Social Media for #Filmmakers: Twitter 101

By Jasmine Teran / Online Community Coordinator

So you’re an indie filmmaker. You’ve barely scraped enough money from your day job, your crowd-funding campaign, your parents—we won’t judge—to shoot your movie, and now you’re expected to take on yet another job title to get people to watch it? Well… yes. Welcome to the world of being a 21st century independent filmmaker(/producer/editor/publicist).

As Film Independent’s community coordinator, I’ve been privy to numerous tactics used by filmmakers to sell and promote projects. Some stand out, some make a great effort and some just don’t make sense. While it’s tough to build an audience without a budget, free promotion opportunities are definitely not something to be flippant about. It’s more than creating a Facebook page with one lonely film still — if that’s all you’re willing to do, best to save your internet-breath.

Social media has become a viable tool for creating an audience and it should be considered as such. The good news is, anyone can enter the school of social media. There’s homework involved to get a good grade, but the results might just change your film’s life.

Some Advice On Twitter:

✓ Make your account identifiable and easy to find. If at all possible, stay away from the film’s initials. Use the title and add Movie or Film if you need to.

✓ Include a link to your film’s official website in your Twitter bio, and include a link back to your Twitter account on your website (if you aren’t able to create a full-featured website, try Tumblr; it’s an easy-to-use platform that will let you create a blog and other essential pages).

✓ Respond to folks who engage with you. No one likes a one-sided conversation. Thank a follower for a retweet or for mentioning you – you may have a fan for life.

✓ Send ready-to-publish tweets when asking another account to promote your project. This helps both the community manager (by not making them do a ton of research on your film) and you (by telling potential audiences exactly what YOU want to tell them).

✓ Be gracious if an account cannot accommodate the request to promote your project. Companies, brands and websites often receive a ton of requests for retweets and posts, and it may not be practical to say yes to every one.

✓ Cross-posting is boring. Don’t post the same information, in the same words, at the same time across all your social media platforms. If you’re not willing to create varied content, you can’t ask too much of the medium and the audience. Switch up the schedule, use a tailored message or just create more content. This will attract more attention and gain followers on all of your accounts.

✓ Know Twitter before you tweet. Did you know that you can schedule your tweets? That using one or two (but not three) #hashtags increases your retweets? That when you start a tweet with a @username, only the people who follow both you and that user can see it? The internet is your friend. Don’t be afraid to take some time to get acquainted with the platform — you can start with Twitter’s own guide for businesses (and if you’re promoting a film, that includes you!).

✓ Some films that are doing it right:

For more on how to publicize your film, check out our workshop at the end of this month: Publicizing Your Film at Festivals.


April 16th, 2013 • 5 Comments

5 Responses to “Social Media for #Filmmakers: Twitter 101”

  1. Heidi Haaland
    April 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Great and timely tips.

  2. April 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Great, succinct post. I work in social TV, doing community management for TV networks. I’d add the following:

    – Post engaging content that begins a conversation, and then actively participate in that conversation.
    – Reach out directly to influencers on Twitter (how many followers do they have?) in order to begin conversations with the most relevant people who could then RT and promote your film to their followers.
    – Be conscious of the soft sell; hard sells (“watch my film!”) aren’t always appropriate and are likely to be tuned out. Though, a mix of the two is ideal.
    – Twitter is a “conversational” medium; treat it as such.
    – To your point about varying content, learn how your fans/followers use Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. Most people treat them differently, so it’s important to be aware of this upon creating content.
    – Frequency of posts and when you post them are also considerations (no overkill–you’ll just spam people’s timelines and that will piss them off!). Weekend posts tend to do best.
    – Take advantage of relevant trending topics.
    – Tweets and Facebook posts with images tend to do well. (Videos on Facebook don’t.)
    – It’s important to do social listening and participate in existing conversations that make sense. It shows relevancy. This should be done organically and not feel forced.

    • Jasmine
      April 16, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks for the additions, Daniel! All super helpful. Definitely agree on the idea that Twitter is conversational, since after all it was created for people to use, not companies exclusively. :)

  3. April 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I have a reality show, “I Never Repeat A Joke.” It’s been 3 years; 51 shows @ 27 comedy venues across Chicago. I was told by one studio if my web series reaches 1 million visitors they will offer me a TV contract. Right now everything is out of pocket.

    • sorens anna
      April 23, 2013 at 12:35 am

      I bring them 10 millions what contract is it?:-)

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