Every day we are asked to define ourselves. From our resumes to our bios, to our “about me” on Facebook, we are constantly expected to hone down our experience and outlook on life into a limited character count.
There are so many platforms in this day and age that the dense digital cloud that’s come to suffocate us (which in LA can be mistaken for smog) can be overwhelming. As filmmakers, entrepreneurs and especially as women in this self-promoting generation, it’s our responsibility to empower our projects by building a presence online. But in a world where we are only as important as our follower count and in an industry that fantasizes about that perception, we often invalidate our success by measuring it in our internet clout.
Does our digital presence really reflect how important or good we are at what we’re doing?
As a marketer and filmmaker I’ve battled this question constantly. My left-brain argues that it’s all in the data; the amount of likes/shares/comments/views/retweets/etc. is an important indicator of interest and interaction. Numbers tell me what I need to know. But my right-brain tells me to hold true to what I believe creatively, regardless of how others respond. So which side is right?
My aha moment only occurred when I was asked to unite both sides of my brain by joining a production company (which I’ll refrain from naming until the end of this post) as it was only after I followed the advice outlined below that we were able to understand/discover who we were.
Atlee Feingold (founder) and Ashlee Roby (partner) had shot a web series which explored the parody between gender relations and norms: WAYES (What Are You Even Saying). We met on-set of a short film I was producing (which if you’ve read any of my previous post – hint hint at #networking). By way of genuine interaction and a common passion for female driven content, we became friends and almost instant business partners. We were both what each other was looking for; actors/producers in need of marketing expertise, and I was a studio marketer eager to produce. Yin and yang my friends.
Fast forward to today. We’ve been releasing WAYES through my social media plan/schedule, and have begun leveraging this series to build an audience for our future projects. We set our target demographic as women/men, 18-30, college educated, social and digitally savvy. My job now was to bottle up the energy our production company had and put it on the screen to interact with that audience. I had to convince these people—on multiple platforms— that our stuff was worth their time. Easier said than done.
How do you express different personalities, layer backgrounds and strengths, emphasize what’s important, share work, define your brand, communicate a message, and generate attention…while remaining entertaining?! [Insert deep breath here].
Well after trial-and-error and growing pains much akin to puberty, I’m happy to say that we’ve overcome the stress that follows with the overwhelming “online opportunity” and found ways to actually accomplish all the above. Though it’s an ever evolving process, these 6 tips will help you understand how to define, mature, and grow your digital presence to support your projects while staying true to your brand.
- Don’t act. Interact:
You don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not. Take it from me – our first social media posts were a series of us copying other companies, and not using a unique voice to speak to people. Sure, borrow ideas/inspiration from similar projects, but remember that you’re bringing something NEW to that audience. The way to really reach people is to interact with them — answer questions, like their work, comment on relevant posts and be a presence.
Stay away from over-hash tagging. Resist the urge to do this in hopes of someone stumbling upon your piece while they were searching for #kittens, sharing it with their friends, and it going viral. Won’t happen. Instead of too many #’s, research those with high interaction rates that are actually relevant to you and use them appropriately. Don’t dilute your work to look cheaper.
- One best friend vs 10 fake friends:
Remember that first week of freshman year when you had to be friends with EVERYBODY? How many do you still keep in touch with? It’s the same in the digi-sphere. Don’t validate yourself through your follower count. It’s like having fake friends –at the end of the day you’ll still end up lonely. Pay attention to curating relationships with your audience who care about the material and actually want to interact more with it. That’s more important.
- Chicken or the egg:
What came first, the brand or the audience? Identify people with a clear interest in your content and communicate with them personally, regardless of the platform. Don’t let the façade of the number of followers/likes rule you. It’s your job to paint a picture of what your work is with the brightest and most vibrant colors you can, and let those who experience it curate your online community. The quality of your work and communication will determine the brand and equate to a high quality audience.
- Stop yelling.
There’s no point in shouting to an empty room when you are trying to have a conversation with your consumer. Make sure your posts are strategic, concise, and say the right things – not just empty reminders that you exist. Don’t blast those who do like your pages (friends and family at first) with unnecessary posts. When you actually have an important announcement, it’ll be like using a microphone with your audience.
- Hide the scale:
Don’t weigh yourself. It’s not about where you are now, it’s about smart work and effort you’re putting in. If you continue to diet/exercise, you will see change in your body– and it works the same for your online physique. Sure you may hit plateaus, but that’s no reason to get discouraged. In fact, take that as a great indicator that you need a new routine and it’s your time to get creative again – which is what we do best.
These 6 tips (formed after a series of missed attempts and awkward mistakes) have lead us to a clear path and renewed understanding of ourselves. No gimmicks were necessary – all we really had to do was define ourselves and stay true to that.
So who are we? It’s with confidence, charisma, and a smile that we announce: we are Yellow Productions.