Everyone knows a good marketing campaign needs a social media component, but are you really using it to its maximum potential? Two weeks ago, Sheri Candler taught us how to ramp up the impact of your film and your brand on Facebook and YouTube. Today she follows up with the other biggies, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Read the first part of Sheri’s Guide to Social Media Movie Promotion here.
3) Twitter (250 million unique visits per month)
Setting up an account. When getting started with Twitter, choose your account name with care. It should reflect who you are, your “brand voice,” and attract people to follow you. Ideally, you should use your own name and your profile photo. Background images should visually represent who you are or what your project is. Do not pick something cute and nonsensical! As opposed to Facebook, you are able to change your Twitter name and all details about your account with ease on your own, so if you have made the mistake of choosing a Twitter name that doesn’t give good representation of who you are or what you are about, you can change it. All account names will be run through a checker to make sure they are unique so you may have to try a few different names if yours is somewhat common.
Show your face or some visual representation of your company, in the profile image. People like to see the person behind the tweets. Don’t leave this as the standard Twitter egg photo because usually that indicates a spam account or someone not active on the platform.
What do you do with it? Use it to post short (less than 140 character) messages that are funny, informative, or reflect your outlook on life. If you actively want to gain more followers, your bio is one of the most important areas of your Twitter account to keep well organized and thoughtfully presented. You can brand the page with whatever graphic you like, but much of the image will be completely obscured by the Twitter feeds on your page, thus making it difficult to view. Only the upper left section of the image will be seen completely by all users regardless of their monitoring device (desktop, laptop, mobile) so make sure your important items like logo, key art, website or other social URLs are included in that section.
Not only will you be connecting with the audience of your work, you will also find Twitter a great industry networking tool (for jobs!) and a place to connect with journalists (for media coverage). Make sure that your Twitter handle is posted on all of your communication including email signature and newsletters, website, other social channels, business cards and any “About You” section where your name is included. The easier you make it to find your Twitter handle, the more followers you will gain. If you watch a film by someone you admire or read industry news on someone you want to get to know, tweet at (@) their handle and send them a short note of congratulations. Be careful though, people can see through the obviously obsequious. Take part in Twitter hashtag (#) discussions. On Sunday night, there is a weekly Tweetchat for scriptwriters (#scriptchat). On Wednesdays, a weekly Tweetchat for post production people (#postchat). Almost every film related live event has a hashtag associated (#sheffdocfest, #sundance, #ifpweek, #LAFilmFest etc) and by participating in these online discussions, even if you can’t attend, you will interact with people on Twitter with similar interests and it helps build up a following. You can also do this for events or discussions related to your target audience as many people follow hashtag discussion for all kinds of topics.
Cinematographer Philip Bloom tweets several times a day sharing camera equipment reviews, tips, and photos and videos from his work related travels.
Director Ava Duvernay not only shares information on her work and the work of other filmmakers, she actively replies to those who ask her questions or send her encouragement.
4) Pinterest (85 million unique visits per month)
Setting up an account Pinterest is a relatively new social channel and has its own language (Pins, repins, boards etc) that you will need to learn. The site recently rolled out a Pinterest for Business account option in order to keep personal profiles separated from the ones being built for professional endeavors. If you had a personal account in the past, you now have the ability to convert it for business use (warning: once you convert, you can’t go back to having it as a personal account). To set up a new account, go to the Pinterest for Business page, select the type of account (Choose Professional if you are setting the account up for all of your professional endeavors or Media if it is meant for your film. This may be changed at any time by adjusting it on the Settings page), the name and email of the person managing the account and choose a password. Right now, it is only possible to have one admin on a business account at a time. Enter in the business name, the Pinterest username that will determine the account’s unique Pinterest URL, upload a logo or profile photo, description and the URL of your main website. You will want to verify your website in order to benefit from increased traffic from your Pinterest account to your main website. In the Settings page, you will see a box marked Verify Website next to the website URL you have already entered. Follow instructions on verification.
What do you do with it? Use it to post photos and videos found or created online. Pinterest is runs on well made and captivating images. People who use this social channel are looking for visual masterpieces or images that speak to their lives and emotions. Filmmakers can showcase both who they are as artists and what their projects are by “pinning” images on “boards.” A pin is a form of bookmark. Either the image is your own upload and includes a website address it should link back to (as attribution, but also to drive traffic to a website), or the image comes from someone else’s collection or website. It is possible to add text descriptions of the image, a quote or piece of dialog from the script or why the image is significant to you. Each pin should include a website address as attribution. A board is a virtual way of organizing pins thematically and there is a place to add a short text description of what the board represents.
