Stareable Film School

Best Practices for Marketing Your Web Series On Social Media

Best Practices for Marketing Your Web Series On Social Media

Bri Castellini

April 30, 2021

  ·  

 min read

Best Practices for Marketing Your Web Series On Social Media

Social media users generally fall into one of four categories: people who hate it, people who love it, people who are confused by it, and people who pride themselves as being "off the grid." For the latter, get real it's2017. Abstaining from social media doesn't make you cool and edgy, it makes you look like a hermit.

I'm in the "love it" category and an early adopter of most platforms, and yet when I launched my web series Brains two years ago, I was woefully underprepared for how to promote myself and my show. I've written for Stareable before about the specific ways you can use Twitter to advance your filmmaking career, but today I wanted to do something even simpler: a list of do's and don'ts for posting about your show on the four most popular social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Across all platforms:

  • Post frequently, and about things other than new videos. it'simportant to promote new content, yes, but in order to incentivise followers and make it worth their while, you need other content.
  • Post about new videos or episodes multiple times and throughout the day to catch different people when they're most likely to see you. don't spam, though try and make each post unique.
  • don't post the same content to every site because each site has unique benefits. On Tumblr, for instance, I like to do deep-dive behind-the-scenes posts, sometimes about our production design and sometimes about how we filmed a zombie stunt. On Twitter, by contrast, I post short screenshots from future scripts.
  • Have a dedicated on-set photographer (and videographer, if you're fancy). Best case scenario is to have someone solely focused on this, but at the very least, assign someone already on set to take photos of the process. It'll add to your pool of available things to post on social media, it'sa record of your hard work, and it gives the behind-the-scenes crew an opportunity to be recognized visually for their excellent work.
  • Reply to EVERYTHING, at least until that becomes impossible (because you're sooo famous). Fan engagement is incredibly important in building an audience, and getting a reply directly from the creator or from the show's official account incentivizes fans to engage more and incentivizes others to engage for the first time.
  • The obvious caveat to the above tip is hate comments. Ignore those.
  • Use your show's accounts to follow creators doing similar things, shows you aspire to be like, and publications that covers (or might cover) web series. People often forget the "social" part of social media especially for web series, the community aspect is very important. Befriending other shows and creators gives you invaluable insight into what is popular, what strategies work, and what to expect.

Twitter:

don't: Share Instagram photos to Twitter. It will just appear as an Instagram link, which very few people are going to click on.

DO: Post the image you want to share directly on Twitter, so that the image itself will embed into people's timelines.

Top tweet: Uploading images directly to Twitter. Bottom tweet: an image shared from Instagram.

don't: Tweet a bunch of things all at once, or only ever at one time of day

DO: Get a Twitter app that allows you to schedule tweets if you're not able to be on Twitter all the time. I suggest Tweetdeck, which not only allows you to schedule tweets for a year from now at exactly 1:02am, but also allows you to easily tweet and check notifications from multiple Twitter accounts. If you have a show Twitter and a personal one, this will save you a lot of time logging in and out , and if you have Twitter transmedia accounts, it might literally save your life or, more importantly, your sanity.

don't: Use too many hashtags in one tweet. Cool it you look like a bot.

DO: Space out a few tweets throughout the day, hashtagging different keywords each time. It spreads the love, gives you multiple options so you're not tweeting the same thing over and over again, and it looks like an actual human person is posting!

Facebook:

don't: Use your personal Facebook account for promotion. It limits your reach as your show gets bigger, and it'sreally annoying.

DO: Make a fan page for the show itself (or for your individual professional presence or production company). You can share the most important posts from there to your personal page, lessening the burden of constant self-promotion. It also gives your fans a destination to find you and your content that isn't your personal account.

don't: Only link to YouTube videos, especially if you're planning on "boosting" a post, or spending a little money for Facebook to promote the post as an ad. Facebook is pushing native video and will de-prioritize YouTube videos. For example, a native Facebook video thumbnail is six times bigger than a YouTube thumbnail posted to Facebook.

DO: Either upload full episodes of your show to Facebook as well as YouTube, or upload a quick teaser/trailer version of the episode to Facebook with a link to the full episode on YouTube. Your views won't be consolidated but you'll get more of them and isn't that ultimately the goal?

Ouch. Thanks to Jason Does Stuff for this visualisation.

don't: Use hashtags in your posts. No one tracks hashtags on Facebook, and it looks awkward and out of place.

DO: Be specific about targeting keywords and key demographics when you "boost" a post instead. For instance, when I boost a post from my zombie web series Brains, I make sure that people who have "liked" things like "zombies" and "post-apocalyptic fiction" will be more likely to see my posts.

Instagram:

don't: Just post any old photo or selfie.

DO: Consider framing, color, and composition for what you post. Especially as an explicitly visual app where you want to stand out, invest a couple extra seconds in choosing pictures or editing the photo to maximize the most visually-appealing qualities.

don't: Post non-square images. Even though it'stechnically allowed now, it looks really bad, and your profile page will appear unprofessional.

DO: Make Instagram-safe promotional images to post when new episodes or videos go live. For us, that meant making images in the same format as our thumbnails, just with square dimensions. See below:

Left: Thumbnail for Brains Season 2, Episode 2. Right: Instagram promotional image from the day that episode went live.

don't: Forget hashtags, but also don't post them at the beginning of the photo caption because that looks terrible.

DO: Hashtag widely but far below the actual caption/photo information. People absolutely track tags on Instagram and because you have so much more space within the caption area itself, they don't have to clutter up your actual message.

Tumblr:

don't: Tag your posts with more than five tags if you're trying to get discovered. Tumblr only tracks the first five when suggesting posts to people following specific keywords or phrases. If you tag a post "funny, web series, lol, feminism, cats, dogs", your post won't show up under the "dogs" tag because it'sthe sixth tag.

DO: Figure out which of your relevant tags have the most followers and the most engagement and cater to those strengths. For us, "zombie," "sex," and "indie filmmaking" were usually the highest performers.

don't: Tag reblogs (even with added commentary or content) for discoverability. Reblog tags only serve to organize posts on your individual blog. If you reblog something and append a relevant episode of your web series to the post, adding a "LOL" or "web series" tag won't get the new version of the post discovered.

DO: Reblog relevant content and posts from others anyways. It'll pad your show blog with external content, raising your chances of gaining followers who appreciate your taste and thematic curation. It also makes you look less spammy, because you're acknowledging good content from others instead of solely focusing on your own promotion.

Are there tips or tricks I didn't list that are worth mentioning? Let me and other filmmakers know in the comments!

Subscribe for More