Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tip #86: Social networking -does it work?

By Dan Parkes (Director/editor)

Social networking, a new inexpensive means of promoting your film, has seemingly become an important part of any marketing strategy.

Kevin Smith famously used MySpace in 2006 to promote his Clerks II by putting the names of the film’s first 10,000 MySpace friends in the credits. Since Smith had 50,000 friends at the time this wasn't going to be a problem. They had the names in two hours. Clerks II apparently made a profit and now Kevin Smith has nearly two million Twitter followers.

But does it work? It is a well known fact that a film can sink or swim based purely on rumour and gossip alone. So on-line marketing via social networks is certainly one way of making a presence -and most importantly for budget filmmakers -one that can theoretically be done for free. And it must also be noted that a film is more likely to garner the attention of buyers and distributors if it has a strong on-line following.

In addition to an official website (for more information on that check our previous blog), here are the four main avenues to think about trying:

1. Facebook Page
It's a necessary evil. And very easy to set up, the important thing is to keep it regularly updated and to look not too much like it is advertising the film all the time. Post other interesting things as well.

2. Twitter
Another necessary evil! But again very easy to set up. You could have regular tweets with real time information on the production progress, promote special contests, sneak previews and have links to your other sources of on-line presence such as Facebook. But there is a danger...negative, abusive or downright stupid "tweets" could embarrass and endanger your cast and crew not to mention the film itself.

3. Blogger
Not so necessary, but an opportunity to go into more detail than Facebook or Twitter will allow. This can also be more practical -such as this blog -with anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information or a production diary. Updates to the blog can then be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

4. YouTube
Again, not completely necessary, but once you start releasing any video material this is a good place to host it for free. You could put up a production diary, making of and trailers, which you then embed into your blog and official website.

5. Newsletters/E-mails
Collecting e-mail addresses of those interested in the film and keeping them updated is also a good idea. We use the brilliant (and free) on-line e-mail marketing tool MailChimp which helps you create and maintain subscription lists, design newsletters and e-mails, send the e-mails and provides comprehensive reports on how many of your newsletters are being opened and what links are clicked.

At the end of the day though, an excellent marketing campaign for a bad film.... still makes it a bad film. So make sure you make a good film first.

If you have any good social networking and marketing ideas please post them below.


  1. All good points. What about the new Google+ ? It will be interesting to see whether that becomes important as well.

  2. Great article. The internet has provided oppurtunities to so many independent artists, musicians and film makers through the use o great local seo services and social media. Anybody can get their work noticed now with the use of the internet. It's really an incredible leap for the arts.

  3. thank you for the information is very helpful at all