If you’re like me, you’re a filmmaker struggling to balance your creative projects with a full-time day job. Or maybe you’re a filmmaker struggling to balance the fun part of your creative projects (actually making them) with the not so fun parts (everything else). In any case, you either hate marketing or just don’t have time to commit to it fully. Unfortunately, marketing is a necessary part of any digital filmmaker’s workflow, so to make the most of your limited time, below are 10 things you can do if you only have 10 minutes to dedicate to promotion.
1. Schedule a week’s worth of tweets
Using a tool like Tweetdeck, Buffer, Hootsuite, or any number of other social media scheduling tools, it’s easy to bulk-write and schedule updates, and 10 minutes is plenty of time for a full week of not worrying about it! Averaging 2 tweets a day for 7 days, that’s 2 FULL minutes per tweet, otherwise known as “plenty of time”!
If you’re stuck for what kinds of things to post, check out this handy guide, or just copy and paste old updates that’re still relevant, like review pleas for your Stareable page or reminders for upcoming premieres or events.
2. Queue 15 posts on Tumblr
Not everyone uses Tumblr to promote their series (read this post to see if it’s right for you), but if you have an account, an easy way to keep your account full is to set up a queue, which is Tumblr’s version of scheduling posts (you can also schedule posts on Tumblr, but it doesn’t really work so you’re better off just queuing).
The default setting is for queued posts to publish to your account twice a day in between the hours of 12am and 12pm, but depending on how active you want your blog to be, you can increase the number of publishing times per day. My personal Tumblr, for instance, publishes queued posts five times a day, spaced out at regular intervals so no matter when a follower logs on to their dashboard, I’ll probably have a fairly recent post for them to see. Access these settings by clicking the person icon at the top of your dashboard and selecting your blog’s name, then adding “/queue” to the end of the URL from there.
Best practices on Tumblr, more so than for almost any other social platform, is to primarily reblog/post content from sources other than yourself. I’ve written about curating a thematically linked blog before, but as an example, my BrainsWebseries Tumblr, used for promoting my zombie web series, reblogs content thematically related, like cooking video tutorials making brain-shaped food, classic zombie movie posters, funny zombie comics from different artists, and GIFs from old George Romero films.
As such, it’s super easy to queue a bunch of posts in your theme/genre all at once. When you click an existing post to reblog, instead of hitting the blue “reblog” button, click the arrow next to “reblog” and select “add to queue.” The button will transform into “queue” and you can click that, sending the posts to your queue without you having to do anything else. You should be able to add 15 posts to your queue in 10 minutes no problem, which will keep your feed full and thriving. In turn, you’re more likely to attract followers of that kind of content, which means they’ll be primed the next time you promote your OWN work on your blog.
3. Save 2 audience segments in Facebook
Facebook is a garbage website that exists to sell our souls to the highest bidder, but it’s also still very much a necessary evil for promoting your content. Hurry up and kill it, Generation Z!
Until then, sometimes you’re going to need to “boost” your Facebook page posts to increase eyes on your project, and in order to get the biggest bang for your hard-earned buck, you need to define your audience. Facebook allows you to save and name audience segments so you don’t have to enter the same demographic info in every time you want to pay Facebook to let anyone see your posts, and while this is obviously a way for Facebook to more easily procure your money, it’s also a huge time saver.
Plus, you shouldn’t be promoting your content to the same audience each time, especially if you’re a web series creator whose episodes might vary slightly in length, tone, and theme. One week you might want to promote an episode to young LGBT+ folks who like horror movies, and the next week you might try reaching the 35-60 crowd because the episode deals more with a parental perspective. To save yourself time in the future as well as to critically examine your own audience assumptions, add two new audience segments to your Facebook page for your 10-minute sprint!
To save an audience segment, press the “boost” button on a random post (you don’t have to actually purchase anything at this time) then hit “create new audience.” From here you’ll be led through a bunch of different fields to whittle your different audience segments down to their most niche, which will help stretch your advertising dollar further.
4. Take 20 new screenshots from your show
Posts across social media do better with an image attached, and be honest, you’ve probably been using the same 5 screenshots for the past year. Scrub through some of your past (or in progress) episodes for some fresh visuals!
(hint- if you have 20 minutes, combine this with tip #1)
5. Make 5-10 GIFs
Another way to make your posts stand out on social media is to make your own custom GIFs! I use Giphy, but there are tons of GIF-making tutorials and programs out there you can use.
GIF best practices:
- Try to keep the file sizes under 2MB, otherwise they won’t appear animated on social media. On Giphy, my trick for this is to make sure each GIF I make is less than 2.5 seconds.
- Pick a moment to GIF where the camera is stiller, otherwise it’ll make people motion sick to watch it loop
- Find “reaction” moments that you can use to respond to other posts. Example:
Mic potato drop.
6. Go live for 10 minutes
Almost every social media app or platform has a live video option, and in a lot of cases, people who follow your account or page will get an automatic alert if you decide to try it out. Spend 10 minutes either answering questions from your audience or updating people on your project’s progress. You can go live from anywhere, but if you can go somewhere visually interesting like a park or on a rooftop, even better!
7. Follow similar shows on your preferred social media account
I can’t count the number of followers and fans I’ve gained simply because I follow web series accounts with similar genres or tones from my web series accounts on Twitter. People love new followers, and unless they’re a legit A-list celebrity, they’ll look at your account briefly for their own validation. If you’re a show obviously similar to theirs, they might even follow you back and check out your content!
8. Cyberstalk a fellow show for a press lead
If you’ve already done idea #7, pick one show that’s been around a bit longer than you, or is a bit more successful, and go through their feed. More than likely, they’ll have posted about a piece of press coverage they’ve gotten, either an interview, a feature, or even just a shout out in a larger article. These outlets are almost certainly also good places for you to reach out to, since you’re a similar kind of show. Pick the one that looks like the best fit (or the first you see) and send them a press release, citing the other content to prove you A. read their outlet and B. aren’t just randomly reaching out in a desperate plea for attention. They won’t realize A and B are lies, and you just potentially made a new press contact! If you’ve already written a press release, this shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. If you’re especially quick, you might even send out two or three before your 10 minutes are up!
9. RSVP to upcoming local screenings, events, and networking opportunities
There’s nothing like in-person marketing, especially when you’re still relatively unknown. Browse a site like Meetup, or check our event calendar, and RSVP to a few events! This will give you an idea of the opportunities in your area and get in-person marketing into your schedule.
10. Engage with the Stareable Creator Community
Do not just post a promotional post as a new thread.
I will delete it and send you this message: “Hi there! Welcome to the community! We don’t allow solo self-promotion posts, but every Friday we have a post like this: “Shameless Self Promo Thread: April 6th, 2018” that you should hop on!”
However, avoiding link-spamming will be more fruitful for you anyways. Ways to engage with the community and promote yourself while also not getting banned:
- Introduce yourself in this thread. We literally ask for links to your projects!
- Answer a question asked by another filmmaker. If you can work in an example from your show into your answer and also be genuinely helpful, boom! Two birds!
- Pitch me (firstname.lastname@example.org) an article idea (or article series) you’d like to write for Stareable Film School. Browse through that category to see the types of things I’m looking for!
- Jump in on a Teach Me Tuesday thread (new every Tuesday morning!)- these are designed to let all kinds of filmmakers share their own strategies and lessons, and often lead to natural promotion opportunities
If you have more than ten minutes to spare, check out all these other great marketing posts we have! Otherwise, share YOUR favorite quickie marketing hacks in the comments!