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Social Media: The New Publicist for Movies

Posted by Allison Semancik

Social Media The New Publicist for MoviesThe following is a guest blog post from Emma-Julie Fox of Pitstop Media, Inc.

If you thought social media worked wonders as a marketing tool for just the retail and consumer goods’ industry, think again!

Ever wondered how a movie really makes it to the top grossing list even with a weak story line, or worse, with relatively unknown actors?

Yes, we all know just how big a percentage of a film’s budget is focused on publicity drives and marketing before its release. But, in today’s digitally connected world, movie publicists have found a much simpler, cheaper, and more effective tool: social media. Social media is fast becoming the most powerful weapon in their arsenal, and it has proven its effectiveness many times over.

Publicity is all about spreading the word, and social networks like Twitter and Facebook help moviemakers do just that, without needing to physically travel around the world to reach their potential audience. Here are some statistics that show just how powerful a publicist social media has become!


“Ted” – A Social Media Success

Universal Pictures managed to create such a successful social media campaign for their movie ‘Ted’ that it went on to earn over $480 million at the box office, surpassing even ‘The Hangover’ as the highest-grossing original R-rated movie ever made!

So, how did they do it?

They created a Twitter handle for the main character of the movie, Ted – a stuffed animal that believes that there isn’t enough alcohol, pot, women or curses in the world to satisfy him.

The handle @WhatTedSaid raked up well over 500,000 followers in a short while thanks to Ted’s snide comments, quite like the movie character itself.

But it didn’t just end with the phenomenal number of followers on Twitter. The movie’s Facebook page has received over 6 million likes, with each post getting well over 100,000 likes on average.

They shared pictures of Ted, funny posts, and even e-cards on their Wall.


Any Lessons for Businesses?

You may not be a part of showbiz world, but you sure want to establish a brand, create an identity for your business and convey information through this identity, right? Then take a leaf or several out of Ted’s publicity manual. Here’s what you can do:

  • Market your unique selling proposition through social media. A good way to do that is to show how your USP can help solve a problem, or use it to entertain your audience. 
  • Find a unique voice that represents your brand and use it when communicating with your followers and fans online. You could, for instance, create a mascot for your social media platforms, something like Hootsuite’s owls perhaps, or Travelocity’s gnome.
  • Make sure your voice resonates with your brand message. If you want to convey a serious image, your social media posts should reflect that in terms of your content, descriptions, the links, videos, and images that you share.
  • Don’t just talk about your brand, but talk about and discuss stuff (related to your niche) that may be of interest to your target market. 
  • Bring in humor every now and then. Make people laugh and they’ll like and follow you. Some of best brands including, Taco Bell, Old Spice, Popchips, etc, have turned laughs into a huge and involved fan base.

Viewers too have a role on social media in deciding a movie’s fate

And then there was Disney’s ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’, a movie that earned over $80 million during its opening weekend itself. According to trade figures the movie made around $300 million!

In a survey conducted by Penn Schoen & Berland in conjunction with The Hollywood Reporter, 72 percent of social media users post feedback about movies on various social networks. Not only this, social media has influenced nearly a third of its users into watching a movie as well.

It’s partly because of such huge publicity as a run-up to the movie’s launch that movies tend to strike gold during their opening weekends and then possibly fade into oblivion if it lacks significant substance to capture its audience.

So, not only should movie publicists sell their movies as much as possible on social networks, but they should also be aware of the feedback their movies receive after their release. It may seem like a movie’s fate entirely depends on just how many people the moviemakers have managed to convince through their shrewd marketing tactics, but at the end of the day, a good storyline still remains the reason why people would talk about the movie for years to come.

Impressing Your Audience Hollywood Style

Your business may not have the glam quotient of Hollywood, but audience engagement is something you can still achieve. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Don’t just restrict your social media marketing campaign to be a one-sided affair, involving posting of information from your end. Get your audience involved through polls, contests, etc.
  • Ask questions in your posts, or share content that you know has the potential to spark a debate or discussion. 
  • Pay attention to what is being said about your business online – customer reviews and experiences can make or break your online reputation. 
  • It’s also important to implement the insights you get from your social media campaigns. Pay attention to how your audience react to different posts, ask them question or take opinion polls about a new product/service/offer. Ask them what would they like to be offered as a freebee or a content prize, get as creative as you can!
  • Formulate a plan of action to deal with negative reviews by engaging in one-to-one communication with dissatisfied customers to redress any of their concerns. Make it point to keep your tone gracious and humble, without getting defensive. How you handle one negative comment on social media is can be perceived as your attitude towards your customers in general.

There may be no business like the movie business, but there’s surely a lot that your business can learn from showbiz’s magic workers. Good Luck!

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too please contact

Topics: Social Media, Marketing