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Social Media for Orchestras


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Presentation on trends and best practices for use of social media by arts organizations, specifically symphony orchestras. Delivered july 2014 to the Association of California Symphony Orchestras …

Presentation on trends and best practices for use of social media by arts organizations, specifically symphony orchestras. Delivered july 2014 to the Association of California Symphony Orchestras conference. See accompanying pdf for additional notes and links.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

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  • 3:45 – 5pm
  • I’d like to gear my talk to your needs -
  • Really dreadful definitions out there, but basically it’s Web 2.0 – beyond websites. – tech and interaction
    Merriam Webster
    Want examples? Here’s a funny but true set of descriptions by channel:
  • Social media is NOT an online brochure.
  • Go here to watch video or click on the arrow in the above slide (in slideshow mode)

    Think it’s just youngsters? From aarp:

    Boomers have over $3 trillion in disposable income.
    85% of people 50+ use social media, and 32% of social media users are 45+ The majority of 39-75 year olds say the phone and computer are the devices they use the most to communicate with friends and family.

    75% of 39-75 year olds say they use smartphones and 54% use the computer as the devices they use most often to communicate. Smartphone owners age 55-64 up 86% to 6.5 million and those age 65+ accounted for 4.4 million, up 127%. Facebook users 55+ grew 10x in the past 3 years. 1 million 55+ Facebook users in 2009 compared to 10 million in 2012.)
  • Source: AARP 2012
  • A good general rule for how to act on social media – would a good party guest do this?
  • The web started out as a series of interconnected bulletin boards; now it’s a complex network of conversations.
    Party guest: It’s NOT about you. (goes for host as well)
  • Is anyone considering doing less social media this year?
    Facebook may or may not be here in 5 years; something will. Resilience and measurement are key.
    e.g. of MySpace
  • Still of video taken w/Google Glass by conductor Cynthia Johnston Turner

  • Different channels are better at different aspects
  • Paralysis – incremental action –don’t try to do it all
    Control - Get over it
    Resources – social media expense/resource can replace activities you were doing previously but which are not returning as well as they used to: print ads, brochures, maybe even email.

    There’s no one right way to use social media. Your community, your resources – expertise of your volunteers/staff, time; product, your mission and strategic goals will dictate different ways of using social media. Frankly the only wrong way is to pretend you don’t need it.

    Anyone who tells you they’re an expert probably isn’t. It’s the ultimate marketing tool…lends itself well to testing…low cost, high return.
  • Low impact easy to do – this is a good approach if you don’t have a lot of resources – there are no silver bullets, just layers on a snowball
  • Photo tweeted by NBC News comparing the scene in St. Peter’s Square in 2005 vs 2013.
  • There are so many choices, it’s paralyzing. This is a lesson for us in our own marketing.
    Let’s break it down a bit. First, we’ll look at channel by channel.
    Who uses which channels (professionally)? How did you decided which to use? Which ones are the most useful for you?
  • Let’s look at the strengths and challenges of each. AND THERE ARE MORE!
    Note: 2/3 of companies in a recent survey reported getting new customers from FB; 63% from a company blog; 53% from Twitter; Linked in only 39%; Liin is much more appropriate for B2B orgs. That said, spend 30 minutes spiffing up your company profile and get your artists and board to add it. – contact point.

    Look at all the elements of a FB page – how to optimize?
  • The Event
  • Some 42% of Facebook users ages 18-29 and 34% of those ages 30-49 say that the time they spend on Facebook on a typical day has decreased over the last year — these are both significantly higher than the 23% of users ages  50 and older who report decreased Facebook usage over the same time period. (Pew)

    Photo: Jason Scragz, Flickr, CC license
  • But there are still a WHOLE lot of people on FB
    Note Mark Zuckerberg wants FB to be the way people use the internet for everything – he is working toward that.

  • Consider: timing, tone, desired effect.

    IF TIME: In groups: jot down ideas for FB or Twitter post topics that do not involve directly asking people to buy anything/come to a concert. Come up with as many as possible and “filter” later!
  • Source:

  • Pin (stay at top for 7 days)
    Highlight (Star) a post to make it go across both columns
  • Facebook ad offerings are changing constantly – CHANGE is the only certainty 
    Note: Google CPC ads’ Display Network can be effective at reaching audiences who may not be aware of you. Our ad has generated clicks from YT,, pandora,, and especially from Gmail.
  • Sort videos by popularity to see what gathers interest on YT…
    PS – what’s wrong with this picture? Try to avoid photos of empty theaters!!
  • If there were a highway where you knew a lot of classical music fans were always driving on, you’d want a presence there, wouldn’t you? YT is that highway.
    YouTube channel home page takes donations j- nonprofits can apply to Google Grants and get a free “Donate” button function as well as free Google Ads.
  • Twitter is good for a lot of uses – last minute announcements (traffic reminders, e.g.); contests, RTs of what others say about you…
  • Use hashtags; be timely; combine tweets and RTs; respond and ask…
    Cross promote- reuse content from FB or your blog, e.g.
  • Twitter users have an expectation of instant customer service – how will you meet that need?
  • LinkedIn can be useful for finding/attracting new board members.
  • Women 5 times more likely to use Pinterest than men; 48.7 million users

