There’s one thing I know about every filmmaker who uses social media to promote their film and/or crowdfunding campaign: every single one, bar none, does so with the purest of intentions. However, there are great ways to promote your film…and then there are bad. There are ways that connect you to your audience, and ways that make the audience want to unfollow, unlike or at the worst end of the spectrum, BLOCK.
Here’s where I’m going to address some of the most annoying things you can do when promoting your film on social media. But I’m not going to leave you in the lurch- I’m going to give you some helpful alternatives as well. Here are some of the things you should avoid doing when promoting your film via social media:
Tweeting a crowdfunding link/showreel/trailer at a person you’re not connected to: this is a tactic we see every single day- a Twitter account of someone who isn’t even following us and has never interacted with myself and my team and suddenly we get a link/showreel/trailer. That doesn’t exactly endear me to that person to begin with, because they’re not a follower and out of the blue they’re expecting people to pounce and support them. And that’s if you’re lucky! Quite often we see people Tweeting at a cluster of accounts with ‘film’ in the Twitter username. This sort of scattershot tactic is tiresome, annoying and to be honest it is wasting a lot of your time.
So how do you ensure your content is seen on Twitter without being annoying or repetitive? Interact with the followers you have and share your content that way. Everything starts from the ground up, and your followers are your audience. The key is to remember that it’s SOCIAL media. Spamming people you aren’t following isn’t social. In the past we have talked on here about utilizing Twitter for crowdfunding, but that article is also pertinent for using Twitter for promoting your film at any stage of production, so make sure you check it out.
Using hashtags unrelated to your content: it seems harmless enough, right? WRONG. This is a tactic that can go very wrong, very fast.
Let’s say you’re promoting your film via Twitter and Instagram. Your film is about an unlikely friendship between a Waddell seal and an Adelie penguin in Antarctica, and the film is written and directed by a woman. Appropriate hashtags might be: #antarctica, #waddellseal #adeliepenguin #womeninfilm #femaledirectors #femalefilmmakers etc. What you wouldn’t do is add hashtags that don’t have anything remotely to do with the film. For the sake of our example, let’s say that inappropriate hashtags for the film would be: #cheesecake and #rugbyworldcup. Oh, and #dancingwiththestars is currently trending because it’s screening and people are live-tweeting, so let’s add that too!
STOP. Don’t do it.
It might be tempting to get some of the live tweeters to see your content, but it’s not smart. Worse yet, I’ve seen people add trending hashtags about tragic world news events to posts that link to their showreels or trailers!
Again, this is a scattershot approach. There are some great hashtags out there, and there are ones that will bring in a wider audience for your work but you have to do your homework.
Following/unfollowing of accounts on Twitter repeatedly: believe it or not, this is a ‘strategy’ used by some, and it’s frankly ridiculous. The thought behind this is seemingly that if you follow someone and they don’t follow back immediately that you unfollow in the hopes that you will finally follow them.
Here’s the thing: you cannot browbeat people into following you. This tactic is as annoying as people who will follow you and then ask you to “kindly follow back”. That doesn’t guilt me into following you, that just irritates me.
And honestly, do you want everyone to follow you, regardless of whether or not they’re interested in your film, or do you want people to follow you who support your endeavours, are happy to share your content and help you to grow your audience organically? And while we’re talking about followers: don’t buy followers! Yes, it takes time to grow your audience, but having people who don’t support your endeavours just bulking up your numbers isn’t great. Quality over quantity!
Promoting yourself via a comment on someone’s Instagram or Facebook page: Sally has an Instagram page devoted to penguins. She takes photos of them, she collects them (not real ones, of course!). She has absolutely no interest in films whatsoever. But then someone rocks up on her Instagram and instead of commenting on her latest post, they’re trying to get her to go over to their film’s Instagram page.
Some of the strangest things seen on the Film Sprites PR Instagram and Facebook feeds have been people wanting us to ‘like’ their page selling quality real hair wigs and an account promoting high self-esteem. And these were not bots or spam accounts- there were living, breathing people behind these accounts and they were working harder, not smarter.
Again, it comes down to utilizing social media in a genuinely social and connected fashion. The time and energy spent using these scattershot tactics could be used in strengthening connections with your audience and other filmmakers. If you want a certain account to follow you and support you and they haven’t already- follow them first. Strike up a conversation, comment on their content. The same goes with your own audience via social media.
We provide publicity and digital marketing for independent films globally. Find out how we can help you HERE.