Think about how many commercials you watch since you got your DVR; not too many, most likely. Now that you can record NCIS, Modern Family, and Glee and fast-forward through commercials rather than zoning out every five minutes, you’re missing out on all the latest movie trailers. When you go to see what’s playing, it turns out to be a whole bunch of stuff you never heard of. This is a problem for companies that produce movies (and spend tons of money to advertise them). And it’s one of the many reasons that they’re turning to social networking as a way to reach their audience. In truth, it appears that this may be the future of movie promotion, and here are just a few of the reasons that production companies, from large and powerful studios all the way down to first-time, low-budget indies, are using social media to spread the word.
The main reason to use social media is that it’s huge. When advertising via television, you’re only going to reach so many people, and only if they are watching the commercials. This means that you have to try to target your core demographic by selecting networks and programming that fits within their scope of viewership (in order to get the most impact from advertising dollars. This is not necessarily the case with social media. Certainly you can aim for sites and groups that you think will be most interested in your product, but you can also canvas entire networks, potentially drawing in those who wouldn’t otherwise be interested by your content. In short, social networking sites allow filmmakers to cast a much wider net.
But there’s a lot more to be gained from this type of marketing, and interaction is the name of the game. When consumers become involved in the process, they are much more likely to form a bond with a film, filmmaker, or production company. If you give social media members added value over what others receive, such as additional trailers, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes clips, you may just endear them to your brand. But you can go even further. You could offer special giveaways to those that pre-order tickets online, such as a movie poster or the potential to win an invite to the premier. You can even allow them to take part in the creative process, holding contests to generate trailers from clips, asking for taglines, or even soliciting music for use in the film (like filmmaker Edward Burns).
And of course, it pays to consider how movies are being purchased these days after release. Consider the popularity of sites like Netflix and Hulu (just to name a couple). There are now people giving up cable and using these sites for all of their media viewing. And when Facebook Credits are fully formed, a lot of people will probably begin using them to download multi-media content (movies included). These innovations certainly bear some thought. So whether you’re producing content for public consumption or you’re a consumer scouring the market for the best deals, it behooves you to look at the growing tide of movie promotion via social media and see if it can provide solutions that meet your needs.