I suppose it does not require an introduction.
It has been the most rapidly adopted communication tool since its creation in 2006. From 400,000 tweets posted per quarter in 2007 to over 400 million tweets daily in 2013. And if you’d like to know the value of these numbers – Ironfire Capital LLC and Gamco Investors Inc. (GBL) project the San Francisco-based company could be worth $15 billion to $20 billion once it begins trading.
Twitter allows people to engage in conversations as if they were sitting in a coffee shop. Except that the shop is the entire world. With the 140 characters allowed in a tweet you can spread the latest news or actual facts, chat with random people who happen to have mutual interests, share videos/images and get feedback straight away. The content you find on Twitter is valuable, uncensored and honest. Even if it isn‘t at first – the truth always comes out.
Leslie Feibleman, director of special programs and senior programmer for the Newport Beach Film Festival, said Twitter is similar to the film industry in that it’s “dynamic, continuously emerging, and is infused with new talent, technology and ideas — a place to discover and be discovered.”
From the moment Twitter reached its tipping point in the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference, festivals have been active users of this social media platform. Last March Museum of Cinema compiled a list of 18 film festivals from all over the world with most Twitter followers. SXSW unsurprisingly took the first position with almost 277,000 followers. It is difficult to reach a number like that, especially when there are hundreds of film festivals on every corner. But we managed to make it – Raindance Film Festival became the 10th film festival in the world with most followers on Twitter.
How did we do it? Appart from being one of the first film festivals to have a Twitter account back in 2009, we might have used the following 7 ways in which film festivals can take advantage of Twitter:
1. Boost ticket sales/attendance
If you start tweeting snippets of the upcoming festival programme, you will get people curious. Additionally, the word travels faster when you offer some perks like early bird tickets – getting people to commit to what you are offering is the best attendance drive. Get them hooked with contests, click-through opportunities and simply sharing of whatever is going on backstage. According to Elliot Grove, founder of the Raindance Film Festival, “the box office base has risen over 50% in two years thanks in large part to the response to outré Twitter feed” he said.
2. Make it personal
Be witty and helpful, interesting and interested. It’s not a business that you are representing – it’s a living entity with human-like features. People connect better with something that is familiar to them. If you demonstrate curiosity, gratitude, genuine enthusiasm or even concern, potential audiences will begin to trust you. And trust generates following. Besides, Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey survey proved that 79% of twitter users are more likely to recommend the brands that they follow.
3. Make it real
True stories are more appealing. People like to feel like they are part of something that is actually going on. Share moments of the festival team’s life, show the real faces of people who worked hard to bring the idea to life, tell stories of obstacles, solutions, anecdotes and dramas. Be authentic and truthful – you won’t have to worry about losing your credentials over some corrupted rumours.
Synchronise your online platforms to create one strong drive for your festival. Tweet links to your YouTube channel, connect audiences with filmmakers in open discussions via Facebook with live stream on Twitter or even use a separate screen during the festival events for on-the-spot tweet flow that everyone could see.
Furthermore, don’t just tweet on topics that might interest your target market – feel the flow! Olympics, for instance, were a major trend and those that used the official hashtag (even if it wasn’t really related to the games), got a substantial boost of followers. Just be noticed and get that click.
Finally, create your own unique hashtag that will be both consistent with your brand and attract attention. Hashtag is firstly a tool to categorise information and be recognised in a whirlpool of topics, but if you have a trending one -you’ll be riding a wave of followers. According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, “tweets that include hashtags receive 2X more engagement than those without.“ Of course, be careful with ambiguous meanings like #susanalbumparty. Susan Boyle promotional team’s embarrassing hashtag skyrocketed new album‘s sales and got her viral recognition even among those who had no idea who she is, but it is not advisable for sustainable brand image.
5. Spread the word
With little to no cost you can share your message with your target audience from all over the world. They might not necessarily attend the festival, but they may boost the awareness by tweeting about it, engaging other people and driving the demand. Besides, if those who do attend have a great time and talk about it, their friends will want to find out what they’re missing and you’ll see even more happy faces next year.
Just by tracking tweets you can distinguish what people are into, what is most likely going to be watched at the festival, how and where.
Similarly, check the action of your competitors – what they are tweeting and who is retweeting or using their hashtag. Don’t be arrogant and share what they have to say – it will only show that you are not afraid of the competition. Raindance, for instance, follows over 600 film festivals! You are more than welcome to check out not one, but two impressive lists we have. We’re all in this together!
7. Guide people
Believe it or not, film festivals can be a rather frustrating experience: flocks of people wandering around and trying to find the right screen, directions to the cafe/snacks/toilets, rushing to make it on time and so on. Twitter feed can guide them through the venues/location and events like a peer-generated GPS.
One should keep in mind, though, that a tweet is an instant statement on the World Wide Web – it is permanent. So, think before you let the bird fly.