A few weeks ago I posted a blog entitled “How to make money on your indie film before it’s even shot“. I’m currently developing a skit comedy series (not to be confused with What’s Your Sign, Girl?) and I wanted to test my niche demographic via selling a t-shirt that I felt would resonate with my audience immediately. Here are my merchandise stats.

My budget was $45.00 for the first round of testing. I immediately went to Instagram and I found influencers who cater directly to my demographic. I sent them a quick message on Instagram asked how much it would be for a shout out. A shout out is an announcement that the influencer directly makes on their Instagram feed to their followers. There were two influencers that stuck out. One had 190,000 followers and the other one had 207,000 followers. The first one charged me $25.00 for the promotion to stay on his feed for 1 day. The second charged me $20.00 for a permanent promotion.

Instagram star #1 sent the promo t-shirt to his Instagram and I immediately sold one t-shirt in the first 30 minutes with hundreds of likes and commits on the t-shirt. The second Instagram account shared the promo t-shirt and I sold 3 t-shirts within 2 hours. Not only was the 2nd influencer less expensive but they went the extra mile by taking a snap photo of the Instagram stats.

I had over 1500 likes, 20 comments, 40k impressions, 32k reach, and 328 engagements.

The campaign didn’t make a profit but I gathered over 100 followers that I now own. At the moment I have 200 followers, while posting a funny meme at least once day. With a profit margin of about $7.50 per t-shirt. What is challenging is that Instagram does not allow you to add a hyperlink on your post, so the URL had to be included in the picture. That that meant that the people who really liked the shirt had to go the extra mile to add it on their browser to order it. That is not an easy task considering that I had just made the website live a few hours ago without much content.

These mini experiments proved the most important point I want to make for myself. You need MASSIVE WEB TRAFFIC to make just one sale! Whether you are selling your DVD, VOD, Merchandise, getting people to contribute on Kickstater, or having them signup to your email newsletter.

The week after my experiment I invited a local Facebook celebrity for lunch. She become a viral sensation with over 200,000 followers on Facebook and her 1st viral video got 25 million views. Her videos average about 2-3 million views! She also makes funny videos that cater to my demographic.

We are currently negotiating a modest fee so she can promote the t-shirt to her fans. So not only am I selling t-shirt that could possible fund the skit series if it goes viral but I am collecting fans as well. With enough followers of my own we can also advertise to other businesses. I am also talking to an Instagram influencer that has over 1 million followers. His current rate is $250.00 for one hour of promotion! Well worth the money in my opinion!

Breakdown your demographic and find influencers in your film’s niche. It doesn’t matter if you are producing a faith based film, romantic comedy, horror, sci-fi, etc. use social media to leap frog your audience instead of building it from scratch! Piggyback on other people who speak directly to your audience! 

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