  • While 1,467 Instagram followers ain’t bad, it’s way less than CSOs Twitter (44,000) or FB following (133,000). There is no Instagram link on the CSO home page.
  • So there are a lot of channels out there. Once you’ve picked where you are going to be, it’s important to decide what you are going to say. Authentic engagement is key.
  • What kinds of content have worked for you?
  • It’s NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! You exist for your audience. What do they need? Marketing is about creating relationships and meeting needs. Social Media can help.
  • Adapted from Boston Globe article:
  • This is a screenshot from Hootsuite, which allows you to manage different social media accounts from one platform. There are several sm management packages available at different prices. Others include SproutSocial, Tweetdeck .. And?
  • Facebook – between 10 am and 4pm Monday thru Thursday.
    Twitter – between 1pm and 3pm Monday thru Thursday.
    LinkedIn – focus on posting before and after business hours, 7 am to 9 am and 5pm to 6pm Tuesday thru Thursday.
    Google+ – 9am to 11am on workdays.
    Pinterest – This is the one social network you should focus on posting during weekday evenings and on the weekends. specifically 2pm to 4pm and 8pm to 1am on weekdays. The best time to pin items on Pinterest is on Saturday morning.

    Flickr Anon Acct. free to use CC license

  • Trend over time can be more important than competitor comparison. We see that this site is in trouble…visits are declining year over year.
  • Which content pages are people using? Which are they not?
  • Nancy Roberts,
  • Transcript

