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Categories: Features

Elliot Grove lays out the perfect plan to utilizing social media as a filmmaker.


This article was originally written by Elliot Grove for Raindance. Visit raindance.org for more insightful coverage of the film industry. 

In the summer of 2013 I wrote How Filmmakers Build Twitter Authority in 15 Minutes A Day. I really would suggest you read it – there are some excellent basics that haven’t changed since then.

Now, however, the time commitment has jumped from 15 to 18 minutes, because there are a few more important channels for filmmakers to monitor. I know you are really busy. I realise you are probably working as a one-person-band. I know you are wondering how you can find nearly a third of a precious hour especially when an average consumer of social media devours three hours of content a day. If you’re a filmmaker, essentially running a small business, then really and truly finding 18 minutes is going to be tough – unless you have a plan.

First up is considering which social media platforms you (and your career or film) need to be on. Are you using social media to find investors? Or work? Or distribution for your film? Then you have to decide if you follow the same steps for each platform. Or do you react instinctively the minute you rock up onto the site?

In this sample plan we will go over the 6 major networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+ and Instagram. To help you plan out your time and to make your social media minutes count, I’m going to divide this into blocks, each dedicated to a different social media activity. Don’t worry if you go over the limit the first few times. Practice makes perfect, and after a few tries you should have adjusted to the rhythm and stopped wasting time on pointless and fruitless activity.

1. Engage (6 mins)

The people looking at your social media are the most important people you have. They represent, in old-fangled words, your audience. Your very first job is to engage with them no matter how much time it takes. Your audience are your potential film festival attendees, potential film crew or cast, and importantly financiers, be they industry or crowdfunding. Successful filmmakers have meaningful relationships with their audiences. Here’s how you pay intention (read: Engage) using a third of your daily 18 minutes.

YouTube: Look for and reply to comments on your videos.

LinkedIn: Check in to see who is now following you or who might have read any articles you have published. Look for comments that need a considered reply. Thank everyone for following or commenting on your stuff.

Twitter: Check your mentions to see who is interested in your tweets. Thank them where appropriate.

Google+: See who has joined your circle and thank them. Be on the lookout for anyone who has shared your content.

Instagram: Check your news feed to see if your pictures have been tagged by anyone – and then thank them. Make a note of any images you might want to use on your own account.

Facebook: Like posts shared by your followers and reply to any comments or questions.

2. Monitor (2 mins)

Having responded to all the people that have reached out to you, spend a couple of minutes to see what is happening on the various networks you are using. See if there is anything out there of interest to your followers. A great way to search for this is to set up a series of Google Alerts.

Hint: Check in a few times during the day to see if there is a hot or trending topic. Nothing makes you look cooler than a timely Tweet or FB message.

YouTube: The YouTube homepage is a great place to glance at to see if there is anything newsworthy or controversial you can pass along to your community.

LinkedIn: Have a look at LinkedIn Publisher to see if there is anything written by people you follow.

Twitter: Look at the search streams you have set up, or hashtags you monitor to see if there is anything worthy or amusing that pops up.

Google+: Check your notifications.

Instagram: See if there are any mentions of you or your projects.

Facebook: Browse your feed to see if there’s any film industry news or popular stories in your network.

3. Post (5 minutes)

As a filmmaker, you should always have something interesting to say. You should release this according to a plan: hourly, daily, weekly, etc. You will become known to your social media audience by your original content. Use this as a way to develop and create your unique voice.

YouTube: Your vlog or video is a great asset. Preparing a strategy for these visual elements will help cement your reputation as a filmmaker or storyteller. Don’t forget the huge advantages of the ‘making of’ videos that you can create quite effortlessly when shooting.

LinkedIn: Use the excellent Publisher tool.

Twitter: We use the 6-4-2 theory at Raindance. 6 posts direct people directly to our website, 4 are re-tweets of interesting tweets by our followers and 2 are direct calls to action: take this course or come to this screening.

Google+: Post or share an original piece of content.

Instagram: Post a picture per day.

Facebook: Post an original piece or share something from a source you admire and trust.

4. Analyse (2 minutes)

Having spent all this time creating and publishing content, you now try to analyse and see which content did the best. There are two routes to analysing content: One is to use professional analytics tools. At Raindance we use Hootsuite and Google Analytics. Or you can use the native analytical tools provided by the social networks you are using.

YouTube: This site has terrific built-in analytics you can use to track users, comments and, more importantly, money earned.

LinkedIn: The Analytics allows you to see how your posts are doing and visits to your profile.

Twitter: Twitter Analytics gives you the numbers of likes, new followers, RTs, link clicks and mentions.

Google+: Google Analytics is simply an awesome tool where you can monitor a vast number of stats over different social media platforms.

Instagram: Doesn’t really have a native analytics tool. You can use Iconosquare to see liked photos, daily and monthly growth and other engagement.

Facebook: Use Facebook Insights to see your audience by age, region, gender. You can look at the number of Likes and active users.

5. Schedule (3 minutes)

Nothing destroys an audience member’s trust in you quicker than the thought that your profiles are being managed by a robot. You need to be able to prove that you’re a real person. A follower who takes the time and effort to respond to you deserves far more than an automated message. There are times when a scheduler (like Hootsuite) can help you plan when the best time is to release your new content. After a few weeks you will start to get a sense of what times during the day your audience is more likely to respond to you.

YouTube: If you plan a new release, say weekly, you will start to build up followers.

LinkedIn: This platform is for content more serious in tone. For filmmakers, new ideas you have about monetising or financing your project will be treated with professional curiosity by LinkedIn users.

Twitter: Retweeting is a great way to build your audience. Carefully space out your messages. When RT-ing, make sure you include the @profile from your sources.

Google+: Share content that is relevant to you and your project(s).

Instagram: Use this platform to support social media where visuals aren’t so easily used. You can also use Instagram for behind the scenes pictures.

Facebook: Rich visuals work really well on Facebook. Create one or two per day.

Fade Out

It’s a lot of work to keep and maintain a social media profile. Done correctly, you’ll build a group of people interested in what you’re saying and doing. These are exactly the sorts of people that will support your festival screenings, your release dates, and even more importantly your crowdfunding ventures.

Hope this helps! And if you have any more ideas please crank them into the comments box below.

Posted on Feb 1, 2016

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