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Movie Marketing as Social Network: Official Site vs. Facebook Page

by Sophia Savage
October 1, 2010 12:35 PM
4 Comments
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

Ad Age marketing whiz Chris Thilk is disappointed by the official websites for most films. He often asks, "That's it?" after not finding relevant info: bios, multiple trailers, image galleries, etc. Social networking sites (say, Facebook) feature "like" buttons that take advantage of fans as pro-bono marketers. Thilk thinks that it's possible to use such tools to build publicity and attention for a film from its own dedicated site.

Here are his three recommendations:

- "For one, commit to the conversation. There's often no response from studios on the Facebook page to fans' declarations of excitement to see a movie or how much they like the new trailer. If a profile is meant to up the engagement and connection to the movie, then facilitate that.

- Next, adopt the hub-and-spoke model of online publishing. The official website -- a presence the studio can customize the look and feel of and otherwise completely own -- becomes the repository of everything, with updates being pushed out to the social outposts. Build social sharing into each component of the official website, so that those who are visiting it can also share what they like with their networks.

- Finally, put tactics in place that are sustainable. I've noticed movie Facebook pages using the same tactic as other consumer goods and making some material only available to those who "Like" that page. That's to reward such behavior, which generates an update from that user to his or her network, theoretically increasing the exposures/impressions that can be counted. (There are 17 problems with this idea, but let's not get into that now.) But there's long-term value in driving people back to an official website, where they can get a more well-rounded picture of the movie and be exposed to its overall branding more completely."

Bottom line: Go nuts with social networking, it's there to serve you. But, Thilk warns, make sure that your efforts "aren't detrimental to tactics that are more strategic and have bigger, long-term benefits." Sustainable marketing for studios would be to create "a single central online hub" where their entire portfolio of films gets attention from a consistent and growing audience, rather than follow traditional film marketing which is "by and large run as sprints -- short-term ad campaigns -- and not as bigger-picture branding marathons."

An interesting example: The Social Network's Facebook fan page (above) vs. official page (below) vs. their Tumblr news page (also below). Which one will get you to the ticket booth tomorrow?

Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood


4 Comments

  • John | October 3, 2010 2:46 AMReply

    Well I think the fact that it is hard to find the 'official' fb page is what makes these social networking sites so engaging for people. Everyone 'seems' to have equal social footing whether it is a billion dollar corporation or an interesting individual. John. http://www.viewcaster.net/view/

  • Linda Nelson | October 2, 2010 5:32 AMReply

    Wow, now that I've gone back to Facebook and poked around, I can see that there are several Facebook Movie Pages for THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Who knows which is the "real" one. When these pages are created, you are supposed to verify that you are the "official representative" of the entity that owns the rights to the company that the page is for. I looked at three, which means that there is no unified approach to using this great social networking tool and besides that none of them take advantage of the wonderful options for engaging an audience for the film.

  • Linda Nelson | October 2, 2010 3:58 AMReply

    The real Facebook Movie page for this film is: http://www.facebook.com/The.Social.Network.Film It's a really poor example of a Facebook Movie Page, so don't know who's in charge of creating or maintaining that page, but it isn't very engaging. If you want to see a good example of a Facebook Movie Page that engages it's fans check out: http://www.facebook.com/deliveredmovie The whole point is to do more than an "Official Website" does - provide insight into the world of the film, let people meet the characters and the actors who play them, let them see the technology and how Hollywood is changing.

  • Jen | October 1, 2010 7:44 AMReply

    But this isn't a real Facebook page, this is the page that is created when people "Like" something for which there is no official page. No one created this FB page.

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