It’s not enough nowadays to have great products or services, you also need to have a great social media presence. We’re going to show you how you can grow your social media presence and use social media to help get your services known and your projects seen.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLATFORM
Social media platforms come in all different shapes and sizes. There are a lot to choose from and you definitely do not need to be on every single social network out there (though it is recommended you claim your company or film name before someone else does). Here we are going to break down some of the most popular platforms and how you can use them in your social media strategy.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine (the first one being Google). With 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s the host to hundreds of thousands of videos. YouTube’s search algorithm is heavily based on watch time, meaning the longer people watch the higher the ranking.
YouTube is also a great platform for weekly content, such as web series and video blogs (often called vlogs). If you are doing a larger production like a feature film, YouTube could be a great platform for you to upload behind the scenes videos to keep people excited about your upcoming production.
People also search YouTube for How Tos and tips, so if you have specific knowledge on a camera or service, Youtube would be a great platform for you to leverage. See what people are searching for and see where you can add value in places that need it.
Vimeo is the place for Film. With no disruptive ads on the site, your video is front and center. Vimeo is home to films from short to feature and has several opportunities for you to submit your work to film festivals that they host on the site.
Vimeo is the place to go if you are looking to showcasing your best work. If you have a series of short films or amazing 4K footage that you want to showcase, Vimeo is the place for you. Vimeo also has a fantastic filmmaker community, so reach out to other creators and you may even find some people you will want to collaborate with.
What started as a university specific platform, grew into what has influenced many social media platforms today. Facebook, touting an average of 890 million daily active users on its website is a massive social network. Here you have the ability to catch up with the lives of people you know and share interesting articles, photos, videos, you name it!
Their like button is one of the most distinguishing features of the site and one of the most important to how your content gets seen in the Facebook feed. The short of it is this, the more people engage with your content (i.e. Like, Comment, Share), the more likely your content will be shown on their feeds.
Facebook is the place where people go to for connection. If you have a facebook page for your company or film, think of ways you can connect to your audience. Share with them some behind the scene moments, keep them updated on where you are in the production process. By doing this you are feeding your audience appetizers that keep them fed while building up to the release of your big project.
Asking questions like “What’s your favorite movie?” or “Who would star you in the movie of your life?”allows you to connect to your audience in a playful way that makes you a regular part of their day-to-day life. Remember social media is about being social, so have fun with it!
Twitter is one of the most immediate social media platforms. There is no more waiting for the evening news to find out information. Twitter makes information accessible and digestible in 140 characters or less and about 284 million active users love it!
One of the best attributes about social media is how it has made everyone accessible, especially through Twitter. If you’re trying to grow your business and you know exactly who your client is, Twitter allows you to search for people in your area and connect with them. When doing this, remember that this is SOCIAL media, so be friendly and personable and share who you think your business can help each other achieve their goals through video.
Twitter is an amazing place for you to not only talk back to your audience but it’s also a fantastic place for you to talk to fellow filmmakers. Again, the most important part of social media is being SOCIAL. Use twitter the way it was intended and join in on some conversations. When events like the Academy Awards happen, live tweet your thoughts or share who you think should have been nominated. By doing this you are providing voice for your company and you will find like minded individuals who share your opinions.
Launching just five years ago in 2010, Instagram has more than 300 Million active users to date. Instagram is more than a place for selfies. It’s a platform that allows people to story tell through pictures. It is a mobile native platform unlike Facebook and Twitter, which is an important trait to keep in mind. If someone is interacting with you on Instagram, that means that they are probably on their phone.
This is a place where you can showcase things that are happening on set or throughout the production process. Be sure to consider the ubiquitous use of hashtags (AKA this thing: #) when posting to Instagram in particular and social media generally. People truly search hashtags to discover new pictures to look at on Instagram. Do your research and start seeing what hashtags are being used by the people you want to see your work. (#film #bts #filmmaker are some good starters)
Building a Following: BEST PRACTICES
Now that we’ve talked about a few of the most prevalent social media platforms, let’s talk about the best ways to use them.
Be Consistent: Consistency is the best thing you can do when it comes to your social media presence. When you’re consistent people start to look forward to your content. You become part of their daily routine. This also allows you to build up a backlog of content for people who are just discovering you for the first time to look at. If they like your content, they're going to want more of it.
Consistency also applies to how you post on different social media outlets. Know what the platform is intended for and use that feature. Use Instagram for photos, Vine is used for short videos, Twitter for immediate responses, etc. Utilize those features to your advantage and share consistent with how the platform functions.
Be visual: The second key feature in social media is MEDIA. Be creative with the kind of content you post. Think about what you can show instead of tell. All of the platforms listed allow you to add some kind of picture to the presentation of your content, so use it! Even with text based platforms like Twitter, think of ways you can add visuals to your posts. People on social media are way more likely to look at something than read something.
Be authentic: When building your audience, you may be tempted to take short cuts and copy what you see is “working” for other creators (i.e. buying followers, having misleading titles, spamming people. etc.). DON’T. DO IT. When you are building and growing your social media presence, think of your audience like members at a party. People aren’t going to want to talk to the person constantly asking people to check out their new product, especially if they’re just saying the same thing to everyone at the party. Be personal. Talk to your audience like you’d like to talk in person. Be authentic and honest and look for those who talk back to you. Those are going to become part of your loyal community.
Take the time to listen to your following. Ask them questions, get their feedback throughout the filmmaking process and let them feel like they are a part of the making of your film. Now we’re not telling you have your audience write your script of cast your actors — unless they are really good at it, then hire them — but we encourage you to take your following along for the journey. That is how you build an engaged following.
Making the Most of your Fans
Social media is all about using media to bring people together. The more you spend time investing in your audience the more they are going to invest time in you. When people feel as if they are apart of a community, they become active. Communities fund crowdfunding campaigns and make events out of seeing movies. These are the kind of people who are out there just waiting to support something that they believe in. Get connected with you following. Make them part of your projects, and find people in your area who could benefit from partnering with you. With social media, there are no gatekeepers. It’s all about connecting people to other people.
Sidebar: What’s next for social media?
Social media is constantly changing and evolving. We covered a few social media platforms but definitely not all of them. Take a look at new platforms that pop up and see where it fits into your social media strategy. Again, you don’t have to be on every social media platform, you just need to be where your audience will see you.
Ricky is a writer, video editor, and comedian.