Google with Friends? Facebook’s Graph Search and What it Means to You

By Reid Rosefelt

IMPORTANT NOTE:

As I was finishing my recent post on Facebook's Graph Search, Tom Scott’s Tumblr blog on Facebook’s new Graph Search feature, “Actual Facebook Graph Searches,”  went viral.   Scott searched things like others of Jews who like Bacon,  married people who like Prostitutes, and current employers of people who like Racism, and more disturbingly, family members of people who live in China and like Falun Gong, and Islamic men interested in men who live in Tehran, Iran.   It’s likely that some of these “likes” were intended to be ironic.  I’m doubtful that that people would say they liked Prostitutes, even if they did, andGizmodo  found people with dubious likes for “Shitting my pants,” as well as some creepy things that might not be ironic.   But as has been noted a lot, it would be hard for people in China to say they were joking about liking the Falun Gong.

I advise all of you to go to “3 Privacy Changes You Must Change Before Using Facebook Graph Search”  (Gizmodo) and  Facebook Graph Search: Now Is The Time to Go Over Your Privacy Settings (ABC News).  I also think it would be worth studying The Facebook Privacy information page.

Last Tuesday, Facebook introduced a new feature called Graph Search at a highly hyped press conference.  Wall Street, which had been expecting a phone ,was not impressed, and the stock dived by 6.5% (it’s since recovered).  On the other hand, the social media bloggers almost unanimously called Graph Search a triumph and Mashable declared:  “Facebook Graph Search Could Be Its Greatest Innovation.”

What is it?  Graph Search gives you the power to tap into the web of connections between you and your friends in a way that has never existed before.  For example, if you type in a question like “Which of my friends like Moonrise Kingdom?” you will be shown a list of your friends, weighted by the ones you interact with the most, i.e., best friends on top.   You could also ask, “What films do my friends like?” and presumably--I haven’t seen it yet--the films at the top of the list will be the ones most liked by your friends. You can also add other variables to your search like “Which of my female Los Angeles friends who speak French like Moonrise Kingdom?”  As Graph Search indexes photos as well as likes, you can ask to see pictures from the photo libraries of all your friends who have liked something or other on Facebook.  You can see more examples of what Graph Search can do on a very Apple-ish video, and sign up for their Beta here.

Consider for a moment how Graph Search could supplement or compete with the services that other websites provide.  Yelp tells you what friends have to say about restaurants and other businesses; Graph Search tells you which ones are liked by your friends and their friends. LinkedIn is a powerful hiring tool for searching through people’s resumes; Graph Search lets you make targeted social inquiries, such as finding which friends of your friends are film publicists.   Match.com, as USA Today pointed out, allows you to see profiles of strangers who have signed up for the service; Graph Search shows which of your Facebook acquaintances and their friends are single. (Female Facebook users… prepare to be pestered!)

At this point Graph Search only indexes what’s in your profile and the pages you’ve liked, so its usefulness is limited by how much our Facebook profile tell about us.  However, Mark Zuckerberg says that his ultimate goal is for Graph Search to include all the content posted on Facebook.   Imagine if you could instantly call up comments that a trusted friend made about a movie three months ago?  That would indeed be very useful, but it will be many years before Graph Search can do that.   In the meantime, if there’s anything that Graph Search can’t help you with, your search goes to Bing.

If people having all this instant access to your data disturbs you, remember that there is nothing accessible through Graph Search that you haven’t already made public, and it only works within your circle of friends.  This is an excellent time to revisit your privacy settings, perhaps take down some pictures and remove tags. Here’s Facebook’s  information page and a video about how to control your privacy with Graph Search.

As far as your film’s fan page goes, Graph Search will force you to change your strategies. In the past, your page was the nucleus of a network, branching out to your fans and their friends, and to the tributaries of Facebook users that stem out beyond them.   Graph Search serves people on the outer margins looking in.  Previously the likes, comments and shares drove your message into the network, and the number of likes was secondary, but if Graph Search catches on, the number of fans will be very important to a search for “What movies do my friends like?”  However, the quality of the content will be as important as it was before, because it will move your film up to the top of the list.

Will Graph Search become one of those big ideas that changes the way we use the Internet?

Time will tell.  As I said before, Graph Search’s viability is limited to how much our profiles express who we are, and that is never the whole story--all of us enjoy more movies than we “like” on Facebook.  Will people hike up their privacy settings so much that Graph Search never reaches its potential? (If that happens it would have a detrimental effect on advertising.) How well will Graph Search work on phones?  What will be the impact of all the bots and fake likers on Facebook?  On the positive side, will Graph Search make it more likely that people will like film pages and write positive comments, as they can see how it will make a long-time difference?   Secondly, if Graph Search truly lives up to its promise it may become the “killer app” that convinces Facebook holdouts to join so they can get access to it.   At this point I think it’s too early to separate what is hype from what could be a seismic change.  Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg had the right tone  when he said, “This is just some really neat stuff. This is one of the coolest things we’ve done in a while.”

Reid Rosefelt coaches filmmakers in how to market their films using Facebook, and lectures frequently on the topic.  His credits as a film publicist include “Stranger Than Paradise,”  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Precious.”

