Adventures in Creative Distribution: Promoting Indie Films on Twitter

Here at Thin Pig we’re busy ramping up for the theatrical release of SADIE, a feature film that’s currently playing at film festivals around the country. We’re part of SADIE’s '“creative distribution” campaign, focused on theatrical ticket sales, followed by Video On Demand orders. Creative distribution is new territory for both filmmakers and marketers so we thought we’d share a few ideas and lessons from our adventures on Twitter.

First off, what is creative distribution? Basically, if a film is finished but the filmmakers aren’t happy with their distribution offers from studios and distributors, they can opt to take matters into their own hands. They have to find creative ways to book their own cinema screenings, lobby for their own press coverage, drive online sales through iTunes, visit colleges around the country—and find the time to build an authentic audience of followers (and hopefully ticket buyers) on all major social media platforms.

Needless to say, SADIE producers Lacey Leavitt and Jennessa West, along with writer/director Megan Griffiths, have their hands full. That’s where Thin Pig comes in. We’re finding ways to build buzz about the film in the markets where it will screen theatrically, as well as starting online conversations about SADIE’s themes.

The story of SADIE packs an emotional punch, intertwining personal stories with relevant issues like violence in schools, the opioid addiction, and single parenting in this cultural climate. As a result, we have a myriad of conversation starters to create emotional connections on social media.

We could go on at length about what we’ve learned already on Facebook and Instagram, but for today we want to list five ways you can utilize Twitter to promote an independent film. First off, follow Thin Pig and SADIE on Twitter!


Now, check out these tips:

1. Videos & GIFs

As you may know, video is the bee’s knees right now in terms of which content types are most relevant in social algorithms. We’re incredibly lucky to be working with a film production that includes an editor for this campaign. The SADIE team has delivered some stellar video content:

Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes



Cast Interviews


Moody GIFs featuring music by the film’s composer, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam.

2. Public Relations

Any product release - especially movies - needs to include strong consideration of press, such as popular media and bloggers. Earning positive previews, interviews, and reviews can legitimize a film like nothing else. So when press is released, it’s important for the PR team to communicate with the social media team to make the most of it:

3. Blog

Not every business is right for blogging, but Indie films always have a good story to tell about the making of the film. A blog is the perfect way to pull the curtain back with longer-form content. What’s more, SADIE is pioneering new paths through creative distribution so we’re sharing news and insights along the way:

4. Hashtags

Hashtags can be a powerful tool, but only if they’re used in strategic ways. Too often we see accounts making up hashtags but not being consistent with them, or finding popular hashtags to engage with but quickly abandoning them. SADIE was made mostly by women, so we make good use of #womeninfilm and #femalefilmmakerfriday:

We found one day that #ActorsWithDayJobs was Trending, so we hopped on the bandwagon with a positive message:

5. RTs

The most basic way to mingle with like-minded Twitter users about an Indie flick is to Retweet when we see something relevant to our film or target audience, like our cast and crew members or industry news:

We hope you find these ideas as interesting as we do! A big wave of creative distribution is emerging, and Thin Pig wants to be on it.

Instagramming for Real Estate

When using Instagram, you typically see an abundance of puppies, wanderlust photos that make you want to get away, celebrities, and of course the family and friends you’ve connected with over the years. But if you’re in the market for a new home, you may find real estate content now flooding the social media network as well.

After deciding that I wanted to check out Tampa Bay, FL as a potential city in which to reside, I followed #tampafl on Instagram so I could get a sense of the city since I live two hours away. I then started seeing tons of posts relating to homes being flipped, homes on the market, new restaurant construction, commercial buildings being renovated, etc. In my case, it lead me to follow a local Tampa real estate agent and house-flipper, Keeley Toro of the Lombardo Team. Follow Keeley at @tampaflippers for great real estate content and to see her BEAUTIFUL flips in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa.

If you’re selling a home, flipping a property, or launching a restaurant or new business, here are some great ways to feature your new property using the fastest growing social media platform of 2018!

USE TARGETED HASHTAGS

Make sure to use hashtags that will gain interest from your potential customer or buyer. Tags related to the industry, the city in which you live, and trendy hashtags such as #FoodieFriday (when applicable) can be good as well. This will help attract the right set of eyes to your content both locally and from afar.

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USE STORIES

Instagram Stories help enhance your content with the ability to use GIFs, polls, hashtags, text, and more. It’s a great way to show off before-and-after photos of a house flip or to provide a sneak peek of a new feature at a restaurant coming to town.

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PROVIDE EXTRA CONTENT

People love getting to see behind-the-scenes content or feeling like a VIP. When you provide details such as picking out cabinets, or something as simple as doorknobs, people feel like they’re along for the ride and feel more connected to the process. This also builds anticipation for the opening event. The new waterfront entertainment complex, Sparkman Wharf, in Tampa is a great example of a future business doing things right on Instagram. Follow @sparkmanwharf to see updates on their new construction, sneak peeks of upcoming vendors, and more.

