Ahhh, Sundance. I made my first trek to the acclaimed indie film fest last January and had a blast. Overpriced rented condo, packed restaurants, long lines for films, 50,000 people packed into a town meant for 5,000 and freezing temps to top it all off. THAT aside, it’s seriously an incredible experience for any film buff or anyone looking to escape to a surreal ski town.
You literally do cross paths with some of Hollywood’s finest just walking down Main St. We weren’t there for a couple hours before I ran into Adrian Grenier of Entourage fame. I’m not a “take a picture with me” type, so one of my co-workers kindly put together this photo after the fest to help encapsulate the moment:
In anticipation of hitting up the festival again in January, I recently started poking around the Web to see what kind of social media effort is being put forth by the festival’s coordinators. There is progress from last year, but they also need help. Mind you, this is taken from a complete outsider’s perspective so there may be some last minute “social media blitz” strategy ready to kick into gear.
A quick hop over to the Sundance site shows that they do have a presence on Twitter and Facebook and are using a mobile campaign to keep festival-goers updated with text alerts. However, they may want to consider the following improvements:
– The Festival profile shows they are following no one, yet have 668 followers. Yikes. The profile and existing tweets look official enough to convince me it’s not spam, but they’re riding a delicate line by following no one and solely broadcasting rather than engaging.
– No personalization. Am I hearing from the entire festival coordination team? Probably not. Someone at Sundance is responsible for tweeting. Give me a name and start interacting via replies and direct messages to your followers (i.e. utilize Twitter for its intended purpose).
– No engagement. Twitter could be a HUGE tool for the festival team to not only listen and answer people’s questions but to also provide updated event info/alerts throughout the festival. In addition, the site could be used to build conversation and attention around the festival throughout the year leading up to each festival (not something they’ll easily be able to accomplish through repeated text updates). I would imagine they could also help build conversation by creating new event/movie hashtags and especially utilizing #Sundance to help centralize the conversation.
– Earlier this month, Sundance had only set up their Facebook presence as a profile (dangerous move in Facebook world as they are quick to axe anything other than authentic people from having profiles in a move to have brands/companies use Facebook pages). I noticed that they have now also established a Sundance 2009 group.
There’s definitely plenty more that could be done in terms of content addition to the group and discussion prompts. Sundance did get it right last year with their 2008 Sundance Film Festival page, attracting over 3,000 fans and linking out to other pages for films featured at the Festival. Hopefully they’ll move quickly on a new page for 2009 as it seems they are already missing a big marketing opportunity.
– There may be some legal issues but how in the world does Sundance not have a YouTube channel?! I may be missing something, but all I’m finding are two cases of brandjacking here and here. Am I nuts or could they not be using YouTube as a perfect platform to connect with independent filmmakers and directors as well as coordinate a system of film submissions/trailers through the site and allow key influencers to vote on the submissions?
– Pretty solid setup here and given the recent login date, I’m wondering if they’re still viewing this profile as their primary audience networking platform (I believe MySpace hosts a party at the Fest each year which may have something to do with it)?
Alas, I love Park City and the Festival as a whole. The community is there and hopefully someone at Sundance is tuned in to the importance of the listening process and will stumble upon this post and take a few free pointers. In return, I simply ask for a dinner date with Zooey Dischanel assuming she’ll be in attendance for her premiere.
Social media tips for date with Hollywood/Indie music darling. Fair trade, right? I think so.
*In the process of drafting this post, I discovered that one of my favorite musicians decided to steal my thunder with Zooey by poppin’ the question. Awww, shucks. Congrats you two.
Onward to Park City.
Cheers, be safe tonight.