It’s right there in the name. This is a social medium, whether you’re using Twitter, Facebook, what have you. You can meet your audiences out where they are day in, day out. The question is, how do you present yourself when you’re there? Is your Twitter account linked to your Facebook account? Are you only retweeting praise and ticket sales? Is your Pinterest board a glorified subscription brochure? Do you even have a Pinterest board? A Tumblr? Are you still on MySpace? If so, why?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re looking at the title there and thinking, “101? We know this stuff, we do this stuff, I don’t need to read this.” That’s exactly why you should read this. You may have an account in various social media–and if you don’t, you should, if only to secure your name–but your focus may be more on “media” and less on “social.”
Let’s start with Twitter. This is maybe the easiest way to reach your current and potential audiences–it’s on their computers, it’s in their pockets on their phones, it’s all the rage. It may be the most social of the various social media. It’s certainly the most conversational, if you decide to engage. That’s how the #2amt community grew in the first place, from the conversation on Twitter.
Sure, it can be used as a broadcast medium, and that’s fine from time to time. Let your followers know about upcoming events, sales, etc. But don’t make that your focus. Unlike commercials, mass mailings, etc, this is a direct personal connection with audiences. A lot of businesses tend to forget that and slot “140 character version of announcement” into the marketing strategy.
Worse yet are the theatre companies that retweet (henceforth RT) nothing but praise and compliments from their Twitter followers, often in bursts of 10-20 in a row. Two words for you…
That’s not interaction, that’s not engagement, that’s just hunting for pull quotes.
Remember, your followers already know you and (hopefully) love you. They don’t need so much convincing. Worse yet, a steady stream of that makes it easier to tune out. “They only RT praise.” At best they’ll ignore you or use Muuter.com (or built-in filters in various Twitter apps) to filter the noise; at worst, they’ll unfollow you. But there is a better way.
Check out Storify.com. This is a service that allows you to collect tweets and create focused timelines highlighting a story or an event.
For example, here’s a link to a series of tweets I wrote while staying alone at David Dower’s apartment one weekend. I sprinkled these in and out of my tweet stream over the course of the weekend, wondering what kind of reaction I’d get.
Once I got home, I collected them all in a Storify “social story” to keep them together.
You can also embed a Storify story in a post or page on your website if you’d rather. Here’s a 2amt post highlighting a 360 storytelling event from Glass Mind Theatre in Baltimore. As you can see, the story embeds within the post with dynamic links–anyone can RT or reply on Twitter through the Storify links. In this case, the tweets share the experience of that event, snippets of the stories told that night.
Collect all the praise in a Storify social story, then link to that or embed it in a post on your site. Share that link with your Twitter followers and give them the choice of whether or not to read it. Heck, share the link again later in the day in case anyone missed it. What’s nice about this is that you’re still sharing that praise and those comments, but you’re not spamming your followers’ twitterstreams. Better yet, everyone who tweets positive comments to you will see that you’re doing more than RT’ing them out into the ether, you’re storing and sharing them on your own site.
Best of all, it keeps your social, conversational medium focused on conversation and engagement.
Next time: keeping it real…
This blog salon is curated by David J. Loehr, the editor and artistic director of 2amt. For more posts and conversations surrounding audience & community engagement, and other ways of “thinking outside the black box”, visit the 2amt website, or engage on Twitter at #2amt and @2amt.
David J. Loehr is the editor and artistic director of 2amt. He is also the artist-in-residence & co-founder of the Riverrun Theatre Company in Madison, Ind. Plays include: The Incomparable Radio Theatre of the Air, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Seeing Red, Wise Man, A Report of Gunfire, The Rough Guide to the Underworld and more. His work has been performed at the Capital Fringe Festival, Chicago Fringe Festival, Louisville Playwrights Festival, NJ One Minute Play Festival, South Carolina Repertory Company, Glass Mind Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He is also a marketing consultant and occasional sound designer for multiple theatre companies. davidjloehr.com 2amt.com