James' Guide to Running
Social Media For Your Film

By James Burbidge


I run the Raindance social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook) and so I see a lot of people trying to market their indie films. And I see a lot of people going about it the wrong way. Usually this is because they have left things late, are very busy and don't have a plan. Well, I can't help with the first two, but I can provide you some sort of plan.

1. Get a production company website

You'll notice I said production company. Hopefully you're in this for the long run and will enjoy the success that allows future projects. Making a website just for your first film is short-sighted – when you move on to your second and third it will be difficult to connect them. A production company website (or simply a personal one) will allow you to list and link to all of your projects down the years.

Raindance Film Festival 2. Make a website (or subsection of your site) for this film

This is where you put all the specific info about this film. Good things to have on this site include:

  • contact email address (essential) and/or postal address
  • screening information (with links) as and when you have it.
  • good quality production stills
  • tagline, short, medium and long synopses
  • cast and crew bios
  • blog
  • links to all to social media

3. Get twitter accounts

As above, you'll need a production company account and film-specific account, and for similar reasons. Use the film specific ones when producing and promoting that film. When it's finished, make sure all the info on it then points to your production account. Use the production account often enough to keep it alive, but do not use it to simply repost all your film-specific tweets – people who follow both will get annoyed.

Don't be afraid to outright advertise your film (screening, kick-starter etc) every once in a while, but make sure it's not every tweet. Try a ratio of 1:10 advert:content and see how you get on. Do politely ask people in DMs to help spread the word, but make it personal and don't spam them. If I look back through your feed and see 30 public tweets asking people to help your film, or help talk about your film, I'm going to be put off.

Getting a good name is difficult but important. Ideally your film title is both short and available as a twitter user but good luck with that.

4. Get facebook pages

Again, both production and film-specific pages will be useful for all of the above reasons. Get photos up. Post regularly but don't spam. Provide links to your website and twitter account.

5. Get a youtube account

Essential for your trailer and very useful for any vlogs or behind the scenes footage you might be putting up. If you're not going to have too much video content (i.e. just the trailer), you can probably go with just the production company account. If you're going to have weekly vlogs, then get a film-specific account too. Vimeo is good too – better quality, pleasanter comments. Use both.

6. Get a social media manager

No, not a person, a programme, like hootsuite or tweetdeck. These can schedule posts in the future for twitter and facebook, and provide a better interface than twitter. Don't schedule all your tweets and posts for the day in one go – that's not how social media works. Do use it to make sure you don't forget essential tweets, for when you're away and for spreading the word to people in different time-zones/with insomnia.

Do not cross-post all your twitter onto facebook (or vice-versa) – they're separate platforms with very different styles. Again, people that follow both will be annoyed. Do link to all your content posts from facebook and twitter.

7. Blog

Not essential but pretty damn useful. A great way to put up content with some depth (no character-count!). Useful for production diaries, tips stories etc. This is a little bit interchangeable with your website, depending on how you're operating.

8. Post great content

I'll put this bluntly – no-one gives a crap about yet another low-budget short film they saw mentioned on the internet. They do give a crap about the new project from that individual who puts up funny/useful/entertaining content. People support people, they don't support projects. Make yourself noticed as a person and they'll be interested in the projects you're working on. There's lots of ways to do this: regular, entertaining blogs, how-to tips, funny micro-shorts, interesting comments in discussions etc. Do not write a one-paragraph advert for your film and simply slap it in every comment box or discussion you can find.

9. Probably don't kickstart your first project

Yes, I know you don't have any money and it seems like a good way to get it. But don't. There are so many desperate little indiegogo (etc) projects around that it's almost impossible to separate wheat from chaff (and, being honest, if it's your first project, you're most likely chaff anyway. But that's ok, it's a learning experience). See above – it's about getting people to support you not some random project. Your first film will be how you get people interested in you, your second will be the one they are interested in supporting.

10. It takes time

Social media may move very quickly in some ways, but in others it's quite slow. It will take time to build a presence, to let people know who you are and to have people find you. Your first appearance on their scene won't register – but on your second or third you'll get the 'hey, wasn't that the person who did the cool thing before' and then the ball will start to roll.

Bonus. Try to stay in the loop with new social medias

Google+, Pinterest, etc, there's plenty of people coming up with new social media ideas. For all we know, when you read this, Facebook will be like a depression-era dustbowl. You don't need to be in every pie, but you should know what and where the pies are, should you need to start dipping.
FYI we're:
http://www.raindance.org
https://twitter.com/#!/raindance
https://www.facebook.com/RaindanceFilmFestLondon

Your Comments Please


++++

Dear James

This article is spot on, thank you. I am just getting into using social media and these tips are just what I needed to keep me working on it. I am chuffed as chutney to see I am doing some of this already.

I suspect that I am part of the 'chaff' that you referred to (working on my first feature project) Reading that, I actually found it quite comforting to think of myself as being part of a sea of chaff. It takes the pressure off, who cares if my film is a bit dodgy, at this stage I'm still in the chaff !

Keep up the good work, the raindance website is VERY useful (and your social media is clearly working, I have certainly be engaged)

All the best

Wayne

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About The Author


James BurbidgeJames Burbidge manages Raindance's marketing and social media, which has seen a record rise since he took over 3 year's ago.

He also runs the script-reading service and plays Ultimate Frisbee in his spare time.

 

 

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 James' Guide to Running Social Media For Your Film