Follow Friday: Coolidge Corner Theatre
Follow Friday, At a Glance
Connect with the Coolidge Corner Theatre on social media:
One of the Boston area’s favorite independent theaters, Coolidge Corner Theatre, is quite literally a beacon of Brookline. The neighborhood staple not only shows indie flicks one may not find at AMC or Regal, but they also host popular series like Big Screen Classics, Coolidge After Midnite, and others.
Bianca Costello started this summer as the Coolidge’s new marketing and outreach coordinator. Here, she tells us how the Coolidge is expanding its social media reach to connect with audiences and make sure people know about their fun programming.
Are you the only one running the Coolidge Corner Theatre’s various social media accounts? How do you manage all of them?
I started working at the Coolidge just three months ago, and my primary role is to manage all of our social media accounts. However, I wouldn’t say that I’m a one-man band. Our program manager, Mark Anastasio, does a terrific job promoting our Coolidge After Midnite film series. He knows the lingo that is needed to engage that specific audience, and of course, it helps that he has seen pretty much every horror film that has ever been made!
I’m able to manage all of our accounts effectively by using our website as an editorial calendar. Our website organizes all of our upcoming events and feature films neatly on the home page, and then categorizes our special programming. Each day, I take a look at our website to see what we have coming up, and create posts accordingly. I hardly ever schedule tweets in advance. People want to have the person-to-person interaction, and for me, scheduling tweets or Facebook posts way in advance takes that interaction away. Of course, this approach cannot work for every organization.
What are the goals for the Coolidge on social media, and where does your content usually come from?
Our goal, as a nonprofit art house cinema, is to engage and educate our fans with our innovative programming. Our special programming, which includes series like Big Screen Classics, Coolidge After Midnite, Cinema Jukebox, and Science on Screen, makes us stand out from other movie theaters, and gives us a lot to draw from for our social media.
For many of these screenings, we have interactive pre-shows, such as the bowling and costume competition that takes place before our annual The Big Lebowski screening, and the ’80s costume contest that will precede our upcoming 30th anniversary screening of Stop Making Sense. Our Science on Screen series pairs a variety of films with introductory remarks by notable figures from the worlds of science and medicine. All of this makes for great content on our social media sites.
That said, the majority of our social media content comes from our website, but I also like to share reviews and articles that are not listed there.
In three words, describe the voice and tone of the Coolidge’s social media.
Informative, exciting, and friendly.
Which social media account is the strongest channel for the theater? If you had to pick, which one is the “must-follow”?
I would have to say that Instagram is our “must-follow.” It’s still quite new—in fact, I opened our account on my first day here, June 9—but it has already grown to 437 followers in that short amount of time. The Coolidge is a gorgeous and iconic building, so people love taking photos of the marquee and our theaters, especially our beautiful Moviehouse 1. This is great for me because I can then “regram” the photos and thank those who took them for supporting us. Movie stills and posters also do especially well—followers get excited for upcoming films as well classic films that they may have never seen on the big screen, let alone in 35 mm. Our upcoming screening of Spice World is one of our most liked photos, which comes as no surprise, given that the students are back in town.
Our gorgeous Moviehouse 1, as captured by one of our fans:
What other plans do you have for the Coolidge’s social media? Any fun promotions, things like that?
I definitely have other plans in store for our social media, and even our website, but being a nonprofit and a small team, we have to take one thing at a time. Eventually, I would love to have more regular video content highlighting our amazing pre-shows—this video from last year’s Halloween Horror Marathon is a great example—or montage trailers of our film series.
I also have plans to begin keeping up with our @CoolidgeMumbles Twitter account, where our staff tweets the mispronounced movie titles that they hear at the box office.
My favorite as of right now:
Hotel Barbecue (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
— Coolidge Mumbles (@CoolidgeMumbles) July 8, 2014
As far as promotions, we don’t do much on our social media accounts, as we’ve found that raffling off prizes at special screenings is much more exciting. Right now, however, we are running a “Welcome Back, Students” promotion that I have shared on our social media pages: in September, students receive $3 off admission to our feature films Monday through Thursday, and in October, we have a 2-for-1 membership promotion, where if a student and a friend want to become Coolidge members and join in October, they get two memberships for the price of one.
What are some events, series, or fun facts about the Coolidge that non-regulars may not know about?
A lot of people may not know this, but we have several unique series, including Kids’ Shows, Dance at the Cinema, and Stage & Screen, all of which speak to different audiences. Box Office Babies is another ongoing event that we have specifically to encourage the parents of newborns to feel comfortable bringing their baby to the theater without having to worry about disturbing other patrons. This way Mom and Dad don’t miss out on the new features!
I could go on and on about our programming and the events we host, but if I had to pick one that is approaching, that non-regulars may not know about, it is our 14th annual Halloween Horror Marathon. The marathon is 12 hours of horror films, with an always-exhilarating pre-show. This year we have a paranormal presentation—yes, legit ghost hunters will be inspecting our historic cinema—and our traditional Halloween costume contest. Only two titles are announced for the marathon and the additional 35mm films are not known until they hit the screen.
What’s the weirdest, most surprising, or most outspoken feedback you’ve gotten via social media so far?
So far I haven’t experienced anything too crazy, but again, I’ve only been here for three months so that could change fairly quickly!
Since you’ve been with the Coolidge, what has been your personal favorite thing to share on social media?
I adore Throwback Thursdays, or #TBT—sharing photos of the Coolidge back in the ’30s and up to the early ’90s is just awesome. The history of the Coolidge is fascinating and beautiful. The community has played a major role in the longevity of our establishment, and we are very grateful to everyone who has supported and continues to support us. If anyone out there has #TBT photos of the Coolidge they want to send my way, please do!
Finally, what is your favorite movie?
I love watching movies, so to pick just one is tough! Tim Burton’s Big Fish is definitely one that comes to mind. My roommates and I share the same love for Big Fish and have a one-sheet hanging in our kitchen. My first week in the office, the guys—Andy, our theater operations director, and Mark—got me a nicely framed 11 x 17 Big Fish poster to put next to my desk. It was sort of a rite of passage, and is a great way to distract me from the horror posters that line the walls of our office.
Responses have been edited and condensed.