Friday, December 28, 2012

Have photo? Just add quotes.

Hey there,

So this is one's prompted by a TV show I personally am a fan of, literally and on Facebook, Once Upon a Time. And I love their shares on FB, particularly dramatic photos with one-liners from their characters. For example:, whoa. Especially if you are familiar with the show. But you know what? Even if you're not, it's probably piqued your interest, right?

So here's a prompt for mainly the theatre, opera, and chorale folks, but perhaps also the music and dance, maybe even visual arts. I hesitate to suggest the latter because the first three already have text to pull from. Obviously you wouldn't want to use anything that would be spoilers, but finding five to ten shouldn't be too hard. And most shows do a photo call anyway, so you should already have the photos. And then they can be shared leading up to and over the course of the run.

But, if done well, and without necessarily spelling it out for the audience, I'm sure music, dance, and visual arts could find a way to do something similar. Maybe for music, including something like liner notes or program notes from the composer, conductor, or even a musician. For dance, something similar, thoughts from the choreographer pulling right from the program notes

For the visual arts, I would say not a photo of the finished product, but the artist in the process of making the piece. And then include thoughts, if any, about it.

All this, I would argue, is a crucial part of curating an audience members's experience. Setting up context and expectation (even if partially), without necessarily spelling it out for them. Just a thought of how to easily create programatic content to share.

I will say this. I have seen some theatres post a picture, with a caption that's not taken from the script, but has something to do with ticket sales or a quote from a review. What I love about the Once Upon a Time example (and I know it's different, as it's a TV show) is that there is no call to action. It's just the photo with a beautiful line. Should you do this, when you do share it on your organization's page, don't include a link, don't say anything about getting a ticket, or how long the show runs.

Here's one I wish I'd done for my first Capital Fringe Festival production, in 2010, The Rave Scenes. Not a great example, but something:

So, just share the photo. Think of it as a gift you're giving your audience. Because the goal of this isn't a call to action to see the show, it's for them to simply like a beautiful photo and a great quote, and maybe even share it with their friends. This is crucial because the more they engage with your page, the more they'll see your content...all of your content. And you need content like this so that your audience knows you're not just about ticket sales and donations.

Which isn't to say that you can't or shouldn't ever use your photos to promote ticket sales, or donations, or whatever.. Just, make sure you mix it up with some ask-free content in there.

Anyway, what do you think? Maybe you'll add this to your list of social media resolutions for the New Year? Any challenges to doing this? Have you seen examples of it being done already by artists and organizations you follow?

Let me know in the comments,


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Great Twitter prompt from Diablo Ballet

Hey there,

Diablo Ballet had a great prompt on Twitter tonight, eliciting a social media storm of responses and conversation.

Of course I had to weigh in, especially since I majored in Dance at UMD College Park:
And I could certainly relate to almost all of the other responses to this. Like:
And especially:
What I love about the last one is that I believe the Tweeter responded to the prompt because she was following Dance Place (where I am social media coordinator) and I Retweeted Diablo Ballet's original tweet through our account.

Now, in case you didn't know, I'm a bit of a fan of Diablo Ballet's social media presence. They're fun, engaging, conversational. And they've managed to engage me and others in my community, Like Nzinga, which is miles away from their own physical space.

On top of that, they are timely and actively responsive in engaging people on social media, which I would say is particularly crucial when you put a prompt like the one they did out there. And they're quite generous not just with retweeting, but favorite'ing.

Want to see other submissions to "You know you're a dancer when"? Definitely check out their Twitter account to see more responses from December 26.

Well-played, Diablo Ballet. Well-played.

- JR

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hashtag the Banners


So I was walking around DC's Penn Quarter, and saw the banners for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's current production, The Pajama Men: In the Middle of No One

Now, unfortunately you can't see it as well as I thought you might when I took the picture, but in the lower right hand corner was a hashtag: #PJMEN.

And, yes, #PJMEN is in use on Twitter. But what's great is that this is a good example of an integrated and connected communications and marketing effort, that social media isn't something that just exists on social media.

It makes sense, though, right? Much like you make sure to have a website and/or phone number on print materials and ads, why wouldn't you have your handle or relevant hashtag included as well.

Anyway, just a quick share. A nice reminder to make sure that whoever is handling your social media isn't working in a vacuum, and the tools of engagement (like hashtags) are incorporated into the overall communications strategy and implementation,

Do you have any recent examples of doing this with your own work or organization? Leave a comment. Have any pictures? Send 'em in.