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.
Welcome to week 4! Below is a long and yet somehow still inexhaustive list of ideas for what to post on social media when it doesn’t come naturally for you. I’ve split these suggestions into three sections: visual ideas (what to do with images and video footage), textual ideas (text-based tips), and reshare ideas (content you can share that originated elsewhere).
Absolutely release bloopers at some point, and remember that you don’t have to wait until the end of the season. Make a series of bloopers, maybe taking one or two episodes worth at a time and releasing them in between episodes. This way, you don’t have to worry about spoilers AND you get to triple the number of videos you can release.
To hype up your season or show, release 10-30 second teasers to drive interest. You should upload these natively (directly) to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, because just sharing the same YouTube link isn’t as effective on third party sites. Native video is always treated better by websites in search results and sharing.
In addition to the teasers, you should also have at least one official trailer to hype up potential audiences before your show goes live.
Behind the scenes photos
No spoilers! But like I mentioned in the set yourself up for success column, a robust collection of behind the scenes photos will always be welcome. Give them vague captions and tag the cast and crew who appear in them for a greater chance of re-share value.
Even if your collection of BTS (behind-the-scenes) photos isn’t huge, you have an endless supply of screenshots you can share while you’re editing. You can go two ways with this- catch actors with silly looks on their faces (with their permission, of course!) for a more humorous post, or alternatively find particularly dynamic frames to show exactly what audiences have to look forward to.
If a particular actor or crew member has a lighter day on set, consider handing over the account to them to control, letting them document the process in real time for fans and followers. This would be great for a Snapchat or Instagram story idea, plus live-tweeting a day on set is always fun. Passing around the account will give you a variety of different perspectives and expand your show’s overall reach and appeal, too.
#TBT or #FBF
Common hashtags on both Twitter and Instagram are the retrospective ones, like #TBT (take back Tuesday) and #FBF (flashback Friday), and they’re really easy to schedule ahead of time, especially if you’ve already got a season under your belt, or just a bunch of good photos from production. Make sure in each one, you use the appropriate hashtag as well as a link to watch the show, then schedule like thirty of those bad boys all at once. BOOM. Consistent content for thirty weeks.
Cast a new actor? Hire a new crew member? A cast/crew member get cast or crewed on a new, exciting project? Is it someone’s birthday? Make a post about it! You can also do a weekly “appreciation” post, to highlight a new member of the cast or crew each week, which dually gives you something to post and puts the spotlight on the tireless heroes along for your crazy web series ride.
If you’re selected for a festival, or, better yet, you’ve won an award at a festival, post about it! Best practice is to incorporate the new laurel on a high-quality screenshot or poster. The laurel itself is cool, but putting it on a representative image of your show will brand it and make it clear that your show means business. Bonus: particularly for a festival win, try and make a unique laurel/image combo for each principal cast member, then send them out. Actors will always prefer sharing a promotional image that they’re prominently featured in over a more generic one.
You should definitely make a poster for your show, even if it’s entirely text/graphic based (instead of a photograph). Once you’ve done so, share it! And if you did a photoshoot for said poster, share some of the outtakes! Better yet, if you’re stuck between two designs or two images, put it to a vote!
Promo images with a purpose
Once you have a release date, make a series of similarly-designed/branded announcement images with the relevant details (show name, release date, URL to find it). You can then schedule these every other day, to lead up to the show. Encourage actors to share the promo images they’re featured in, instead of insisting they share every single post. This way, they don’t feel taken advantage of, their feeds remain their own, and you don’t overwhelm anyone.
Announcements of progress or changes
This one is pretty simple, so I’m listing it first: obviously, any time you have an announcement relating to the show (you’ve picked a release date, you’re started or wrapped production, you have a new website, etc), post about it! You should try to have a photo for every post, but sometimes, if it’s a simple check-in post, it’s fine if it’s entirely text.
Polls thematically linked to your show
Both Facebook AND Twitter now have built-in poll functionality, and people love polls! They don’t require much of the audience but can give you valuable insight into their preferences AND get people used to engaging with your posts. These polls can be about anything. For our zombie show, we did polls about preferred apocalypse weaponry, favorite zombie media (aside from ours), as well as more show-specific polls like favorite character ships (relationship pairings from the show, canon or not).
Out-of-context screenshots of the script
This one is fun for writers because rarely do people outside the production get to see the textual jokes from scene direction sections, and this is a great way to showcase your hidden hilarity. Plus, the more random and out-of-context a screenshot is, the more intrigue you’ll build amongst your audience.
Did you change a character’s name before shooting? Did someone get recast? Was one character played by a member of the crew? Did that stunt require over ten takes to get it right? Let your audience in on some on-set secrets, and link to the episodes the facts correspond with!
Share from other cast and crew accounts
Support your team! If they tweet something related to either your show or their work on another creative project, share it!
Share other shows’ content
Become social media pals with a few other web series and share their posts when something exciting is happening. It’ll strengthen your community, increase the odds of YOUR posts getting shared in the future, plus it’ll give fans of your show other options for what to watch next.
Share thematically related content
Like I mentioned in the Setting Yourself Up For Success column, get into the habit of being a tastemaker in your genre/format. If you’re a vlog show, share GIFs and content from other vlog shows. If you’re a horror show, share posts from popular horror movies, cool behind-the-scenes monster makeup, or horror-related artwork. Your accounts can’t just be about your show because if you’re reading this article, you don’t have a big enough audience for that yet. Sharing content from already-beloved shows, or surrounding an already-popular theme, will increase the likelihood of followers who are fans of that content, which will then increase the likelihood that they’ll check out your show because it’s similar to stuff they already like.