The film marketing tips below are condensed from the workshop with Facebook and the Danish Film Institute about using social media for film marketing. There were representatives from all three sides: film distributors, film producers, and the media agencies – plus those immersed in social media itself – Crisp, Fan Page Trender (campaign performance tracking), and Facebook themselves.
Here are the key points:
- Set up the fan page early : “Early” varied between 1 month and 12 months. 12 months is great if the producer sets up the page, enabling the community to engage with the film as it’s being made. At the other end of the scale, when the film is already completed then a single month was the time required to find evangelists for the new film and activate them on its behalf.
- Recognise the Audience’s Life Cycle: The constituency of the audience will change throughout this period, so the planned communication needs to take this into account.
- Engagement Calendar: Plan your communication around three major phases; production, release (being the month prior to the release day) and post release.
- Engage with the film star’s fan base: Look to engage with the fans 6 to 12 months ahead of the release date. The producers of major films spend a lot of money on populating the cast with stars, some of whom have Facebook fan bases counted in the 100s of thousands or millions. Why wouldn’t you want to reach out to this audience? Remember to negotiate this into the contract with the star.
- Segment and target! Split your target audience and address each appropriately. A trip to see a family film needs the interest of both the parents and the children. Balance your marketing message to activate both of these broad segments. They will be reached in different places and respond to different messages.
- Build Engagement: Quizzes are a great way of engaging with fans. A well designed and witty quiz can deliver a wealth of earned media. You may need to try different quizzes for different segments, or for different phases in the launch cycle.
- Use Extras Material: Trailers are common place, they can be found on YouTube and are often not within your control. Instead, focus on using outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage to attract new fans.
- Boost Buzz just before release: Consider delivering early showings of films followed by streamed debates (as DOXBiO does and Sony did with “Anonymous”).
- Showtimes: If you have done your job well then you will have built awareness and interest, so make it as easy as possible for people to act by supplying theater, showtime & ticket purchase information.
- Track engagements: Facebook is the world’s biggest focus group, so use that feedback to identify which parts of your marketing mix are gaining the most traction. Monitoring Facebook will enable you to recover from tactical mistakes before the box office opens.
- Engage in the Dialogue: Respond to comments from your audience immediately – have someone in place to monitor and react to the conversation.
- Earned Media: A good fan page will acquire fans well ahead of the film’s release date, so use that fan base to spread the news of the film. They will be your best resource to identify who in their own network will like a new film, and when they introduce someone to the film there is already an implied recommendation.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to prioritise these ideas, so please feel free to pick out which three you believe would deliver the most value and write them into the comments below.
Written by James Hobbis of Gruvi
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