Cinema, actors, and actresses: how important have social networks become in the film industry?

Luca Matteo Barberis

The expert social media manager and consultant Luca Matteo Barberis tell us how social media have become fundamental in the entertainment world.

Cinema has always been a very powerful social form. We used to meet with our friends or family to have an experience, though not interactive, which allowed us to be stimulated by the discussion on the film that we had just seen. With the advent of social media, cinema has further expanded its social dimension by revolutionizing the entire marketing and communication market.

Today 75% of cinema visitors are aged under 24 and are the major critics that directors and actors fear the most. With the advent of social media, a film can turn from success into failure in a few moments with "digital word of mouth" that can be established on all social platforms.

Social media have established themselves as the new way of communication because they are simple and direct and you can get to know a lot about the potential user you want to pick up. Nowadays, it is no coincidence that knowing how to communicate with their social networks and choose who can positively influence the community has become an important lever for the film launch and the actors themselves, even in the casting phase. It is necessary to keep in mind that in the world of entertainment, cinema, and sport, investments in launches on social platforms have increased.

But why should an actor or actress use social media correctly and not passively?

The film industry has been using social media for its promotional campaigns for years now, abandoning traditional marketing, if not unconventional strategies. The reason is given by the fact that, compared to traditional strategies, with social networks, it is possible to target users much better to show their advertising and to have precise data on how many have viewed it and how many have responded, for example for a call to action. But coming straight to the point, this industry has decided to focus much more on the popularity that a person in the cast can generate and on the word of mouth that can be obtained. We are not talking about "influencers" as it can be most commonly understood, but actors and actresses who have many followers and are capable of creating an interaction with their audience. We keep in mind that the actors have no simple followers, but they have real fans who are waiting for nothing but cheering for their star by expressing it through likes and comments, or interactions. The purpose of social media is to facilitate meetings and dialogue and the actors and actresses must begin to establish a bond with those who can't wait to get to know the more empathic side of their idol.

Entertainment marketing has now understood that one is obliged to intercept as much public as possible on social media by using featurettes to intrigue the public with backstage materials and interviews; collaborations with brands that create ad hoc content to intercept the right target or expand it; to digital pr, understood no longer and only as the sharing of exclusive materials on the reference publications but also as activities with influencers and community activation.

For example, much of the communication of the film John Wick 3 - Parabellum took place on social media, starting from Facebook where the bulk of the fanbase was. The result of the social activity was an achievement of over 11 million people and a very high engagement rate, equal to 12%. This result has been given both to paid marketing campaigns, but also thanks to the cast members and their super engaged fanbase.

Therefore, to answer the initial question, social networks are fundamental for cinema, but above all also for actors and actresses because, while perhaps for other categories, followers are users to be perceived differently, for them they are to be considered like an old fan who could not wait to have their autograph and, in this case, a like, a comment, or a direct message in response to their compliment. Tell and tell about himself, storytelling creates a very strong and lasting emotional connection over time. If social networks were then cultivated effectively, it could also open very important branding doors by using social media as a second source of income, which is still very little exploited.

In summary, for actors, communication (especially communicating well) is a real marketing resource for their image and the film, becoming a real lever that can also influence the choice in the film and the brands that are increasingly looking for people who influence and who better than a person who appears on the big screen can do.