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Facebook Is Making Your Film Marketing Invisible

By Mike Everleth ⋅ August 1, 2011

Facebook logo fading away

If a filmmaker makes a film and doesn’t create a Facebook fan page for it, does that film even exist?

Given the common wisdom these days, it sure as hell feels as though the answer to that is “no.” Whether starting in pre-production, production, post-production or release, the creation of a Facebook fan page for a film is a given at this stage of the Internet game.

The general advice, of course, is to start the Facebook fan film page as early in the production process as possible, that way a filmmaker — or her PR rep or whomever — can build up a fan base through regular postings, then that fan base will then storm the theaters demanding to see the actual film when it’s finished.

The good part about updating for Facebook is that posting status updates is easy. They don’t take much time or thought, so a good stream of constant updates is possible.

Now, here’s the bad part.

Facebook knows that each of its members has probably liked several hundred pages and probably has a couple hundred “friends.” (P.S. If you have less than 100 Facebook friends, you are, most likely, a loser.) Facebook then also knows that it is totally impossible to keep up with the constant updates from all of those pages and all of those friends.

So, Facebook does its damnedest to hide the stuff you really want to see from you.

First, Facebook makes “Top News” the default landing stream wherein the top news is the status updates that receives the most interactions. Then, Facebook develops algorithms to figure out whom they think you are most interested in hearing from based on your interactions with certain people’s status updates.

For example, your best friend in the “real world” may post nothing but trivial status updates that you have no interest in “liking.” But, a former co-worker you barely remember might write horrific racist rants that you can’t help yourself from leaving angry comments to.

Then, in Facebook land, their algorithms will transform your racist former co-worker into your best friend; while your real best friend gets dropped right the hell out of your feed.

Applying this to your film’s Facebook page, you need to make it more like a racist co-worker than a boring best friend. If you’re not inspiring “Likes” and “Comments” for your page’s status updates, your film is going to become invisible to your fans.

Who are your “fans” anyway? If you’re still only in pre-production or if you’ve gone into shooting, then your film’s fans are most likely people you already know personally. If Facebook is your only means of promotion, how are new fans going to find your film?

The concept of putting up a Facebook page for a film, posting a few status updates and expecting hordes of fans to come flocking to that page who will then storm movie theaters is, for the most part, a major fantasy. If you build it, they will not come. Soon, the concept of the “easy Facebook updating” form of promotion will turn into the drudge work of slavishly having to post stuff constantly that begs for “Likes” and “Comments,” trolling for new fans by posting on other pages, begging current fans to beg their friends to become new fans, and so on. And, oh yeah, you do have a film to make at the same time, right?

So, do you still make that Facebook fan film page? You better! If you don’t, your film doesn’t exist, right?

The Facebook fan page is a necessary evil, but it’s not a nirvana for film promotion. It, just like every other kind of film promotion, is hard work. Plus, every day it seems that the signal-to-noise ratio of junk on the Internet is increasing. We are, as some experts predict, heading into a dangerous world of information overload and intense fragmentation.

Your film may “exist” because you have made that Facebook fan film page for it, but if you’re not the hot topic du jour or of the minute or of the nano-second on the ‘net, your film is still going to be buried from sight.

Honestly, this article has taken a much more downbeat note than I had intended. Facebook film popularity success is possible. Just look at how engaging the page for the I Am Divine documentary is. Of course, that doc has the popularity of Divine built into it, but whomever is posting status updates there gets how to keep its audience motivated, mostly by posting non-Divine status updates lately.

Just consider all of this a forewarning, I guess, and understand that Facebook is actually built to work against you. To combat that:

1. Post constantly, at least once or twice a day.
2. Make those posts interesting enough to get people to “Like” and “Comment” on this.
3. Promote your film, but not to the point that your fans will get sick of you. Post about all kinds of stuff.

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