The days of buying billboards and print ads are quickly fading in the movie industry. Viral social media campaigns are becoming the new and best marketing strategy for the movie biz. And just how is the industry taking advantage of this? One of the best tactics they've nailed down is creating anticipation and hype of a movie nearly a year in advance. Not to mention social media drastically cuts the cost of advertising and fuels constant communication. There have been a few movies that have capitalized on social media marketing resulting in big box office numbers.
The Hunger Games is one movie that to-date has one of the best approaches to social media by creating an entire campaign built around fan-based communication through social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Lionsgate and the agency Ignition that helped with the campaign understood that forming personal connections with their fans would have a huge pay off and it did.
Lionsgate stepped up the campaign further, by not just promoting the movie, but actively calling fans to engage with it by assigning them different roles in the virtual world of TheCapitol.pn. This gave fans an identity in the world of The Hunger Games and opened the door for more involvement. Additionally, the company kept engagement up by using twitter hashtags, online events and by releasing a game app, The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire, the day before the movie opened. The movie series has now set-up a solid foundation though social media with its fans for the next two movies.
Another movie that saw success with forming a great social media strategy was Ted. The comedy staring Mark Wahlberg and his foul-mouth teddy bear, Seth MacFarlane, brought the character to life on Twitter.
Screenwriters of the film, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, took the campaign to a new level when they began tweeting lines of inappropriate humor as the bear from @WhatTedSaid. The tactic worked helping the movie make $54 million its opening weekend.
One of the most unique social media movie strategies was for Paramount's, Paranormal Activity 4, where the studio created a "Want It" campaign that allowed Facebook and Twitter users to request a premier in their hometown forcing them to compete and rewarding the 25 cities with the most votes to get the movie first.
As social media continues to grow and challenges the way we think about connecting-movies and the film industry will be equally challenged to not just promote their movies, but make them an engaging experience inside the theater and out.
What movie for 2013 do you think has the best social media plan in place? The first ten people to offer thoughtful comments will receive a free half hour of social media coaching.