This morning I gave a presentation for a group of senior marketing people from performing arts centers around the country on social media. I've done a number of presentations and workshops for arts organizations over the years and have even created a wiki "Social Media for Arts People" with stories, links, and other resources, but haven't spoken to arts organizations recently. It was a good opportunity to see how things have changed.
Every time I present, I like to customize the content as much as possible by looking at participant's social media presence (ant trails) or examples from the particular field. Last week, I sent a tweet asking folks to add their best examples into the wiki which helped me create the presentation.
The questions I got:
- How do know that our social media strategy can help sell tickets?
- How do we track and monitor our social media strategy?
- How do explain to senior management that we need to do this?
- What can we effectively with limited time?
- What are the best strategies for engaging people on Twitter/Facebook?
- What makes a good influencer strategy?
- What is the best way to work with interns?
- What are the steps to incorporating a social content strategy into our web presence strategy?
My big takeaway: A successful social media strategy with arts audiences is more like an audience development or education program, not a straight ticket sales strategy.
Last night as I was preparing my presentation, I did a couple of deep diving analyzing a couple of twitters to look at the nuances of good practice for engagement.
I followed the ant trails of the San Francisco Symphony Twitter stream - they are doing a particularly good job of conversational, relationship building tweets - not "BUY TICKETS NOW!" I screen captured a few as illustrations. It was one of the first examples I've seen of customer service for an arts organization. customer service,
I dm the Sf Symphony to ask if their tweeting sold tickets.
If you go back look at the tweeting from "Tweet An Opera" project, you can learn a lot. Also, it is a good illustration of how engagement might lead to butts in seats, the holy grail of performing arts centers marketing directors.
I also learned that Dance Theatre Workshop did a similar crowdsourcing experiment on Twitter. They had followers tweet dance movements which were performed and videotaped on YouTube.
One of the participants was from the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, and they shared the story of how their tweet ups have grown in popularity. They did a lot of listening and searching for local Twitter users. They found some influencers who they cultivated. They hosted a meet up and gave people a back stage tour of the facility.
A big topic of discussion was influencer strategies. I presented a framework to think about this. It's not all about numbers. Social Influence is about reach (number of people an influencer can easily activate a channel to), but there's also another fundamental aspect: affinity. Affinity represents the impact an influencer can make on the audience and it's defined by strong interpersonal ties. I think you need both kinds of influencers.
We had a very productive conversation about the best and more effective ways to work with interns. Much of Jeremiah Owyang's advice is spot on. If you think you can just shovel social media over the fence onto the lap of intern with out some mutual guiding, than it won't be successful.
If you know of interesting examples of arts organizations using social media, please drop a note in the comments.