By Terence Mbulaheni
Have you ever wondered about the sheer number of tweets and facebook posts that go out to other hundreds of people from one person in the movie theatre? Have you never heard of this? If not, well, keep reading!
The average social media user has about 300 to 2000 Facebook friends, and1000 to 3000 Twitter followers. This means that one person has access to about 1000 to 3000 people at once through these aforementioned social media platforms only. That is, one post can reach 40% to 80% of his or her connections in real-time. Now, multiply this reaction by 100 to 200 audiences in one full movie theatre. Then, you should also start wondering why people are always on their phones during a movie, even though an advertisement produced by the cinema has just reminded them about switching off their phones. This is what I call “Passive Marketing”, and many cinemas have managed to use this to their advantage. Canada’s Cineplex Inc. cinema introduced the TimePlay application for audiences, which allows them to enjoy free interactive games just before the movie begins. Through TimePlay, audiences are able to easily win or earn points or freebies such as a free movie ticket or a beverage. About 10 to 20 people can collect varied points in one movie theatre, which encourages or incites those who won a chance to tweet or facebook their excitement of winning with their friends and family members. This way, Cineplex has managed to satisfy a customer who in turn, passively lures his or her 1000 to 3000 Facebook friends and Twitter followers to Cineplex all at once.
What are the magic ingredients for this “passive marketing” to happen? Smartphones, phone applications (apps), and social media are the perfect ingredients. You create a platform, and the audience will do the rest for the cinemas and films they are enjoying. For any movie-goer to fully enjoy free movie points and giveaways, they must have a smartphone and then download an apps offered by the cinema. Even though many customers tend to switch off these apps at times to minimize their phone bill, cinemas are still able to gently remind them through their email or social media platforms about discounts and new offers such as free popcorn, soda and more.
Now, as a film/TV producer or aspiring filmmaker who wants to make movies that generate a return on investments, you may want to research social media as well as working with your local cinema to find out how they continue to grow their audience while keeping loyal customers coming back at the same time. You create a platform, and your audience will “passively market” your film for you. We need to look at social media through a lens of an audience, and the rest can fall into place!