Posts filed under ‘Social Marketing’
I’ll be speaking tonight at Projecting Change through Social Media (Club), an informational session for the Projecting Change Film Festival. Stephanie Michelle Scott (my Twitter Workshop/Twitter Parlour partner) and I are conducting sessions on Twitter – however, since we are both passionate about film and have a film backgrounds we’ll also discuss some tips/examples with regards to social media for film in general.
Here are some of my thoughts.
Promotion (is a part of your production)
- Find Your Audience Early. Figure out who your audience will be (you likely already know) and start reaching out early. Start your research ASAP and begin building your audience relationships pre-and during filming.
- Generate and Release Content. Consider what you can put out to create interest during the process. What kinds of material would flesh out your story more (text, video, pics) or give it an added dimension. Remember that your characters had a life before the film too. (In a post on this topic I wrote: “Allowing the character to live in other platforms before the film is released – and whilst the film is being made – gives the character a larger/broader life – and helps with publicity.”
- Twitter can be an additional platform for the story. Perhaps you could take pictures and create a part of the story that goes out only via this medium.
- Get the audience (and others on Twitter) involved via a Twitter chat. If the film is screening on television have people watch and live-tweet or comment (use something like Cover-it-Live)
- Are there characters who were interesting but received little screen time? Can they become more of a part of the story online?
- If there are follow-ups to the non-fictional account you provide in the film, allow the people involved to record a video about what has happened since.
- Targeting and Blogger Outreach. You are best to truly pitch bloggers when you have something to actually show them, content-wise. (As you know, everyone wants to make a film – but few actually end up completing one.) Really contemplate who would be interested in your project – don’t just target the most popular film-related blogs. Remember that your audience isn’t only composed of film fans and people who read movie-themed blogs. If you’re making a documentary about, say, dancers struggling to find work, you might reach out to others who blog about similar struggles. You’ll get more buy-in if you:
- Remember to personalize the pitch as much as possible.
- Target those who might be truly be interested – not just because their blog is of the same general genre as the film. (Meh: “you write a humorous blog and this is a comedy film”. Better: “You write about the craziness of the internet – and that’s what our film is about!”) Note: this takes a fair bit of research – but it might be worth it.
- Consider the blogger’s time. As is frequently mentioned – for most, blogging is a hobby and a labour of love. Watching a trailer might happen. Watching an entire film is less likely.
- Address what’s in it for them. Don’t be smarmy about it – but if there can be something in it for them, let them know. Often this aspect is neglected and the pitch is is basically: “Here’s how you can help us out!” – without addressing why they would want to.
This is a great way to get clips for your film – even if it’s just short clips or vignettes – providing your outreach tactics are effective. A few examples of films that have invited people to submit clips for their productions include:
- “Life in a Day“: Director Kevin MacDonald and Producer Ridley Scott invited creators from all over the world to capture their world in 24hrs on a single day (July 24, 2010) and upload to YouTube. The winning content was then edited into the final film, a Sundance hit. (Watch trailer).
- Of course, not everyone has the clout and reputation of these mainstream directors. But independent productions can also fare well in obtaining crowd submissions. For instance, “Lost Zombies“ received thousands of submissions of “zombie encounters” – far more than anticipated. (They are now in the final submission stage. More information about the project on the Lost Zombie site, on this post and on 4D Fictions post/interview.)
- “DSB the Movie” a film which “tells the story of the Netherland’s DSB Bank NV which was declared bankrupt by court in October, 2009.” All elements of this film were crowdsourced including the film’s logo, producer, scriptwriters, soundtrack, editor, camera, actors, and publicity. (Read about it on David Meerman Scott‘s post – which includes an interview with the director.) Crowdsourcing everything is not something I would recommend doing – but it certainly worked for this production.
For a documentary film, audience-produced content can be particularly compelling since people can submit their own, personal, experiences – and particularly cost-effective since people can be filming anywhere rather than your sending crews to other locations.
Here’s where your social media savvy can really come into play. Filmmakers are now asking people to micro-fund their film – be it by simply asking for funds, offering financers credits in return for cash, or selling products to make some money.
Getting people interested in financing some aspect of your film will be (slightly) easier if you have something to show them. Which is why compiling materials and working on YouTube videos early on about your production will be doubly useful.
Keep in mind – it might take a number of years to get the money you need.
