Thursday. Nine days until Opening Night of The 2012 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival on August 4th.
The day began with great news: The Brooklyn-Based feature we scrambled to make happen yesterday was published, and it’s terrific. My efforts to make sure that the media accurately portray our mission are vindicated by this feature, which is the first to describe us in our own terms. I was surprised to note that they ended up running the Steven Seagal poster after all, even though they talked about tonight’s free screening of The Warriors. When the feature hit this morning we all tweeted it and posted it to our respective Facebook pages, in addition to the Official Art of Brooklyn Facebook page. And then we made an effort to “like” each other’s posts and comment on them. Beyond staff, our Board of Directors are a necessary wider circle of The Art of Brooklyn social media network.
This is a good case study for how we use social media to promote The Art of Brooklyn. As everyone knows by now, social media outlets—Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc.—are necessary elements of any marketing plan. But in my experience, it can be a waste of time and energy that would be better spent pursuing traditional media. Or worse, it can work at cross-purposes if you are trying to encourage an action, like ticket sales, as we are. It can be a turn-off to feel like you are constantly being marketed to, so I try to be circumspect with the news I share on my personal social media feeds because I don’t want to overwhelm my followers. Or transform my personal social media contacts into an unwilling audience for the latest The Art of Brooklyn news. By and large, we haven’t taken to Twitter or Facebook (to cite two popular platforms) as a primary means to encourage pre-sales. Our experience has been that posts on social media act more like posters or postcards than press—their benefit accrues with repetition. But too much repetition on social media and you can accidentally alienate your audience. It’s a delicate balance. Of course our official page and feeds are another story because the friends we have there are self-selecting; they presumably want to hear about what we are doing day-by-day, especially this close to the festival. This distinction may seem obvious but I see organizations and individuals promoting events making this mistake every day.
However, getting significant media—like our upcoming feature in Time Out NY—is a perfect thing to share widely on social media. In general, for us, using social media to make announcements (i.e. “Tickets are on sale now!”) has been less effective than celebrating victories (i.e. “A great feature on us was published today.”) For example I was quoted in the Brooklyn-Based feature so I posted about that, giving people who are perhaps more invested in me than the festival an opportunity to congratulate me and learn a bit about the festival in the process.
The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to calling the editors I wasn’t able to reach yesterday. Despite the ascendancy of Internet sources—blogs, net-only news and culture magazines, plus the aforementioned social media etc.—print press is still a powerful asset for a cultural event like The AoBFF. Still, this follow up is easy to let slide because writing, assembling and sending comprehensive press kits is such a chore in the first place. But in a market like Brooklyn (and New York generally) that is so saturated with events, art and culture editors and reporters have plenty of content to choose from. So building relationships with the people who cover events like our festival is a necessary part of getting print press, and it doesn’t usually happen long distance.
This evening I am headed to the pre-festival free screening of The Warriors we are hosting at St. Francis College’s Founders Hall. We’ll have a Director’s Meeting after the screening. But unlike the other long nights I have had lately, tonight there will be people in costume wandering around.