    • 1.  Join the Party! Social Media for Orchestras Nancy Roberts, MBA Sustainable Communication Strategies ACSO Conference August 1, 2014 Session sponsored by Bruce Kiesling
    • 2. Who AreYou?  Social Media comfort level, 1 to 5 1. Novice 2. Got the basics 3. Use regularly (for work) 4. Comfortable, constantly looking to do more 5. Power user
    • 3. Today: Social Media  What is it?  Why do it?  How to make it work for you?  Channels  Strategy & Measurement  Checklists & Resources
    • 4. Social Media Defined Technology + Interaction = VALUE • “The use of technology combined with social interaction to create or co-create value.” • “Forms of electronic communication (such as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.”
    • 5. What Social Media is Not:
    • 6. A few facts… >>>
    • 7. It’s not just the youngsters…
    • 8. You’re invited...  To be part of the Hive mind  Daily, 24/7  RSVP
    • 9. Try to be a “good guest”  You are host of your channel, but a guest in the supersystem.  Don’t hide in a corner.  Be amusing.  Introduce others.  Don’t be a bore.
    • 10. Why do it?  It’s not going away.  Well suited to community-based organizations.  All ages participating.  Flexible, inexpensive and rewarding.
    • 11. Why do it? “Over the next five years, every industry will have to redesign itself around social.” Mark Zuckerberg in 2011
    • 12. Why do it?  Deepen relationship with fans/donors/community  Drive traffic to your website  Raise awareness of your product and org  SEO (Search Engine Optimization, i.e. findability)  Monitor attitudes
    • 13. Top 3 Barriers  Paralysis:  Resources:  Control Issues: Incremental steps. Get over it. Replace other expenses.
    • 14. Prioritize High Impact, Hard to Do High Impact, Easy to Do Low Impact, Hard to Do Low Impact, Easy to Do Ease (Resources)
    • 15. SocietalTrends  Shorter attention spans  Emphasis on visuals  Expectation of transparency and interaction  Changing relationship to authority; importance of peer to peer  And…
    • 16. Don’t forget mobile! Don’t forget mobile! A majority of Americans – 56% now own smart phones
    • 17. Who DoesWhat?
    • 18. Social Media Channels Facebook: Deepen the fan experience, Promote referrals and testimonials; Gain feedback. Twitter: Put your organization in context; Send timely or urgent messages; Conduct impromptu “meetings” YouTube: Showcase your product; Find new audiences. LinkedIn: Find staff and volunteers; Post to interest groups. Blogging: Personalize your organization’s voice. Provide background. Maintain contact during non-performance times.
    • 19. Facebook
    • 20. Turn a concert into a party
    • 21. More app options
    • 22. Beginning of the End, or End of the Beginning? Younger users are looking beyond Facebook…
    • 23. Facebook’s profile  1.2 billion users, of which 757 million log on daily  Over 10% of American’s online time is spent on Facebook.  53% of Facebook’s revenue comes from mobile ads (q4 2013)  Coming up: rapid messaging, wearables, VR…
    • 24. Ideas for Posts  Pop culture comparisons  Behind the scenes glimpses  Milestone recognitions  Human interest stories  Community connections
    • 25. Facebook –Who SeesWhat  Edgerank score determined by:  Affinity – closeness of relationship  Weight – 1. visuals 2. link 3. text  Recency - the newer the better
    • 26. Boost posts
    • 27. Facebook ads -
    • 28. YouTube It’s the #2 search engine
    • 29. YouTube
    • 30. YouTube Can Be an Outpost of Your Orchestra’s Brand
    • 31. Twitter
    • 32. Twitter  16% of U.S. adults online (doubled since 2010)  135,000 new accounts each day  40% are “lurkers”  9,100 tweets per second  Only 24% of tweets use #hashtags  208 followers for average account
    • 33. How to tweet?
    • 34. How to tweet?
    • 35. LinkedIn
    • 36. Others?
    • 37. Google+
    • 38. Authentic Engagement  Ask questions  Encourage sharing w/ content  Share partners’ content  Create excitement  Express gratitude  Ask for what you need  Listen and respond
    • 39. Engaging content
    • 40. Quotes are always popular; attach an image for greater impact.
    • 41. Social Media Strategy It’s a conversation…  Establish goals and benchmarks  Cross-promote  Leverage all organization members  Monitor activity  Use to research and engage
    • 42. What Should I Say?
    • 43. Social Media – Integrated Strategy: Pepsi & 1 Direction  Sept. 2 - Pepsi tweets that 1D is filming a TV commercial for them – Tweets explode  Sept 6 - 1D performs at MTV Music Awards – Social media goes crazy  Oct 10 - Pepsi posts the ad to YouTube, before airing it on TV (The X Factor) at a cost of $250,000  Oct 11-17 - Ad airs only 20 times, but Pepsi is most- discussed brand on Twitter for weeks
    • 44. Elements of Social Media Guidelines  Target market  Tone & Content  Channels (e.g, Blog, FB, Twitter…. and strategy for each)  Frequency, timing, length of posts  Team (who posts, approval process)  Editorial Calendar  METRICS
    • 45. Social Media Management
    • 46. Social Media Goals  Customer communication: “top of mind”  New audience acquisition  Drive traffic to website  Brand exposure  SEO
    • 47. When to Post?  Mid-week, middle of the day  Avoid evenings, weekends (except Pinterest)  Check your website visit stats to confirm. And….how often?
    • 48. How Often to Post?  Do you have something to say?
    • 49. Measuring Social  Engagement  Amplification  Attitude  Influence
    • 50. Metrics for Digital Marketing  Consumption  Sharing  Lead Generation (e.g., email/blog subscriptions)  Sales (and retention)  Attitude (positive vs. negative)
    • 51. Measuring Social Media’s Impact  # of likes/followers/views – easy to measure, not very significant  Click-throughs  Spreading your message – how often do your followers let their followers know about you?  Engagement – How many of your followers “talk back” to you?  Measure and monitor your “brand” – any negative mentions?
    • 52. Website Metrics
    • 53. Look at Seasonality
    • 54. Trends over time
    • 55. Content Consumption
    • 56. Resources     NTEN  Beth Kanter’s blog
    • 57. Imagine…  It’s 2015  You’re at the ACSO conference  Someone asks you what your orchestra has been getting out of social media lately.  You say….
    • 58. Thank you!
    • 59. Spot check -Website and Social  Do you have a set of online marketing/social media metrics that you update regularly? (monthly, e.g.)?  What percentage of your website traffic comes from social media? Via mobile?  Access your website via smart phone: How easy is it to find the next concert date? Figure out where you perform? Buy a ticket? Follow you on Facebook?
    • 60. Spot check - FB Access your organization’s Facebook page.  How many people saw your last 3 posts?  How many people engaged with the posts?  Of the last six posts,  How many were announcements or promotions?  How many had an image attached?  How many were shared?  Any unanswered questions from users?
    • 61. Spot check - LinkedIn  Does your orchestra have a LinkedIn page?  Are your artists, staff and board members linked to it?  Is the info current?  Do you post occasional updates?
    • 62. Spot check -YouTube  Go to your orchestra’s YouTube channel  Is your profile complete (Avatar, About)?  How many subscribers/views do you have? How has that number grown in the past year?  Do you include keywords and a full description with each video when you upload?
    • 63. Spot check -Twitter Open Twitter  Search for a variation of your orchestra’s name (or that of a “competitor”) - What comes up?  Go to your profile and look at your last 12 tweets:  What percentage are direct sell messages?  Are hashtags being used?  How many posts are ReTweets? (it’s nice to share)  How many RTs and Favorites are your posts getting?