Social Media

Marketing & Audience Development

Successful arts venues and organisations are now regularly using social media like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as a central part of their marketing activity.

The following Social Media tips cover the three most commonly used platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, plus an introduction to Instagram. Because social media is interactive, it’s a great way to build conversations with your audience. You also tap in to your audience members’ social media networks: when they post about experiences they have with you, they’re effectively promoting you to everyone in their network. It’s virtual word of mouth. The best way to learn about social media is to start up an account and follow other arts organisations and people. Look at how organisations and people with lots of followers use it. Think about how you could use it in similar ways. Remember that once you start, you have to post regularly. Establish parameters for how often you think you should post .. it doesn’t have to be everyday to be effective, but generally speaking, the more often you post relevant and interesting things, the more followers you attract. Track which posts result in the most new followers and the most re-posts, and try to do more of the same kind of thing, to build your followers. Find out if your performers are on social media and tap in to their networks and fan bases. Most importantly, integrate all your social media with your website. It should act as the ‘hub’ where your audience can see all the ways in which they can engage with you. There are website plug-ins available for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram which are quite easy to install.  

Some ideas for Facebook

  • Make special offers to everyone who ‘likes’ your Facebook page (opportunity to book in advance, preferential seating, drinks vouchers, etc)
  • Post links to the YouTube teasers about your events
  • Post links to audience ‘vox pops’ from previous similar shows, or other venues who’ve already presented the event you’re marketing now
  • Link your Facebook page to your website, e.g.
  • Invent competitions and other ideas to encourage conversations and exchanges on Facebook:
  • The key is to find ways of engaging your Facebook followers: there’s nothing more boring than pages of ‘own-posts’ and no interaction. Facebook only works when there’s interaction: you need to unlock the networking potential of tapping into your followers’ friends’ networks.
  • Use hashtags (#) that are relevant to each event you’re mentioning on Facebook; use the same hashtags in your Twitter posts. See below under Twitter if you’re not sure what they are or how to use hashtags.
Dealing with negative comments: Always respond to legitimate customer complaints, but report spam or abuse to Facebook. If you failed to live up to your customer service standard in some way, acknowledge it, apologise, and ask the person to contact you privately and directly (by phone or email). You may wish to offer them some kind of compensation depending upon their disappointment or experience, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to do that publicly. Some relevant examples of Facebook usage: Frankston Arts Centre Matt Dann Theatre and Cinema  

Some ideas for using YouTube 

  • Upload the Video teaser supplied by the producer of your event: only one venue has to do this for a tour, then everyone can link to it from their website and social media
  • Could you load up audience vox pops from foyers after the show? (from venues early in a tour, this would benefit everyone further down the line)
  • Link to the teaser on YouTube from your website
  • Link to the teaser and vox pops with Tweets (use a relevant #hashtag)
  • Post links to the teaser and vox pops on Facebook
  • Link to the teaser on YouTube in your email campaign copy
  • Include the YouTube URL in your direct mail campaign copy
A relevant example of YouTube usage: Vince Holt from Pingelly posted this YouTube link on the Shire’s Facebook page as part of his promotion for Dust of Uruzgan, which contained audience feedback from Broome which was earlier in the tour. This enabled people thinking of attending in Pingelly to see what other audience members thought, before making their decision. Vince says It’s great because we can embed direct links to the event promotional web sites so that our community members can investigate the shows and try some of the material.”  

Some ideas for using Twitter

Like all social media, Twitter is interactive. You want to generate responses to your tweets, not just ‘tweet into the void’. One of the keys to successful Twitter usage is hashtags: #  Hashtags allow you to identify, refer to and find other posts relevant to the same topic. You can include links and the twitter names of people and organisations you are responding to or referencing. You can also link to other forms of social media. Other ideas for using Twitter: Early tour venues could start a conversation on Twitter in the lead up to their performances, using the event’s hashtag and tour venues twitter names You could tweet links to YouTube teasers Encourage audience members to tweet instant reviews – from the foyer after the show You could even provide a live twitter feed of comments in your foyer You should include live twitter feeds of comments on your website Special offers can be made to your Twitter followers .. great for last minute specials because it tends to be a rather instant medium Good examples of Twitter integration with websites include:    

Some ideas for using Instagram

Instagram is primarily about images, so if you want to start using it, post your most spectacular photos, and photos of audience members. Encourage audience members who follow you on Instagram to post pictures of themselves in the foyer during interval or after the performance. Find out if your performers are on Instagram, and ask if they are happy to post relevant images while they’re with you.