Tuesday, February 26, 2013
“And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to
The love you make.”
Everybody wants people to pay more attention to their Facebook business page and there are lots of ways to make that happen--although I believe it’s getting harder and harder to do these days.
Unless you have a huge page with thousands of followers, I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are only a few people who comment and share regularly on your page, the ones that appreciate what you’re offering more than anybody else does. Social Media gurus call them “superfans” and some even refer to them as “free salesmen” for your products which I find kind of cynical kind of idea I’d like to scrape off my shoes.
What if instead of only thinking about ourselves, we took a little time to try to help out our superfans? How about our friends? How about anything that looks worthwhile? Because it is very hard to make your voice heard on Facebook and people need all the help they can get.
What about a little reciprocity? That’s the true spirit of social media.
Facebook forces us to do all kinds of unnatural things because it’s computer algorithm Edgerank is antithetical to human communication, as it puts a computer between us. Facebook servers don’t know how to evaluate the quality of human contact. If you are quietly appreciating something without commenting, it decides you don’t care, which is nuts.
Reciprocity is one of the fundamental components of social media. I don’t think a social media network will grow and flourish unless reciprocity is hard-wired into it, like the retweet is in Twitter.
There are a lot of niche social media platforms out there in addition to the big ones: Athlinks (athletes), ArtStack (fine art discover) Gentlemint (kind of like a Pinterest for men), and ThirdAge (health for boomers and beyond), and hundreds of others, notably niche dating sites for every group you can imagine. Which ones will survive?
The winners will be the ones that incorporate reciprocity and other social media fundamentals in the most elegant and authentic ways.
Just as reciprocity is make or break for these platforms, it works the same way for you when you use them. Whatever menu you cook up for yourself with the big and small networks, if you enter them with the idea of practicing intelligent reciprocity you will do better than if you don’t.
There are other fundamentals to successful social media and I’ll be talking about them in later posts.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
I had breakfast recently with the charming Jaie LaPlante, Executive Director of the Miami International Film Festival. Jaie has healthy 13,000 fans on his Facebook page, but like most people, he’s hungry for more.
I explained that he shouldn’t worry much too much about the number of fans--the thing that matters is how active his page is--he should be concerned with the number of likes, comments and shares. What was he doing to stir up traffic? Jaie said he had a guy named Igor Shteyrenberg who was merrily posting all day long. “He shouldn’t posting so often,” I said, repeating a truism I’d rattled off so often in blogs and lectures. “All Facebook research has proven that you should never post more than two or three times a day.”
Umm….wrong. Rules don’t apply when you have great content.
Despite--or maybe because of--the constant postings, I later discovered that Miami had one of the liveliest festival pages I’d ever seen. Igor turned out to be the George Takei of movies, generating a potpourri of funny, interesting cinema and pop culture graphics he’d excavated from the web. The page gave the festival a lively personality-- hip, and buoyant and fun. Adjusting the numbers proportionately for number of fans, the Miami page had much better metrics than the pages for all of the world’s top festivals. Posting “too often” didn’t matter.
I was happy for Jaie, but the wonderful Miami page made me think of something that I don’t like to think about: my own page. There was a lot of room for improvement there. The advice I give centers around creating square images—I call them Shareable Squares--that are funny and interesting and shareable. Why couldn’t I put it into practice myself? I worked hard on my Facebook- related graphics, but they weren’t all that exciting; movies are intrinsically more fun than social media advice. There were people creating the square images and having luck with them, so I ran examples on my page, but I couldn’t rely on them to be a regular source of content. I had been experimenting with offering different kinds of information on the page, but when I saw the Miami page, it kicked me in the ass--I knew I could do better.
For the first time I asked myself the questions I ask every potential client: what’s your goal? What do you want the page to do for you? I decided there were three main reasons: first, I write a blog and I want to announce the new posts; second, I want to announce my lectures; and third, and most importantly, I want the page to be a place to post examples of people putting my advice into action. So I thought, “why don’t I make my own cinema-themed content to show people what I’m advising them to do?” It would vividly illustrate my approach and at the same time give people a sense of what I’m like.
I did my first graphic on December 1st, a picture of Jean-Luc Godard:
People liked it, and so I made more: Christopher Walken, Marilyn Monroe, Abbas Kiarostami, Louise Brooks, Quentin Tarantino, Groucho Marx, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Steven Spielberg, Michel Gondry, Woody Allen, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Pedro Almodovar, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, and Tim Burton.
The activity on my page has gone up ten times.
There’s an important lesson here and it’s not limited to social media. Don’t give up. Keep trying until you find a solution that’s right for you.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Think about all the ways marketers try to get your attention: TV, radio, magazine and newspaper ads, email blasts, billboards, posters, telemarketing, direct mail, promotions, those horrible gated ads you have to click through before you’re allowed to see content online. If you live in New York City, you see posters while you wait for the subway, posters inside the train, and even the Metrocard has ads on it.
It’s damned annoying
My job for thirty years as a movie publicist and marketer was to create all kinds of stuff to get your attention. Articles in newspapers, reviews, TV bookings, posters, trailers, websites, radio and TV spots, quote ads, parties, stunts, promotional items, award campaigns. We were the very experienced experts making all this crap that you potential moviegoers were supposed to see over and over and over and over until you gave in and said, “All right already! I’m going to put it in my Netflix Queue! I’ll watch it on VOD! I might even go to the theatre!” Or maybe all the marketing will be able to accomplish is to give you some vague awareness laying dormant in your brain until you are choosing a movie to watch on an airplane.
