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Why Most Movie Fan Pages Don’t Work

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.

audi-1

If you want to check out whether any film page is working or not, all you need to do is click the Likes button.likes-button

You’ll see something like this:

ptat-1

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:

PTAT-2

ptat-3

ptat-5Here is “Moonrise Kingdom”

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.

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