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Summer movie word of mouth gets social media twist

To promote its newest film, "Paper Towns," 20th Century Fox is relying on good, old-fashioned word of mouth—online.

The studio tapped tech platform TheAmplify to find the most notable voices on social media to tout its teen drama, which will be released on Friday. By giving these influencers behind-the-scenes access through unique experiences, it hopes to build the buzz to make "Paper Towns" a summer blockbuster.

"One of the most effective communications is to send the message at scale," said Justin Rezvani, CEO and founder of TheAmplify. "We can effectively send out posts to 16 million unique people in 35 seconds."

For "Paper Towns," 20th Century Fox shared clips with some of TheAmplify's 1,500 influencers. The platform's algorithm helped select which social media super users would best fit the target audience for the film.

For example, actor Keegan Allen—best known for his work on ABC Family series "Pretty Little Liars"—was given access to the movie trailer before it was released. He has 3.1 million followers on Instagram, and happens to be a fan of the book series.

"Experiencing that first look at something and getting to finally experience that with everybody gave that sense of community and made it feel like something that everyone was excited about," Allen said. "Everyone wants to share on social media. That's what our show did from the beginning. As we engaged with our fans on social media, we were able to...