September 15, 2014 at 6:54PM
PART 2 - How to Create Thousands of Fans for your Film Before You Shoot a Single Minute
Last post we talked about identifying your potential fans/viewers and where to find them. (http://nofilmschool.com/boards/discussions/how-create-thousands-fans-you...)
Now, that you have a literal list of who they are and where to find them, how do you approach perfect strangers without coming across as a whacko stalker and at the same time convert them into honest to goodness fans?
I've learned a lot the last few years about how to do this effectively as an author and definitely what not to do. I've made my fair share of mistakes and so what I'm posting about today is advice I would have given myself as well.
First and foremost, if you don't want to do this work yourself and you have someone else who can do it, choose carefully. I've made the mistake a couple of times hiring assistants or interns who were hasty, or careless and threatened to damage my reputation through impatience and shadiness.
So, at least at first, even though it's time-consuming, I'd suggest you do it on your own. It's your reputation on the line.
What I would suggest, now that you know who your potential audience is, is to first, promise yourself you will not:
a) Get impatient
b) Get desperate
c) Try to sell them anything.
What? Not sell them anything? Well, here's the thing: we are being advertised AT night and day nowadays, not even advertised TO and it's ... well, obnoxious.
Instead, let them come to you.
How do you do that?
Let's take the case of Twitter:
Once you have set up a profile with a direct link to the exact page on your website that is geared for that particular type of fan on your Twitter profile, you don't need to do any more advertising than that.
If you say something interesting often enough and treat them like a human being instead of a point of sale, two things will happen:
1) The sun will come up tomorrow.
2) They'll be curious about who you are and will click on that link sooner or later.
So, how do you become interesting? With Twitter, you jump into the middle of a conversation that they're having and add your two-bit. Be funny, be informative, be yourself. Add value without sounding like a know-it-all.
Reply to their tweet and add something to it other than "Cool" or "Good point". You may have to go as far as going to Google.com/news and finding an interesting article that has something to do with what they're talking about and sending the link or perhaps you have a blog and an article about that topic (and you should) so you can tweet it to them.
Ask yourself, what do I have in common? What is something we're both passionate about?
If you're a guy, you might want to stick to other guys when approaching people, rather than women. Some people get paranoid about perfect strangers tweeting them and rather than engaging in their paranoia, focus on guys to start.
Do this once or twice a week for each person on your list unless it becomes a conversation and then of course, keep it going.
Treat them like a human being. To me, it's fun because you get to make friends with people all over the world and as a byproduct, they'll click on your link.
Your link, by the way, should lead to an opt-in email mailing list so that you can keep in touch with them.
I've done this very successfully with one of my pen names that I write under.
If you're using Facebook, don't add them as a friend immediately because the Nazis that run Facebook (aka its algorithm) will freak out if you friend someone you don't know. Instead, if their post is public reply to it with something valuable. Again, do this a couple times a week.
If it's a blog, make a blog comment, reply to other people's comments (Don't go overboard and don't contradict what someone else says.)
Get on their radar by just engaging with them. Sooner or later, they'll click on your link to your website (and again, it should be that exact page on your website or your blog that you want them to go to, not the main site).
You can take that public conversation into a private direct message, email, FB private message eventually.
You never, ever, ever talk about your film unless they ask you about it. Ask, instead about them, and they're life (within reason) and naturally, they'll ask you about yours.
You've already pre-qualified them, so you know they're into your type of film.
Is this time-consuming? Yes, sir. But it's a lot more effective than buying a mailing list and blasting the world (believe me). If you have any type of budget, rather than buying advertising, consider hiring qualified and trained people to help you implement the above techniques (and I emphasized qualified & trained).
If you'd like more information about how to do this, I highly suggest you visit: http://www.garyvaynerchuk.com
There are many other ways to engage with your list of people but, I'll leave it that for now. And in my next post, I'll talk more about how to convert your fans into viewers, super fans, a word-of-mouth army and cash.