First Things First: Pick the Right Platform

By Brooke Shelby Biggs
Posted on June 30, 2011

We will be offering weekly tips for independent filmmakers and public media entities on getting the most out of social media. Visit BTB Thursdays for some good advice for your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking strategies.

 

No matter if you are a filmmaker, a station, or a public media brand, the very first place to start is by creating (or switching to) a Facebook page. Note, I say page, and not group or profile. This is an absolutely crucial distinction. A Facebook profile is designed to be the outward-facing real estate for an individual human being. In fact, brands that use profiles rather than pages are in violation of Facebook’s terms. While Facebook has not yet shut down brands using profiles, they have made clear that it is within their rights to do so, and it’s not worth the risk.

Facebook groups are designed to be a conversation space for people with a shared interest. While that sounds attractive for a film on a given topic, groups have earned a bad reputation because they tend to be spam magnets and overwhelm subscribers with messages. Also, groups cannot be tagged by pages or individuals, which greatly diminishes their chance to go viral or even show up in users’ newsfeeds. 

Pages are designed for businesses and brands, and they are built to support their needs. Facebook greatly improved the functionality of pages in the past year, allowing much more opportunity to customize, geo-target, and message to fans. When setting up your Facebook page, name it in a way that encourages tagging. That means keep it short and direct. For example, choose “The Godfather” as opposed to “The Godfather – The Film by Francis Ford Coppola”. 

Once you have created your page, get 25 of your friends to become friends as quickly as possible, so you can secure a URL that is short and intuitive (i.e. facebook.com/godfather). Finally, be thoughtful about the image you use to represent your brand/film/station. Don’t try to jam too much information into it, but rather make it visual and straightforward with minimal text. If you have a logo, that’s a good place to start. Also be conscious of how Facebook crops this image for the icons beside your posts – make sure your identity survives in this small space. Next week — fancy doo-dads you can add to your page to make it “sticky.”  

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