The Most Annoying Things You Can Do When Using Social Media For Your Film

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Social media is an incredible tool to help connect you to your film’s audience. But there are great ways of using it, and other social media habits that are…not so great. Those habits can annoy your followers, or at the very worst, get you blocked. There’s one thing I know unequivocally- nobody sets out to be annoying on social media (unless they’re trolls), so here I’m highlighting some of the habits that are seen as common irritants, and giving you solutions. It’s about working smarter, not harder and seeing the results.

And let me tell you, when I started out I did many of these things! It’s true! I don’t consider myself some sort of social media guru, but I have seen what works and what doesn’t through trial, error and evaluation, so I’m passing on what I’ve learned to you. So, what are the most annoying things you can do when promoting your film on social media?

Spamming everyone (not just your followers) on Twitter: imagine you’re sitting in a hotel room by yourself, and you hear a knock on the door. Upon answering it, someone is standing in front of you and says: “help make it happen for….” and then promptly leaves. As you close the door, you hear the same person knocking on every other motel room door and saying the same thing. This is what it’s like when you tweet everyone the link to your film or campaign individually. Not only is it time consuming, it means that your followers can see each tweet you send out with the link to every other follower! At best they will mute you from their timeline, at worst they will block you, so for the sake of sending out the same cut and paste tweet to each individual follower, you’ve lost people.What can amp the annoyance factor up even more is if you tweet your link randomly to someone you’re not even following! I have lost count the amount of times people who are not following Sprites on Twitter have tweeted a link at us (along with a bunch of other people they’re not following, in the hopes of a re-tweet)

A better idea: as I said above, it’s about working smarter, not harder! For all the time you’ve spent copy and pasting and tweeting to each individual follower, you could be spending time engaging with your followers, tweeting out fantastic content about your film or finding additional content to post that will be of interest to your audience. People share great content- so make sure you’re maximising your time on social media by creating that great content. And if you’re crowdfunding your film, check out our guide to maximising Twitter for your crowdfunding campaign for more hints and tips.

Inappropriate hashtags:  hashtags are exceptionally useful, both for people searching for things via certain hashtags, or for people wanting followers to find their content. However, when you’re using inappropriate hashtags for your content, it can end up being a PR disaster waiting to happen. And by ‘inappropriate’ I’m not talking about offensive or rude, I mean the use of hashtags that have no relevance to the content but are there to try and capture the current trends. I’ll use Twitter again for my example: you’re promoting your new short film, but using the hashtags that are trending that day. This can backfire spectacularly, especially if you’re using a hashtag regarding a tragic current event (yes, I have seen this happen).

A better way: if you’re an indie filmmaker (webseries, film or both), the hashtag #SupportIndieFilm is particularly effective, especially for Twitter. Not only does it connect you with indie film fans, it also connects you with other indie filmmakers, and can assist you with networking. A great account to follow on Twitter is FirstGlance Film, the absolute champions of independent film on Twitter (full disclosure- we’re one of their media supporters). In terms of great hashtags for Twitter and Instagram, think about the audience for your film, and then the genres and sub-genres your film belongs to. Experiment, look at your analytics and see what works effectively.

The follow/unfollow tactic: I have to admit, this is the one that annoys me. There are some people who will follow you on Twitter or Instagram, and if you don’t follow back, they’ll unfollow, only to surface again down the track and will follow you again in the hopes that you’ve forgotten about their follow/unfollow!

A better way: people will follow and unfollow who they want to. You can’t beat people over the head with a stick to get them to do what you want on social media. You just can’t. When people use the follow/unfollow tactic, it tells people that they actually don’t care that much about your content, they just want to rack up follower numbers. You should be focusing on quality, not quantity. Follow the people you genuinely want to follow, especially if they have content you love sharing with your followers.

And, related to this point:

Buying followers: No. No. No. NO. Again, it’s quality over quantity. Would you prefer 100 engaged followers who share your content, connect with you and support your film, or 1000 who do nothing? It’s a practice you don’t want to have anything to do with, especially if overnight you suspiciously have a huge amount of followers and minimal engagement. That doesn’t mean people don’t end up with a massive amount of followers and likers overnight (especially if something goes viral, is mentioned in the news or is recommended by someone with a huge following), but it does tend to look very suspicious.

