Yesterday I went to the movie theater and saw Funny People. During the previews I saw a trailer for some movie that advertised “Check out twitter.com/nameofmovie for more information.” I thought that it was interesting how a movie preview was hyping its Twitter account, seeing as how Twitter is the new social media “thing” and is continuing to increase in popularity. Six months ago I can recall movie trailers flashing “myspace.com/nameofmovie” at end of the preview, and now it seems like they’re starting to jump on the Twitter bandwagon (MySpace is sooooo 2008).
I think there are some obvious pros and cons to marketing a movie primarily through a social networking site:
- You’re staying relevant and fresh by keeping up with latest trends. It’s nice to see a large movie campaign embrace all sorts of marketing attempts.
- You’re flocking to where younger, web-savvy audiences are. Younger demographics are obviously ideal moviegoers, especially for summer blockbusters or teen comedies. Going to where they are on the web is definitely a smart move.
- You’re (hopefully) creating a dialogue with your fans instead of setting up a standard one-to-many movie website. Traditional websites can often fall victim to the “one-to-many” approach, blasting out a ton of information instead of engaging the audience and making them feel personally involved with the film. If you tweet back to your followers or write on their Facebook walls, you’re creating a dialogue and hopefully making them feel like they’re got a personal connection…which, will, in turn, get those butts into theater seats when your movie comes out.
- You’re making your content visible to people who are more likely to share it via social media means. A lot of web influencers are very tapped into social networking, so by reaching out to them, you’re increasing the chances of getting your content spread virally.
- You’re reaching a limited audience. Although a lot of people are on MySpace and Twitter nowadays, that doesn’t mean that everyone is using it regularly (or at all). If you put all your eggs in the MySpace basket, you’re likely missing a chunk of your audience. The same goes for Twitter — it’s fine to set up an account that provides updates about the movie, but there should still be a core movie domain to point to (like via Twitter’s bio URL).
- You could suffer from forced interaction. How often could you update a movie marketing Twitter account without it seeming forced or contrived? You either run the risk of not using the account enough, which would be a waste of time and it would seem like you’re phoning it in, or you could be trying too hard and could end up oversaturating your audience and turning them off from wanting to see the movie.
- Your movie may not be appropriate for that particular website. If you’re trying to promote a dramatic biopic about Millard Fillmore starring Brendon Gleeson, you don’t need to set up a Twitter account to try and get all the young kids interested. I can see a lot of studios stupidly thinking to set up accounts wherever they can without stopping to think where their audience is and going there instead.
What do you guys think of marketing movies via Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and MySpace profiles? Can you think of any other pros and cons to this tactic? Respond in the comments below, or tweet a reply to @10e20. (Also, subscribe to our RSS feed for more awesomesauce blog posts.)