Film festival outreach places the spotlight on social media

In its 17th year, the San Diego Latino Film Festival increased its social media outreach with help from Cook & Schmid, working pro bono as its social media AOR.

Organization: Media Arts Center San Diego
PR agency: Cook & Schmid 
Campaign: San Diego Latino Film Festival
Duration: October 2009-March 21, 2010
Budget: $15,000

In its 17th year, the San Diego Latino Film Festival increased its social media outreach with help from Cook & Schmid, working pro bono as its social media AOR.

"Over the years, we've developed an e-mail database," says Ethan Vanthillo, executive director and founder of Media Arts Center San Diego, the entity behind the festival, "but we are getting more direct contact with people via Facebook these days instead of via e-mail."

Strategy
The festival targeted an audience of about 75% Latinos and 25% international film buffs, and wanted to use social media to have a more personal connection with potential attendees.

"You have to reinvent yourself every year," Vanthillo says. "Having this new buzz online gets people talking about it."

Tactics
In addition to using Facebook and Twitter, the festival also launched a text-messaging campaign, sponsored by the San Diego Padres, where fans could receive festival updates and win prizes.

Along with traditional media outreach, "we also talked about b-to-b [aspects], with the new technology and mobile," says Grant Goad, director of interactive media at Cook & Schmid.

Results
Online, the festival and the arts center gained nearly 4,000 Facebook fans and 350-plus Twitter followers. Attendance at the event was up 2,000 this year, to a total of nearly 20,000, Vanthillo says. He adds that ticket sales rose $10,000 to $120,000, while 200 people signed up for the mobile campaign.

Future
The arts center will continue its social media push, especially around next year's film festival. The center and Cook & Schmid will "get a lot more proactive with the mobile campaign" and bring on more sponsors, Goad adds.

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