Social media engagement. We all want that for our projects right? Right now, my social media sucks. I want to be known as a filmmaker that is great at growing, interacting and engaging with an audience through the mediums of social media. I love social media, it has levelled the playing field when it comes to filmmaking immensely, but it takes effort, it takes time, it takes continuous, concerted effort. Which is exactly why my social media has sucked recently!
It’s such an easy channel for people to learn about a project that you are involved with, a challenge on your mind, or just a heads up on what has tickled your fancy online or in life in general. It really is the ultimate distribution and marketing equaliser, so every filmmaker and everyone in the filmmaking field should have a social media presence in my opinion. You should also invest in the time to create a content schedule, a roadmap of the type of posts you want to make in the lead up to the release of your film. More on that later as I create mine for The Cure.
Ok, so these are five quick tips for better engagement on social media for your film. They are, more than anything, suggestions. There are literally hundreds of ideas that you could implement, and each production is different, but these are some ideas based off of wanting to maintain engagement with the small audience that I’ve grown so far for The Cure Short Film. Some I’ve done, some I will do. Also, the best kind of social media strategy is one that promotes interaction, not just ‘dictating to’ your audience. So here we go:
Screen Grab/Production Still
These are often reserved for an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for publicity purposes, but essentially these are high quality freeze frames from your film, or high res pics taken by a set photographer which show your actors in character and within their ‘world’. These are great ways to give insight into your film, they show what the audience can expect in the finished version, and also act as showing how far you are in your production.
The Quick Update
This sounds simple, but it had probably been a month since I’ve updated The Cure’s facebook page. This is a massive fail, and the awesome peeps who already like the page can quickly become disengaged if there is no communication. It doesn’t have to be hard, a quick post to say ‘hey, we’re still here’ is all that’s needed. Ask yourself, when was the last time you updated your existing followers, and if it’s been more than a week, get posting!
The ‘Roaming Camera’
If your marketing team consists of just one like me (myself), and you happen to be filling in other roles for the production, then those duties can often put off your social media efforts. My suggestion, is to have someone dedicated to giving BTS pics from the set during rehearsal, filming and even post-production. Failing that, you can hand a phone over to someone who might have more time to create some content than you do. In this case, Jack Kelly, our awesome actor playing zombie expert Blair, had my phone for a prop and took the opportunity to take some funny pics during filming. Social media gold.
Social Media is best used as a two way radio, not one way broadcast. You’re making your film to be seen by an audience, so why not involve that audience in a particular decision or direction that your film can take? You don’t have to give up your creative control, but people love to give input, especially if they can see that result on screen! In Pre-Production for The Cure, I made a vlog and asked if people liked fast zombies or slow zombies. I wanted input and advice as I hadn’t made up my mind yet. It actually helped me choose the super fast infected person over bumbling undead zombie, and the film is better for it!
The Insight Post
Lastly, this suggestion might take a bit more effort than others, but blogging, just like this one, gives insight into someones thoughts and experiences. I as a human LOVE this! Other humans LOVE this! If you can give your audience insight into a particular aspect of production, perhaps you’ve had to create a unique camera rig to get the shot you’re after, or maybe you’ve completely transformed an empty warehouse into a busy street circa the Victorian era. If you provide a look at how you did it, you give your viewer/reader even more reason to join you along the journey of your project. Sharing this on your social media goes without saying, and isn’t social media specific per se, but offers readers a longer form of content to enjoy versus the short sharp updates of social.
I’ve also asked members of The Cure production team to write some blog posts, from their own perspective, to include on the film’s website. Not only is it a great delegation tool, but it means that I can get more people viewing the website, that might mean more people I can get subscribed to my e-mail database, and that might mean more people I can market to, and so on and so on.
Ultimately, you don’t need to worry about how earth shatteringly engaging your posts are, you just need to get posting. Take a leaf out of my book of mistakes, and make sure that you are updating your audience as you progress, so that when it comes time to releasing your film to them, you maximise just how many people can watch and enjoy it. – Nick