Want to guerrilla market your own film? This post proposes 3 (easy?) steps every filmmaker should consider:
1) CREATE A FACEBOOK FAN PAGE FOR YOUR FILM
2) PUT THE LINK TO YOUR FACEBOOK FAN PAGE EVERYWHERE
3) OFFER "FAN-ONLY" CONTENT ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE
Before we get into the details of each step, here's a short video that explains (in general) how to get a lot of fans for your Facebook Page - and why getting a lot of these "likes" can make your marketing job much easier when it comes time to sell your film:
Now let's examine each of the 3 steps.
1) CREATE A FACEBOOK FAN PAGE FOR YOUR FILM:
If the eerily-silent instruction video from Facebook (above) doesn't help, here's a link to an easy step-by-step guide to setting up a Facebook page from Mashable.
But why bother with a Facebook Page? Maybe you already have a blog and a twitter account for your film. Isn't adding a Facebook Page redundant, expensive and time-consuming?
First, it's free and relatively easy. And second (and this is crucial), once people start liking your film's Facebook Page, you can post to their News Feed - and (with luck) their friends will see that they "like" your Page. In other words, "as you post updates to your Page's Wall, or as Fans interact with your Page, these interactions appear in the Fan's News Feed, reaching even more potential Fans (i.e., your Fan's Facebook Friends), making Facebook the ultimate opt-in, permission-based marketing tool available online today." In addition, you can use Facebook to communicate with fans (anyone who's liked your Page) in highly targeted communications. You can send messages to Fans all at once or target individuals or groups by country, state, city, gender, and even age range. For example, after users "like" your Facebook Page, you can alert just those fans in Ohio that there is a screening coming in Columbus.
So Facebook Pages offer very powerful tools for growing and communicating with your audience - but you've got to convince people to like your page first.
2) PUT THE LINK TO YOUR FACEBOOK FAN PAGE EVERYWHERE: To maximize the number of likes for your Facebook Page: Put the Facebook URL for your Page on all your materials. For example, link to your Facebook Fan Page on your website or blog and put a link to your Facebook Fan Page at the end of every blog post (i.e., make it part of your "signature"). Also put the Facebook URL on your business cards and printed promotional materials.
3) OFFER "FAN-ONLY" CONTENT: One great way of making sure that visitors to your Facebook Page "like" it? Offer "fan-only" content. This offer of fan-only content is sometimes called "fan gating" and it's a powerful way (used by many brands) to create a relationship with fans on Facebook that can help to spread the word about your film in several meaningful ways:
You may have seen messages on Facebook that encourage new visitors to like a page in return for coupons or other exclusive content..
But a really savvy filmmaker can use "fan gating" to offer "fan-only" motion picture content on their film's Facebook landing Page that can act as powerful marketing tool for your longer film.
Using fan gating you can create a Page that first-time visitors see, where they are encouraged to "like" your Page - and in return they'll gain access to premium content: For example, fans who like your Page Get to watch special video content.
Of course this means you'll have to create that special content (perhaps a short video) and do a bit of coding to create that custom interface (see the 10 apps that will help you to build a custom Facebook Page info below). But research shows that content that is reachable on your Facebook Page only after the viewer has "liked" your Page is a powerful lure.
That's essentially what author Tim Ferriss did with a chapter of his book:
Now that you know the 3 easy steps for building an audience through a Facebook Page, here are some links that might help you to build a great landing page that includes special video content...
Social Media Examiner has identified 10 apps that will help you to build a custom Facebook Page. Even though it's a little pricey (free 30 day trial then $35 per month), I like emarketeer - for the ease in creating custom Facebook Pages from their templates and for the tolls for building fan gates.
If you want to try a free app first, here is a video from iwipa that shows how to create a custom fan page using their tools:
Once you've set up a custom Page with iwipa (I found using the tools a chore) you can make content accessible only after a user has "liked" your Page.
The fan gate may not be ideal for every film on Facebook (see below), but you can try out creating a fan gate (the industry term for allowing access only after someone has agreed to become a fan) using iFrames and see how it works. Basically, iFrames allows you to bring a webpage (web-style content) into your Facebook page and that content can be reserved behind a "gate" that users open by "liking" your page.
Some social media experts caution that fan gates might discourage some potential customers - or draw in fans who don't really "like" your page but were curious about the content behind the gate. I suspect that if your content is truly engaging - fans won't mind a fan gate for your indie film - and drawing in some low-interest fans doesn't really harm you.
Ultimately, you'll have to be the judge of whether all this effort is worth it.
If, at the end of your campaign, you've gathered a lot of likes that will help you when it comes time to target the marketing of your film... it will all seem worhtwhile.
Please remember, you'll need to create attractive content for your Page and you'll need to experiment to see what format works best for you. For example, standard pictures to identify your Facebook page are (by default) square and (even if you choose to get in and do some coding with iwipa) it seems like images should be no larger than 810 pixels wide.