Presentation given by Blaine Graboyes at StoryCode (Lincoln Center) on September 19, 2012 about our use of Twitter to promote the indie film Saving Lincoln. Check out https://twitter.com/savinglincoln for the whole story.
ChallengeMarch 2011Reuben Lim (Producer) and Blaine Graboyes (DigitalMarketing Consultant) discuss ways to “tacklesetting up outposts and managing our onlinepresence and crowd building in an affordable way.” • Awareness for unreleased indie movie • Very lean team and resources • No access to production elements • Sustain campaign over a year or more • Outdo larger “Lincoln Projects”
Strategy• Focus On Story • Leverage the power of story and narrative• Develop The Universe • Relate the character and world of Ward Hill Lamon• Be Fast & Cheap • Frequency and responsiveness on a budget• Remain Authentic • Combine history, technology, and indie culture• Do Something Fun • Run a unique campaign, without production assets
Goals & TacticsGOALS• 10,000 (Legit) Fans• Create Network For The Film• Build Brand Awareness & Buzz• Monthly Budget < $1,000TACTICS• Twitter! • Ability To Tell Stories In Detail• Voice • Lamon’s Life In Colorful Words• Frequency • Broadcast But Personal Interactions• Structure • Serial Format Simplified Logistics
The Process “When I approach each story, I figure out how manydays to allot to it. Some tales are simple moments thatonly need a week to relate (sometimes I combinerelated moments into one story, if theyre briefenough), while others need a week or two to unfold.I figure out the main points and then write the tweetsso that each day is another beat in the story.I send the completed story to Nina so she can review itand make any necessary changes, which are typicallyminimal. Then I stage the tweets for publication inHootSuite and move on to the next one.”
Structure Stories Begin On Monday And End On FridaysSerial Comic Strip Format • Each Days Series Of Tweets Forms A Story Beat If A Tale Is Multiweek, • About 4 To 8 Ends On A Cliffhanger Tweets Per Day Become A Story
Sources “I rely on several sources as I imagine Ward Hill Lamon reflecting on his days with Abraham Lincoln. Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, which Lamon wrote (it was edited and published by his daughter after his death), and Lincoln and Lamon: Partners and Friends, by Clint Clay Tilton, are two primary books that I use. We even obtained a photocopy of a 1949 doctoral thesis about Lamon thats only available from a library in Illinois.”
Messages “I check the Twitter feed daily for interesting direct messages and tweets aimed at Lamon. Many people have discovered that if they communicate with Lamon, he responds. For example, if someone mentions John Wilkes Booth, Lamon notes that had he been at Fords Theater, he ‘would have shot that devil twixt his yellow eyes.’ or...”Messaging Tips• Reply In Lamons Voice,• After Story Tweets Sent • Keeps Stream Clean• Frame Responses How Lamon Believes Lincoln Would Have Responded• Dont Mention Movie Unless Asked
Retweets “While Lamons one-off observational tweets havebeen good fodder for retweets, the story tweets haveoften been retweeted and favorited too, particularlyif they contain interesting information. For example,a tweet about the battle of Antietam and thestaggering casualties there garnered six retweets,which is very good for us.”
Favorites “My favorite tweets are the ones where Lamon makes an observation that exposes the heart of the Saving Lincoln story, which is the idea that Lincoln was fated to be assassinated, whether by Booth or someone else. For example, one story in which Lamon relates several attempts on Lincolns life ends with these three tweets...” In later years, I often found myself imagining a wiser andgrayer Mr. Lincoln sitting by my side, sharing stories of old. "Hill," he would say, "do you recall the evening my $8 plug hat was blown clean off my head by an assailants bullet?" I would say I did, and I would laugh with Mr. Lincoln at the memory. And I would have another sip of whiskey in his honor.