This whole traditional marketing deal is one way and top down. We create all our stuff and we push it on you. And if our marketing stuff is good, it works.
The problem is when we take our one way marketing mindset and we bring it to social media. Because social media is not about the marketers--it’s about the consumers. People don’t go on social media to be sold stuff; they go there to connect with their friends, discover things, and share them. They can be connecting, learning and sharing with their friends, or they can be doing it with strangers who have a common interest. We could bond with all the people in the world who like “Moonrise Kingdom,” are concerned with climate change, or are interested in my ideas about Facebook marketing.
Our job as social media marketers is to get people together in an online club--i.e. a Facebook page-- to talk about a movie or any product, and then light a fire under the conversation so it keeps going. This is a two way thing, it’s all about dialogue, and the only way you can have a proper dialogue is if the page is authentic. This is crucial. You can’t have a club that is composed of people who aren’t interested. So getting lots of people to like you as a favor doesn’t do you any good. Your friends’ friends and relatives may love you, but they may never see your movie, and if they do, they might not like it. Your Facebook page is for people who are somehow interested in your movie--either they’ve seen it, want to see it, like the director or actors, are very involved in the topics or issues it addresses--something.
Rather than responding to marketing stuff created in traditional marketing, people seek us out. Let’s say you go on your Facebook page and notice that “[insert your friend’s name here] likes Junior’s Cheesecake.” And you go, “I love Junior’s Cheesecake too! It is really tasty! ” So you head over to the page and like it. Of course at that point you are pretty much done with Junior’s Cheesecake as far as Facebook goes. You aren’t crazy enough about Junior’s that you want to hear about it five times a day, and the Junior’s messages are competing with the amusing comments your friends are making. When you joined, you were an authentic Junior’s Cheesecake fan, but now you are clicking the unlike button.
But what if everything you get from the Junior’s Cheesecake page is hilarious? And only one comes a day? You aren’t on Facebook that much so you only see it now and then. If it’s a really good one, you might hit the like button or even share those posts. They are not ads; they fit in with everything else that comes your way. And as you already like Junior’s Cheesecake, the constant mentions might influence you to eat it more, and if the pictures you’re sharing are delectable, they might make your friends hungry too.
You have to find the people who care about your page, and a good way to start is to not see them as customers but to see them as you. Think about how they might want to be approached. Depending on who you are and what your film is, it might be relatively easy or it might be really hard. It probably will take some time. But once you have collected your fans, you have to treat them the way you like to be treated on Facebook. They don’t want to be notified about every city the film is opening in. You might care a lot about things like that, but these are strangers. If you want to hold onto them you have to give them things to discover and smile at. If they are interested and entertained, they’ll let their friends know about it.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Everything in traditional movie marketing is generated by the marketers: publicity, reviews, posters, trailers and TV spots, websites, ads, and so on. It is a one way / top-down process. The marketers make all this stuff and hope that all or part of it will somehow register in the consciousness of potential moviegoers.
Social media marketing works the complete opposite way. A Facebook fan page is a group of people who come together online to talk about a topic of common interest, which in this case is a movie. People can decide to form a group like this on their own, or the marketers can invite them when they set up a page.
Instead of one-way, social media is two-way, or more precisely, multi-way. Social media is about dialogue and making connections and no marketer can force a group to convene or control what that discussion will be. Eric Cantor has an official Facebook page; there is also a popular “Eric Cantor is a Douchebag” page.
Our task as Facebook marketers is to set up the online community, try to get people to go there, and then keep the conversation going. Effective social media marketing happens when the audience is the show--not us. But most movie marketers transfer the one-way technique to Facebook by using it as a newsletter or an email blast… and fail utterly. Sending out status updates about what cities the film is opening in or links to reviews and articles is unlikely to provoke people to comment, share or like. And if they don’t do that, the Facebook algorithm sends out fewer posts and the page gradually becomes a pointless exercise.
The whole idea of social media marketing rests on authenticity--you can’t have a Facebook Community for your film unless there really are a group of people who want to talk about it. That’s why the number of likes you have on your page doesn’t necessarily matter. It does you no good to get your friends--who like you personally but may not have any particular interest in your movie--to like your page as a favor. What matters more than the number of likes is the amount and the quality of the conversation appearing on the page from the people who do care about the topic of discussion.
Having more likes doesn’t necessarily mean you have more activity. The official “Audi USA” page has almost six million members, but it has less fan engagement than the fan page “I Love Audi,” which has only one million members.
If you want to check out whether any film page is working or not, all you need to do is click the Likes button.
You’ll see something like this:
The number on the left, “People Talking About This,” represents the number of unique people who have liked, commented, shared, or otherwise interacted with this particular movie fan page over the past week. That’s always more important than the number of Likes.
The frame grab above is from a recent independent film. Here are a few others:
Here is “Moonrise Kingdom”
How does your page measure up? Facebook fan pages aren’t like posters or trailers, where I might love one and you might hate it. The “People Are Talking About This” is a cold number that can’t be argued with. It doesn’t matter how nice your page looks or how hard you are working on it, either people are talking about it or they ain’t. I would say, however, that though a low number means failure, a high one doesn’t necessarily mean success: it’s not useful if everybody is just telling each other to go to hell. To evaluate a page you have to look at more than its analytics.
If you’re not happy with what you see, you can: try using Shareable Square images instead of status updates and links; use calls to action; post daily but not more than three times a day. I’m sure you’ll see a lot of improvement very soon.