Is there one person who can take the lead on your social media campaign, or do you need to assemble a small team? Oh no! Not more meetings! No fear, this is the internet. Each team member can contribute from their own skill area with few or no meetings needed. Example: Person A writes Facebook postings while Person B uploads event photos to the Facebook page. Person C maintains a Youtube channel of videos . . . and so on
When nay-sayers tell you that they know a social media specialist with 2000 followers who can run your campaign better, look at who the followers are and what they are posting about. Is there any relevance to your organization? Or—as is usual—are the tweets and followers mainly a cluster of marketing types each following each other and recycling tweets? Relevance is as important as numbers.
If you recycle copy from grant applications in your blog or facebook posts, prepare to bomb. Social media language has to pass the “across the fence” rule. If you wouldn’t say something to your neighbour across the fence in that language, don’t say it in social media.
We know that Artistic Directors and Music Directors are very much in demand. We also know that our audience really wants to hear from them. This is where the temptation to speak on their behalf comes from and sometime the AD themselves says, “Use my name but I don’t want to write it”. But there are ways to make the job easy for the AD and not compromise on authenticity. Book a couple of hours and interview them on 4 different topics. You’ll get at least a month of blog posts out of that. Or send them an email full of questions for their response. Now when you transcribe or edit the material, the voice is authentic and informative.
Social media is synergistic. If you look at a twitter stream it is rare to see a tweet without a link. Twitter primarily exists to connect us via short descriptions to rich content of high relevance. That content can be articles, recordings, pictures or videos. A blog without connection to high traffic media has as much chance of being discovered as a pebble in a vast desert. Start by thinking about the content you will share: articles, pictures, audio, video. What are your goals? Increase audience, deepen relationship with audience, reduce marketing costs to existing audience, network with other arts orgnanizations, etc. Be guided by goals and content as you choose your main media channels.
As we've seen different social media platforms have different uses and formats. A 140 character twitter post sounds brief and possibly rude when repeated on Facebook, so be thoughtful about linking media.
You have two upcoming events and you want everyone to know about them. Post the events online on your website or event site. Create a number of short announcements about your event focusing on different aspects. Set the announcements to be posted over a 1 or 2 day period to maximize reach and minimize annoyance. Filling a buffer with 10 tweets or posts takes less time than logging on many times through the days.
Auto-tweets are different from buffering. Instead of timing your words, these applications fill your stream with randomly generated quotes and comments. No one is fooled. Many will stop following you.
No one likes a dinner party guest that can’t stop talking and never listens. Why would you think that would work on social media? Many arts organizations are social media boors, tweeting endlessly about their upcoming events, never listening, never responding to questions, never thanking people for positive comments. #Epicfail
If we are a small theatre group, we want to expand our followers not to everyone in the city but everyone interested in theatre. The best way to do this is to find a way for the followers of other theatre groups to find us. What better way than tweeting or posting on their news? Social media is about sharing. Sharing brings more followers. Only messaging your own news is preaching to the choir.
Hash tags can be as specific and short-lived as the acronym for a week-end workshop or as general as #theatre or #Toronto. They all serve to help people find information. There’s no rule or authority governing hash tags. People make them up and use what works.
Arts organizations often perversely keep their new social media campaigns a secret. Write a piece in your paper news letter. Send an email to your list. Put social media buttons on your website. Social media advertising campaigns can be designed to target people in your community, of a particular demographic and interested in your art form. For a budget of $5 or $10 a day for 1 or 2 weeks, you can significantly increase your reach. It’s fun!
Commonsense Social Media for Small Arts Organizations: what the “social media mavens” won’t tell you •psst… you really can do it yourself
1. Make a skills inventory Do remember to include all your skills!Survey your organization’s staff, board, volunteers who are the best writers? who are already blogging, on facebook, on other social media? who are the photographers, videographers? who has design skills?You are artists, for Pete’s sake, you have all these skills in your organization!
2. Do have the confidence to run your own social media campaign.The best social media campaign is grass-roots—just like you started your arts organization
3. Consider voice Do listen to the tone of the media, but be authentic.Social media is, well, social so adopt aconversational toneTake time to listen to your followers and otherorganizations like your own. Find your voice intheir conversationsNote that various social media have their owntone
4. Don’t delegate social media to the internThey may be digitalnatives but do they havethe facts and tools torepresent yourorganization?Being able to Facebook akeg party is not aqualification for bloggingyour arts season.
5. Don’t turn your Artistic Director into a sock puppetIf a post says it is from the AD, itshould be.You can help by sending the ADquestions, or taping interviewsand turning these into posts.Assigning a staff member to writeunder the AD’s name isn’t fair toanyone.
6. Do use more than one social media outlet for newsConsider which social media is most relevantto you: consider tone, demographics, format.Think of your chosen channels in terms ofsynergy, e.g., longer content in the blog (connect through FB & tweets) videos on YouTube (shared to blog & facebook) form a community on Facebook for event promotion drive traffic to appropriate channels on Twitter
7. Do be careful with auto- linking postsThink before you link your media streams: whenin doubt, don’t connect! Some advice: Link low frequency channels to high frequency channels but not the reverse Auto-tweeting your new YouTube videos makes sense Facebooking every tweet will turn off Facebook followers due to both style and frequency
8. Do buffer to maximize reachYou can use tools like http://www.bufferapp.comor http://hootsuite.com/ to buffer postings space your important announcement over the day without boring your audience time your announcements to hit peak times for your audience, often after business hours economize on the time that staff/volunteers spend on social media
9. Don’t automate!Auto-tweets of quotes and random messages area turn off and will not secure you a loyal and high-relevance audience.
10. Do engage your audience. Social media is social. It is not one-way Take time to check for comments and messages Read your audience’s posts Comment back Share
11. Do turn your colleagues and competitors into assetsArts organizations have been exchanging program bookinserts and advertising for decades. Use the samestrategy with social media. Share a colleague’s non-competing event with your followers. They’ll return the favour. Tweet about your colleague’s news. When they re-tweet, you’ll pick up followers. People searching for news of a competitor’s events will visit your stream if you post about them and sometimes add you to their “follow” list or like your Facebook page.
12. Don’t be a broken record.You wouldn’t invite a friend to aparty today, and tomorrow and thenext day, and the next…. Remind your audience about events with new value-added content Share interesting news you’ve read on the internet relevant to your audience Don’t be afraid to share the occasional joke.
13. Introducing the #tagTagging is a way that people find relevant information ina sea of irrelevant news Create your own twitter tag for core followers to find you Research what tags are commonly used by organizations like yours and use them when appropriate in blog posts and twitter hash tags Use local and community tags to help people find events that are close to them and invite re-tweets from community groups.
14. Getting startedReach out to your followers through existingchannels and invite them to connect Offer incentives for them: discount codes, contests Share the benefits you hope to derive for the organization: saved money, greener operation, increased reach Consider investing in low-cost, short-term social media advertising Don’t get discouraged: growth is exponential
15. Do have an evaluation planHave a plan to evaluate and put the tools in place Use Google Analytics or other tools to see what social media campaigns drove people to your website Ticket discount codes will indicate the success of social media campaigns on sales: vary codes on different social media to see what works best Set targets and evaluate strategies for increasing followers
16. Do remember the goalYou want to deepen the engagement of your existingaudienceYou want to increase attendance and financialcontribution.You want to reach new audiences--while spending lessmoneyYou also want to be able to brag about how efficient andgreen your company is in achieving these goals.Thats pretty hot stuff so its worth some work, right?