Marketers need a plan to get the most out of the Web

While social media can help a film connect to a target audience, a campaign should build on traditional marketing methods and should never compromise the project, said marketing experts and filmmakers at Sunday’s American Film Market panel “Film Marketing and New Social Media — Maximizing Exposure in the Internet Era.”

Sheri Candler, a marketing/engagement media strategist, emphasized that the way to determine which type of social media platform to use for entertainment marketing is to know the audience.

“Everybody in this room should have a social media account and be using it and connecting with people right now,” Candler said of sites like Twitter and Facebook. “You need to also be constantly posting things to them. Interesting things. Not just things related to your film. There’s got to be some sort of interest that your film is related to.”

Susan Jackson, president and co-founder of Freestyle Releasing, which did marketing for this year’s British caper “Wild Target,” uses a mixture of marketing platforms. Freestyle relies on Facebook, creating pages for each film and releasing trailers and clips of their titles.

“I do still believe that there’s nothing like a good trailer because you’re reaching an audience already predisposed to go to a movie,” Jackson said.

Panelists agreed the most important thing about Facebook is to cultivate e-mail lists from them by adding a sign-up tab to the page. If someone is willing to give an e-mail address, they’re willing to be contacted.

Sacha Gervasi, helmer of docu “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” which gained popularity through its social media strategy and numerous film fests, said that filmmakers should not be afraid to dive into social media, but that self-promotion through those avenues may be challenging.

“You have to really have the stomach for war,” Gervasi said.

But as important and indispensable as social media marketing are, Gervasi and Philippe Diaz, chairman and founder of Cinema Libre Studios, stress that traditional methods remain crucial. Diaz said these new tools are essential, but not magical.

“If you do not get some kind of theatrical release, no one will review the film,” Gervasi said. “I don’t care if it sounds like boasting: We have a 98% on ‘Rotten Tomatoes.’ You have to understand you cannot get that unless you mount some sort of theatrical campaign.”

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