By Meagan Warner
We’ve covered one aspect of film marketing on Facebook, so we feel it’s appropriate to tackle its sister-platform.
Distribution and marketing for independent films is very different from what is done for blockbusters. You have to fight to get discovered. This is where keywords and hashtags come in.
What makes them so important is the fact that both users and search engine depends on them to find your content.
Twitter is built around posting short 140 character messages. Seems limiting sometimes, huh? That’s why it’s important to get it right.
When you get it right, you will sell copies of your film. When get it wrong, your tweets won’t be read, you won’t get engagements, and your film won’t get discovered.
Even if you feel indifferent about the whole hashtag thing, know that it’s important to learn popular trends…and use them to your advantage.
When used properly, hashtags are a great film marketing tool. However, you need to use hashtags people are actually searching for. Too many hashtags can #make #tweets #illegible. And if you want to capitalize on trending hashtags, be sure to research what is actually being posted.
Keywords are words or concepts of great significance. Hashtags are the keywords of twitter.
Start by defining your keywords for your film. This helps with SEO (search engine optimization), which is simply defined as the process of becoming more visible in a search engine’s “natural” search results.
Figure out what the people are looking for, so that you can be in the right place, at the right time, with the right content.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner can help you with this. Type in what you'd expect people to search in order to find your film, and the planner will give you keyword suggestions based on commonly searched terms. Bada-boom...there's the start of your keyword list.
To show you what we mean, we did a search for a documentary called JFK: A President Betrayed. Our search term: jfk documentary. Below are the keywords Google suggested based on monthly average searches.
We DO NOT suggest picking ALL the most popular terms, because this raises the chance of your content getting mixed in with the millions of other people’s. Mix-it-up with some longtail (less-used) hashtags too. The content pool is smaller there.
Keywords and hashtags are also important for categorizing your film and content. When picking your hashtags you should reference your core audience, the subject covered in your film and your film genre. Comparing your independent film with a similar high-profile movie is a great movie marketing tactic as well.
Hashtagify will help you promote your movie by giving you a whole group of hashtags commonly used with each other. You might learn that horror film fans are using #scaredsenseless with #horrormovie...and now you have your edge. Below is an example of a hashtag search we made for When I Walk, a documentary that follows a young filmmaker diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Before seeing this, we may not have even thought to use #neurology and #health. This brings us one step closer to our targeted audience, including those who are living with multiple sclerosis, those involved in the community, organizations fighting for cures, etc.
Search your hashtags on a daily basis. What are people saying? Asking? Maybe your film is exactly what they need. Maybe there’s a holiday or event approaching that would be the perfect opportunity to promote your independent film.
Think of hashtags as conversation starters.
The time will come when it's appropriate to say: “You’re looking for an educational tool for #veganism? I have a #documentary that is very informative. ”
That's film marketing at it's best, when you can contribute some valuable input as opposed to shoving an Amazon link in someone’s face.
You can also create your own hashtag. Use your genre or film title to create a short yet unique hashtag. Use this in the majority of your film tweets and encourage others to use it as well. This will come in handy when you want to find out who is talking about your film down the road. It’s also good for live-tweeting events. People who are attending a film screening or premiere can use your hashtag and you can communicate with them more easily.
Bottom line: Don’t go through all the trouble of creating content (this should take some time, by the way) if you’re not going to do keyword research. Tweets and posts without keywords are like jelly sandwiches without peanut butter…boring and unsatisfying. Your goal should be to login to your Twitter account and see at least 10 notifications.
Think of Twitter as another platform to promote and sell your independent film.
If you don’t make you take the time to stand out, your content will get lost in the 58 million tweets posted everyday. Finding your direction may seem difficult, and we know that sorting out the promising keywords from the duds may feel like grunt work. But sometimes one good lead is all it takes to launch a successful film marketing campaign. And one success can cause a chain reaction: reaching the right people with the right tweets will get you more followers. Soon this will lead to more retweets, which will lead to more conversations, which will lead to a greater reach, which will lead to more movie inquiries and – BINGO! Your indie film will be climbing up the charts.