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The Dream: Mark Zuckerberg's Future Plans

By Reid Rosefelt
Imagine if an idealistic multi-billionaire became determined to reinvent independent film.

Imagine if he sought out the most talented, but not yet established, filmmakers in this country--the stars of the film schools, people, festival prize-winners, critically acclaimed directors whose movies have not turned a profit.   He invites each of these people to his office in California, where he takes them for a nature walk to explain his dream of a colossal experiment in cinematic collaboration, larger than anything the world has previously seen.  Not incidentally, he offers each of them a substantial salary to take part.    Most will grab the money or be curious; others will be suspicious of his motives or wary of being tied up and say no.  It will take awhile to put together the perfect group, but the entrepreneur is patient and won’t quit until he’s assembled hundreds of people, the best of the best of the best.  Of course, sometimes he’ll make the wrong choices, but one thing he’s known for is his decisiveness about letting people go when necessary.

The ultra-wealthy man hires one of the world’s most acclaimed architects alive to design the biggest open office space on the planet, a Xanadu where all these filmmakers can work together.  There are no private offices, only a single floor and the owner works in the same gargantuan structure as everybody else.

What would happen if such an abundance of talent were brought  together in the same place?  Is this clear-eyed passion or mad folly?    Would it be an unwieldy mess, a total waste of money and time?  Or is there a chance that something wonderful might emanate from this imagination factory?  Maybe even something unimaginable and new?

Change “gifted film director” to “visionary hacker” and that is very similar to what Mark Zuckerberg is planning to happen in the Xanadu that Frank Gehry is building for him.

My mind boggles when I visualize Zuckerberg’s huge room, several football fields long, chock-a-block with tech geniuses.  What will be born when so many fertile imaginations collide?  His venture is so outsized it reminds me of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Charlie Kaufman’s  “Synecdoche, New York,”  rebuilding New York City inside a warehouse.   No matter where Zuckerberg’s audacious dream takes him, it’s an artist’s dream, not a businessman’s dream.

While many Facebook-haters cast Zuckerberg in the mold of an arrogant commander like Steve Jobs or a socially uncomfortable nerd like Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network,”  his lack of impressiveness as a speaker belies his undeniable brilliance, and I actually find him kind of sweet.  I believe in his sincerity when he says that  “Facebook was not originally created to be a company… it was built to accomplish a social mission—to make the world more open and connected.”

Zuckerberg is the opposite of Steve Jobs.  Jobs didn’t want anybody to know what the person in the next office was doing;  Zuckerberg doesn’t want there to be offices at all, he wants “hangouts” where people can congregate.    Jobs was obsessed with secrecy;  Zuckerberg wants his staff to work in transparent ways.    Jobs didn’t want anybody to know about his future plans;  Zuckerberg loves to talk about them.   For example, if you want to sleuth out what companies Zuckerberg is buying and what people he’s hiring, you’re going to have to go to this page in Wikipedia where they are all listed.   In the past he was more interested in so-called “acqui-hires,” people taken on solely for their brains, rather than the startups they created (which sometimes pared down their services or shut down altogether, to the chagrin of their users), but lately he has been buying companies useful to mobile,  most famously Instagram, but also Tagtile (mobile-based customer loyalty app), Glancee (location app to connect strangers with common interests), Karma (gifting app, which aided the very successful Facebook Gifts), Face.com (facial recognition) as well as many more acqui-hires.

I am particularly fascinated with the acqui-hires, because they are brought in with no specific ideas for how they might improve Facebook.  I also believe that the entrepreneurs who do come in with companies attached are also acqui-hires as it is the nature of tech people to follow up a success by moving on to develop new technologies, just like a successful film director often wants to try out something different from what they’re known for.

This venture has been widely reported in the tech media but the mass media hasn’t given much notice to it. It’s a very big deal and it’s sitting right in front of people’s noses.   The problem with most people is that they tend to judge a company like Apple or Facebook based on what  it looks like at the moment they’re looking at it.   They aren’t capable of considering what it might become because they’re not Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg themselves.  Therefore Apple could bring out the iPods, iPhones and iPads, and everybody is surprised, until one day it isn’t Apple Computers anymore, it’s just Apple.    But why should each one of those things continue be so astonishing when you look at what Jobs had accomplished previously and you knew what a hungry mind he had?

Facebook has over a billion members and is adding a hundred thousand a day.  It has changed the lives of many people.  What other twenty-something has built a company like this?   You have to give Zuckerberg a lot of credit for what he’s already achieved.  As for where he’s going in the future, it’s my hypothesis that he hasn’t assembled this group merely to make Facebook “better” any more than Apple brought people into the company in the late 90’s solely to improve the iMac.  I believe that the Facebook of the future will be a much more evolved social network, but also an umbrella under which many technological marvels as yet unknown will flourish.  I think the idea of Facebook will be something much more expansive than what people consider it to be today.

There are a handful of technological ideas that will transform our lives in the future and I believe many of them will be born in Zuckerberg’s workshop.

