smallFilm Marketing Via Social Networking

In today’s world of social networking, it is important to set up social networking sites to promote your film. Search engines and social networks are the most common way people will get information about your film; most referrals are generated from friends spreading the word.

At a bare minimum, you should create Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts to promote your film on their pages. There are other sites to consider, such as photo and video sites like MySpace, which, although mostly for the music industry, is one of the most popular websites with the most traffic. While on these sites, you can join groups with similar interests and invite them to become friends with you. On the release of our film, we had 4,500 friends on MySpace alone.

Having a MySpace or Facebook account is not all you should do since you do not have direct access to your emails or the emails of your friends. Therefore, on social networking sites, you should try to include an incentive for them to go to your website or join your emailing list to buy the DVD of the film.

Tips for Social Networking

  • Personalize your page. Facebook gives you limited personalization choices, while MySpace and YouTube provide better options, especially for filmmakers’ purposes.
  • Communicate with your fans using group email or bulletin features.
  • Answer any fans’ questions or comments immediately.
  • Only focus on the sites that you can manage; don’t set up networks that will lay dormant.
  • Get your trailer out to as many sites as possible. Free publishing sites like Tubemogul launch your trailer out to all appropriate people, and then provide you with analytics on what kinds of views you received.
  • Use YouTube to embed your trailer. When people watch the trailer, their views are recorded on YouTube.
  • Connect all of your sites and networks to each other.

Getting the Most Out of Facebook

Although there is some dispute as to which is preferable, I suggest you set up a personal page and a separate page for all of your films; this gives you multiple ways to have your film display in the search results. With group functions, you can invite your friends to become members and send them information related to the group. This is a quick and easy way to get information to a lot of people. Also, with this function, you can set up a discussion board and share pictures via the board. You can turn your privacy settings off so anyone can see your group and become a member with just one click. Standard settings require you to accept members, so ensuring you disable this feature allows anyone to join and start exploring your sites.

With the page function, you have fans rather than members, and the graphics on your page displays as pictures rather than just a title, so the page is more attention-grabbing. Pages act as completely different sites on which you can post film release dates, information about the crews and casts, and any awards that you may have earned. However, the most important feature is the ability to link to your website at the top of the pages.

Facebook has a clear layout that you cannot change, so you are required to write out everything in the boxes of your profile. You can include information about your favorite films and music; Facebook organizes members by their interests, so you should create as many options in these boxes as possible to create contacts with others who have similar interests.

Facebook also allows users to control who can see and contact them through privacy settings on their page. The standard setting only allows your friends to see your page. To allow anyone who is interested in your page to contact you, you need to change the standard setting to allow all people to see your page. You can still keep certain functions only available to your friends and family if you want, but you should allow everyone access to your general profile to make it easier for them to reach out to you.

When you log into Facebook, you have the option to update your profile. Every time you do this, your activity displays on your friends’ pages. Do not overuse this option, as you don’t want to annoy others with constant updates, but be conscious that every time you update your profile or comment on something interesting, your friends can see it and pass it along.

Groups are a good way to meet other people who are not on the other networking sites you use. The more groups you are a member of, the more opportunities you have to promote your group or page. Again, be cautious of overusing this option so as not to annoy your followers.

Download your YouTube trailer and post it on your profile page of your social networking sites; especially Facebook. This is a strategy that all filmmakers should use. You can find the application with a simple search on the Facebook search engine, and then add the trailer add it to your page. You can  upload trailers and films directly to your page this way, and then play it right on your page rather than opening them in YouTube. It is then easy to promote your film by asking your friends to post the link on their Facebook pages.

It’s also a great idea to create a customized ad using Facebook.com/advertising. Facebook allows you to target specific people and groups in any of profile category, and cost is based on your budget. However, before you commit to any package deals, ensure you have a way to track the results of the ad.

Getting the Most Out of Twitter

Twitter’s entire network is based on people talking about different topics, following people with the same interests as them, and following companies in their own industries. You shouldn’t try to sell directly on Twitter, but you can use Twitter as a way to drive traffic to your other sites and go from there. If you can get your friends and colleagues to join Twitter, you may be able to use them to promote your projects, even if your friends aren’t investing themselves.

The following are some basic things to keep in mind to get the most out of Twitter.

  • Reply to tweets that mention you; it makes you personable and followers are more likely to mention you again.
  • Getting to know what other people are saying about your film on Twitter can give you more knowledge in the decision-making process of the film.
  • Ask questions to try to find out if there’s anything else you can do better to get your film out there, or if there is anything you’re already doing wrong. With the diversity of peoples’ backgrounds who use Twitter, it is a great way to poll for information on certain topics.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of Twitter!

Getting the Most Out of YouTube

YouTube is an excellent way to spark interest for your film by showing trailers. You can invite people to be your friends using their email addresses or user IDs, and easily measure the number of times your video is viewed. Users can post comments on your videos, and you should do the same. Most importantly, you can post your film trailer in the comments for any other videos that relate to your film.

The following are some additional ways to get the most out of YouTube.

  • Add favorites to your profile and ask friends to favorite your video to help create more visibility for your film.
  • Create a link to your website; you can drive traffic there from YouTube to get people to buy your DVD.
  • Change the tags on your video every week with keywords that are in the news at the time.
  • Drive traffic to your video by using the share link. This allows you to send an email with a link to your video, and to tell people that they can watch the video through via their mobile phone for more convenience.

Getting the Most Out of MySpace

Set up separate MySpace accounts for you and your film so that your information appears in two searches; one where you will meet other filmmakers and one where you will meet people with different interests and opinions. Link both of these profiles to each other, and to your website. This will take more time and effort, but it is important to have a film site on MySpace to stay involved in industry discussions.

The following are some more ways to get the most out of your MySpace account.

  • Use Google’s MySpace layouts to find one that suits you.
  • The power of the Web can reach out to people in other countries; if possible, offering the film for them to order online can create a new avenue for more customers.
  • Create flash e-fliers and attach them to your bulletin posts.
  • As for all social networking sites, keep your page updated and refresh it regularly.
  • Post links to your site on your friends’ pages to drive more traffic to your site.
  • You can use MySpace to find music for your film. Some artists might even be willing to negotiate reduced rates to be a part of your soundtrack.
  • MySpace has a blog feature that keeps all your friends updated when you’ve posted something new; keep your site fresh and interesting to keep people coming back.

This is not a comprehensive list, and there are many more ideas and tips for filmmakers on the Web. However, as one of the most common uses on the Web, social networking sites are a great way to get information about your film out there.