We live in a digital world and with an increasing number of people finding out about shows through Twitter and booking tickets through their Facebook accounts, now’s a better time than ever to be perfecting your social media presence. If your venue is using social media but you’re not sure if you’re using it in the best way possible, we’ve put together some examples of organisations for you to draw inspiration from.
Social media isn’t just about promoting your show to sell more tickets and simply posting links doesn’t work anymore. Many arts organisations are using social media successfully to get to know their audiences well and now with the constant streams of communication flowing at all times, it can be a great opportunity to learn about and connect with your audiences, find out what they love and improve your customer service at the same time. Aside from connecting with the audience you already have, it’s also an effective way of reaching new people. As well as creating great content that your customers will love, it’s worth considering a cash investment in your social media activity. Your content may be engaging and relevant, but without putting some money behind your posts, it’s often hard to get visibility in such a saturated environment unless people come looking for you.
But first things first, why is social media so important to your organisation? Of course, not every customer you have will be active on social media channels, but with almost half the world’s population now on the internet (3.1 bn) and a third of those on social media (2.2 bn), it’s worth spending time on the content you’re putting out there. Have a look at how these awesome venues are using social media to benefit their organisations.
Video is becoming more and more popular when it comes to marketing on social media. Digitally savvy customers want quick and easily accessible information, and videos are a great way to give it to them. The optimum video length is around 4 minutes, which gives you a bit of time to capture your customer’s audience with some fun and relevant content.
Bradford Theatres is a group of local authority operated venues that are making great use of their YouTube channel, constantly uploading trailers for upcoming shows, interviews with cast and creative teams members, and posting some fun behind-the-scenes videos. These easy-to-watch videos can be shared all over their Facebook and Twitter pages, and as they are in line with the kind of productions that they know their audiences are interested in, they can be used to get customers excited about upcoming performances.
By creating these videos to share, Bradford Theatres don’t fall into the trap of posting uninteresting content that people can’t interact with. Giving people a preview of shows will be much more engaging, and will likely drive more sales as well. Much more effective than simply posting a link to buy tickets.
The Royal Court Theatre
This year the number of people using Twitter has increased by more than 50 million users, bringing the total number to over 270 million active users. Twitter is something that arts organisations need to take advantage of, but it’s not as simple as just posting links to tickets or letting people know what events are on at your venue.
Channels such as Twitter and Facebook are a chance for your customers to get to know your organisation and a big part of that is developing the right tone of voice to represent your brand and creating a consistent content plan. It also should be used to listen to your audience and get to know their behaviour. What do they share and retweet? Use this information to develop tweets and posts to match.
The Royal Court is a venue with a thriving social media presence. They create a lot of their own original content posted on their YouTube channel, such as trailers, audience response videos and interviews, as well as posting relevant articles and links to outside sources. By mapping out what you’ve got going on and creating a content calendar of things to post and ideas you have, you’ll never be stuck for things to talk about. Some ways that the Royal Court use Twitter to reach their audiences are:
- Through competitions to win tickets to various performances.
- Posting and retweeting behind-the-scenes action.
- Posting articles from other sources about shows in your programme.
Posting on social media isn’t just about making sure your customers know what tickets are available. Use social media to identify the identities of your audience. Knowing what they like and don’t like will allow you to create content that will resonate the most with them. It’s a great opportunity to talk about things going on around your programme and create an enhanced experience for your customers, just as the Royal Court are doing.
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
While the basics of Facebook and Twitter are vital to securing your place in the social media world, there are so many other channels that can be used to distribute content and it’s important to find out which will be the most useful for your organisation.
The Grand Theatre is trying their hand at many great social media channels. They have a particularly interesting Pinterest account, where they pin images on boards for each of their shows, an Instagram account, to display many beautiful images from inside the theatre as well as posters for upcoming shows, a blog where they post about anything from their season to local events, and even a link to their Tripadvisor page on their website, where customers can look at all their great reviews from previous punters.
Most people tend to have a favourite channel they like to use, and if you’d rather not have lots of different accounts, find out what kind of channels your audience is using the most. It’s also important that it fits with your brand and what kind of content you want to be sharing. If you love sharing visuals and photography then channels like Instagram and Pinterest might be the right thing for you. If you make really great videos, then it’s worth sharing these on YouTube.
Bristol Old Vic
Another way to improve your social media presence is by creating a blog. Unlike other channels, a blog is less about quick updates and short videos, and more about meaningful, in-depth content that will resonate with your audience. If your customers are the type that like to learn a lot about your productions and the teams behind them, then a blog could be right for you.
Bristol Old Vic’s blog is a great example of an arts organisation’s blog, as they are constantly sharing rehearsal diaries from resident performances, interviews with directors, designers and performers, as well as showcasing a number of guest blogs. They keep it clean and clear, and by keeping an eye on what blogs are doing well, they have invaluable insight into what their audience find interesting.
A blog is perfect for having a more in depth conversation with your customers. Creating industry-relevant and experience-enhancing content specific to your venue is key to giving your audience something new and different. Remember, it’s always worth sharing your posts on other channels like Twitter and Facebook, to make sure people are aware of the things you’re putting out there.
There are so many different options for getting your social media presence right, and it’s not just about posting regularly and getting your sales information out into the world. Once you’ve got the content right, it’s worth putting some budget behind your posts. Paid social media advertising is becoming increasingly vital and if you want to make sure people are seeing all the wonderful things you’re creating, paying to promote posts is the way forward. Just remember to take as much time as you have to create meaningful content that will be interesting and relevant to your audience and engage directly with them as much as you can.