As previously stated, many distributors will have marketing procedures in place to help sell your film when it is ready for distribution. The true use of a social networking strategy comes long before your film is ready for distribution.
A social networking strategy will take many months to a year to implement and it will be an ongoing effort. This effort starts with you and your team first. You will determine whom you are trying to attract into your community and what you have to offer them of interest. It is NOT all about your film, in fact very little direct mention of your film is best. Follow the 80/20 rule, 80% of your assets are about the interests of your audience, 20% of your assets are telling them about the film. You will build your engagement pages and populate them with interesting and valuable content. You will not be asking your supporters for ANYTHING, merely building a solid base of supportive fans who will be there when you are ready for distribution.
You should never do anything that will make them feel that you have formed the community in order to use it for your own purposes. Companies and filmmakers who do this stand to ruin the very thing they have spent so much time developing; a genuine and authentic community that is very loyal and connected to you and your film. That kind of loyalty is extremely difficult to accomplish with advertising and it is really the ultimate goal of all brands.
Orly Ravid August 13th, 2010
Plant your marketing and distribution seeds at pre-production / production stage. Think about your audience in advance of making your film and think about your title carefully from a marketing point of view too. Do a little research to see if the title has been used recently and might cause confusion with another film currently in the market.
Buy up all related and possibly desired urls and start on the site, draw in traffic and collect names and contact info. Make sure your set photography is top-notch from a marketing and publicity point-of-view. Start building community around your brand as a filmmaker and the film itself, and possibly even sharing parts of the content with your future audience.
TFC has a marketing services menu that includes options for access to a DIY Marketing Toolkit to guide microbudget filmmakers in their own marketing initiatives.
Orly Ravid August 2nd, 2010
It is no longer enough to just make a film, you have to create community and anticipation for your film as well. And social media and viral outreach takes a long time to reach critical mass, so build your social media presence into your production schedule.
Just this week a filmmaker asked us…”I’m in post-production, should I wait for a distributor or start thinking about marketing now?” The answer? — do not wait for anyone! By the time you exhibit your film at a film festival you should already have built a community so that you can make the most of your public exhibition and be best positioned to distribute your film effectively and as directly as possible… And it also so happens that distributors these days are looking at your number of facebook friends and your twitter followers to help them make acquisition decisions….as it helps them gauge interest in your film.
But even more pointedly, one’s ability to get onto Cable VOD will be impacted by perception of marketing and audience interest and that’s still the lions share of revenue stream in digital and very competitive, and for when your film is available on DVD and digitally, you’ll have a community to distributed to. Think of your film as a cross-platform story, and allow your community to access it from whatever medium they choose…that way when the film is finally finished they’ll be primed to see it. So don’t procrastinate….start letting people know about your film NOW.
Orly Ravid July 26th, 2010