By Thom Powers , Stranger Than Fiction: In the lead-up to the Toronto International Film Festival, STF fall season and DOC NYC, I’ve frequently been guiding filmmakers on how to make the most of Twitter. It’s free and far-reaching. If you’re a newcomer, you won’t take long to get the hang of it and find your comfort level. Note the examples of @errolmorris or @gary_hustwit or @mmflint who each have different approaches. Read the charming NYRB blog by @MargaretAtwood about her early experiences on Twitter.
For more guidance, here are 10 Twitter TIps for filmmakers from @thompowers:
1) Refine your profile: Make your Twitter name short and easy to remember. Because Twitter traffics in 140 character messages, every letter counts when people re-Tweet you. Use the profile bio to steer readers to your web site or Facebook page. Get a catchy image for your icon. If you decide to change/shorten your Twitter handle, you can do it without losing your followers. A big decision is whether to create a handle for one specific film or you as a filmmaker. I think the latter strategy is longer-lasting. Also readers prefer to follow a person more than a promotional feed.
2) Communicate w/ popular users in the film world: See the STF list of Top 100 Twitter users in the documentary world; and Twitter’s list of documentary streams. You can catch the attention of other users by mentioning them in Tweets, like “Watch our new trailer… cc: @thompowers”
3) Identify influential users: Beyond the film world, look for other specialists on your film’s topic: journalists, organizations, celebrities, politicians & pundits. Follow & engage them. When you find someone closely aligned to your interest, see their profile page for who they follow. Re-Tweet other people’s comments and they’ll catch on to you.
4) Use hash tags: When you use hash tags in your posts like #TIFF12 or #documentary, people searching those words will find you. Search these tags yourself to see what others are saying.
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