Reid Rosefelt coaches filmmakers in how to market their films using Facebook, and lectures frequently on the topic.  His credits as a film publicist include “Stranger Than Paradise,”  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Precious.”

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Don't Think Facebook is Helping Your Film? Maybe You're Not Doing It Right.

By Reid Rosefelt
Can you really sell your film on Facebook with one of those dinky ads on the right side of the page?

 

Let’s begin by taking off the table the fact that many people really hate them.  Assuming that that’s not the case,  usually the 100 pixel x 72 pixel size is too small to even show the poster image, and the maximum 90 characters makes a tweet look like a novel.   It’s true that Facebook ads can be dirt cheap-- for the price of one weekly ad in IndieWire-- I once got 60 million “impressions” (times displayed) on Facebook-- and it offers prodigious targeting abilities allowing you to zero in on fans of any director, actor, movie, social issue, among other  things, but still, you end up with a bargain price on a zillion itsy-bitsy ads that I personally don’t think will directly lead to anything as big as a ticket purchase or a video viewing.  Selling shoes or an exercise program or ice cream cones, yes; movie tix, no.  In my opinion, the sole purpose of those itsy-bitsy teeny-weenie ads on the right side of the page is to drive people to like your Facebook page.  It’s worked for me and countless others and it can work for you (if you do it right).

Now that you have a lot of fans on your page, do you blast them with a hard sell?  Do you put up a series of links to reviews that call it a masterpiece or one of the year’s ten best or the funniest or scariest movie in town?

I’m hoping  most of you know the answer to this one, but all of you don’t because I see it all the time. Earth to Facebook marketers!  Anything that looks or feels like ads is the epitome of what people don’t want to see on social media and will make them unlike your page or hide your posts pronto.  You don’t like it on your page, do you?   The harder you sell the easier they unlike.

Do you sell your movie on your Facebook page by begging your fans to go to the movie theatres?  

Your posts only reach 16% of your fans, of which more than half have already seen your film.  If anybody in that 8% is willing to see your movie as a favor, that’s because they have more of a connection with you than clicking a “like button” and you can reach them much more efficiently through email.  There are many examples of successful social media campaigns that ask people to reach out to their friends, but I personally think it’s a lot to ask your 8% to reach into their contact lists to notify their out-of town friends every time you book a new playdate.

Do you sell your movie on your Facebook page by keeping your fans up-to-date with the latest news?

If you’re a passionate fan of a film, it’s wonderful to receive information about awards, events and the latest reviews.  And it’s a nice thing for filmmakers to be in touch with their fans, particularly when the fan base gets big.   But what’s the point in communicating with people who have already signed on?   You are putting time into Facebook because you want to reach the friends-of-friends, friends-of-friends-of friends, and friends-of-friends-of-friends-of friends.  You want to keep reminding people who have never liked your page and never will… but might be aware of it and this will help keeping it on their wavelength.   My blog post about “The Wire” shows how this can go on indefinitely.   There is nothing in simple news by itself that makes a fan assume their friends will be interested.  You need to create the kind of content that people will want to share.

So how the hell do you sell your film on your Facebook page?

You sell by not “selling.”   You sell not by asking, but by giving.

You win when you grasp the concept that it isn’t about pushing your product on consumers, but initiating a dialogue.   You  succeed when you strive to give your fans an experience that is as close as possible to the one they enjoy with their most interesting and fun Facebook friends--intriguing and funny comments, links, questions,  pictures and videos.    You have a lot of tools like trailers and ads and publicity to help you get through the weekend.   Social media is not about this week;  it’s about what “Homeland”’s Carrie Mathison calls the “long game.”   Social media is about forging relationships that will last throughout your career.

Don’t let anybody ever catch you “selling.” Facebook will work for you from the moment you understand that you only get when you give.

Reid Rosefelt coaches filmmakers in how to market their films using Facebook, and lectures frequently on the topic.  His credits as a film publicist include “Stranger Than Paradise,”  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Precious.”

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Following My Own Advice

By Reid Rosefelt had  breakfast recently with Jaie LaPlante, the Executive Director of the Miami International Film Festival.  Jaie has  healthy 13,000 fans on his Facebook page, but like most people, he’s hungry for more.

I explained that he shouldn’t worry much too much about the  number of fans--the thing that matters is how active his page is--he should be concerned with the number of likes, comments and shares.    What was he  doing to stir up traffic?  Jaie said he had a guy named Igor Shteyrenberg who was merrily posting all day long.  “He shouldn’t posting so often,” I said, repeating a truisms I’d rattled off so often in blogs and lectures.   “All Facebook research has proven that you should never post more than two or three times a day.”

 

Umm….wrong.  Rules don’t apply when you have great content.

 

Despite--or maybe because of--the constant postings, I later discovered that Miami had one of the liveliest festival pages I’d ever seen.   Igor turned out to be the George Takei of movies, generating a potpourri of funny, interesting cinema and pop culture graphics he’d excavated from the web.  The page gave the festival a lively personality-- hip, and buoyant  and fun.   Adjusting the numbers proportionately for number of fans, the Miami page had much better metrics than the pages for all of the world’s top festivals.   Posting “too often” didn’t matter.

