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Motion Pictures with Chidumga How Nollywood can use social media for more than clapbacks

Recently, I read an article on social media which asked the question “who has social media helped?” A perfect answer would be, social media has helped Omoni Oboli and Mo Abudu.

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Wives on Strike' poster play

Wives on Strike' poster

(Broadway Africa )

Social media can be used by entertainers to do more than 'clap back,' start up unnecessary fights, respond to critics you think are 'haters', and display a certain level of ignorance.

Recently, I read an article on social media which asked the question “who has social media helped?” A perfect answer would be, social media has helped Omoni Oboli and Mo Abudu.

The days of buying billboards and print ads are quickly fading in the movie industry, though we can’t exactly say it completely existed in Nollywood, and that is understandable considering how much fund is required for such advertising.

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Viral social media campaigns are the new and perfect marketing strategy for a movie. Are our filmmakers taking advantage of this cheaper medium of Marketing? I would say No.

Most of our entertainers prefer to use social media for controversial purposes, which could also pass for a kind of PR.

One of the best tactics of social media is creating anticipation and hype of a movie months in advance, without getting to spend more than your monthly data subscription on promo. The social media drastically cuts the cost of advertising, and promotes instant communication.

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We have had a few movies that have used social media to break box office numbers in Nollywood.

Omoni Oboli’s “Wives on Strike” is a perfect answer to the question “who social media help?” The movie had one of the best approaches to social media. It created a hashtag and conversation online, building a huge fan base through various social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Omoni and her gang understood the need for a personal connection with fans online, those fans who would have to spend their cash and time supporting a project they have doubts about.

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Movies like Steve Gukas’ “A Place of Stars” took their campaign further, by not just promoting the movie with a hashtag, but also called on fans to engage by giving them the opportunity to celebrate the many sung/ unsung heroes who in the face of adversity continued to channel the right path. This gave fans an identity in the world of “A Place in the Stars,” and opened the door for more involvement.

Another movie that saw success with a great social media strategy was Mo Abudu’s “Fifty.” The movie announced a competition on social media, encouraging fans to compete and win gifts like Flat screen TVs and even a car.

A lot of people have gone to the cinema to see a movie after seeing an interesting social media ad, or a post recommending the movie.

Rather than use the social media as a platform to respond to trolls, the platform can be used by filmmakers to discuss their films with their online friends, fans and strangers.

Fifty-Nollywood Movie 2015-Biyi Bandele-Nollywood movies play

Official "Fifty" poster

(Instagram )

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Reaching a larger audience is vital for any success of films, as most people are likely to see a film if a friend has recommend it.

Also, creating a page for an upcoming movie helps promote growth among the social community. Contrary to what most filmmakers probably think, some Nigerians are interested in knowing about an upcoming movie they consider interesting, and a page is perfect for that.

I find it difficult to understand when a supposed big movie doesn't have an active social media page or wikipedia page. I find it strange when Nigerian filmmakers fail to start an online conversation about their upcoming movie. I find it hilarious when a Nigerian filmmaker drops his or her movie after releasing an interesting or badly put trailer and poster.

There was a social media page for the movie “Road to Yesterday,” and the movie did well in the box office. Reportedly, the movie made over 10 million at the box office, but then, it could have done better.

For starters, it’s a Genevieve Nnaji movie, and every true Nollywood fan should have been interested enough to see the movie which marked the return of the great 'Nollywood queen'.

Road to Yesterday play

Road to Yesterday

(DSTV)

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The social media campaign however wasn’t enough to draw enough Nigerians out of their homes for "Road to Yesterday" to beat "Fifty," or do better than "Wives on Strike," which has grossed over 50 million in less than two months.

A movie with Genevieve Nnaji should have been able to emerge as the highest grossing movie of the year. Yes, she is Genevieve Nnaji, probably the actress with the largest following. I also think that the fact that most Nigerians think Nollywood films are not worth seeing in the cinema, or the fact that she was absent for years, was no reason to hinder the extraordinary success of her movie.

As social media continues to grow, there’s need for our filmmakers to understand the relationship between the film industry and social media, and how the later can not just be used to promote their movies, but make them an engaging experience for their fans inside and outside the theatre.

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