IMAX's Social Strategy: How To Drive Fans to the Silver Screen with the 4-Inch Screen
IMAX's executive director of digital marketing shares four social strategies every marketer should keep in mind.
IMAX is perennially known as the world's most immersive cinematic experience. As an innovator in entertainment technology, IMAX develops a suite of tools — from cameras and re-mastering software to projection and sound systems — that allow today's leading filmmakers to produce the highest quality images and sound and connect with audiences globally.
So, how do we communicate the value of the IMAX experience to today's moviegoers? We're geeks at heart and aim to attract the same and more. Social media has proven, and continues to prove, to be an effective and economical medium to communicate with our fans. Here are some of the strategies we use across our social channels to build and grow a community around our brand.
The Equalizer: Not all social is the same
Although it can be tempting to treat Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat equally, these are distinct channels and should be treated as such. As a fan of the brand, what's the point of getting fed the same content across different platforms (especially when each platform has its strong suits, like Instagram's visual appeal for example)?
We try to use different channels for different purposes. Facebook, for instance, is a channel where we post film announcements, video content, and community interaction opportunities. Instagram, however, is a place where we visually showcase our exclusive art, red carpet photos, and other engagements to give our fans a behind-the-scenes look.
Batman, Wonder Woman, and Belle: Core audience and newcomers
IMAX's core audience is the fanboy and fangirl. So when it comes to superhero movies, IMAX is a natural pick. Throughout the years, we've nurtured these fans to develop an affinity for IMAX and become our built-in audience. However, we're expanding outside this core demo with additional movies, like La La Land and Beauty and the Beast — allowing us to add to our community and convert new IMAX customers.
The challenge? While IMAX may be a natural fit for these new audiences, some people have not experienced the brand yet and, therefore, aren't as familiar with it. To draw these new audiences to the theater, we emphasize complementary aspects of the IMAX experience. While our core fan group may be attracted to camera usage and aspect ratios, for instance, our complementary fans may appreciate IMAX's clearer sound quality. It's about focusing on what appeals to each audience.
Resident Evil: The vocal dissenter
For the most part, our social channels are safe spaces where our fans can engage as a community. Still, no matter how smart, funny, and attentive we are, we aren't going to win everyone over. Like many brands, we occasionally have vocal dissenters on our channels. Social media followers can be particularly vocal about frustration and anger towards a brand—some of which, of course, is justified. We've learned that acknowledging and reaching out to these people for more information can help us ultimately keep loyal customers. So instead of ignoring or deleting negative comments, we make sure to address and help as many people as we can within our resources.
The NeverEnding Story: The social lifecycle
Social is an important tool and shouldn't be forgotten as a core communication strategy. It's a continuous lifecycle of acquisition, engagement, and retention to keep a happy fan base. Even though it's more work than it appears to be on the surface, the returns are tenfold when you create a community of fans to engage and support your brand.
About the author:
As noted in her 2016 DMN 40 Under 40 profile, “Sipra Thakur heads up the digital marketing department at IMAX, where she works with her team to create integrated campaigns, identify new areas of growth, and establish strategic partnerships to increase avenues of revenue and marketing impressions. As part of the senior marketing team, she defines strategy, drives execution, and uses data-driven insights to improve all aspects of digital marketing for domestic and international audiences."
Photo Credit for top image: diego_cuervo from Thinkstock by Getty Images