Social media has had an outsized impact on the motion picture industry. With social media, studios are able to build a certain buzz around their movies that was not possible in the years before its adoption. Social media can be a double-edged sword, however. If an unflattering clip is shared virally on social media, it can be seriously damaging to the future of the film.
Michael Luisi, a studio executive, describes how social media has helped and hurt the motion picture industry.
Through such platforms as Twitter and Facebook, social media consumers find it easy to share information about their favorite films. Clips from YouTube are often included. Studios gladly provide these trailers and sneak peeks in hopes of building a following for their movie before it is released.
This feature of social media has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the motion picture industry, but there are pitfalls for the unaware. If a movie goes viral for the wrong reasons, such as misconduct on the part of any actor, director, or producer, the movie will receive backlash. The rise of social media means that all entertainment industry personnel need to be extra careful with their public reputations, including their own social media information.
Negative impacts can also be felt when a clip is ridiculed on social media. The recent trailer for Cats shows this backlash in action. The producers have had to go back and make changes in order to present the movie in its best possible light.
Building a Following
Social media has been a great help for studios when it comes to building a following for their work. Individual actors have also been able to build large audiences on social media, with seemingly lower-profile stars building a huge following that eclipses their actual impact on the media industry.
Impact of Specific Sites
Facebook is a great place for movie studios to receive exposure for their work. Facebook skews older in a demographic sense than other social media sites, so it is useful for disseminating information to an adult audience. Facebook not only offers official information from studios and actors, but it also has a strong fan community where like-minded people can share news. Facebook is putting more of an emphasis on its Groups, where fans can collaborate together and share thoughts and speculation.
Twitter was adopted first by journalists, and its reputation as an up-to-the-minute news source precedes it. Actors and directors then followed on Twitter, having a more organic communication with their fans than ever before. Nothing can make a fan’s day more than having their post liked or retweeted by a celebrity.
Studios need to be careful that their talent is not being impersonated on Twitter. Twitter pages which are not run by the actor or by their staff have a damaging impact on the actor’s and the studio’s reputation.
Tumblr has an overwhelmingly young female dynamic. It is a place where young users share images and thoughts about their favorite movies and stars. Tumblr is where the most diehard young fans of actors and movies spend their time. It is also a hotbed of fan-created information like fanart and fanfiction. If studios pay attention to trends in these areas, they can make their products even better.
Snapchat is more difficult for many studios to navigate. Snapchat is based on “stories,” or photos and videos that expire in 24 hours. Its intense popularity among younger viewers means that studios need to pay close attention to using its advertising features. Actors and directors also need to be encouraged to take part in Snapchat in order to build a youthful following.
Trailers are King
Trailers are still the most important way in which a movie viewer decides what to see, claims Michael Luisi. YouTube’s wealth of information in this department helps studios to disseminate information about their movies. While the movie trailer has existed for decades, it has gained a new momentum in the social media age.
The Impact of Social Media
Social media has strengthened marketing techniques for movie studios. When they produce viral, shareable content, they are able to spread their message to a wider demographic. Michael Luisi recommends that all entertainment professionals spend time creating a valid social media strategy.