Spanner Films has written a useful guide on how to Crowdfund your film includes the following tidbit:
“If you are planning to make a campaigning film like The Age of Stupid, then you should definitely try to find a way to access the people out there who are already aware of and give a monkeys about the issue you want to highlight. If you can get some campaigners believing in your idea early on then they can be a huge help finding investors. You need to explain clearly why investing in your film is a strategic and cost-effective way to further your cause.”
A few examples of projects being crowdfunded include: “I Am I“, “My Million Dollar Movie” and “Iron Sky” which, writes Ross Dawson, has “four different mechanisms for raising money directly: a store selling merchandise such as T-shirts, a sneak peek of the first minutes of the film for which fans can pay any amount from 1 Euro, Fan Investments for qualified investors and up to 99 individuals in EU and some other countries, and ‘War Bonds‘, which are basically framed certificates.”
There are also many examples of productions (e.g. Paranoid Park, Moderation Town) which cast online (e.g. via YouTube etc.). This can be effective for certain parts, can drum up publicity and can allow you to watch more auditions than you could in a single casting session. (I don’t like the process of seeking votes for submissions – but I’m also speaking from an actor’s perspective.*).
There’s obviously lots more to say on how to leverage social media for film. Please comment below with your suggestions, examples and input.
For further reading, a few posts on the topic are bookmarked here (including some I’ve written).
I was reading the Utne Reader recently and I came across an pretty ad for Fluevog with an artist’s drawing.
The accompanying text read:
“Do you have the world’s best Fluevog Ad stuck in your head? Get it out at Fluevogcreative.com”.
I went to the url and read that this contest was offering $1,000 (in Fluevog gear) and exposure to the winning ad artists.
So…. is an ad worth only $1,000 and will the exposure really benefit the artist?
My initial reaction is “probably not”, because I have concerns when it comes to artists and contests. And because my antennae prick up when I hear the word “exposure”.
See, “exposure” is a woefully overused term. It is a huge “incentive” (really need the quotation marks there) offered in the indie film world – especially directed at actors:
“Work for free (and coffee!) on our production. Great opportunity for exposure!”
Now, granted, the Fluevog ads are being placed in decent magazines – so this is actual exposure, for what it’s worth, as opposed to imagined (many films don’t see the light of day as their filmmakers don’t fully grasp the challenges of getting their film into a festival). And the winners also get bios on the Fluevog creative site (e.g. the ad I saw featured Heather Mulligan’s art and her bio is on the site).
But is there a true value for the artist in said exposure? This is not a rhetorical question. I would be interested in an unbiased follow up to this type of contest. It is entirely possible that someone else would notice the ad and hire the artist for a project. But is it likely? How many of the ads/artists will there really be a success story for? I’d sincerely like to learn what happens.
The prize amount irks me a bit, though. An ad results in $1,000 of product for the artists – which , by the way, in Fluevog dollars equals… about 2 pairs of shoes (perhaps less)? Fluevog could reasonably pay more reasonably. (Of course, I can never wrap my head around purchasing shoes that are $400+, so my understanding of the value factor is clearly limited. Oh wait, the value is only $1,000 no matter how much you love the shoes! OK, I’ll proceed then.)
In the Fluevog case, it also strikes me that the exposure might benefit one party to a degree greater than the other. The ad showcases Fleuvog. The artist’s concept is secondary – although I commend Fluevog for actual including in the creative, in addition to the artist’s name, their url (something I’ve rarely seen). (The ad I saw provided the link to Heather Mulligan’s Deviant Art page: www.auroracle.deviantart.com )
Of course, on the plus side, the artist may not get magazine ad level exposure were it not for the contest (and, in this case, I’m assuming that the exposure might have some value, which of course, is still up for discussion). And the artist could very well re-purpose something they already created (although I haven’t checked the rules on that) and just plug in a shoe or the name Fluevog or what not, and Boom!, ad created. So it may not, in fact, involve a huge effort on their part.
And, of course, there is the fact that here I am, & Pete is, talking about it. So the “tactic” is working, in some respect. (Although, again, perhaps more for Fluevog?)
But back to the bad side: Fluevog gets the ad(s) created for far less than they would pay an agency to create, and the art for far less than a fair price: I think this serves to devalue at both industries.
Now, I understand that nobody can be exploited in these cases without their consent. The artists have to agree and do the work – and the transaction seems to be clear. That said, the lure of “exposure” is a strong one – especially for artists – who sometimes encounter difficulties in terms of getting paid to do what they love.
Your thoughts? You might also consider weighing in Pete’s post on One Degree.
*At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I should note that I work on and enter contests. Obviously for those I don’t see the imbalance as much – although there’s always the possibility cognitive dissonance could be at play.