A better way: building up an audience and a following takes time. There’s no magic pill for it, except genuinely connecting with your audience on a regular basis. But building up that audience means that you will have followers/likers who have supported you from day one- isn’t that inspiring? You are inspiring- never forget that! And yes, being in publicity and social media marketing means I can put a quantifiable number on certain aspects of audience engagement, etcetera…but you can’t put a number on inspiration, or on the young person still in high school who avidly follows you and is inspired by your work to become a filmmaker themselves. One of the other things that I think a lot of people tend to do is see the numbers as a reflection of who they are, but it really isn’t. Maybe that sounds a bit woo-woo, but when you’re creating anything and working towards a goal, sometimes it’s easy to see those pesky numbers as a reflection of your self worth. Trust me- I’ve been there! But you and I both know you’re more than the numbers. Don’t sweat it, grow that following organically and over time and your work will be seen, appreciated and shared.

It’s A Marathon, Not a Sprint: Looking After Yourself During a Crowdfunding Campaign

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Confession: I am a wee bit of a mother hen when it comes to people. Even here at Film Sprites PR I make sure our team members are doing well, feeling their best and taking care of themselves.

The same is true for the filmmakers we work with, especially during a crowdfunding campaign. In addition to assisting them with publicity and digital marketing of their campaign, I have a tendency to also dispense advice about self-care when it comes to the crowdfunding campaign period.

A crowdfunding campaign is very much like having an additional full-time job. It can be tremendously exciting, and when that percentage marker is inching up towards the 100% mark it can be very tempting to work every hour of the day helping to get even closer. I know- I’ve been there! But making sure that you and your team look after yourselves during the campaign period is vital- you need to avoid burn-out.

With that in mind, I’m giving you the advice I have given filmmakers over the past two years when it comes to self-care during a crowdfunding campaign.

Think of a campaign as a marathon, not a sprint: the clock starts on the campaign, and you’re refreshing your browser every chance you get. The contributions start coming in, but perhaps they’re more a trickle than a flood. You start to panic. Is this supposed to happen?

Firstly- breathe. If you have a slow start to contributions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s going to set the trend for the entire campaign. I’ve seen examples where contributions have come in steadily and then all of a sudden there’s a spike in contributions or someone has very generously donated a sizeable amount. Suspend your expectations and focus on each moment at a time, each task at a time. It’s not over until the clock hits 00:00 minutes remaining!

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Photo credit: Davide Ragusa

Have a solid team behind you: it’s tempting to take everything on yourself. As an indie filmmaker you’ve most probably worn quite a few different hats in your time when making a film, but no person is an island when it comes to crowdfunding.

Prior to your campaign period, assemble a reliable team that can be allocated various tasks. If you’re not working with a PR consultancy (like us!) to secure media placements, you may wish to have someone allocated to reach out to the media. You’re going to want to have more than one hand on deck to assist with campaign work via social media, etc. This means you have consistent campaign coverage, without burning the candle at both ends.

Screen-free meals: I’m serious about this one! It’s vital that during campaign time you have time away from your tech. Technology is so ubiquitous nowadays that we sit fiddling with our phones or scrolling on our tablets far more than is good for us. Put away the tech and have a sit-down meal.

I’m guilty of it, too, especially juggling the various international time zones we work with here at HQ, but it’s something I’ve had to be strict about- nourishing meals, 3 times a day and with no screen time for the duration of the meal. It also means your body is getting consistent energy so you’ll be able to put more into the campaign work between meals. Trust me on this one, it’s vital. There’s nothing worse than working on a crowdfunding campaign with your hand in a bag of chips and chugging back a huge can of energy drink.

Yes, you need sleep: it can be tempting to skimp on sleep, but not being rested can affect your ability to function in any setting and not just while working on your campaign. You wouldn’t expect your team members, cast and crew to go without sleep (night shoots notwithstanding), so please don’t deprive yourself of sleep.

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Photo Credit: Nomao Saeki

Remember- you’ve got this! No, I’m not expecting you to stand in front of the mirror and do affirmations. I may be a chakra-cleansing, mantra-chanting gal myself but you don’t need to go down that road. Crowdfunding campaigns can be such a rollercoaster of emotions at times. Sometimes it’s exhilarating, sometimes it can be anxiety-inducing. No matter what, you’re doing something amazing: you’re taking charge by crowdfunding your film. You didn’t wait to be chosen-you have put blood, sweat and tears into your work. That’s something to be celebrated.

If you’re crowdfunding right now or gearing up for a campaign, the Film Sprites PR team is wishing you all the best!

Want to know more about our PR and social media marketing services for film? Download our information pamphlet HERE