 

I was happy for Jaie, but the wonderful Miami page made me think of something  that I don’t like to think about:  my own page.   There was a lot of room for improvement there. The advice I give centers around creating square images that are funny and interesting and shareable.  Why couldn’t I put it into practice myself?    I worked hard on my Facebook- related graphics, but they weren’t all that exciting; movies are intrinsically more fun than social media advice.    There were people creating the square images and having luck with them, so I ran examples on my page, but I couldn’t rely on them to be a regular source of content.   I had been experimenting with offering different kinds of information on the page, but when I saw the Miami page, it kicked me in the ass--I knew I could do better.

 

For the first time I asked myself the questions I ask every potential client: what’s your goal?  What do you want the page to do for you?    I decided there were three main reasons:  first, I write a blog and I want to announce the new posts;  second, I want to announce my lectures; and third, and most importantly,  I want the page to be a place to post examples of people putting my advice into action.  So I thought, “why don’t I make my own cinema-themed content to show people what I’m advising them to do?”    It would vividly illustrate my approach and at the same time give people a sense  of what I’m like.

 

I did my first graphic on December 1st, a picture of Jean-Luc Godard:

People liked it, and so I made more: Christopher Walken, Marilyn Monroe,  Abbas Kiarostami, Louise Brooks, Quentin Tarantino,  Groucho Marx,  Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Steven Spielberg, Michel Gondry, Woody Allen,  Bette Davis,  Audrey Hepburn, Pedro Almodovar,  Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, and Tim Burton.

 

The activity on my page has gone up ten times.

 

There’s an important lesson here and it’s not limited to social media.  Don’t give up.   Keep trying until you find a solution that’s right for you.

Reid Rosefelt coaches filmmakers in how to market their films using Facebook, and lectures frequently on the topic.  His credits as a film publicist include “Stranger Than Paradise,”  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Precious.”

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Still Don’t Understand How Facebook Sells Movies? Read This.

By Reid Rosefelt The HBO show “The Wire” went off the air in March of 2008 after five seasons. It never received hire ratings or an Emmy nomination, but many critics called it one of the greatest TV dramas of all time when it was on, and admiration for the program has increased exponentially over the years.

HBO put up an official Facebook page in 2010 which currently has 1.7 million likes. This past Tuesday, December 4th they put up a picture Wendell Pierce as beloved Detective William “Bunk” Moreland accompanied by the quote , and asking the fans to share their favorite Bunk quotes.

So far, 1505 people have commented, 13,129 liked the picture, and 1879 people shared it, for a total of 16,513 mentions on Facebook timelines. Not all of the 16,513 timeline mentions are on unique pages but on the other hand if you scroll through the 1879 shares you’ll see hundreds of comments and shares from those.

A good guess is that over 15,000 people put “The Wire” on their timelines in one way or another.

As Facebook users have an average of 130 friends that would mean that a mention of “The Wire” appeared on around 1,950,000 timelines.

Still, just because a Facebook user has a mention of “The Wire” on his or her timeline doesn’t mean they see it. On average, only 16% of posts get seen, so only around 312,000 people probably saw it.

You heard me right—over 300,000 people saw a Facebook mention of a show that went off the air four and a half years ago, based on a single post by HBO. Even if my calculations are inflated--and I don’t think they are--it is still in the hundreds of thousands.

These are big numbers, but what do they actually mean in the real world? Personally I don’t care much if somebody likes some TV show on my timeline, particularly Facebook “friends” I might not even know. Although there will be some friends whose opinions I trust, with all the entertainment choices I have, I don’t know if a simple mention or even strong praise would be sufficient to convince me. But it wouldn’t be about a single day. It’s a never-ending barrage of praise from friends that goes on for years, until this old show becomes linked in your mind with can’t-miss current series like “Homeland,” “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”

I admit that you would have to be a hermit not to hear about how great “The Wire” without any help from social media. Still, we all hear about amazing movies and TV shows, but for one reason or another we never get around to checking them out. Eventually our vague plans to see them slip to the back of our minds and disappears.

As long as HBO keeps pumping out content, Facebook never ever lets you forget about “The Wire.” And this goes for kids who are five years old today. They are going to hear about it again and again and again. The only thing that will happen is that number of fans will grow as people watch the show and the numbers of mentions on Facebook will increase by the hundreds of thousands.

Facebook is forever. Facebook is not about selling tickets this weekend or this month; Facebook is a long-term game which has a potential payout unprecedented in the history of marketing.

Or at least until there are TV’s or some kind of visual delivery system and climate change hasn’t killed us all. Even if Facebook is wiped out by some other social media platform, “The Wire” will live on there.

How much effort was put into that December 4th post? It’s nothing more than a wallpaper photo recycled from long ago, accompanied with a line of text. It probably took an HBO staffer a minute to put it up, before moving on to “Sex and the City” with its 13 million likes, “The Sopranos,” with its 2.4 million likes, “Game of Thrones,” with its 4.5 million likes, and “Deadwood” and all the rest.

You can say, well “The Wire” is a very special show, and that is certainly true. But there are thousands of great shows in TV history that aren’t taking advantage of social media like HBO is.

