From his website: Reid Rosefelt has worked as a film publicist and film marketer on over a hundred films, including “Stranger Than Paradise,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “High Art,” “All About My Mother,” “Central Station,” “Pollock,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Precious.” His personal clients have included Errol Morris, Ally Sheedy, Harvey Keitel, IFC, and the Sundance Institute. His full bio is here.
While working on the Norwegian film Turn Me On, Dammit! as a consultant for New Yorker Films, Rosefelt found a passion for using Facebook for film marketing. He now runs a blog about Facebook marketing for filmmakers, where he combines social media research with 35 years of marketing experience. He also helps independent filmmakers with their social media efforts as a consultant and offers his knowledge at speaking engagements across the country (the next is at New York’s General Assembly on November 1).
Last week, Magnet Media had the chance to speak with Rosefelt. We ask him about his philosophy towards Facebook marketing, the mistakes he sees movie studios making, and what sort of advice he would give to filmmakers.
(Editors note: the following conversation has been edited for clarity and length.)
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So what attracted you to Facebook as a way for filmmakers, especially independent ones, to market their work?
Reid Rosefelt: I’d been working as a consultant and helping people with their press materials—poster, trailer, website, all of that stuff—and then of course they would say, “lets do a Facebook page.” But no one would know how to take the next step forward. Companies charge a retainer that was a bit above the budget of the people I was working for. We were looking for freelancers and couldn’t find them, so I did it myself.
As I started to read up on Facebook and study social media marketing, I became even more interested in it than what I was doing before.
The kind of top-down marketing you get with conventional materials, that’s all good. But social media has gone a different way, and what I discovered was that nobody was doing it right.
What have studios done wrong when it comes to using Facebook for marketing?
RR: Most of them are just posting status reports and links, and that’s not too good. You’re going to the algorithm and telling it, “please shut down my page.”
No sense of doing the kinds of things that make the page entertaining to people and give people an added reason for going to it.
They need to understand that this page is a place where people come to together to talk about something as a common interest. Their job as marketers is to energize that conversation. They are supposed to do things like post photographs that will get people talking and get them to share. They are just using Facebook as a newsletter. It might as well be an email blast. It’s a waste of time, ultimately, because their posts aren’t being read.
Why has the indie film world been such a late adopter of social media?
RR: I think they have adopted, I just don’t think they do it right. They all have pages; they just don’t understand what they should be doing. And a lot of people work really hard on their pages.
Can you tell me a little bit about your site and the work you’re doing now?
RR: At this point, it’s been very basic because there’s a lot to teach people. My approach is to create shareable images. The approach is to ask, “what kind of images will people share?” I tell people to do them in a square shape because then it will be seen everywhere on Facebook without being cropped out or truncated.
One person who reads my blog is a filmmaker named Michael DiBiasio. He made square images for his page for an Indiegogo campaign, and it had an immediate impact.
He made images that are both funny and cute, which are double shareable. He used the kids in his family. He grasped very quickly the idea that you have to entertain, and have an idea of what you’re supposed to get out of it.
If you could give independent filmmakers one piece of advice when it comes to using social media, what would it be?
RR: Use square pictures and don’t post too much. Don’t post more than three times a day. Those would be the two biggest pieces of advice.
Another is to tell people what you want them to do. You’re going to get a bigger response if you put something saying, “Like this,” or other calls to action.
Can you point to an example of a film that has, in your opinion, used social media well?
RR: The Moonrise Kingdom page—oh my gosh, it’s so good.
On one hand you have a director like Wes Anderson who just likes to shoot and make extra stuff. So there will be little films that he makes while he’s shooting the movie—extra scenes and so on—and I’m not even sure how much of the stuff was done for social media marketing, but as a director he creates a lot of extra material. And Focus Features is the only film company I know of that has a dedicated social media person. Combine a person on staff who understands social media and a director that has this stuff… it really creates added value with social media.
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