Social media has revolutionized the way people market their business, and documentary film is no exception. It’s true that little can replace the buzz created by a festival appearance or jam­packed screening, however social media can help you market your documentary in other ways, perhaps even helping you land traditional opportunities like those all ­important festival screenings ­­ if you use it right.

The power of social media is undeniable and failure to take advantage of these platforms in your marketing strategy can be a serious misstep. Is social media marketing becoming more powerful than promotional screenings and festivals?

social-iconBuild Marketing Ability Into Your Project

Many doc filmmakers might cringe at the idea of building a marketing scheme into their content before they start shooting, but considering how you’ll market your film before you make it doesn’t have to be unethical or detract from a relevant social issue.

In fact, considering marketing before you start shooting can actually help increase awareness of a serious issue – the primary goal for many documentary filmmakers. By capitalizing on the relevant social issues present in your documentary, you’ll be able to build a social media marketing strategy that can coordinate and connect with other movements and/or organizations that might relate to your film. Or, better yet, you can reach an audience already informed on your hot button topic and let them serve as a springboard to bring attention to your film.

Promotion via Social Media

If you use social media personally, you’ve surely seen somebody’s marketing campaign, whether they’re promoting a musical act, the release of a film, an event or a social cause that’s important to them. While some promotions work, many also fail.

Those that promote their work via social media and fail, usually do so because their outreach lacks passion – they’re simply repurposing a lacklustre post in hopes that someone will notice. Considering how many people promote their stuff via social media, these types of marketing campaigns are doomed to fall flat. ­People don’t have time, and they’re flooded with that kind of marketing already.

That’s where documentary filmmakers can take advantage of social media. By making part of your marketing campaign about the issues, and not solely about the film, you’ll draw people into the action and community surrounding the cause.

Social media is a necessary marketing tool for documentary filmmakers.

Sharing Work Through Social Media

Sharing clips and snippets of your documentary film is integral to building visibility. With so much content posted on social media sites these days, few people are going to march out to a theatre and buy a ticket for a film they don’t know much about. Give them something to snack on first.

When you present clips on social media sites, it’s important to make them as sharp as possible. Present high­quality clips of finished material to generate interest on any social media platform. Make sure your film has it’s own dedicated page on each social network you use, and that the page isn’t cluttered with personal posts and off­topic tweets.

Having clear links between each social media site ­­ and especially clear links to your film’s website, if it has one ­­ is extremely important.

At the same time, sites like Vimeo in particular can be helpful for uploading longer, HD clips for publicity and for submitting work to film festivals ­­ or even getting the attention of producers and distributors.

GUEST BLOGGER: Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and accomplished online marketing professional in the Los Angeles area. Her writing covers everything from social media marketing, health & wellness, real estate and technology.