There are a lot of great independent films too, but 80-90% of independent film distributors and filmmakers are totally, completely, utterly not doing what HBO is doing. And I include marketing people who are on Facebook ten hours a day. Once they put on their marketing hat on they use Facebook like the people who are most annoying on Facebook. You know, the kind that never send you any fun links or make interesting comments about current events. The kind that only contacts you when they want something, like for you to like their page or come to their concert or art show or….wait for it…ask you to tell your friends that their movie is opening in Cleveland or Birmingham or Tuscaloosa or Chicago or Tampa or Austin or San Francisco. Did you tune out after the first dozen playdates?  No problem. If you don't like, comment or share, the Facebook computer algorithm will stop showing them to you.

Can we do better than this in our industry?

Hell, HBO doesn’t do Facebook that well either.

Reid Rosefelt coaches filmmakers in how to market their films using Facebook, and lectures frequently on the topic.  His credits as a film publicist include “Stranger Than Paradise,”  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Precious.”

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Please Mr. Zuckerberg, Zap My Facebook Spam!

By Reid Rosefelt

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

I love Facebook but there is one thing that really irks me fierce, and that’s when a guy with a name like Axylsmpgo Phpnygusx “Big Pimpin” Pxtzchqo and a profile picture of Vera Farmiga likes my page. Who makes mysterious comments like like “axkcfierj;kfdjrpeirka;dfuernxitrh.” I suppose that there are those who get satisfaction out of correspondence of this nature, but alas, I am not one of them.

Please help me get these counterfeit likers off my fan page. All you need to do is give me a button so I can zap away the profiles of people who aren’t real. For example, if I have 1083 and one of those phantoms tries to make it 1084 I click and then I’m back to good old 1083 again. That would give me more satisfaction than you can imagine.

I’m sure you agree that these imaginary Facebook profiles pose real dangers to Facebook as a business. When advertisers shell out heavy coin to reach people who don’t exist… they can get annoyed. I bet Wall Street takes notice of stuff like this; I know I do every time I promote a post. : ) You must agree with me that this smells bad because otherwise you wouldn’t have started removing the buggers in January. But you persist in making me wait for the day when you’ll exterminate my personal infestation.

I’m as big a fan of Facebook as you could ever find, and I’d be the last one to complain, but seriously there is something kabluey in your system. I target ads to the United States, Canada and the UK and I get dozens of people from Morocco. Maybe it’s just me, but I seriously doubt that non-English speaking people in Marrakech are interested in my page. And don’t get me started about Iran and Algeria.

I block them. I report them to Facebook. I hide my page from countries. I target all my posts to people who speak English. But still these android profiles grow like kudzu on my page. Mark, when somebody wants to friend me on my personal page, you give me the right to confirm or not confirm. There is so little power I have in real life… people with b.o. and bad breath can sidle up to me at parties, so you have no idea how grateful I am for the confirm option that Facebook so kindly provides on my personal page. But when it comes to my business page I am as helpless as a kitten up a tree. This ability to control my own destiny is a basic human right, one that I humbly request that you grant me.

It wouldn’t have any impact on people who get joy out of having computer viruses as pals, but Mark, I’m the kind of guy who needs to have real relationships with people. After all, I am one of your 16 million subscribers.

Sincerely,

[caption id="attachment_8427" align="alignleft" width="244"] Reid Rosefelt (signature)[/caption]

 

 

 

 

 

You can connect with 

Reid Rosefelt  &Facebook Marketing for Filmmakers at:

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Traditional Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing… and the Results

By Reid Rosefelt

Everything in traditional movie marketing is generated by the marketers: publicity, reviews, posters, trailers and TV spots, websites, ads, and so on. It is a one way / top-down process. The marketers make all this stuff and hope that all or part of it will somehow register in the consciousness of potential moviegoers.

Social media marketing works the complete opposite way. A Facebook fan page is a group of people who come together online to talk about a topic of common interest, which in this case is a movie. People can decide to form a group like this on their own, or the marketers can invite them when they set up a page.

Instead of one-way, social media is two-way, or more precisely, multi-way. Social media is about dialogue and making connections and no marketer can force a group to convene or control what that discussion will be. Eric Cantor has an official Facebook page; there is also a popular “Eric Cantor is a Douchebag” page.

Our task as Facebook marketers is to set up the online community, try to get people to go there, and then keep the conversation going. Effective social media marketing happens when the audience is the show--not us. But most movie marketers transfer the one-way technique to Facebook by using it as a newsletter or an email blast… and fail utterly. Sending out status updates about what cities the film is opening in or links to reviews and articles is unlikely to provoke people to comment, share or like. And if they don’t do that, the Facebook algorithm sends out fewer posts and the page gradually becomes a pointless exercise.

The whole idea of social media marketing rests on authenticity--you can’t have a Facebook Community for your film unless there really are a group of people who want to talk about it. That’s why the number of likes you have on your page doesn’t necessarily matter. It does you no good to get your friends--who like you personally but may not have any particular interest in your movie--to like your page as a favor.  What matters more than the number of likes is the amount and the quality of the conversation appearing on the page from the people who do care about the topic of discussion.

