Filmmakers and Tumblr– like peanut butter & jelly!

Here’s the WHY;  Tumblr is a bastion of enthusiastic indie filmmaker fandom, just waiting to know about your film.   True.   

Without Tumblr (or social media) as it were, folks may find you (and your film). Also true.  But wouldn’t it be a lot easier, and more productive from a creating-a-web-presence-for–your-film perspective to get on Tumblr, and start shouting about what all you did? Nothing like an online discussion to get a following up and running for your stuff. Be a light on the hill- start cultivating discussions and building a community. Ready to find an audience for your work? I am. Let’s go.

So, Tumblr.   Sound familiar?  Should be ’cause it’s getting to be a big deal.

Some stats (though slightly dated, it gets the point across):  Between June 2010 and June 2011, Tumblr grew 218% versus Facebook ( 14% ) and Twitter ( 31% ). Visualizing that, it’s like the Stay-Puft Man getting too big for New York City in a hurry.

In early 2012, Tumblr quietly drummed up some 15 billion page views—and 120 million of those were unique visitors. I’m thinking it’s like stacking paper and pushing the moon out of it’s orbit to make room for more. Ok, not scientifically accurate, but you get the point. These are serious numbers and if you’ve got a film to flaunt, you now have the answer for at least one place to get it going on… Tumblr. Ready?

Why am I all on fire about Tumblr?

I’ve got a confession to make. I lost my Tumblr ticket in the laundry, figuratively speaking.

Pushing a film to the point of finished awhile back, I got overloaded with a ton of other stuff going on (weak excuse). I never quite got the Tumblr stuff dialed in for the film, and instead opted for other routes to pursue in the social media space. Blast forward and here I am, seeing literally millions of folks looking for cool stuff over there. The Tumblr community is getting huge-er by the minute. Ugh. I kick myself daily for the slight I slid myself with my missed launch on Tumblr. I’ll be rectifying that soon enough, but for the moment, I’m the sad clown. But it’s not all sad.

I’ve finally worked up the courage to give a hand in helping keep that from happening to you.  Ready?

A Plan. You gotta have one.

Like any other Social Media platform, those with stuff to shout about need to have a strategy, or minimally, some sort of plan to get the most out of the effort. You’ve made a film/ short/ feature/ content, and now it’s time to get that stuff out and into the Wild, Wild World of the Interwebs… but where to start? Following are a few of the more tried and true methods that work on most social media sites (similar to Tumblr).  I’ve been using this basic set of tenents myself, with success. Follow this basic roadmap, and you won’t go to far off the tracks with Tumblr.  Here we go;

Where is Everybody?

Locating the thought leaders isn’t so hard—they tend to post on subjects of interest to them, and to you. Search around for your interests, and of course topics related to your film. You’ll locate individuals and groups of similar interest to what you have to offer. From there, check out the folks/ groups that re-blog other people’s posts,and join the fray. These are the people to get in touch with, tell them about your film/ blog/ site, and slip them some linkage. Search and ye shall find. Build your own community of like-minded people, and the word will spread.

Folks Will Follow You, not just your Film

Be Real. Let the community know who you, as the filmmaker. Load up production stills for the shoot, behind-the-scenes video, a video journal of your process throughout production, written journal pages, links to your production blog, interviews with cast & crew, etc, etc. Give your soon-to–be Tumblr gang heaping helpings of who you are. Be the face for the film. Personalize your efforts. Be sincere and cummunicative, make it personal and approachable.  Give to receive!

 Let The People Speak

Tumblr is a place for interaction, engagement and discussion, foremost. Folks aren’t there to be pandered promotional stuff for the sake of promotion. Nope. People hit Tumblr for engagement, dialogue, communication and community. Let ‘em reply to your posts and reply to them, too! Get the back and forth going. Be wary of fire-breathing troll-infestation and always keep a cool head. Let the community comment on your posts, freely.

Show them you care about what they have to say about your film.  ‘Cause you do care, right?   That’s right.

Share and Share alike

Nothing sends a message to a community like the Re-blogging of another person’s  post.

By re-blogging someone’s stuff, you do several things; affirm your budding community that you respect their opinions, demonstrate you value their interests and consider them worthy of respect. It’s heady stuff, and if you go at this with sincerity, folks are apt to join your club.  Add your two cents to the conversation, too! Don’t just throw other’s people’s re-blogs up and leave them hanging— ho, ho, no! Re-blogging includes links to their original post, with credit. Add what you do know, make it a back and forth dialogue! What do you have to add by way of your expertise that would value-add for the sake of discussion? How about some interesting linkage to add to the mix, further the conversation? This can get really interesting. Totally do it.

The Mighty Tumblr Tag

Tumblr Tag know how; folks will see your posts when you tag them. Use the Tag! Just like you’re (hopefully) tagging your posts across your stream of platforms with which you are/ or plan to push your film, Tumblr is no exception. Tags help folks to Get To Know You. What to do? There are a few things you can do with tags– you can (and should) tag your own posts, search for tags, and track tags. As people use Tumblr to track tags, they’ll see when you’ve posted a new something or other (video, post, image, trailer, etc) when you’ve added tags to it. This taggage shows up on their radar.

Your (tagged) stuff meets their eyeballs.

Search for tags specific to your film, topics, etc. Track those tags, and you’ll see an alert (right side of your Tumblr dashboard), ticking off the number of new posts with the same tag. Jump over there, check those out, spread some of our love around, re-blog, add comments, add to the conversations, etc. Let folks know where you are, and help them by tagging your content appropriately. Do this, and your stuff (with tags) will appear on their dashboard alert.  Life is grand on Tumblr!

Build That Community

…and once you have folks interested, engaged and following your stuff, all manner of opportunity may arise. Need some funding to finish post-production? Fire up a crowdsourcing campaign! Everybody’s doing it, and you can too. Let your Tumblr crew know what you’re doing, and ask for their support. Be creative and be open to the possibilities available with Tumblr in engaging and building a community. The key to all of this Tumblr fun?

You have to get there and get on it.  Let me know how it goes.

Cheers, M

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