With Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at the disposal of most everyone with a computer and/or a smart phone, there is no excuse for Hollywood to not use this to their advantage and marketing campaigns. “The internet is filled with clearly defined groups and fandoms that frequently overlap. 20 years ago, marketing a brand new sci-fi film could take significant market research to determine where and when to market it. Social media groups, categories, and hashtags allow you to specifically target a particular demographic with similar interests. The process is the same — connect to your audience and provide compelling content for them to share.” (HuffPo). Netflix is a pro at this technique. They engage with fans and post fun interactive content almost daily, so you can retweet or share it with your friends on Facebook as soon as that new trailer drops.
With social media, you can track all the “conversations” people are having about it, so you can accurately see how popular the content you’ve created is. Even if a certain trailer is highly disliked on YouTube, you can use social media to track the positive conversations and not just the trolls on the internet who are skewing the results. When Disney-Lucasfilm tweeted the first official poster image showing the title of the new Star Wars movie, it “generated an impressive 159,000 new conversations last week as the studio announced its official title and released a teaser poster on Jan. 23, followed by a set image on the following day” (Variety).
Social Media can even be used to revolutionize the media itself. British student Trim Lamba used Snapchat to create a 7 minute short film on his story complete with emoji’s and an actress to create the narrative. People are using their Snapchat and Instagram to create a unique cinematic and artistic experience, like what happened with YouTube when it first came out in 2005. There is no excuse for the industry to not take advantage of all the different platforms of content creative to reach all types of viewers and fans – “”The digital world has democratised the ways we produce and consume content,” Lamba said. “I would encourage other filmmakers to engage with it. This experimental style of filmmaking challenges our conception of what we deem ‘cinematic’ — an idea that should intrigue and propel us all.”” (Mashable)
Creators of content have even started using YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to cast their content. Director Jon Chu is using those platforms to cast his new film Crazy Rich Asians. The casting call reads “From January 19th to February 10th, social media users are invited to post a video of themselves to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube with the hashtag #CrazyRichAsiansCasting for a chance to be part of the film. The focus of the casting search is people 18 and older who are able to play Chinese-Singaporean or Asian characters – whether aspiring actors, unique personalities, fans of the book or simply those excited to try something new. Entrants will be asked to provide some basic personal info, read for a brief scene, and, most of all, have fun.” (InqPOP) This film is being distributed by Warner Bros, so this is not an independent film in anyway, and is a great example of using these amazing tools to find new talent and create a stellar film.
Social Media a solid tool, but big companies and brands still need to work on how they use it. In the past month of so, big brands have misused social media and over-hyped announcements to the disappoint of their fans. (Hypable) Harry Potter launched a whole Instagram account teasing something exciting – only to reveal it was just a new tour at the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour. When it comes to announcements, the why it is announced should match the content. A new tour could have just used a day before tweet with a related picture hinting at it, or just even telling the fans straight-forwardly. There is a science to social media, and these brands should hire people who know there way around the internet and the fans. Used effectively, social media could make a difference in the way films are marketed and created. It can even change the way a brand is viewed – evident during the Super Bowl with marketers using humanity and social justice to get people to support and buy (The Guardian). The world is changing and Hollywood can either adapt or be left behind.