What to do When Social Media Outages Affect Your Film’s Marketing Plans

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If you use Facebook and connected social media like Instagram, you have probably been affected by the recent outage. Outages often mean that social media marketing plans are revised as a result. Any automated posts you had planned become redundant…or worse yet, you have to re-post and/or re-plan once the outage is over! It’s proof that while we can have social media marketing as part of an overall publicity plan, social media (like traditional media) is not infallible.

The recent outage provided a shared moment that was relatable to anyone who uses Facebook and Instagram. So here’s an idea you can use today: you might want to find some clever way to integrate it into your social media posts. The more something is relatable and resonates with an audience, the more engagement it will receive and the more likely your post will be shared. Remember when Kim Kardashian broke the Internet? Think about how YOU ‘broke the Internet’ today and run with it. In Sprites’ case, the outages happened after ALICE, the film we’ve been providing social media marketing for, won the Narrative Feature Award and CherryPicks First Female Feature Award at SXSW. ALICE broke the Internet!

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But what happens if you’re running a crowdfunding campaign when an outage happens on social? I’ve had this happen several times in the 7 years I’ve been assisting with crowdfunding campaigns, and while it’s not ideal you can work around it to make sure that you can still make the most of it. You may want to expand on the previous idea and use it as a call to action with your mailing list. If one platform is unavailable, channel your social media marketing efforts into the platforms you still have available to you at the time. Time really is money with a crowdfunding campaign!

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If you have a release that is affected by the outage, the above suggestions definitely apply- when you don’t have access to certain social media platforms during an outage, concentrate on the social media platforms where your film has a presence that are still available to you. You can always repurpose any content you had planned during an outage at a later date while still keeping the remainder of the social media marketing plan active and current.

Most importantly, if you have the time available to you…get away from the screen! This morning before I started my hours at Boosted, I could see how the outages were affecting my workflow when it came to social media marketing for Sprites clients…so I walked away. I went outside with a cup of coffee and watched the world go by so that when I returned to the computer I would be fresh as a daisy and raring to go.

Outages are awful, but unavoidable. It’s a reminder that no system is perfect!

Getting More Bang for your Publicity Buck

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Sometimes I think independent low-budget (or no budget) filmmaking is a bit like college: you learn a lot, there’s deadlines, stress (and maybe a few tears) and spare money is tight to non-existent. With that being said, publicity for your film or webseries can seem like a bit of a luxury or a ‘nice to have’ optional extra.

Here’s what I think about that. It’s a belief I’ve held since Film Sprites PR first came into being 5 years ago, and I believe in it passionately to this day: no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ your film or webseries, you deserve publicity, and you can achieve it. When I began my career as a publicist in 2013 (prior to Sprites launching a year later), streaming and self-distribution was in its infancy. Going viral was still very much a viable outcome for a film or webseries. Crowdfunding was red-hot for filmmakers, and filmmakers were seeing it as an option for funding their films.

Things have changed so much since then. With so many streaming services and many filmmakers choosing to self-distribute, there’s plenty of opportunities for your film to be seen and loved, but you can also benefit from additional publicity to help reviews and features to roll in. But as you know, every cent needs to be accounted for when you’re making a film, and if you have a small or non-existent publicity budget, what do you do? Most PR firms charge in the thousands (at Film Sprites PR we work in with your budget, however)…so how can you maximise publicity while not breaking the bank?

I’m going to give you some handy options, including options that are absolutely free. Yes, really! Plus, I’ll give you some other low-cost options to help you get more bang for your publicity buck. At a later date, I’m going to cover the best way for you to work out a potential publicity budget for your indie film, but for now let’s look at some smart options:

FREE OPTIONS:

Cultivating your social media presence

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As mentioned in the last blog post, having a social media presence means you can grow your audience, connect with fans and prep fans and followers for up-coming and future releases. Growing your audience takes time (don’t buy followers!), but it’s something that is extremely worthwhile. Plus, signing up for most social media sites is free…the only thing that’s not free is your internet connection and/or data usage on your smart phone. If you do have a bit of cash to spare, you can think about doing some promoted posts via Instagram or Facebook, but it’s not completely necessary.

Getting indie-loving blogs and websites to publish your press release

There are a few excellent indie-loving blogs and websites that will very happily publish your press release, which means you have added visibility via their sites and social media. For instance, FilmDebate provides a FREE promotion service that is well worth checking out. You can also find genre-specific sites who offer similar.

Connecting with your audience via e-mail marketing

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As I’ve mentioned previously, e-mail marketing via a service like Mailchimp is a great way to connect to your audience. You can provide updates, share news and previews, and can also provide things like digital assets or copy-and-paste Twitter and Facebook post suggestions your subscribers can use on their social media in the run-up to a film’s launch.

Screening your film for interested local groups

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Having public screenings can be expensive when you have to hire a venue, etcetera…but how about having a free screening at meetings of interested local groups? Many interest groups and societies feature guest speakers at meetings, so getting in touch with relevant groups and societies could also be a great option to help amplify the signal. Does your film have an astronomy theme? Get in touch with the local astronomical society. Would it appeal to the local multisport community? Have a chat to a local multisport group to arrange a screening and Q&A if they’re keen. Take your film right to your audience locally and who knows what could happen on a wider scale?

Uploading video content to Facebook

The shifting sands of the Facebook algorithm means content creators have to keep on their toes constantly. At the moment, the algorithm on the Book of Face (which dictates what content is shown to users over other content) favours video content that is uploaded, not just a shared link. So instead of just sharing the link to your trailer, take the time to upload it to your Facebook page. Better yet, uploading means you have options for tags that are relevant to your video, giving your content a better chance of being seen.

