
Good Examples: Iris(/irisfilm) and Under the Skin(/UnderTheSkinMovie) make the most of beautiful memes that are provocative, fun and reflective of the films. Everything these film pages post has style.
Sure, you’re dazzled by Vimeo’s shiny optics, but YouTube is the second-largest search engine out there, and it’s fully integrated into Google—which, crucially, means your page will come up higher as a search result. Though your video output may not be daily (or even weekly), create a YouTube channel, using the film title or your production company name, where the video progression of your film—teaser, interview snippets, clips, trailer—can live and grow.
Set-Up: First, create a Gmail account for your film or production company. [Movietitle]@gmail.com works, and you can always set it up to forward to your regular email. Use that to log into YouTube and create your channel.
What: Add playlists for your behind-the-scenes clips, teaser trailers, etc. You can also create a playlist of videos from other users that already exist on YouTube and are relevant to your film.
When: Space new videos out over time, and then share those videos out on your other platforms.
Time Commitment: If you have a bunch of clips to post, you can upload them all at once, but set them as “private,” “releasing” one per week, or at whatever interval you’ve decided upon.
Good Examples: Aggregating all the films they release over time, IFC Films (/IFCFilmsTube) makes great use of playlists and metadata. Making Of (/MakingOf) is a master of taking film fans behind the scenes. Though these are large entities, they exemplify best practices on YouTube…