Have YOU been naughty with your film’s social media?
Social media provides us with a whole new world of possibilities; from connecting with our potential audience through to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.
BUT….when it goes wrong, it tends to go spectacularly wrong.
From celebrities being exposed for offensive tweets they made years ago, to Instagram posts sinking entire careers, social media may be an easy way to achieve your goals but it also needs to be navigated with care and caution when you’re building your personal brand for your filmmaking.
With this in mind, I bring you the Deadly Sins of Social. You’ll notice that while it takes the form of the Seven Deadly Sins, there’s a few missing. That’s deliberate on my part and not a mistake! Avoid these Sins like the plague, and you’ll be away laughing:
PRIDE: Expecting to Go Viral
In the course of my career, I’ve been asked “can you make me go viral?”
The answer is, no. Nobody can make you go viral, any more than they can guarantee you’ll have a billion dollars in your account tomorrow morning. Just as a human virus can be unpredictable, virality in the virtual world is very unpredictable. In fact, it’s more difficult to go viral in 2020 than it was in 2007 (I wrote about the state of virality in the 2010s here if you’re interested in reading more).
Every single one of us, regardless of our career aspirations and our goals on social media, need to stop viewing virality as a panacea, and thinking that ‘overnight success’ is going to be the answer. You build your social media following slowly but surely.
There’s something Mark Duplass said to CNBC Make It about building a career on your own terms that I think also applies to building your brand and your audience on social media:
“I would say if you have a dream — and whether that is you want to be some sort of artist or you want to start a start-up or a business, anything that very much feels like it’s uniquely yours and you may not be able to get traction going through traditional channels — the way to do it is to build it brick by brick on your own in microsteps…”
Brick by brick, and you’ll get there. And those bricks include selecting your social media platforms, providing your followers with exciting regular content, and being genuine in your message.
WRATH: Getting Into Arguments on Social Media
Trolls. They’re everywhere online. The world is literally burning, and social media can be an absolute dumpster fire at times. But when they come for you or your work, the impulse is probably to clap back immediately. DON’T. Trolls are not worth wasting oxygen and keystrokes on, even if you’re dying to throw some major re-tweet-worthy shade. Just don’t. Block and move on.
SLOTH: Not Updating Your Social Media Regularly
It’s a common thing: set up social media for your film’s crowdfunding campaign, or when you have a short film coming out, you’ve finished with that particular project, and then….
You’ve moved onto the next project.
I recommend instead of setting up individual social media profiles for each short film that you set up a profile for ALL of your filmmaking. That way you can continue to grow your audience, bring new fans into the fold, and provide your fans and supporters with regular updates on your filmmaking.
LUST: Using Your Film’s Social Media Accounts Like a Dating Site
Social media has opened up possibilities for so many people (myself included) when it comes to collaborating with people in the film industry, but in the era of #MeToo I continue to see some rather unflattering and uncomfortable behaviour happening online. If you’re building your film’s audience on social media, it’s not an opportunity to flirt or be inappropriate.
Also, bear in mind that on platforms like Twitter your ‘likes’ are visible to your followers. Remember when the Ted Cruz twitter account ‘liked’ a pornographic image? YIKES. Not a good look.
Social media can be exciting, enjoyable and connect you with wonderful fans and fellow industry professionals, but there are just a few things to be aware of. Don’t forget: a tweet may last a second, but a screenshot lasts a lifetime!
Want some more handy hints and tips to help with your film’s social? Check out our FREE resources.