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If you are a real estate agent, opening a new business, or someone who needs help with your social media presence in general, drop us a line! We’d love to help strengthen your social media game.

How to Get More Posts for Your Company Blog

It can be difficult to get writers excited about contributing to your company blog, even if they have great stories or knowledge. Writing compelling and fresh content each week can be a huge challenge for many marketers.

Luckily, it is possible to get valuable, interesting, and fresh content each week, even in a small company! Here are a few tips that will help you get more authors for your blog and more posts published:  

Ask for Contributors!

Sometimes it can be surprising how many people actually DO want to write for your company -- but no one ever asked them! Make sure you’re widening the field of your contributions outside of just your marketing and sales departments. You’ll be surprised how many great writers there are out there.

Make a List of Desired Blog Topics to Inspire Writers

A lot of the writer’s block contributors suffer from stems from not knowing where to begin. Kickstart this process with a list of compelling questions, prompts, and post ideas that help them get started or inspire new content ideas.

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Make Blog Writing a Contest

Give away a gift card or other prize to the person with the most popular post each month. Be clear how this will be measured (social likes or page traffic?) or just draw randomly each month from your contributor pool.

Crowdsource Blog Posts

Sometimes writing a whole post is too much to ask, but your office mates are still happy to contribute creative ideas to fuel your writing. Come up with a blog topic -- for example “10 ways to increase engagement on Instagram” -- then send around an email to the team with the most knowledge on the topic. Ask what each person’s favorite strategy or idea is (make sure to keep questions short!). Pretty soon you’ll have lots of ideas from the people who know best. This is also a great tool when you’re trying to write on a subject that you’re not as familiar with, but that many at your organization are pros at.

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Interview Your Busiest Blog Personalities

Everyone has a few people they’d love to write for their blog (wouldn’t it be great to have a post from your executive chef or CTO?). But some people are simply too busy to write posts themselves. This is where an interview format can be helpful. The final post can be structured as an interview or you can write a post as that person. Just make sure they’re ok with you ghostwriting for them and always get the final post approved!

Need more blog strategy? Get in touch here or call us at (425) 223-5919.

Is Your "Link in Bio" on Instagram Frustrating Users?

Because Thin Pig's expertise began with social media nearly 10 years ago, much of our team writes from the social media expert perspective. However, as a social media user, I'd really like to request a feature change on Instagram, and I'm sure I'm not alone on this one.

Instagram is my personal favorite platform to spend time since I'm a very visual person. I actually use the explore feed more than I use my home feed, oddly enough. I do this to get new ideas, get inspired, learn new things, etc. Since Instagram's algorithm shows you content you are more likely to enjoy based on your previous usage, it's no surprise to me that my explore feed focuses a lot on food, since I'm always drawn to food photography and new recipes. However, my joy of finding an amazing food shot is often trumped by frustration when I run into the all-too-common "link in bio" phrase. 

What does this mean? Since Instagram doesn’t allow clickable URLs in a post caption, comment, or stories (unless you have a verified account or 10k+ followers), the standard protocol is to put the link to the most recent post in the bio of the Instagram account. Then, in the post caption, you'll generally see something like "Like this recipe? <link in bio>." However, where is the link to older content?  Enter frustration.

In User Experience design there is a simple principle you should never break: if a person clicks on a link, it should take them to where they believe it should go - never surprise someone with where a link takes them. By this principle, always having a link to the most recent content in the profile makes the most sense.

So how do we solve the problem of finding old content but still keep the link following that principle? 

Luckily, the solution isn’t a hard one. Make sure that the link people are clicking on is going to a page that also showcases the slightly older content. This is really important if your audience is fairly engaged on Instagram since viewers can immediately see at least six photos on your profile. The six photos should be easily found on your blog or website.

For example, if you click on the link in Thin Pig’s Instagram profile, you can see how we do it. Our blog’s template shows a preview of multiple blog posts, so if someone saw one of our older photos, it wouldn’t be that hard to find. If we linked directly to the full version of the current blog post it would be more work for people to have to find the old blog post for which they are looking. We would likely lose people before they even found what they were originally looking for.

Another great solution is to utilize whatever image was posted on Instagram as an “archive” somewhere on the webpage that the user lands on. I have found that I will be looking for the image I saw on social media to navigate my way to the content I want on someone’s website, but only see headlines which I often won’t remember. I then close the window because it was more work than the perceived value.

Yes, the perfect solution to this entire issue would be for Instagram to allow clickable links within post captions, comments, and stories. But in the meantime, it'd make users' experiences a whole lot better if content creators on Instagram would include both the new content and old content on the link in the bio. An important strategy of every content creator should be ensuring users can find their content as easy as possible, especially if they post frequently.

Don’t make your audience feel like they have to pull out their compass to navigate to your older posts! This hopefully will help users find your content and make them more engaged, but it will also benefit you as it will help leverage content that already exists on your website and keep it evergreen.

How to Influence Public Perception: A Blueprint

The perception of your company and industry as a whole is the primary driver of purchase behavior for consumers. Learn how to shape those perceptions and grow your business.