How to Make Social Media Your Number One Promoter: Six Tips for Filmmakers

Article by Logan Bry
Developmentally Edited by Alexandra Hidalgo

Copy Edited and Posted by Iliana Cosme-Brooks

Social media’s utility for networking and marketing has created an adapt-or-die environment for those trying to gain traction as creatives. With that said, using these applications properly is no Herculean task; it is one of intentional actions and resilience. When executed correctly, social media will allow you to share your current projects with both your established audience and some fresh faces who’ve yet to see anything you’ve done. Of equal importance, social media helps filmmakers connect with each other and with festival coordinators to establish lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Getting started or maintaining your practice over time may seem daunting, so here are some tips to help you make the best out of your social media experience:

Consistent posting

Some may consider this obvious, but posting consistently is the single most important social media practice. Not only does posting on a regular basis keep current followers engaged, but it also increases the odds of potential new followers seeing your posts. Social media isn’t dissimilar to filmmaking: practicing and trying new things are the surest ways to improve one’s abilities and understanding of audiences. Frequent posts allow filmmakers to experiment and figure out what strikes a chord with internet users. However, there is such a thing as too much posting. In June 2021 the social media data site Hootsuite published the results of their user analytics research, reporting that that each social media site has a specific number of posts per day after which engagement drops off. They found diminishing returns after five tweets per day on Twitter, seven posts per week on Instagram, and two posts per day on Facebook. Posting beyond these approximate numbers runs the risk of annoying current followers and losing their interest. Keep in mind, however, that these are generalizations. Engagement is also largely dependent upon the type of content being posted. For more personalized results, there are many analytics tools (both paid and free) that allow users to analyze their social media data and deduce their optimal post frequency and timing. Services such as Hootsuite even do this for you, providing users with a schedule for when to post on each platform based on prior data.

Screenshot of a social media post by Reese Witherspoon, saying "Wow! Thank you so much to the @SAGawards for showing @TheMorningShow so much love! It's an honor and a pleasure to get to work with these incredibly talented people every day, and I am thrilled to be recognized by our fellow actors. What an honor!"
Reese Witherspoon is very intentional about her social media use; she posts photos from her sets, promotions for her book club and new projects, and relatable content to let fans feel personally connected to her.

Collaborate with other filmmakers

In their video essay “A Feminist Approach to Social Media,” Alexandra Hidalgo and Katie Grimes argue that collaboration with fellow women filmmakers on social media creates a relationship that strengthens both parties’ online presences. A common misconception is that creatives in the same field are all in competition with one another. This would imply that consumers only seek out one piece of media from a given genre. On the contrary, audiences often find a niche they enjoy and seek out work similar to that which they’ve already seen. Therefore, working with other filmmakers on social media to promote one another is a mutually beneficial relationship. Due to the entertainment industry’s persistent inequity, women filmmakers face an arduous path to success. Sharing this burden with fellow women in film both helps those involved and creates a sense of community, which will benefit the group as a whole. To do this, following and reposting the work of smaller content creators whom you respect is a good way to create a connection. You can even try shooting them a DM to see if they’d be interested in collaborating or promoting each other’s work. Keep in mind that many filmmakers are struggling to get their names out there, and they would be grateful to have friends they can share the journey with.

Screenshot of a social media post by Reed Morano, linking a video titled "'The Rhythm Section' Anatomy of a Scene" which she narrated.
Reed Morano shares in-depth analyses of scenes from her own films to give her audience a deeper understanding of her work.

Push your website and projects consistently

Your biggest goal on social media as an up-and-coming filmmaker is to get as many people as possible to take interest in your work. Driving your audience to your website and/or films is the best way to give them a polished, curated view of what you’ve done. You don’t want to go overboard and just post a link to your site every single day, but posting about a film with a timely subject (i.e. promoting an empowering film you made or that you love about an African American woman during Black History Month) or providing updates of your ongoing projects is a surefire way to increase traffic. Keep in mind that you never know who will see your page, nor when they’ll see it, so consistent updates always have the chance of reaching new audience members.

Ensure your brand is representative of who you are

Social media users often fall into the trap of following trends so closely for the sake of gaining popularity that they lose their identity in the process. While using hashtags and talking about what’s popular is a useful strategy for filmmakers, it’s important to refrain from saying or doing things you don’t believe in for the sake of clicks. If a post suddenly gains traction out of nowhere and you receive a considerable amount of traffic to your page, you want to make sure that the audience discovers content that is representative of you and your unique vision as a filmmaker. Whether it’s via personal anecdotes, a representative aesthetic, or comments on social issues about which you’re passionate, there is no shortage of ways to communicate authentically with one’s audience. Your goal for social media should be no different from your mission when creating your cinematic works of self-expression: you want people to take interest in you and what you have to say; you shouldn’t just say what you think they want to hear.

Screenshor of a social media post by Ava DuVernay, saying "I was asked why I'm doing a show on the CW about a Black girl learning that she's actually a superhero. Because I want there to be a show about a Black girl learning that she's actually a superhero. And then being a great one. NAOMI debuts tomorrow. So proud. All-new trailer." This is followed by a link to the show's trailer.
Ava DuVernay does a great job of promoting her current projects while also speaking on social issues that are important to her.

Avoid discouragement from lack of impressions

It is completely normal to feel discouraged when something you’re passionate about isn’t going the way you want it to. As a filmmaker, you know this better than anyone. However, running a social media account is not a sprint; it’s a 1000-mile hike throughout which the algorithm occasionally gives you wings, but often gives you a 100-lb. backpack to carry, with both of these events happening seemingly at random. You can learn all you want about the algorithm and your chosen platform, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to be able to coast past the hard work required to build an audience. It’s normal for your numbers to increase, drop, stagnate, drop further, then skyrocket, all without you changing a single thing about your posting habits. Once you’ve found a style that works for you, keep at it. If you’re not feeling as though it’s working well, then switch it up. Experimentation is encouraged, just don’t give up and stop entirely. It’s possible for everything to be going smoothly then start decaying out of nowhere. This isn’t a sign to quit; it simply means that it may be time to switch gears and try something new. You never know when the algorithm is going to bless you with a viral post and give your impressions a well-earned boost.

Enjoy the process

This is a clichéd final point, but it applies to social media as it applies to most endeavors we take on. Going through the motions and viewing your social media account as an obligation is the best way to drive your brand into stagnation. Don’t just focus on the numbers, focus on producing content that you enjoy. If you have a funny shower thought you think others would get a kick out of, post it. If you have a personal story you think would empower other women, post it. As discussed previously, your social media should be representative of you, and nothing is more freeing than simply being yourself. Be strategic, enjoy the ride, and as you already do with your wonderful films, show people that what you have to say matters. 

Connect with Logan by visiting his profile.