Having more likes doesn’t necessarily mean you have more activity. The official “Audi USA” page has almost six million members, but it has less fan engagement than the fan page “I Love Audi,” which has only one million members.

audi-1

If you want to check out whether any film page is working or not, all you need to do is click the Likes button.

likes-button

You’ll see something like this:

ptat-1

The number on the left, “People Talking About This,” represents the number of unique people who have liked, commented, shared, or otherwise interacted with this particular movie fan page over the past week.  That’s always more important than the number of Likes.

The frame grab above is from a recent independent film.  Here are a few others:

PTAT-2

ptat-3

ptat-5

Here is “Moonrise Kingdom”

moonrise-kingdom

How does your page measure up?  Facebook fan pages aren’t like posters or trailers, where I might love one and you might hate it.  The “People Are Talking About This” is a cold number that can’t be argued with.  It doesn’t matter how nice your page looks or how hard you are working on it, either people are talking about it or they ain’t.  I would say, however, that though a low number means failure, a high one doesn’t necessarily mean success: it’s not useful if everybody is just telling each other to go to hell.  To evaluate a page you have to look at more than its analytics.

If you’re not happy with what you see, you can:  try using Shareable Square images instead of status updates and links; use calls to action; post daily but not more than three times a day. I’m sure you’ll see a lot of improvement very soon.

This post originally appeared on Reid's website and is reprinted here with his permission.

Saving Indie Film With Facebook

by Reid Rosefelt Did you know that Facebook probably doesn’t show most of the posts you put up on your movie’s fan page?

According to a recent study, 84% of the fans on an average Facebook fan page don’t see any page posts in their news feed. Of course this is just an average; you may have a kick-ass page. Let’s check. You probably know the number of likes you have, but go to your page and look at the number of “People Talking About This.” This is a total of how many unique people interacted with your page during the last week. These are not people who merely “saw” a post but actually did something such as clicking “like,” commenting, or sharing. How did you do?

Nobody really knows how the mysterious Facebook algorithm decides how many of your fans see your posts, but all social media gurus are in agreement that it has to do with how much active engagement you have with your members. So “People Talking About This” is a good starting metric. Facebook provides extensive analytics so you can learn more about who those Talking People (or mouse clicking people) are -- for example if they came from your posts ending up on your fans newsfeed and ticker (organic) or are viral.

The actual metric is called EdgeRank (as comments, shares, and likes are known in FB parlance as “edges”). but you can’t find out what this number is, you can only apply certain techniques to your page to get better results.

A lot of people with FB fan pages wonder if getting the most likes is hitting the social media jackpot. Well… yes and no. You could have 50,000 likes on your page, but if your “People Talking About This” number is 43, you’ve got a sleeping page. A good way to understand what I’m talking about it to check out George Takei’s (if you don’t know his name, he played helmsman Sulu on “Star Trek”) There’s a lot to love about Takei-- his activism for human rights and Japanese-American relations, gay marriage, his wry sense of sense of humor, etc. But still, is he more famous than William Shatner with “TJ Hooker,” “Rescue 911,” “The Practice,” “Boston Legal,” three record albums, bongo playing on “Conan,” and endless Priceline commercials? As I write this, Shatner has 160,000 likes on his page and 881 “talking about”; Takei has 2.4 million followers and over four million people talking about his page. Takei understands Facebook. You can too.

How do you get large numbers of fans and how do you engage with them when you get them? Neither are insurmountable tasks, if you learn a few techniques, if you’re creative, and are willing to put in the time, hard work, and maybe a few bucks.

You can begin today by getting rid of that app that auto-tweets and posts to Facebook in one handy step. All Facebook geniuses agree that you shouldn’t post more than two or three times a day on your fan page.

I could tell you many ways to get fans and get them to like, comment and share , but the easiest way to increase your fan’s engagement is to upload pictures. Add images to your status updates and you’ll see an improvement immediately.

According to most FB experts, EdgeRank operates like this: pictures are better than videos; videos are better than links; and links are better than status operates. Shares are better than comments or likes.

There are a lot of techniques for eliciting comments and likes; one way to learn is by studying pages that get lots of feedback. But what about shares? Ask yourself: why do you share a post? Because it is funny? Interesting? Beautiful? Amazing? Provocative? Or do you share because somebody tells you, “We’re opening in Des Moines on Friday! Contact your friends!” While it only takes an instant to click “like,” it doesn’t take much longer to unsubscribe. Never forget that you are sending your posts out to strangers who may not be as interested in your project as you are.

Many people in the business tell me that social media doesn’t work--they don’t believe it sells tickets. For the most part they are right, because nothing ever works until you learn how to do it correctly. Exploring independent film pages on Facebook has been a very dispiriting experience for me because so many people clearly don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. They work energetically to minimal effect. Worse, the ones who have the skills aren’t aiming high enough.

You’re filmmakers. You are engaged in creating indelible images. Make images that are crafted for sharing across all social media, which is mostly visual. Create images that will make people want to see your movie.

