Cinema and social media have developed a great deal over the last few years. High production costs, continually evolving special effects and big salaries within the film-making industry means that cinema and film production companies are more keen than ever to find new ways to bring in paying audience members. Although ever-changing, the cinema industry continues to be popular. People use their time there as a means of escapism, to enjoy a couple of hours away from their busy lives and immerse themselves into a fantasy world of love, laughter and story-telling.
As with most sectors, there will always be competition between brands. The leisure and entertainment industry is no different. Cinemas depend not only on competitive box office ticket prices to bring audiences in, but also on people knowing about the facilities on offer once they have entered the venue. People are often willing to spend a few more pennies if they believe they are getting good value for money for their overall entertainment experience.
Many towns and cities now have multiple cinemas. In order for a venue to stay relevant to today’s audiences, continual upgrading of the location’s facilities and finding ways to promote these upgrades is vital. Let’s face it, if you changed your hair colour but never went outside, how would anyone know about it? Ok, maybe that’s not the perfect analogy, but the point is this – if you make improvements to your cinema, or open up a new one, you need to tell people about it if you want to get noticed. The louder you shout, the more people will sit up and pay attention.
With the unrelenting use of social media amongst a vast array of individuals, this is an obvious platform to use to promote a brand to a wide audience. For instance, Facebook now has over 2.1 billion monthly active users worldwide, representing a 14% increase year-on-year (source: Facebook 31/01/18). Statistically, this means that Facebook is just too big to ignore. Although not of all these users log on to Facebook every day, an average of 1.4 billion do. With such a huge (and still growing) audience on Facebook every day, this provides a promising foundation for any targeted marketing efforts.
Knowing how and when to target your Facebook followers is key. You need to build brand awareness with useful content and give users an opportunity to learn about what you offer. Good content will help you to foster strong relationships with your audience and will keep them coming back for more.
Good content can take many forms. Informative articles and interviews for eagerly anticipated films are beneficial, but powerful content can also take the form of images and video. Trailers have an obvious appeal, but what about something that is more specific to the audience’s local cinema?
The360view are a Matterport® and multimedia service provider. They have worked with several cinemas, giving a unique insight into their venues, using unique 3D technology. The360view virtual tours allow viewers to explore the seating area of the cinema screens themselves as well as the bar, shop, toilet facilities and main entrance areas. The 3D walkthrough is an online experience that lets you see every angle.
A fresh, newly opened venue provides the ideal opportunity to showcase a virtual tour. Viewers can ‘walk’ around and get a real sense of the facilities on offer before even setting foot in the building. The ‘dolls house’ and ‘floor plan’ options give users a completely unique sense of the venue. There is an option to embed video and/or images and even URL links, so tours can remain relevant and up-to-date at any given time. Each virtual tour has its own URL which can be shared with anyone, anywhere.
Virtual tours deliver a perfect example of good content marketing. The tour’s unique URL can be shared on a venue’s Facebook page, and from there the possibilities are endless. Paid posts promote higher levels of user engagement and with interesting, entirely relevant content such as this, it will ensure more people end up visiting the box office.
In March 2017, Empire Cinemas opened up a new venue in Ipswich, Suffolk. Working in collaboration with the360view, they were able to share a link to the tour on their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/empirecinemasipswich/posts/671848709870533
Facebook provided the platform to ensure they reached a wide audience of potential new customers ahead of opening, with the link to the tour leading directly to the cinema’s website. This in turn provided all the extra information people needed to know about the venue, using the novelty of the tour as a hook to entice people in.
Jon Nutton, Marketing Director of Empire says;-
“There have been cinemas in Ipswich for many years and we knew that Empire would need to provide something special to attract new customers. We have a great location in the town centre and have used our Facebook page as a way of increasing our exposure to, and engaging with, the local community. The virtual tour we shared online has proved very popular. People seem to appreciate the transparency of us showing exactly what we have to offer them and hope that we will continue to reap the benefits of this new technology by keeping the tour link available on our Facebook page and website.”
Newly opened cinemas are not the only venues to benefit from virtual tour technology. A complex which has undergone refurbishment is very likely to gain an upsurge in footfall – if they are able to show-off the improvements they have made. Like with many things, people often stick with what they are comfortable with. If they have made a decision to leave a particular cinema, the refurbishment will need to be shown in all its glory to entice lapsed customers back again.
Google has recently announced a partnership with Matterport®, launching the next generation of Street View tours. These will integrate panoramic images with 3D geometry data to create tours with a higher level of realism on desktop and in virtual reality.
When someone finds your listing on Google they will most likely have clicked onto you and not your competition because you have a button called “See inside” which allows someone to take your virtual tour. Visitors of your listing will stay longer and explore an immersive view of the venue which they may have looked past had you not had a tour. Publishing tours onto Google provides a great opportunity to get noticed by potential new customers that have ‘accidentally’ discovered you.
There is much competition in today’s leisure and entertainment industry and an online presence is a necessity if you want to keep up. As well as cinemas, the360view virtual tours are perfect for hotels, shops and restaurants. Standard 2D photos of a business can provide a basic idea of what an area looks like, but a 3D walkthrough is the ultimate way to explore and get a unique sense of a space. If your customers know exactly what to expect, there will be no reason for them to be disappointed… Don’t be afraid to show-off your venue!