Filmmakers may use Pinterest to tell a visual story about how they became the artists they are; influences, professional tools, and the tastes, style and personality behind the work. For individual projects, Pinterest can be used to tell a backstory on characters (individual boards set up to further explain a character), information on the setting of the story, and mood boards that give the audience a sense of what the film is, apart from just a trailer or poster. Pinterest also allows for private boards that may be shared among a group of people for collaboration on storyboarding, production design, costume design, and location scouting.
Other users on Pinterest may like your pin and repin it to their own boards (thus propagating the free and highly sought after word of mouth marketing about your work). They also may comment on the pin, leading to the two way conversations that set social media apart from mere advertising.
Cross platform project Beat Girl is a well known example of a project using Pinterest as a form of graphic novel to accompany their webseries/book/film about a teen girl who falls in love with DJing while adjusting to a new life after the death of her mother. The project’s boards are meant to tell the story from the main character’s point of view.
Producer Ted Hope uses Pinterest to share his inspirations, past projects, movies he recommends, interesting movie poster art in an effort to show, in visuals, what makes him tick professionally.
5) Instagram (50 million unique visits per month)
Setting up an account Instagram is an application accessible mainly on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This means that you will be using a device to upload content, not a computer. It enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on the Instagram site as well as a variety of other social networking services. To get started, you need to download the Instagram app in the App Store on an iOS device (iPhone, iPod, iPad), or in Google Play for an Android device. Open the app and click Register to set up your account. The user name you choose will be visible to other Instagram users as well as search engines so pick something that reflects how you want to be known professionally (your name is best) or your company name. You will have the option of inviting your Facebook connections and the contacts listed in your device phone book to follow your new Instagram account. You also may skip this step. Continue filling in your account details like First and Last name, a short bio description, website URL and a profile picture.
What do you do with it? Use it to post photos and videos taken with a mobile device as your visual representation of every day life rather than a place to post high quality images. Instagram is being used to post on-the-fly photos and short videos taken on the set and making 15 second short trailers and character teaser clips specifically for mobile viewing. Feedback is instantaneous so you will know very quickly if your project is capturing attention and gaining followers. The app is like a cross between Twitter and Pinterest in that content must be brief (there is no character limit on text but a 15 second limit on videos) and eye catching, but the newsfeed streams very fast so visual content must be posted consistently in order to build a following. Hashtags (#) dominate on Instagram as a way to organize posts around a certain topic, campaign, meme or interest. If you are looking for a social channel to capture attention and connect with the younger generation, Instagram is the one.
Like Pinterest, you may use the app to showcase photos of your daily inspirations, behind the scenes of your work, places you travel to, or other artists with whom you are working. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to make your photos memorable. The built in filters can take an ordinary smartphone photo and add color, depth, and atmosphere to make it a work of art. Before posting your photo, you can scroll through a menu of filter choices, apply and see how it looks.
You will also want to follow accounts that are already connected to the audience you are hoping to capture. Posts by those accounts show up in your Newsfeed (just like on every social channel) enabling you to see what conversations are happening that you might contribute to in comments or to repost those photos to your own account by using a third party app like Statigram or InstaRepost. The share will attribute the photo or video to the account of the person who originally posted it.
Stacy Peralta’s skater documentary Bones Brigade used Instagram to connect with the skater population online. They ran a campaign asking for fellow account holders to upload their own photos using the hashtag #bonesbrigade and once that hashtag received over 2,000 uploads, users received a password to unlock a web site where all the photos were featured as well as a host of other free content. Ultimately many of the #bonesbrigade photos were used on the DVD artwork and the gallery is still active with new photos being uploaded even a year after the film’s release.
Casey Neistat, film producer/commercial director/Youtube storyteller, uses Instagram to share the story of his life in a couple of photos a day. With over 50,000 followers, people seem to be fascinated with what he shares.
Social media channels permeate the lives of most people under the age of 35, not just in the U.S., but globally. There is no longer a debate on the value they bring to making an audience aware of work. In order to use them for your projects, it is best to use them on a daily basis for your professional life. It isn’t necessary to have an account on every channel: Choose one or two that you can consistently update with material you like to create, find interesting accounts to follow that add inspiration and value to your life and prepare to wade into a dialogue with followers.
Don’t forget to connect with MovieMaker on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram– our personal favorite social media platforms. Our Instagram feed is particularly cool (#humblebrag) because we lend our account out to independent productions every week to give our 10,000+ followers a first-hand take on moviemaking! (To showcase your film, email [email protected].) We also have a YouTube account and a Pinterest, but we’ll be the first to admit we could be better users of those sites! (Any suggestions?) MM
Missed Part One of this Guide? ‘s right here.
Follow Sheri on Twitter @shericandler, Facebook/Sheri Candler Marketing and Publicity, and on her G+ community dedicated to independent film marketing and distribution.
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