The AMA Digital Marketing Day at Sadler’s Wells 10th November 2011
Written by Marliese Andexer 11 / 11 / 2011
This was my second visit to the AMA Digital Marketing Day at Sadler’s Wells and I gained real insight into the ways arts organisations can benefit from creating an online presence through social networking. Also more importantly the day offered useful tools on how to sustain a social network with meaningful content.
Last year I attended the AMA from the perspective of being a Marketing Assistant at a regional theatre. This year I attended to get ideas on how we can support our clients in their quest to engage with their target audiences’ by integrating both traditional and non-traditional marketing campaigns.
Guest speaker Neil Perkin from Only Dead Fish used a very apt analogy (for the month of November) to describe how social networks should be managed by arts organisations. His Bonfire and Fireworks analogy suggests that you should treat your network like a bonfire which relies on your community to feed it in terms of engagement in the form interactions with your content. However, every now and again you should let off a ‘Firework’ for example a fun viral video or competition to get people from near and far interested in your network which ultimately leads people closer to your ‘Bonfire’ and further builds your community.
This message was at the core of the day. It is the little things that sustain followers and the big displays merely attract people and keep your current following engaged. Don’t set of too many fireworks though, you wouldn’t want people to get irritated/ complacent with your offerings. Keep content fresh and personable.
According to Neil Perkin, the core questions arts organisations should ask themselves before setting up social networks are:
1. What is our purpose?
2. Who are we trying to connect with?
3. What are we talking about?
The next step would be to start a working group as Susan Halligan from the New York Public Library did to great effect. This group meets regularly to discuss themes and events that could be aired on your social networks; the theory being that if your working group is made up of people from each key department, you will gain more content and ideas for your networks. For example: someone in marketing may not realise what is going on at the centre of the production.
Susan Halligan also offered insight into her social networking strategy pointing out that it complemented more traditional marketing methods and didn’t replace them. By integrating the two you can benefit across both mediums. A simple example would be putting your Twitter url on a piece of print advertising, this will enhance your social network presence out in the real world!
Ultimately to sustain a social network it takes time; not only to build followers but also to generate meaningful content. Get rid of the FEAR don’t sit there wondering, “what the hell am I going to tweet about?!” put a working group together and figure out what your organisations wants to tweet about and pop it in a social media calendar. Plan ahead and don’t get stuck in the twitter mud.