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Strategic Planning: How Cinemas Can Prepare for Facebook and Instagram Outages

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Last week’s unexpected outage of Facebook and Instagram left users across the globe in a digital blackout. The event sparked both frustration and humor, leading many to reevaluate their dependence on these social media giants. For cinema exhibitors navigating the digital landscape, the blackout serves as a wake up call to the importance of diversifying marketing strategies beyond the realm of social media. Here's how theaters can better prepare for a Facebook and Instagram outage.

Let's start with the risks of sole reliance on social media platforms:

❌ Limited Reach: Social media downtime means losing direct access to your audience, resulting in decreased visibility and awareness.

❌ Loss of Communication: Social media platforms are vital channels for communication between your business and your customers. During downtime, these channels are disrupted, leading to missed opportunities for customer interaction and support.

❌ Impact on Ticket Sales: For movie theaters relying heavily on social media for promotions, downtime can directly impact ticket sales, particularly during critical periods such as new releases and special events.

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Theater owners and marketers should adopt and strengthen a diverse marketing strategy in order to mitigate the loss of social media downtime. Here are some ways to diversify your channels:

Email Marketing

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Email marketing offers direct communication to your audience, and is not dependent on social media. Strengthen your email list of moviegoers interested in receiving updates, promotions, and exclusive offers. Create a well-informed, engaging email strategy that encompasses all updates at your theater. Here are a few tips:

  • Build a strong email list: Encourage customers to subscribe to your email newsletters by offering exclusive content & discounts, or early access to movie tickets. This helps expand the reach of email marketing efforts.

  • Personalize content & develop targeted email campaigns: Segment your email list based on customer preferences, demographics, and/or past movie preferences. This will increase your chances of customer engagement.

  • Incorporate social sharing options: Include social media sharing buttons in emails to encourage subscribers to share your upcoming film trailers, events and promotions. Doing so will help extend the reach of email campaigns beyond your email subscriber list.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your website’s visibility in order to rank higher on Google and other search engines. Theaters should optimize their website to generate more traffic and bolster visibility about showtimes, events, rewards programs (+more) in these organic search results. Here are some key SEO components:

  • Technical SEO: Technical SEO is the process of ensuring that your website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines. This includes website architecture, crawl data, and indexing. 

  • On-Page SEO: On-Page SEO refers to the optimization of web page content. This includes adding title tags, content, site maps, keyword research, and internal link building. 

  • Off-Page SEO: Off-Page SEO includes all of the activities that occur outside of your website to help increase traffic to your site. This includes backlinks, local SEO, content marketing, and ratings + reviews.

Paid Advertising (Google Ads)

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Harness pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms such as Google Ads to reach potential moviegoers actively searching for upcoming releases. Tailor your approach by targeting specific keywords, interests, trends, and demographics to maximize its effectiveness.

Interested in SEO or paid ads? 

OC now offers SEO and paid ad services. SEO, search engine optimization, improves your website to increase its visibility in Google, Bing, and other search engines where people search for your cinema. With an initial website & keyword audit, we can identify the pinch points and areas for improvement for your cinema’s site. We’ll use technical optimizations to help your cinema rank higher for Google searches like “movie theater near me” or “movie theater in [insert your city]. OC complements SEO services with paid ad campaigns to grow visibility and impressions in the short term to increase website and social media traffic. Email us at for more information on SEO and Paid Ads.

Content Marketing

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Content marketing is a strategy used to attract your digital audience by creating articles, blog posts, video content, podcasts, and other media that is relevant to your industry. Creating and publishing content online can establish your theater as an industry authority and help attract organic traffic to your site. Examples relevant to theaters can include:

  • A blog post that highlights your rewards program and all of its perks

  • A promotional video with BTS footage of your theater

Having trouble with content? Not sure what to post? 

OC offers a monthly subscription to our promotions + digital content calendar to help alleviate the stress of content planning and help cinemas reach their target audiences. Each monthly calendar provides fresh and effective marketing ideas for You can check out a sample here.

Other Platforms (LinkedIn, Tiktok, X, etc.)

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During social media outages, users often turn to alternate platforms for their daily dose of internet browsing. This is a great time for theaters to tap into a variety of other social media platforms, including LinkedIn, TikTok, X, and Youtube. Example posts include:

  • Poll your followers on your X account to determine which film title they're most excited to see next.

  • Post a trailer, Behind-The-Scenes footage, or cast and crew interviews on Youtube for an upcoming film title.

  • Tap into TikTok's algorithm by posting a trendy video that promotes a film or your theater.

Community Engagement

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This social media downtime is also a great time to participate in online communities, forums, or niche social media platforms relevant to the film industry. Is your theater part of an online exhibitor forum? Head to these pages to stay up-to-date with industry news and happenings.

Find sites or pages local to your theater’s area and engage with those communities. For instance, if your theater is located in a shopping center or plaza, comment and reshare threads created by their respective accounts. This will help solidify your theater’s presence within its local communities.

While Facebook and Instagram offer valuable marketing opportunities, a diversified approach ensures your movie theater remains resilient in the face of platform outrages. Embrace email marketing, SEO, Paid Ads, content marketing, community networking to build a robust marketing strategy. Solidifying these outlets not only protects your theater from social media disruptions, but also opens up new avenues for reaching and engaging with your audience.

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