Artists need to step up to the plate, as there’s a real opportunity here. Understand that you can get some creative expression out of this marketing tool and build your audience at the same time. Blaze the trail and let people copy you later.

Veteran film marketer and publicist Reid Rosefelt has worked on hundreds of films, ranging from STRANGER THAN PARADISE  to CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON;  his personal clients have included Errol Morris, IFC, and the Sundance Institute.   He is a consultant to Magnet Media,  a production company that offers interactive marketing services to such entertainment clients as Dreamworks Animation, NBC, ABC, and Showtime.

Become A COLLABORATOR With Us

Did you know I Executive Produced this years Best Actor & Critic Prize Winning Film at the world's oldest film festival? Martin Donovan's COLLABORATOR is that film. My guess is you did not get over to the Czech Republic last month to see it. But you know what? It will be playing around the USA this fall. Soon we should be announcing those next steps, and then the ones that follow. But if you need a fix, perhaps this will do.

I am very proud of this film. It was one of those great experiences where you get to help a friend realize their dream, and you (i.e. me) benefit from it too. I think anyone desiring ambitious cinema of quality, ideas, and humor will dig it. I hope that is you!

You can watch the press conference right here. I think it demonstrates well what a producer does at such a press conference. Producers don't get asked questions -- but it doesn't mean you can't answer them. A Producer still has to make sure that the right messages get out there.

And if you have a moment, please check out COLLABORATOR's Facebook page. I know most of you have not yet seen it, but if you "like" it, you will be privy to early news on where it is screening and other such stuff.

And if you aren't already, you can follow our writer, director and star, Martin Donovan on Twitter @breakneckfilms.

Sundance Teams With KickStarter & Facebook For New Initiative To Connect Artists With Audiences

Official Press Release:

PARK CITY, UT -- Sundance Institute today announced a new program to connect its artists with audiences by offering access to top-tier creative funding and marketing backed by the Institute’s promotional support. These essential services will act as building blocks for future program components which aim to provide filmmakers access to a broad and open array of third-party digital distribution platforms. Adding to the nonprofit Institute’s acclaimed programs for Screenwriters, Directors, Film Composers, Producers and Theatre artists around the world, the new services were developed based on research and input from filmmakers, industry advisors, its Technology Committee and its Board of Directors, including President Robert Redford. The creative funding component was announced today with Kickstarter, the largest platform in the world for funding creative projects.

A new way to fund and follow creative projects, tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars to projects on Kickstarter every month. In exchange for support, backers receive tangible rewards crafted and fulfilled by the project's creator. Support is neither investment, charity, nor lending, but rather a mix of commerce and patronage that allows artists to retain 100% ownership and creative control of their work while building a supportive community as they develop their projects.
“Technology now allows filmmakers to fund and make films in ways we could never have even conceived. Just as we did 30 years ago, the Institute is responding to a need, with a responsibility to help the individual artist,” Redford said.
“Today’s media landscape presents opportunities for audiences and artists to connect in new and exciting ways. This program is a natural and much-needed extension of our mission,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute. “With unparalleled recognition worldwide, Sundance Institute is in the unique position as a nonprofit to bring together a wide range of services and lend invaluable promotional support.”

Creative Funding Support

Kickstarter has agreed to provide branding, educational, and promotional support to Sundance Institute alumni. More than 350,000 people have pledged over $30 million dollars to projects on Kickstarter since its launch in spring 2009.
To launch the collaboration, the first alumni workshops took place at the Sundance Film Festival this week, conducted by Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler and attended by a range of artists from first time filmmakers to seasoned veterans. Beginning this spring, the Institute will curate alumni projects at Kickstarter.com and drive alumni and fans to support projects in various stages of funding. In addition, Sundance.org will showcase projects and interviews with artists on a monthly basis for even further reach.

“We're excited to be working with the Sundance Institute and its esteemed community," said Kickstarter cofounder, Yancey Strickler. "Kickstarter has been an effective tool for artists of all stripes, and we're looking forward to the projects that this collaboration will bring to life."
Education and Resources

In the coming months, Sundance Institute will build an online hub of resources related to independent distribution options, funding strategies and other key issues. The goal is to provide for filmmakers a central location to explore case studies and best practices, in addition to live workshops and training opportunities with Institute staff, alumni, industry experts and key partners.

As the first of these partners bringing their expertise to the community, Facebook will offer Institute alumni advice, educational materials, and best-practices tips on how to build and engage audiences via the service. Earlier this week at the Sundance Film Festival, Facebook led the first in a series of hands-on workshops for Institute alumni. During these workshops, artists received unique training on free tools and apps for social engagement, education in the types of pages and profiles they can utilize, and insight into Facebook's advertising opportunities. Artists needing more direct assistance were able to share Pages while Facebook staff assisted them in making improvements and changing settings. Facebook and Sundance Institute have had a relationship for years and last year provided Page assistance for films including Waiting for Superman, A Small Act and Restrepo among 20 others.

All Sundance Institute artists from Sundance Film Festival, Labs and Grantees, will be the first to gain access to the programs. Further development will include access to a broad and open array of third-party digital distribution platforms backed by Sundance Institute promotional support. In the future, additional opportunities for theatrical exhibition will be explored in collaboration with organizations such as Sundance Cinemas, members of the national Art House Project, and others.