I have also written about the topic of artists, contests and crowdsourcing on the following posts:
Recently, I was preparing a presentation on Twitter for a client*. To emphasize the benefits of using Twitter, I wanted to give them an example of a business in their industry (restaurant) which had seen results. I emailed some questions to Chuck McIntosh of Pourhouse and he was kind enough to respond. (Note: find them on Twitter at @pourhouse_van)
Q: What were/are your key objectives re: using Twitter?
Chuck: few things we focus on using Twitter:
1. To generate positive awareness and new customers for our business.
2. To constantly keep top of mind consciousness.
3. To keep in touch and communicate with customers, their needs, and moderate feedback.
Q: How do you use Twitter to drive business, communicate etc.? Do you use Twitter separately or is it part of a larger social media strategy?
Chuck: We use multiple social sites to drive business and to communicate with customers. Yes, we use both Twitter and Facebook among others, they all work together to create our social network.
Q: What benefits and results have you seen from what you’ve done?
Chuck: Consistent feedback from customers in real time, people tweet straight from the bar or their table about their experiences. Whether good or bad, we can address it immediately which has been fantastic for us. Another obvious benefit is the awareness it creates. If someone is having a positive experience and they share that, others read it and want to try Pourhouse as well. If you consistently strive to make every customers experience great, then you are getting a consistent feed of testimonials sent out from people to their friends, you can’t beat that. And if there are negative ones, you can monitor them and deal with both the customers concerns and with your staff immediately. It’s a great monitoring system.
Q: Would love some links to coverage you’ve received re: your use of social media.
Many of these articles came from the awareness that our network creates.
Q: Can you offer tips or suggestions for others in your industry in terms of what you’ve learned, discovered?
Chuck: When using Social Media, be real and authentic, be consistent, and contribute.
*On a related topic: In July, Tanya Roberts and I will be running a Twitter for Business Workshop together. If you would like to be put into our database to be notified of the date of this session – or to find out about future monthly workshops, please enter your name and email into this form.
One more thing: Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen wrote a great post “How to Find Your Blogging Voice – 8 Tips for Bloggers” which mentions some points from the “Finding Your Online Voice” talk I gave at Northern Voice.
I’ll be presenting at the Vancouver Financial Services Marketing Meetup next week – and I figure I’d address some “best practices” in my talk. Here are a few (note: I wrote this originally for an online interview).
1) Communicate with people, don’t just use the sites as a 1-way bullhorn.
2) Be honest – if you’re affiliated with a product/company don’t pretend your endorsement comes out of the blue
3) Check out what people are saying about you and your company using Google Alerts and other tools
4) If you’re on Twitter, take the time to get to know people, to help and communicate. Self-promotion should be only a very small part of what you put out there.
5) Make social media a part of your life rather than trying to fit it in (e.g. make twittering and posting a natural extension of how you communicate)
How has Social Media helped me?
I have been asked to speak at conferences because people have come across my blogs. I’m excited when they’ve read my blogs beforehand because gives them an insight into who I am. Oddly enough, I’ve had a few people say they were booking me just as much for the fact that I’m funny as for my knowledge - they wanted someone who could brings humor to the presentation.
1) Ignoring it altogether – hoping it’s a fad
2) Seeing it as advertising rather than communication
3) Revealing too much – or two little (it’s beneficial to give people an idea of the person behind the business)
They allow themselves to be 3-dimensional. They reveal some aspects of their personality and admit their mistakes. They naturally like people and genuinely want to have discourses and meet others. They give and add value to the community. I think a sense of fun and playfulness also helpful in the space.
Tips for success
1) Structure: You have to commit to whatever site or site(s) you’re networking on, commit to going there, to posting, and to communicating on a regular schedule. If you disappear for a long time people will figure you’ve left.
2) It takes time. You won’t suddenly get people throwing money at you. But if you invest your time you will eventually see the results of your efforts.
3) Think of it as networking at an event or party. You let your hair down a bit, and meet people and chat. Using the same example, parties don’t always lead to a business deal that evening, but nurturing the connections might eventually bear fruit.
4) Try to have fun with it – even though it is, in a sense, marketing. If you enjoy the communication, it will be less of a labor and more easy to incorporate into your life.
If I had to pick only 1 social network
Twitter. It’s faster and easier to communicate and generally more people see the message. Also you can incorporate other elements (link to pictures, blog posts etc.) I think you still need a blog, but you can communicate every day on Twitter, whereas you may not have the time or energy to write daily in-depth posts on your blog.
