I Hate Marketing is a new weekly Stareable Film School column, where we’ll talk about how to make marketing easier, even for those of us who hate it.
Like I mentioned in my last column, there is “no universe in the multiverse where making seven unique social media accounts for your show at once will make sense or yield the most successful results in your marketing strategy.”
Especially if you, like me, hate marketing, starting a billion profiles is just going to overwhelming. So start with one, then expand.
But which one should you choose? Let’s go through the most popular.
Facebook is where most people already are and pretty consistently check. You already have a community there (your friends/family) who already (probably) like you and want to support your stuff. Everyone understands Facebook, even your grandparents, so it’s probably the safest place to start. Because there isn’t a character limit, you can also use a Facebook page in place of an official website, at least at first.
Facebook Events are also a great way to organize the goings-on of your project, and you can use them for everything from live watch-parties, screenings, film festivals, to release dates. Jason Ryan @JasonRyan, creator of Real Adult Feelings, made a new Facebook Event for every episode release of his series, and though he admits it might have been a little annoying for friends and family, “it increased visibility like whoa.”
Plus, Facebook has a pretty easy ad process to boost posts for gaining likes and expanding your reach. An important caveat, though: while you can pay for views and likes, getting actual engagement through Facebook ads (link clicks, comments, and shares) isn’t as straightforward, and those are the interactions that you’ll want to cultivate in the long run.
Start with Facebook if:
- Facebook is already your primary social media hub
- You can’t afford a website
- You don’t plan on updating more than once or twice a week
- Your show isn’t releasing episodes yet but you want to build a following
Twitter is immediate. The timeline algorithm doesn’t bog down new posts as much so you have a greater chance of being seen. Plus, lots of web series stuff is already happening on Twitter (like #WebSeriesChat every Wednesday!), and getting in on that community is going to be helpful when you need to expand your marketing reach. We look out for each other there. If Facebook is for friends and family, Twitter is for networking.
Posting multiple times in a day is also less annoying on Twitter than any other platform, which gives you more flexibility to get the information about your show out there and increase your odds of getting noticed.
Start with Twitter if:
- You spend your work days at a computer and can keep a tab open to Twitter
- You’re interested in networking with other filmmakers
- You’re comfortable with/planning on posting more than 3 updates or pieces of content a week
Shows about food, travel, fashion, or really visual elements will fit right in on Instagram. Cultivating an aesthetic for your show will draw people in, and as soon as you have actual episodes to share, you’ll have already grown an audience that’s a fan of your show’s look. Another idea is making well-designed quote images from your show- they’re very shareable, as pointed out by this article.
The only drawback with Instagram is that the only place you can add a link is your profile, so make sure you have either a consistently-updated YouTube playlist or an official show website as your bio link.
Start with Instagram if:
You have a dedicated (or uber-talented team member) designer or photographer
A considerable portion of your marketing plan is your show’s aesthetic
You have enough photos or designed quotes formatted for square dimensions to post four to five times a week for several months without repeating any
Tumblr is a microblogging platform best used for GIFs and easily shareable text, image, or video posts. If your show features underrepresented character types, especially LGBT+ characters, Tumblr will embrace it.
In the same way as you would on any other site, cultivate a blog thematically similar to your show. My show was about zombies, so to this day, in addition to posting episodes and BTS photos and GIFs of my web series, I also reblog other zombie-related content from popular shows like iZombie and Z Nation as well as any art tagged as “brains.” This strategy has gotten us 1857 followers on there, so it’s safe to say it’s working out pretty well.
Start with Tumblr if:
- You’re already familiar with Tumblr and how it works
- Your show prominently features a fandom (like Harry Potter, TV shows like Doctor Who, Sherlock, Supernatural, or other nerdy properties)
- Your show prominently features a diverse cast (including leading LGBT+ characters, characters of color, non-binary or trans characters, neurodivergent characters, etc)
- Your show’s genre/topic makes curating a thematic and visual blog easy (example: horror monsters like zombies and vampires, travel, food, etc)
For best practices and do’s and don’ts on each of these sites, check out this article.
Remember that no matter what platform you start on, make sure you’re not JUST promoting your own show. Interact with other series, share cool things that are relevant to your intended audience, and make your social media a place people want to follow not just for your upcoming series, but for your aesthetic and your sensibilities. Next week, we’ll talk about what, specifically, you can be posting to your new (or existing) accounts.