It’s a stretch. But it could definitely boost your movie marketing. This Sunday, the 91st Academy Awards takes place at the Dolby Theatre in L.A. One of the film industry’s biggest nights of the year, millions of fans worldwide will follow with great interest to see who walks away with the coveted gold figure.

But how do film studios achieve the success needed to get their work recognised? Can the success of a movie marketing campaign make or break a film?

The answer, as ever, is complicated. While it is widely refuted that the cinema industry is dying, it is becoming harder to attract footfall for theatres (except when Luke Skywalker goes missing, or Thanos is at it again).

The major studios know their big properties will do well, they just need to get the word out. Then, we do the rest for them. Armies of fans rush to social platforms and forums to discuss the latest big-budget releases. However, when it comes to smaller films and studios, more work must be done to get this level of penetration and awareness.

Movie marketing is way more than just a tantalising trailer and a long press junket, we know that. But without the budget to add bells and whistles to a promotional campaign, studios must get the most out of what they have.

Enter stage left – social media. We’re not just talking about Twitter and Facebook Pages, or creating a hashtag for the movie, we’re talking about creating engaging, valuable video content.

A recent study into the relationship between consumer engagement behaviour and the economic performance of a film found a prominent correlation on content posted to Facebook and YouTube – the two most video-focused social media platforms.

Having a social media presence is one thing. But actively engaging a target audience at the right time with the right content is the real money shot. It’s cost-effective, grows organically and can be scaled easily.

 

 

The biggest strength of social video marketing is the reach and engagement it achieves – people are watching more social video than ever before. The proliferation of social has enabled everyone to be a critic, always looking to join in the online conversation. Networking works – social media users are very likely to engage with content and share their opinion with their networks, who will share with their networks, and so on.

The mechanics are in place for social video to reach far and wide, it just needs feeding it the right content. Fortunately, social media is an arena rife with feedback. Its two-way nature allows marketers to constantly fine-tune their strategy, allowing experimentation with every aspect.

Creating original, supplementary content for social and mobile is where the real gains are to be made in movie marketing. Enriching the experience by adding new layers of context creates a meaningful sentiment with the audience – it makes them feel a part of the film’s world – taking them behind the curtain and immersing them in the world the studio has created.

The use of live video is important in creating these moments. Think about creating new IP, bespoke live social formats that allow the audience to participate. The community-based experience of live social video drives engagement and longer watch times, as viewers comment on the post and interact with each other.

Live social shows also enable publishers to leverage influencers and user-generated content (UGC). By hosting a live Q&A with key people from the film, and influencers in target demographics, publishers can run polls and invite UGC in the form of social posts, videos and images.

Imagine Bradley Cooper answering fan questions about ‘A Star is Born’ while judging clips of singing fans, being submitted in real-time. This content can drive the highly-engaged audience to book tickets, or leave a review.

Social audiences are receptive to active experiences and want to contribute to a shared experience – tapping into this creates a stronger link with a product. When premiere night comes around, not everyone can be at the red carpet. But with social live streams, you can make anyone feel like they were there, watching alongside their friends.

Back this up with real-time video clips from marketing events – the most engaging form of content across social media. Higher engagement = wider reach. A viral clip could put one foot inside the cinema for many people.

Penetrating social networks using these tools gives all films a chance to take the starring role. That isn’t to say traditional movie marketing doesn’t work – who doesn’t love seeing the first poster, or the new toy in a McDonalds Happy Meal? But in a world where attention is fleeting, and the media market is crowded, studios need to draw audiences on the right devices, at the right time.

Deliver enough great content and who knows? Maybe those retweets will help get an Oscar.

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