Social media for filmmakers

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Social media is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s a free way to self-promote, connect with audiences, and get your work out in the world. On the other hand, it can be a lot of work, the algorithms can be opaque and confusing, and it can at times be supremely frustrating. Here are my best tips for social media for filmmakers.

Get clear on your goals.

Your social media goals will inform everything you do next, so make sure you’re really clear. Are you trying to build an audience, or just give potential clients an easy way to view your work and connect with you? If you want to build an audience, who is the target audience; other filmmakers, clients, or someone else entirely? Do you want to do this to connect with industry professionals, document your process, teach other filmmakers new skills, build brand awareness, stay in touch with producers you’ve worked with before, or something else? Take a moment to write down all your goals for your social media presence. If you don’t have clear business goals, consider if you need a professional social media presence at all. Like I’ve already said, it’s a lot of work, so if it doesn’t help your career or your business, it might not be necessary.

Get clear on your boundaries.

Social media boundaries are hard, especially when you’re doing it for your business. It can feel tempting to be on it at all hours of the day, posting, answering DMs, searching for hashtags, learning about algorithm changes… Basically, it can take over your life. Be thoughtful about what your boundaries are, how much time and energy you can dedicate to it, and then try to commit to that. If you have a hard time with work/life balance, put some guardrails in place. You might download something that blocks social media after 5pm (or whenever your workday ends,) put your phone on do not disturb while you’re working, mute notifications so that you only see them when you actually open the app, or even tell a friend or close colleague what your boundaries are so they can help keep you accountable to yourself.

Don’t try to be on every platform.

There are so many social media platforms, and all of them have different algorithms, target audiences, and skills needed to be successful. Trying to be on every single platform is a recipe for burnout. There’s a reason that social media manager is a full-time job, and it’s because a ton of time and skills go into it, so make sure you are giving yourself grace and not stretching yourself too thin. 

Instagram is great if you want to be focusing on images and videos. If quick lines of text are your thing, there are still people on Twitter, believe it or not. Facebook targets a slightly older demographic, and a business page can help you connect with clients who are looking to hire. Linkedin is a professional social media where you can post larger blocks of text, almost like blog posts, and you can connect with other professionals. Tiktok is great if you’re up for making short videos on a regular basis. Youtube allows for longer form content, and is a great way to show off your camera work. Since you’ve already gotten clear on your goals and boundaries, it should be relatively easy to figure out where to put your focus.

Learn about the algorithm. 

Social media algorithms change regularly. Some platforms change the algorithm as a tactic to keep creators guessing and keeping them on the app for longer periods of time. If your goal is to build an audience, you’ll have to play the algorithm game. Follow creators who specialize in building an audience and working with the algorithm on your chosen platform and see what you can learn from them. 

You can also learn skills that make people more likely to engage with your content. For example, we learned about copywriting from experts who put free educational videos on Youtube, which helps us clearly communicate our brand and our mission to people who read our content. Research SEO and things like hashtags to connect with people and get your work in front of people.

Make great content.

Regardless of your goals, it’s important that you’re making great content. This doesn’t mean every single Instagram post should take you hours, but it should definitely be providing value. You can learn more about what type of content people in your niche are creating and see what their results are. Don’t copy people’s content, but it’s fine to draw inspiration from other creators. For example, if people seem to really respond to educational content, consider what you might have to teach. If they’re looking for advice, what words of wisdom do you have? If you’re trying to show off your reel, take a look at other people who are doing something similar and see what their audience is responding to.

Remember, if you aren’t providing value to your audience, people aren’t going to engage with you or your content. The value you provide can be as simple as showing them a beautiful image or making them laugh, but before you hit post, ask yourself what your audience will get out of it and don’t post anything that doesn’t live up to your standards as a filmmaker. Social media for filmmakers is inherently professional, and especially if you’re on a platform that emphasizes video or photos, you want to make sure they look good.

Be patient.

These things take time. I’m sure we’ve all looked at influencers with millions of followers and wonder what they have that you don’t, but for most people, building an audience is a lot of hard work. You’re never guaranteed to go viral, even if you’re creating great content that people love. It’s okay if it takes a long time to build up your audience, and you shouldn’t let your livelihood depend on your social media presence. If you’re getting frustrated, it’s okay to go back to the drawing board and pivot your strategy. It’s also okay if you discover social media isn’t for you; it doesn’t have to be! There are other great ways to connect with filmmakers, producers, and potential clients. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re gaining traction slowly or not at all. It can take years to build a following even if you’re doing everything right.

When we were more active on Youtube, we had one video quickly rack up 135 thousand views, while a similar video only reached 4.3 thousand. It’s frustrating, but it’s all part of the game, so for the sake of your mental health, don’t beat yourself up when things are moving slowly or not going the way you expect.

Do you have other tips for social media for filmmakers? Get in touch and tell me what I should include next time!

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Author

Molly is an author, screenwriter, blogger, and brand manager for New 32 Productions. They are passionate about sharing content that helps filmmakers live a more productive, informed, and well-balanced life. They live in North Carolina with their spouse and way too many dogs.

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