Over the upcoming spring I am planning to write short case studies about different social mediums and how they can be implemented in film marketing. Twitter seems like a good place to start as my most recent work on the documentary Killing The Law was heavily focused on Twitter.
I chose Twitter as a key media to start with due to aiming to reach core target audiences who we could engage to follow and support the film.
Killing The Law is a feature documentary that follows a group of families campaigning for the release of their children who are convicted of murder under the controversial joint enterprise rule of law. In the spring of 2016 however, a supreme court ruled that the law around joint enterprise has been wrongly interpreted in the courts for over 3 decades. At the time of the ruling it got a lot of press coverage and it is fair to say that everyone involved with criminal justice law knows about the case.
And those were the people that I wanted to reach.
My target audience was law academics, lawyers, activists, non-profits and campaigners. Twitter, like Facebook, are no longer niche at all. Their demographic is quite wide, but in terms of education and wage there is a light skew towards ABC1 audience so to speak according to Sprout Social.
What characterises Twitter?
In a research article on Warc titled 'Defining success on Twitter’ the social medium’s language is characterised by being short and snappy, often grammatically and linguistically incorrect that can be off-putting and alienating to new users. Twitter has its own language that needs to be learned. It also has it’s own sense of comedy, that can be problematic to brands.
The research suggests that the popular Twitter comedy is based on ‘intentional misreading’. One example mentioned is the account of the singer James Blunt (one of Twitter's best, I think) which perfectly represents the Twitter brand of comedy - a subversive, surreal or silly misreading of something serious or mundane.
In fact, the article suggests that interpretative ability is more central to Twitter than creative ability. This is fun for normal users, but the research points out can be tricky for brands, who often like to have total control on how their message is interpreted. The study says: ‘Where brands see themselves as managers of meaning, Twitter sees itself as a disruptor of meaning’.
Another study, which compared Twitter and Facebook, Twitter was attributed by users to be innovative, intelligent, modern and rebellious.
Quick Twitter SWOT
Methods of targeting content to the right demographic
Twitter offers many variables to promote your content to appear on certain demographics feed. Possibilities include language, gender and geographic location. Also you can promote your content among the followers of specific accounts, according to people’s interests and based on keywords they have used.
Also, you can organically target specific users who have a large followers base by tweeting to them or aiming to engage in a conversation with them to gain retweets. I find that the conversational aspect of Twitter is a great advantage of the media as it provides huge organic reach potential.
Types of content that work well
Based on my own experiences working with Twitter in promoting a Killing The Law, I noticed that content with media, images and videos, worked the best. Especially small scenes from the film worked very well and received a lot of retweets. Also, quotes from the film worked well. As the film, I was working on was a documentary, I was able to post a lot of articles about the film’s subject matter that easily received a reaction from the follower base, the majority of which were passionate about the cause.
We also took part in a twitter storm that was related to the subject of the film. Twitter storms are essentially discussion/debates agreed to take place on Twitter at a certain time. We managed to get a lot of new followers through the storm. Although it was not organised by us, it could be quite good idea to organise one, especially when promoting documentaries and aiming to spark a social change.
For bigger budgets here are some impressive examples of using Twitter to activate customers.
LG wanted to promote their brand and smartphone sells with young people in the UK. They created a Twitter viral campaign in order to boost their visibility among young users.
The idea was simple, LG would set out a stall in a UK city and the first person to get to their stall won two tickets to a high profile concert. To help users find the stall, LG placed a map online that gradually zoomed in on the precise location whenever the hashtag #lgtickethunter was used on Twitter.
By fusing a fun and active challenge with desirable prizes, LG ensured that their competition would reach a large number of their target market. The campaign received 5,000 tweets on the first day and went on to reach 50,000 by the end. This, combined with impressive engagement rates of 38% from their sponsored links, helped them to quadruple their smartphone sales among 16-24 year olds during the weeks following the campaign.
Fiat - Too Fast To Follow
Fiat took a very unusual approach to their social media marketing in Germany. Rather than engage with their followers, they actually blocked them. Their claim was that the car is “too fast to follow”.
The campaign generated a great deal of publicity and Twitter users were lining up to be blocked by the Abarth 500.
Mercedes - You Drive
Sticking with the car theme, in 2013 Mercedes used Twitter to help drive buzz around a new TV advert. They shared a 30 second clip of a car chase and then allowed the Twittersphere to vote for what happened next. The winning story was then aired during ‘The X Factor‘ the following week.
By handing power to consumers and making the process more interactive, the advert generated an impressive amount of buzz. It was one of the first examples of combining TV advertising with social media to great effect.