Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Social Media Marketing for Entertainment

We want what we want, when we want it. Remember the time you used to have to go to the library to get information you needed? Now, when we want to know something, we don’t dust off the old encyclopaedia, we grab our iPhone and Google it. We check Twitter to see the latest status updates and we get the information ourselves, instead of waiting for some news outlet to release it to us.

The same changes apply to the Entertainment industry. In this day and age, if you want to release a movie successfully, you can’t just put out a trailer and newspaper ad, and expect people to show up. Social Media has transformed the public’s access to pretty much everything and everyone. You can even follow and send Twitter messages to your favourite actors. Talk about a modern form of fan mail, right?

So what can you do to stand out?

  1. Offer access to exclusive content.

    As a reward for loyalty, you need to give your fans a backstage pass to star interviews, sneak peeks, Livestream interviews, and even behind-the-scenes access to exclusive events with live-tweeting. HBO (a social media role model of mine) has perfected the art of social media branding and marketing, putting their energy into fan outreach. With character and program blogs for some of their most popular shows (Margene's Blog, Lloyd's Diary, Babyvamp Jessica, Inside True Blood), fans get extra content to stay engaged between episodes. Each week, HBO programs hold Twitter contests that get thousands of entries from all over the world. The promotions don’t stop between seasons either, it’s an ongoing process. In promotion for season 3 of True Blood, HBO released a video poking fun at traditional PR, while putting out one new poster ad each week, for the twelve weeks prior to the premiere. Those posters went viral as fans scrambled to collect them all, and created some serious buzz in the process. Most recently, as fans impatiently await season 4 of True Blood, HBO had the entire cast participate in a panel at Paleyfest, to divulge some highly anticipated teasers.

  2. Build your relationship with fans through constant interaction.

    To become more than a faceless brand to fans, there needs to be a genuine connection that will lead to a lasting relationship. This means, you need to answer every question, RT and reply to every Twitter mention, and really establish a dialogue with fans. Rewarding fans with contests and giveaways are also great to boost followers, but the key to keeping those new followers around once the giveaway is over, is a continued flow of exclusive content.

  3. Evolve-Evolve-Evolve.

    Just when you think you have it all figured out, something new comes along. If you start getting too comfortable your marketing routine, you're probably out-dated. Stay on top of new technology and get involved with new social media platforms as they come out.

    GetGlue – it’s about what you like, not what you are like. It's the perfect match for Entertainment brands because fans get recognition for ‘checking in’ to TV shows, movies, etc., similar to foursquare check-ins. Some entertainment brands like HBO and Showtime even offer discounts on online purchases, for a certain number of check-ins. Plus, GetGlue checkins can be connected to users’ Facebook and Twitter status updates so imagine the kind of publicity you can get from that.
    Groupon - the leader in this whole social buying phenomenon right now, with 60 million online subscribers looking for the latest deal. The way it works is, if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available. People spread the word using social media, to help make the deal available. Just recently, Lionsgate partnered with Groupon, offering a half-price ticket promotions for The Lincoln Lawyer. Nothing makes you want to buy something more than a deadline for purchase, and a 50% discount. 
We're all fighting to get through the cluttered marketing environment and be noticed. By going directly where fans are spending their time - on social media platforms, it conveys the message that your brand, regardless of size, understands who your customers are and can relate to them on a personal level. Nurturing loyal followers will convert them from passing fans into so much more - life-long ambassadors for your brand.

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