What better way to see a movie about Facebook than with a few hundred of your Facebook friends?
This very fast social media campaign started with a question from my friend Sarah: want to go see The Social Network with me this weekend? Then we decided to invite some of our other friends to join us. This was the start of a successful PR and social media plan.
Here are the steps we took:
1. I Tweeted my idea.
We decided we should try to rent out a theater. Since theaters were posting their show times already so this had to happen fast. Megaplextheatres in Sandy, Utah saw my tweet and got me in touch with the right people, which is key because it’s tough to get through the showtime recordings.
I know people say Twitter doesn’t pay. The ROI of that tweet for that theater? About $2k.
2. Find a sponsor.
We needed a sponsor and pay for the theater. My first choice was OrangeSoda where I’m the social media specialist. They got exposure and good pr value with the local social media community. We got a theater.
3. Send out a press release.
We wrote and distributed a press release to local Utah media through Sarah’s web site Utah News Source. It focused on the story first – how we wanted to see this movie about Facebook with the social media community. Our friends. Then it talked about OrangeSoda the sponsor. Of course the company would like to see it be the other way around, but unfortunately it wasn’t a story about them or internet marketing. If you try to inject that story too much into the main one it will likely get edited out anyway. This caused some friction I later learned.
4. Social promote the event.
We tweeted about the movie and invited people to RSVP on Evite. We posted it as an event on Facebook. We emailed, blogged and otherwise got the word out. I DMed or @ messaged people on Twitter with local influence.
Note: Don’t use Evite again. No downloading of our list possible and one admin only.
4. Contact sponsors.
We got amazing support from sponsors like Megaplex and area businessses who donated gift cards, popcorn, gift certificates and more. I donated some tshirts, books and CDs. OrangeSoda gave away a bike.
Spaghetti Mamas a restaurant right across the street from the theater hosted an after-show dinner. Note: They have a gluten-free portion of their menu and the chocolate brownie that is on that menu was the best part of the meal.
5. Put together a team and plan details.
The marketing team at OrangeSoda came through to help run the invite list and pre-show activities. We showed live tweets from the audience on the big screen with VisibleTweets and played a social media trivia game. Names for prizes were drawn from the tweets and by answering the questions. I missed this part entirely.
6. Assign someone to talk to the media.
We got great media coverage for this event. However, with some planning it could’ve been better. We could’ve had someone assigned to talk to the media and mapped out the key messages. However, you can’t control what the media asks, writes or shows.
Sarah owns Big Star Public Relations – so as the pro she spoke with the media beforehand and got me involved (a bit reluctantly) at the event itself. Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City covered the event on both live and taped TV. Unfortunately the taped version which was best is not online. The recorded segment was on the 9 o’clock news and again the next morning.
We also got mentioned on KSL’s radio show and in a blog post by the Salt Lake Tribune’s film critic Sean Means the day before. The post had links to OrangeSoda’s web site and blog post about the showing.
I had a bad experience being on KSL (local TV show) and wanted to avoid being on TV again. Looking back I thought someone else would take over but no one did so I was on. I would’ve coached everyone to please say, “Local internet marketing company OrangeSoda” so that it wasn’t just “OrangeSoda” which to a new audience could be mistaken for a bottling company.
It’s also a good idea to have someone take pictures and someone to take video – that’s their only job. The pictures can then be put on Flickr and shared on the blog and other social sites. Video on YouTube. All this around a very hot topic (optimized with keywords). As far as I know this did not happen.
7. Have fun, evaluate results.
We had dozens of tweets (mentions) including from the president of the area Chamber of Commerce and Sean Means at the Tribune. OrangeSoda was mentioned several times in the media and got to reach new people in the local social media community. Not to mention the blog post, TV and radio visibility.
I compiled a report of the results which I believe were far greater than the spend. But I learned this is subjective based on what you wanted to get out of the event.
You cannot control what happens and you don’t even know to plan for some of it. Contrary to popular belief I’m not a PR person or even a media person. I’m an author, blogger and online marketer. I’m still learning what I write about when it comes to the PR part. Even though there is overlap, it’s not the same. I’m a student.
Most of all the campaign was fun, for me and for the people who came (though I didn’t get much sleep). And for the record, to me the most brilliant scenes of the movie was the story of Napster co-founder Sean Parker. With a glance at the screen he saw Facebook as a billion dollar idea. Then he inserted himself into the company as president and left with 7% of the company.
There’s the infamous words of Harvard president Larry Summers (head of the Dept. of Treasury under Clinton) who mocks the idea of Facebook making any money at all.
The worst is how the film made me hate Mark Zuckerberg and what a horrible friend he was who ultimately had no true friends. It was so detached and in his own head that he seemed like practically psychopathic.
- Students looking forward to ‘The Social Network’ movie
- ‘The Social Network’ Tells Facebook’s Story in Theaters Today (jsyk.com)
- Laurel Papworth: Social Media Marketing Campaign course | Laurel Papworth | @SilkCharm (laurelpapworth.com)