Showtime: Our best advice for marketing movies (and more)

We’ve written- and spoken- about movie marketing several times over the years, so we wanted to put all of our best advice together for easy access. This advice isn’t just for movie marketers either; you can apply the basic strategies to your own brand and industry. Sometimes the best inspiration comes from an unexpected place!

And, as always, if you have any questions you can find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

The lesson: Smart reliance on social proof via UGC

We discussed this recently with Netflix’s marketing strategy and it’s one a lot of movie marketers can learn from: Nurturing and encouraging user-generated content (UCG) around your production means that content spreads more confidently through viewer networks. Social proof via social media is one of the most powerful forms of marketing; a viewer’s friends and acquaintances have similar taste, so they’re more likely to check out a film- or anything else- their network is raving about vs one they just happen to see a random advertisement for. Netflix knows this and trusts in it and it pays off very well for them.

UGC doesn’t mean your brand has to give up control over your image either since it can certainly be monitored and curated, with your brand only amplifying the best of it back through your own network. Just never try to suppress negative opinions; that can only ever backfire for your brand.

The lesson: Carefully chosen influencer campaigns

Influencer marketing is hot for a reason: We want to be like the people we admire, even if that’s just buying a product they love or seeing a movie they’re working on a project in conjunction with. Tapping the right influencer for your brand can make the difference between a big section of your target audience checking out your latest release or deciding to skip it.

As we discussed in another recent movie marketing post, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children teamed up with a wildly popular influencer in the world of peculiar art to both convince fans of the original book series that Tim Burton’s new film strikes the right tone, as well as tap into artist Christine McConnell’s existing dedicated fanbase. Those who aren’t familiar with the books or interested in Tim Burton productions are much more motivated to check out something their favorite artist is involved with a project on.

Miss Peregrine movie influencer
via Christine McConnell on Instagram

Just be sure to choose an influencer who aligns with your brand values and that you both follow full rules of disclosure per the FTC. For more information on how to run an influencer campaign without incurring the wrath of the FTC, read this piece from Marketing Dive.

The lesson: Turn your brand into a mini-movie producer

Video marketing is one of the hottest content formats right now, especially as platforms like Facebook promote different forms of it over other media. Take advantage by figuring out what kind of video content your brand can produce (yes even you, movie producers), all the way up to short films if you’ve got the resources for it.

Marriott has produced two short action films and has a third on the way, cleverly tying their properties and brand values into them without hitting the viewer over the head with one long product placement piece. If your brand’s resources are more limited, consider other video formats- like Facebook 360 or Live, Snapchat or Instagram Stories plus Boomerang and Hyperlapse- and start experimenting to see what resonates with your audience.

Movie marketers can use these other video formats to promote films across platforms, translating movie moments into whichever form works best in each place for the exact audience being targeted.

Bonus: Marketing like the movies (without the studio budget)

While a lot of things have changed in both the film industry and with social media marketing since 2013 when Co-Founder Jenn Deering Davis gave this talk at SXSW V2V, there are also still plenty of applicable takeaways.

  • Publish content exhaust across social: Anything behind-the-scenes that might seem mundane to you in your day-to-day, but that your audience can use to help understand your process and feel more connected to your project and/or brand is perfect content for your social feeds, especially more informal options like Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
  • Hashtags: Clever, branded hashtags are still a great way to get your audience to participate in a specific conversation and for you to more easily track it across platforms. Choose yours wisely; make sure it isn’t already in use and doesn’t have a second meaning that doesn’t align with your brand (like spam or brand-inappropriate slang).
  • Social advertising: Choose wisely and spend time crafting promoted content that ties back into your organic content, across platforms. Tweak content for each place.
  • Tap into your audience in several different ways: UGC can come in the form of contests, promoting audience fan art or reviews, and so much more. Curate and amplify what makes sense for your brand.
  • Post in character: Even if you don’t have popular movie characters to create social accounts for, you can create one with your brand’s mascot or create another character-type personality who can speak for your brand across social. Alternatively, tap specific employees to present across social as a face of your brand that customers, fans and followers can interact with.

And the biggest takeaway of all? Actually listen to your audience and engage in conversation with them. They’ll always let you know what their feelings are, and while those feelings may not be the best next moves for your brand, they might be able to help inspire what your next brand-appropriate move is.

Need help listening so you can respond in kind? Our Social Suite is perfect for doing just that across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.

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Featured image via Unsplash