We as independent creators see it all the time. We go to panels and seminars around town and watch videos from conferences across the world, where big corporate movie studio pencil pushers in suits (jealous much?) attempt to give us, independent artists and creatives, advice about how to create effective social media campaigns for our own brands, on our own independent projects.
They talk about how they use big stars like Jonah Hill to answer phone calls from a “guerilla marketing” postering campaign that they create all over the country, the postering itself costing over hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although they are trying to be helpful, it tends to sound more like gloating to the majority of us.
And then when asked questions by moderators who understand the audience at hand, questions such as “What if you had no marketing money, or money at all, no celebrity stars to piggyback on either… what would you do then? What would you do to make sure this project sells? That you get butts in those seats?” Crickets. Nobody knows the answer. This is where we come in. The creators and writers of Moofaces know what’s it like to try to shoot a $10,000 project with $2,000. We know what it’s like to record an album in our Uncle’s Cousin’s Girlfriend’s basement using second hand equipment from eBay and Craigslist, soundproofing by taping pillows and blankets to the walls, recording in the closet with a blanket over our heads for quality sound going into a $300 microphone, which costs us our lunch money for a entire month. Trust me, we know.
So when it comes to marketing ourselves and our projects with little to no money, what CAN we do to actually make an impact? Of course, we can create a Facebook Fan Page, invite a bunch of friends to “Like” it, update it twice EVER, get 20 of those sought after “Likes”, and leave it at that, just letting it rot in interactive hell. Of course, we can create a band Twitter page and blast out a message about every show we have across town, hoping that maybe one of our 30 “followers”, half of which happen to be trying to sell us work-from-home schemes (not the true fans we were hoping for), will see that our show is coming up and actually BUY a ticket, not bum it off of us. But how effective is that?
Which is where a little well thought out strategy comes in. Here are some things to think about when creating an effective strategy for your creative projects using different social media outlets.
· IndieGoGo & Kickstarter: Crowdfunding is becoming a movement. During the IndieGoGo campaign for the feature film DYSFUNKTION, beyond allowing us to raise over $12,000 in funds, we created a significant amount of buzz by utilizing the site (10,000 hits to be exact), and we were even featured on their blog. These type of webpages allow you to begin creating a database of fans to speak to, a place where you can showcase materials related to your project to people who have actually invested into your dream. Buzz is the key to keeping people’s curiousity, just make sure you nurture that fanbase you create and keep them updated through the entire process. And how better to do that than utilizing other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
· Twitter: A great strategy to create buzz is by supporting other projects in order to support your own. Not only will you be exposed to what other people out in the world are doing, but you can communicate their message to your fans, and quite commonly, the favor will be returned. The Deadheads feature film (@deadheadsmovie on Twitter) is an excellent example of how to play with twitter in a way that makes sense. Besides broadcasting information about the film and anything related, they actively communicate with their niche audience: Horror Zombie Movie Fans. They even created “character” twitter accounts so that you can communicate with them and learn more about the characters, which was done, obviously, with zero dollars. Sometimes it’s just a matter of actually having conversations with likeminded people; my partner Director Jeff Reyes @Echosworld and myself @TheMenaceDenis are constantly creating and holding conversations with a very tight niche of the Music Video niche (usually artists and fans). Find out who your fans are, even if they don’t know it yet, and actively communicate with them, and create actual friends. Which brings me to my next example…..
· Facebook: Your Family & Friends are your Biggest Fans. Yes, it’s true. They may tell you that you are crazy and will never make it, as well as the occasional pat on the back, but they are also the ones that will most effectively share your vision and amplify your message with an audience that will actually listen: THEIR friends. The six degrees to Kevin Bacon actually exists, and you never know if a friend of a friend is a potential fan, so don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends to help you with your mission. Remember, they’re the same ones that let you record that album in their basement while they were out of town.
· Tumblr: Genius. A blogging platform for those who don’t have the time, but still want to express their ideas to the world. It’s a great way to supplement the work you put out, because this is not about writing a 500 word essay every time you blog; it’s about showing your fans and followers what you’re interests are, as well as creating new followers quite easily. Doing simple things such as “liking” and commenting on other posts that you search are not only nice, but favorable to create new followers since that user’s followers see your name at the bottom of the post. Searching terms that are similar to the concepts that you are pushing with your project will bring about like-minded individuals, without taking too much time out of your day. One simple rule: content is key. Keep it fresh, keep it new, keep it interesting. Photos behind the scenes, new video releases, a personal invite flyer to your new art show in town. You know what we mean.
· Which brings us to Moofaces. What better way to connect with other creatives and start conversations about your projects and other projects than to use Moofaces? We shouldn’t think of other creators as our competition, but as our supporters, our friends, our collective. Utilizing the site to create conversations will only further your creative marketing efforts. Collaboration is the key to optimum success, and although we all may butt heads at times, we know that when we make magic together, it’s beautiful.