Going From 5,000 Viewers to 50,000 Clicks on Your Short Film
With all the technology the world has to offer, you would think finding a good amount of viewers from seven billion would be easy. Every year, the internet advances, social media gets even more popular, and the video opportunities get wider for budding filmmakers. If you’ve decided to create a short film this year, you need to know the right steps to take with your promotion because this will decide the true success of your film. Even if you were to produce a short film good enough for a prize at the Oscar’s, nobody will see it unless you promote it in the right way.
Today, we’re going to discuss some of the key elements for marketing online and you should walk away with a better understanding of how it all works. Without further ado, let’s take a look!
Professional Thumbnail – First and foremost, it’s all about making the right first impression. As they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. If you don’t come across as serious and professional in a simple thumbnail, you won’t be taken seriously now or ever.
With your thumbnail, it needs to have a professional appearance along with a laurel for the most important festivals your film was selected in. If the list is endless, only include the most important festivals because they aren’t born equal. Once you have this in place, you have a solid foundation and you can use this before then following the tips coming up.
Online Presence – As we said in the introduction, more people are now online than ever before. In years gone by, the internet only attracted a certain amount of people and specific audiences but, now, it appeals to everyone whether they want to catch up with friends, look for local services, or search for entertainment. For this reason, you need to build an online presence.
Starting with a website, this doesn’t have to be as difficult and tiresome as the process previously. We agree, websites used to take weeks and they were extremely difficult to maintain. Nowadays, they can be started within minutes, you can select a pre-existing theme that suits your short film, and you can update all information with a couple of simple clicks.
Once this is up and running, you can then start to focus on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. With a dedicated Facebook page, you have a hub for everyone to find your short film as well as a platform to contact people who have the potential to be interested in what you have to offer. On Facebook, you can post to specific pages centred around your niche. As long as you don’t spam hundreds of groups but actually provide useful comments, you can add to the discussion and point them in the right direction when the time is right. Whether the niche is short films, horror shorts, comedy shorts, or whatever genre your film falls into, this is a great way to target people who have already shown an interest in your type of product.
If you’re going to see the best results online, you have to realise that it’s not all about advertising. If you sign up for Facebook and constantly talk about your product, you’re showing the world that it’s all you’re interested in. At first, join the community, contribute to discussions, bring up interesting points, and then drop hints about your film every so often. Once people know that you’re not just there to advertise in a selfish way, they’ll be more inclined to listen because you’ve earned respect.
YouTube and Vimeo – Yes, these two websites are probably the biggest when it comes to video-sharing websites. However, we’ve also chosen these two in particular because they work well together. With YouTube, you have a website where the users watch 46,000 years of content every twelve months. Furthermore, billions of people around the world visit the site every day whether it’s on a computer, tablet, mobile device, games console, or anywhere else.
If you upload your video to YouTube and advertise it on social media, you will get views and this is why we’ve chosen YouTube as one of the two in your strategy. Looking from a volume perspective alone, there’s a huge audience to target. Plus, people who subscribe will be notified whenever you upload a new video which is fantastic news for future short films you create.
With Vimeo, we have the second prong to this particular attack; quality. While YouTube focuses on quantity and volume, Vimeo looks to hone in on your niche and offer the best quality product possible. Considering a significant portion of the users pay for some form of membership, they aren’t just there to watch random videos of pigeons riding a skateboard (we aren’t sure if this video actually exists but you get our point!).
Compared to YouTube, Vimeo is a big supporter of short films and quality content. As opposed to being left alone to fend for yourself, Vimeo offers their users support with hand-picked selections for short films, series’, and more. With their ‘Staff Picks’, you have a list of videos that have been viewed and appreciated by the people at Vimeo. If your short makes it into one of these lists, it will be given a small ‘SP’ stamp on the thumbnail and this immediately gives your video credibility.
As long as you compare the pros and cons of YouTube and Vimeo, you can concentrate on what’s really important for both sites.
Discuss Festivals – Wherever you take your brand and short online, be sure to mention any festivals where it was screened. Over time, these become your badges of honour and act like an online CV for your short. The more festivals your short makes an appearance at, the more likely people are to be persuaded to view your video or pay attention to your Facebook page.
Ever noticed how some products on Amazon have thousands of reviews while another, near enough the same, has just a handful? Ultimately, this is called ‘social proof’ and it relies upon people following and trusting the opinions of others. On social media, those with the largest followings will generally grow quicker than the smaller ones because people notice the follower count and assume they must have something to offer.
By talking about the festivals at which your short has appeared, your followers or viewers recognise that you must have something to offer. After all, it wouldn’t have been screened if it hadn’t been appreciated by the organisers.
Where? – Whenever we give this suggestion, we normally get the same question in reply ‘where?’. In truth, we believe you should be adding it everywhere you go and this includes your website, social media profiles, thumbnail (as discussed in the first point), the video description of your YouTube videos, Vimeo, and even if you happen to get a feature on another website. Perhaps you do an interview with a news website in the short films industry, giving brief details will ensure the information is included in potential articles, videos, transcripts, and more.
Online Broadcasters – Finally, we recommend looking for exposure all over the internet. Nowadays, there are plenty of bloggers and vloggers who talk about short films all day every day. For your film, they can be superb platforms because they all boast thousands of followers. If you feel as though your short film is ready to receive the attention it deserves, get in contact with the following to see if they’re interested in your short film;
- Short of the Week
- Shortfilm Connection
- Film Shortage
- Green Light my Movie
With a simple Google search, you’ll find dozens of others who are looking for superb short films to show to their following. As long as you notify them of your festival appearances and include links to your website and social media platforms, you can boost your credibility and increase the chances of receiving a reply.
Be Consistent – For our penultimate piece of advice, we believe in posting to social media regularly if you want to see real results. With some short films, the creators post three times every four months but this isn’t going to do anything. Instead, you need to build a personality and post regularly so people know what to expect. Without this, your short film will be lost in the millions of other posts released in the same hour or day.
While on the theme of social media and even your website, stay as active as you can within the community. Although it might take a bit of time and effort, you should be interacting with people who comment on your posts or share your video to the world. As soon as you start interacting, your followers/friends will feel a part of your brand and short film, your posts will be shared more, and you might just get some critical feedback moving forward.
Timing – Finally, we want to talk a little about timing because this can be just as important as some of the other features we’ve discussed. If your short film has just made an appearance at a huge festival, you need to ‘strike while the iron is still hot’. If you leave it too long, people will have forgotten all about you and your film. While everybody is talking about your short, get out into the world and keep the buzz going for as long as possible.
In fact, now is the perfect time to take advantage of social proof. As people talk about your film and share your posts/website/video with friends, more and more people will get involved and you can take advantage of the snowball effect.
Summary – Nowadays, the internet and technology in general needs to be the focal point of your marketing strategy. No matter how nice it is to think about the days where the internet wasn’t required, it just seems to be a fact of life now. After all, the ultimate aim of marketing has always been to get your product/service in front of as many people as possible. Today, the majority of people are online in one capacity or another whether it’s social media, blogging websites, YouTube, Vimeo, or just browsing the net!