How to use
Use YouTube to showcase yourself briefly and to give others a chance to see “real life” you. Use Facebook as a general communication tool – it allows you to update your status, post videos, talk to people, organize events etc. Plus, most people are on it. Use Twitter to communicate a few times a day. Your blog is great for ideas, thoughts about your business/industry, to allow clients to keep up with you and your work and activities and for general longer-form communication than microblogs (e.g. Twitter).
What tips do you have re: best practices, that you think I should share?
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P.S. I recently did an interview with the Casual Encounters blog (primarily about my other blog)
When I first started this blog (at the end of 2007), I posted the (creatively and originally titled) post: “My Views on Social Networking“.
“On a large scale, social networking truly fulfills the role that our old (read: non-virtual) communities used to prove. This has sorely been lacking for most of us. Now we are only several connections away from others, only a few friends away from a new friend. Here we offer assistance to each other and ask for help. We are kept posted of occurrences within our social circle, to what are friends are doing or concerned about, today. Of what events they are attending. Here the town crier is Facebook, shouting out to us about the many parties we can attend, things we can do. As a “Wired” article summed-up the phenomenon that is Twitter: “That tactile sense of your community is simply too much fun, too useful” (Clive Thompson, “How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense”).
That this evolution has also tremendously affected how we communicate with each other online, even in a business context, is clear by this point. And it has changed how much of ourselves we display to others, even if we have a possible business agenda to our online presence.
In February I moderated the very cool panel discussion about who you are online (photo here ). All the women on the panel (Jenn Lowther, Rebecca Bollwitt, Linda Bustos and Nadia Nascimento) were web savvy (understatement), and, as such, had a strong awareness of the public nature of communicating online. They were very strategic about their line between public and private, establishing those boundaries and the nature of how they presented themselves. That said, what we were comfortable posting about was quite varied.
This morning, I was talking to my boyfriend about Twitter and remarked that he’s been online for a few months, he has a clearer idea of how he wishes to communicate (or, to be artistic here, he understands his online “voice”). It’s something that I have to remember to make clear in an upcoming presentation, that this understanding of “who you are online – be it on Twitter, Facebook, a Blog etc. – does not come immediately. And it takes some playing around and trial and error for most to figure out what they are comfortable with and what works for them or their business or organization.
When I first started to blog, it was on my humor blog – and actually didn’t realize that that would be the theme of my blog. In fact, the first few posts were random essays and rants. I only discovered what I would be motivated to post about (i.e. absurdities) after a month or two.
There were also other discoveries – such as after a week or two on Twitter, I realized that I wasn’t too keen on posting about what I was doing- and made the executive decision that no one would be the least bit interested. Like most, I am not exciting 24hrs a day. Sure, 5-7 times a day, I’m entertaining. And if that’s all I tweet, I’m golden. Posting more often, or potentially a log of everything I was doing, would break that illusion (e.g. 6am: “Working on the computer, as you can ascertain”, 8am: “Time to eat” 10am: “Still working on the computer, now at a coffee shop”, 6pm “Time to eat 7pm: “Back to working on computer again”).
So my succinct advice about authenticity online would be: “be real, but like, better.”
I have been lax about posting items of particular interest to artists. Mea culpa.
Here are a few enlightening articles I’ve come across:
David Spark‘s Mashable post, “12 Inspiring Stories of Successful Social Networkers“, has an amazing example of the value of twittering for your character:
“Having blown all their budget on production, “My Two Fans” had no money for advertising, so off a friend’s recommendation, Swatek decided to start Twittering as her character, Kate Maxwell (@KateMaxwell). To get some fodder for Twittering and to find her audience, Swatek began following businesses and people that could relate to her show, such as dating sites, single women, girl power groups, fan clubs, etc.”
Beth Kanter offers the amazingly comprehensive post “Arts Organizations and Artists 2.0: Social Media for Arts People” which also mentions the value of using a blog as a showcase:
“For individual artists, a blog can also help sell or promote their work. Here’s some artists personal blogs that support their gallery sites where they sell their work — A Planet Named Janet, Self VS Self, PaMdora’s Box and Jen Lemen.”
“…upload any documents you want to share. Views, downloads, likes, comments, and favorites stats are plainly displayed on the page so you can see how popular the document has been. This can be used for anything from posting up a teaser to your next book to providing a free downloadable short story as a fan bonus. The settings for the documents (like if they can be downloaded or not) are easily set and Scribd serves as a great way to get your writing out to other people.”
Any other cool stuff you’ve come across lately? Please share!