To execute the program, Sundance Institute has hired Christopher Horton as Associate Director of Filmmaker Services. Horton, who will relocate to Los Angeles after nearly a decade with Cinetic Media, will work closely with Joseph Beyer, Director of Digital Initiatives, Katie Kennedy, Associate Director of Development, Corporate along with the Institute’s Program Directors.

Legal Services for Sundance Institute have been graciously donated by O’Melveny & Myers LLP, headed by a team including Paul Iannicelli and Chris Brearton.

Kickstarter
Kickstarter is the largest platform for funding creative projects in the world. Every month on Kickstarter, tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars and help bring creative projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields to life. The Kickstarter community features projects by Oscar winners, Grammy winners, TED Fellows, New York Times best- sellers, Pulitzer Prize finalists, and thousands of others. Kickstarter is open to creative projects big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and avant-garde. www.kickstarter.com

Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. www.sundance.org

"What is the Golden Triangle and Why Should Filmmakers Care?

Chris Dorr returns today with another guest post. Much of the most important innovation on the web today occurs within what some call the Golden Triangle.

The three sides of this triangle are social, mobile and real time.  Though the poster children for this triangle are Facebook, the iPhone and Twitter, this innovation extends far beyond these three companies.

This triangle is creating a major shift in how people experience the Internet.

Now many people are;

1.  Always connected to the Internet,

2.  Constantly connected to their social graph and,

3.  Perpetually acting as a bridge between the virtual and physical world.

People have the Internet in their hands as they move about the real world and they are breaking down the old distinction between our "virtual" and "physical" worlds.

This process will accelerate as more people buy smart phones, which they are doing at a rapid pace.

So why should filmmakers care?

Filmmakers, distributors and theater owners want to bring people into theaters to see their films.  The golden triangle continuously spins off new tools that enable them to do so at a low cost.

So here are three suggestions;

1.  Encourage people to bring their cell phones to the theater. (And use them there!),

2. Improve wireless access within the theater. (So these phones are easier to use!) and

3. Before and after each screening use the theater screen to enable people to communicate with other people in the theater and their friends outside the theater. (About films in general or the film they are about to see or have just seen.)

In other words use these digital tools to enhance the social aspect of the film going experience.

That's right, create a better social experience--a key reason most people go to see films in a theater in the first place.

Chris Dorr has been a movie producer, studio executive and creator of online and mobile services. He consults on digital strategy and business development. Find Chris at www.digitaldorr.com.

Data Portability, Facebook, & Filmmaker

Filmmaker has a post on Lance Weiler's upcoming article on data portability.  I have been hungering for this one for a long time now.  Data portability's a key issue for all of us.  It would have been on my list of what I want our film culture to be but I thought it was an issue or practicality more than a way of being.  Open source practices and general transparency in actions and practices is something though that is essential to a truly free film culture and it definitely should have been on my list (I have now added it).  What else did I forget?

Scott's post goes on to discuss Facebook's policy of dropping the accounts of those who have grown too large.  It's an irksome situation and something to be aware of.  Check it out.

Twitter Review (sort of)

I confess: I am truly new to all of this social networking stuff.  This blog is about two and a half months old.  I think I have only been on Facebook for 5 weeks.  Our film production company has a MySpace page but I am not a MySpace member.  I know I blog about some stuff here that the digi-elite embraced eons ago.  Let's just say although I am a newbie, I am passionate advocate -- and a textbook example of how you can teach an old dog some new tricks.  And I recognize how much my community has to learn.  Admit it: the film biz is filled with Luddites.

I was a very slow at making a commitment to the social network world.  I pondered FB membership for months.  And I mocked the young 'uns in our office who sang its praises.  I am a convert now, but I am still only using it to maintain a dialogue about the emerging new paradigm for non-Hollywood cinema (I hate describing things in contrast to, but ...).  To that end, I am have the same issues Pericles commented on the other day: I am confused whether I should just "confirm" everyone that friends me in an effort to expand the circle, or should I limit my connections to the people I actually know or do, or could do, business with, or at least those that have the courtesy to write and explain why we should be "friends".  I lean to the former but haven't jumped in yet.  Some of my hesitancy comes from my expectant embrace of the more social aspects of the technology -- and frankly I don't want to be more social.  I have been trying to figure out how to have more time to myself and my family for a long time.
Which brings me to my fears of using Twitter.  When I was looking for an article on how Twitter might be best applied to the film world, Beth's Blog led me to the OReillyRadar posting of some of their report "Twitter And The Micro-Messaging Revolution" .  I'd love to see the whole report; if you want to buy it for me for the holidays, you can do so here.  Reilly's preface documenting his adaptation to the technology echoed what I had suspected -- he joined for business reasons and soon found himself using it for social updates too.  It was inspiring though.  
I would like to hear further how filmmakers have effectively used Twitter to communicate with their audience, but this piece alone, got me a lot closer to embrace the present a bit more.  Any filmmakers out there with Twitter experiences to share?