Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Promoting an Indie Film through Social Media

Currently, I am promoting an independent movie, Grapes on a Vine, through using social media platforms. Based on my research, I have not found too many independent movies promoting their film through social media. I am using tools and social networking sites like Facebook fan pages, Twitter, and YouTube to increase awareness, promote sales, generate a buzz and engage with the independent film community.

See the Grapes on a Vine movie blog.

Friday, September 4, 2009

10 Easy Steps to Increase Your Twitter Following...What are you waiting for?

Everyone wants more Twitter followers, but are you putting in the time and effort to actually attract a larger following? When you first join Twitter, it is okay to to let your account sit for a couple of days to get a natural following, but after that, it is up to you to increase your Twitter following.

Here are ten easy steps to increase your Twitter followers:

1. Let's start with the basics.

Have you listed your Twitter profile with relevant keyword for your bio? If you are a make-up artist, but your bio-which only gives you 160 characters- says you love your dog, Pookie, then you might attract other animal lovers or animal doctors. Your bio is a chance to summarize who you are, so use targeted keywords instead of sentences or phrases. In the make-up artist example, the bio might look like: Beauty Expert | Make-Up Artist | M.A.C lover | Esthetician | Cosmetics | Lipstick | Eye Shadow | Beauty Products | Make-Up Tips | Facials | Salon | Skin Care. All within 160 characters and are highly targeted keywords.

2. What's in a name?

Does your name reflect your brand/profession/industry? I work in PR. My Twitter name is EllaBeePR. When I first joined, the easiest way I found other PR Twitter profiles was by simply typing in PR in the Twitter "Find People" search. Twitter searches profiles by name results. Also, don't be afraid to include your real name on your settings.

3. Follow, follow, follow- oh and did i mention to FOLLOW
Follow as many people as you can. Although Twitter put restrictions to stop spammers, you can still follow as many relevant profiles until you reach your limit. There is a very high chance that at least half of those followers will follow you back. Once a higher percentage of people start following you, you can then continue to increase your following by searching and adding.

You HAVE to search for people. If everyone was waiting around expecting to be discovered, then we would never find each other on Twitter. Social media is all about being active and getting involved. It's a two-way street. They don't call it Web 2.0 for nothing. Find relevant profiles by searching for highly targeted keywords. For PR, I use keywords like marketing, social media, and media to continue to find new profiles to follow. Don't ever get comfortable with who you are already following. Keep it fresh and continue to look for your target audience.

4. Tit for tat
You should have the mind of "follow me and I'll follow you back." It's very useful to building meaningful relationships on Twitter. You never know who you could possibly be ignoring if you don't live by this concept. Just because you don't know someone doesn't mean that person doesn't know someone who could help build your business or share your comments with their Tweeps (Twitter + People).

5. ...somebody's watching me
Monitor what other people are saying by searching for keywords. If you are a non-profit consultant and you want to find non-profit organizations who need help with fund raising, you can use Twitter Search to see what people are discussing with real-time conversations listed in the results. Follow those profiles, offer advice and most likely they will follow you in return.

6. Get rid of the dead weight.
Because Twitter has put a limit on how many people you can search, use sites like Twitoria to find out who you are following, but are not actively using Twitter. Twitoria will tell you which profiles have not posted in as little as two weeks or as long as two years. Stop following people who are not even using Twitter. Also, stop following people who have not followed you back. To find out if someone is following you on Twitter, check to see if you can send them a direct message. If you can't send a message, they are not following you in return, so get rid of them.

7. List your profile on Twitter search directories.
There are many Twitter search directories, but I will only promote two right now. We Follow will let you add tags to your Twitter profile with three simple keywords. For example, my PR profile is tagged under a directory listing for #PR, #SocialMedia and #Marketing. The great thing is that you can change it as much as you like and also search for Twitter profiles under a variety of listings. Also, list your business on Twitter's yellow pages, Twellow.

You can also search Twitter bios with Tweep Search which makes searching a whole lot easier.

8. Bigger is not always better.
Sure, The Ellen Show has 3,123,278 followers and The Real Shaq has 2,145,515 and counting, but unless you are a die-hard fan, I would not recommend following these profiles. Why not? Because unless you are Gayle King, Oprah is NOT going to follow you back. Sure there are larger than life Twitter profiles that you can follow, but be careful not to load-up on too many high profiles if your goal is to have someone follow you in return. When you are looking at lesser known profiles, check their follow/follower ratio. If it's not likely they will follow you in return, then don't bother following. Also check to see if they comment to their followers. Chad Ocho Cinco (@OGOchoCinco) may have 150,000 followers and is only following 400 people in return, but he ALWAYS comments to his fans for his other followers to see. Use the @ sign with the person's profile name for example @EllaBeePR.

9. Shout, shout, let it all out.
Announce to your Facebook friends that you are on Twitter. Anytime I see a Facebook friend update their status saying, hey check me out I'm on Twitter, they automatically get tons of comments of people providing direct links to follow them also. List your Twitter name on all your social media profiles. You can also include your Twitter name in your e-mail signature. If you are in sales or pitching a new idea, it's a great way to track who is interested in you and wants to learn more.

10. Have fun and get involved.
The most effective way to gain Twitter followers, is to actively use the micro-blogging site to interact with other people and brands. If you see an interesting link, click on it and thank that person for sharing. If you are following them and they are not following you, this may prompt a conversation and new follower. Re-tweet (RT) other comments that you think are funny, helpful or that you think should be restated. Always thanks others for re-tweeting your updates and comments. Think about it, if someone RTs something for you, ALL of their followers have a chance of not only seeing your message, but your profile name. You never know who will re-tweet your update and there you have it, an opportunity for others to find out more about you. Participate in #FollowFriday and follow other interesting profiles. Look at the trending topics and engage in the conversation.

Get in there, get involved and happy tweeting.