Social media is currently one of the most powerful tools available online, and it comes at little to no cost to you or your production. When aiming to finalise the post-production/distribution process many filmmakers forget about the aspect of social sharing. Whether this be sharing the film online itself or promoting the upcoming film via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
In this post I’m going to discuss how you can utilise social media to market both yourself as a filmmaker, and your film, to hundreds or even thousands of followers online.
These are tips that I have learnt from marketing my short documentary over a twelve month period, I’m also now continuing to learn through my marketing role too!
Let’s break down the three big contenders for social media marketing:
I think the majority of internet users are familiar with Facebook by now, (if you’re not you really should be) it’s a platform that connects millions of people across the world every day and is definitely worth using to market your film.
On Facebook you have the ability to create personal profiles, pages for businesses, pages for entertainment (such as films), events and various other miscellaneous. My preferred method when marketing my short film was to create a Facebook page for the film, that way audiences could like the page and follow our progress as the film gained traction.
As a filmmaker I was torn between wanting to share as much information as possible and the desire to keep a lot of it private. By using social media to market your film you are putting yourself in control of what you share.
That means you can share as little or as much as possible with your intended audience and not have to worry about leaking information you don’t want to share.
Facebook allows you to add plenty of detail about your page when you first create it, this includes a synopsis, list of crew, date of production/release, country/language and even any awards that your film has won. This is a great way to let people who find your page get to know your production as a whole and also makes you appear legitimate online.
When you have created a page, Facebook also allows you to create events associated with that page, this is useful if you have an upcoming screening that you’d like people to attend. Similarly you can create a call to action, for example if you’re selling merchandise for your film, and increase sales through the Facebook platform.
Users can also write reviews on your Facebook page, this is a powerful tool for getting others to engage with your content. To start off you could always ask a friend or family member to write an honest review of your film - even if it hasn’t been publicly released yet - this could make new audiences want to watch it and therefore ‘Like’ your page.
Overall I believe Facebook is still a big contender for film marketing and distribution and should definitely be considered by filmmakers when sharing their content.
Instagram is a video and photo sharing platform that was acquired by Facebook in 2012. The platform is largely focused on visual posting rather than text posts like Facebook, here you can create a page and not have to worry about filling in every small detail of your production like you have on your Facebook page.
I would advise that you stick to high quality content with both imagery and video on this platform, don’t feel like you have to post poor quality images for the sake of it! There is a lot to be said for a visually aesthetic feed, as this is usually how most of the popular accounts acquire their audiences.
If you have a colour scheme for your film, aim to use that within your social media marketing. Similarly, try to write short and engaging captions as though you were writing the log line for your short film. Not all users want to read long captions that tell a story to their audience, instead let your visuals do the work for you.
Using Instagram stories is also a great way to engage with your followers, you can upload videos or images and include texts and gifs to capture an audience’s attention. Although Instagram does not offer a review or event page for your film you can use Instagram stories to promote them. You can also run polls on Instagram stories, this is a fun way to ask your audience how they feel about your content!
Similarly to Facebook, if you have enough visual content to be able to post consistently on Instagram I believe it’s worth putting in the work to gain a wider audience for your film.
Twitter is a great tool for starting conversations online, which could be useful when distributing your film.
Use Twitter to connect with possible audiences and even fellow filmmakers, by tweeting other filmmakers and reaching out you are taking opportunities to distribute your film.
Bear in mind this may not always work, those with hundreds and thousands of followers get several thousand notifications a day and may not see your tweet. But it’s definitely worth pursuing if you believe you have content that they would enjoy. However I wouldn’t recommend tweeting excessively as your audience may unfollow and disengage - no one enjoys spammed content.
Social media can be your best friend and also be your worst enemy if used incorrectly. There are lots of in-depth guides online if you have a desire to market your film to its highest potential. I recommend the three platforms listed above are a good starting place for independent filmmakers.
You can also use other resources both digitally and in print to market your film, this is worth investing in if you have a small market budget. If you’re looking for a place to start your research you can read my guide on how to market your short film for under £100.