INEXPENSIVE OPTIONS:

Promoting a post on social media

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If you have a little bit of money available for publicity and social media marketing purposes and your audience are a demographic who use Facebook and/or Instagram frequently, it’s worth promoting some of your posts. I find promoting posts more effective than paying for advertising from an algorithm and engagement point of view. In one previous instance of promoting a post during a crowdfunding campaign we saw an upswing in donations during the promotional period, and at one point during the promotional period we raised $2,000 in thirty minutes.

If you’re strategic about where and who you want to reach with your promotion, as well as the tags you use and the right image, you can see tangible benefits.

Screenings at art co-ops and local venues

Hiring a cinema for a screening can be expensive…but what about smaller local venues like art co-ops, galleries and other multi-use spaces? Many have inexpensive renting fees, or if you can twist a friendly arm you might be able to wrangle a venue for free.

It’s also worth talking to local campuses about renting spaces for screenings, for instance lecture theatres. Look at all of your options and see which is the most cost-effective.

Website promotions

Some websites (particularly in the horror film genre) offer promoted posts or advertising space on their sites. These can vary in price-range but can also come with additional added extras, like having your posts shared with their (usually extensive) social media following. This is definitely more effective than print advertising, a lot cheaper and you have the added bonus of having your film or webseries connect with the very audience you want.

As you can see, there’s plenty of options available to help you achieve your publicity and digital marketing goals when you’re stretched for cash. Our blog also provides a wealth of hints and tips on publicity and digital marketing for indie filmmakers, so make sure you check it out. Don’t want to do the publicity heavy lifting for your film? Have a chat with us about how we can assist your film. We work in with your budget to ensure you get maximum results and don’t break the bank.

How To Harness Twitter For Your Film’s Crowdfunding Campaign

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At Film Sprites PR we have a particular fondness for Twitter. After all, it’s how we got started. We’ve seen how incredibly powerful it can be to convey a message, bring people together and grow a film’s audience.

It can also be a powerhouse when it comes to spreading the word about your film during a crowdfunding campaign. In 140 characters you can spread the word, share your vision and have contributors helping to back your creation. We’ve assisted with many crowdfunding campaigns for films, both in pre-production and post-production, and we’ve seen how well Twitter can work for crowdfunding. Most recently we assisted with the successful Kickstarter for Daphne Fisher’s Enough, helping to not only secure the $6K goal but also helping to raise an additional $945.

So how can you, as a filmmaker, harness the little blue bird to help secure the funds you need for your film? Here’s a few tips to help you make the best of Twitter during your crowdfunding campaign:

Make the most of the 140: 140 characters doesn’t seem like a lot to work with, but it can be done! The link to your crowdfunding campaign generally tends to be quite short, but if you want to Tweet things like trailers, links to interviews etc you can’t go wrong with free link shortening services like Ow.ly. Thankfully images are now no longer included in the character amount, which means you can add images to your Tweet without compromising the amount of characters you have left.

Spam is a meat product, not a crowdfunding tactic: imagine you’re staying in a small motel. It’s 6:00am in the morning and there’s a knock at the door. You open the door and immediately, without greeting, someone says: “help me crowdfund my film!”

You’re annoyed and close the door, hoping to get back to sleep, but because you’re in a small motel with no soundproofing you end up hearing every other room in the hotel being harassed by this random doorknocker, piping up with: “help me crowdfund my film!” every time the door is opened. Wouldn’t that infuriate you?

Time and again we’ve seen people who use this tactic for crowdfunding: they Tweet at every one of their followers (and often people who aren’t followers at all) one by one with the exact same message. There are problems with this tactic: 1) it takes the ‘social’ out of ‘social media’ and 2)if people are following you, they’re seeing the same Tweet over and over again, sent to various people. At best, people might mute you on their Twitter feed. At worst, they’ll block you.

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Storyteller, tell your story: you are, by nature, a storyteller. You know your film has an important story to tell. Here’s where you can use Twitter to your advantage to make your followers take notice, contribute to your campaign and spread the word themselves.

Let people know your “why”: hopefully this will come through in your pitch video, so don’t be afraid to share the pitch vid via Twitter.

Behind the scenes footage and photos are particularly effective as well- you would be amazed at how many people genuinely appreciate being shown the inner workings of a film.

People feel included if they get a glimpse into your world. Tweets with images tend to get a better response with followers, so share a range of images: concept art, a peek at the script, images of the (undoubtedly) fantastic perks available at your campaign, poster art…there are endless possibilities.

As well as sharing your own story and filmmaking journey, make sure you share the story of the film itself. Teaser trailers, storyboards, stills from your film….they all serve to tantalize your audience and bring them to your campaign to help make it a success.

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Manners are the New Black: it may be a social media platform, but don’t forget to thank your backers, re-tweeters and fans! An attitude of gratitude goes a long way with your followers. Think about really creative ways of thanking them; perhaps a quick update video on your campaign page thanking each of your contributors…get creative with your gratitude and you will see results.

Where’s the beef? Not on your timeline: a short word on Twitter trolls, but you know this already: don’t engage. Just block them and move along.

Most importantly- have fun. The crowdfunding process can be stressful at times, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and fun, especially when you’re using Twitter to assist with your campaign efforts. Using Twitter in creative ways for your campaign can help you to push that little progress bar right past the 100% mark. Happy crowdfunding!

Want sparkling publicity and digital marketing for your film? Check out what we offer HERE, or download our services pamphlet HERE.