If you want to do social media you need to engage your target audience and treat them intelligently. That was the overriding message at a sold-out Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) crowd at a media workshop on “How To Do Social Media.” It was sponsored by the International Cinematographers Union Local 600, Hollywood, CA.
“It is possible to measure ROI,” but according to Panelist Sally Falkow, Expansion Plus, “Campaigns take four to six weeks of research and strategy and can cost from several thousand dollars to millions. “We don’t go by retainer, but more by the project, because it really depends upon how much time is involved and how long your project runs,” she said.
Falkow was joined by a handful of social media experts, who offered tips and resources on “How To Do Social Media.”
“Movie fans and visitors love behind the scenes marketing of movies,” said Vice President Wayne Bennett of MOVIESET (www.movieset.com), which is based in Vancouver, B.C. The free membership site helps market movies via images, on-the-set interviews and constant blogging. Bennet, a 20 year TV and movie production veteran, uses his social media skills to assist television production and publicity departments.
“You have to type what’s going on behind the camera for fans all over the world,” Bennett explained. “It might be the director of photography on how he lit the shot, or in the case of Peter Jackson in King Kong, before Facebook, YouTube and Twitter; he was literally posting photos of prop guys, costume fittings with actors, on the scene location scouts activities and video blogs. Jackson built this buzz that topped a million fans, who were already engaged in the process and the movie by the time he finished it for distribution.”
The panel also briefly talked about Widgets, which can be placed on a site or blog, allowing interaction with the visitor without leaving the site. For example: the Red Cross might have a widget on a blog, where you can donate directly to Haiti earthquake victims.
Panelists also recommended the funneling all your social media sites such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter on one portal such as http://www.tweetdeck.com, where you can organize your feeds and tweets.
“Nonprofit organizations do not tell there story very well,” said President Larry Eason, DotOrgpower, Los Angeles. The digital strategy and communications firm helps dot orgs harness the web and new media to achieve their goals. He works with cause leaders to expand their sense of what is possible Online. He claims to be an evangelist for the power of Online story-telling to move the public, donors and influentials. “You need to treat your audiences intelligently when telling your stories,” explained Eason.
Eason pioneered the use of new media for the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) starting a first-of-its-kind in-house media center, which was acquired by Virilion where he worked with cause and corporate clients such as eBay and Georgetown University.
“You need to target your community groups, mobile interaction, action platforms, and set your goal,” said Mac McLean, Click Communications, North Hollywood, CA. “Before forming Click Communications in May, 2007, McLean handled theatrical promotions, worked at a national advertising agency and did publicity for major studios.
Some panelists noted that 60 percent of the marketing campaigns are spent on social media strategy versus 40 percent on PR and Marketing. “It is one more layer of client management, but for a restaurant the goal is to get people in the door,” said Caroline Rustigian Bruderer, CEO of K-LINE 7 Co., Orange County.
While everyone thought the best way to market your film is social networking and the best marketing tool is Facebook with more than 400 million users other tactics surface.
“Every movie or TV project has a core audience, and the Internet is the most strategic way to get to those people,” explained MOVIESET’S Bennett. “This allows you to do the EPK and other advertising much later. The concept is Production is the new Promotion, and the sooner you engage your audience the sooner they are going to grab onto it, and follow the different phases to the point where you get to your last news release or airing. There will be much more information that surfaces to the top of Google than there would be in putting out a short release over six weeks.”
Entertainment companies and filmmakers are leveraging the power of social media by marketing their films to international audiences and building loyal audiences and communities around their work.
Another tactic mentioned are RSS feeds, which in layman’s terms stands for real simple syndication or officially “rich site summary for delivering regularly changing web content. All agreed that to increase web traffic PR pros need an RSS feed on their client’s website or blog to whoever subscribes or wants the content.