Social media and theatre – front of stage

theatre

I’m always telling my clients that social media enables any and every organisation to run its own 24 hour news channel. Through text, film and audio platforms there are endless opportunities to promote your product and service. In no industry can this be more powerful than theatre.

In my earlier blog on social media for theatres I outline the many ways in which social media might be exploited. Dividing the strategy into three main strands -1. Entertain and inform 2. Involve 3. Sell I suggested among many other things setting up competitions online with local schools to design posters, posting Twitter updates from rehearsals, having participants in productions including writers, technicians and actors write blogs on their experience and posting short YouTube ‘preview’ clips.

Here are two theatres who invest time, imagination and energy in social media.

The Traverse Theatre

… has stepped beyond the traditional marketing of flyers, posters and press ads and set up a Traverse Theatre YouTube channel  that includes clips of shows, documentary on the making of shows  and audience reaction  and has garnered nearly 40,000 views. That’s 40,000 views from potential ticket buyers, sponsors looking to be reassured of the Theatre’s professionalism and dynamism and also future collaborators, be they writers, producers and guest theatre companies.

The Traverse also maintains regularly updated Facebook Page, Tumblr, Twitter and Flickr accounts designed not simply  to alert audiences to its work (too many companies see social media as a new listing opportunity alone), but also to foster an understanding and appreciation of theatre.

Royal Shakespeare Company

…is not resting on its laurels and takes social media very seriously using all its creativity to build and grow its audience among all age groups. Shakespeare wrote ‘False face[book] must hide what the false heart doth know.’ (Macbeth Act1 Scene 7)  But there’s nothing false about the RSCs’s Facebook page   with over 37,000 likes. It bristles with news on productions, links to YouTube hosted interviews with the likes of David Tennant and Hilary Mantel, updates on rehearsals and castings and even RSC employees talking about their jobs and even the company’s education resource for visiting teachers and their pupils.

The Facebook Page manages a good balance of the informative and advertorial (about 10/1) and of course there’s the opportunity for readers to comment.

What they can do, you can do!

An important point to make is that while both the Traverse and RSC are fairly sizeable companies with significant funding they’re not doing anything with social media that smaller companies can’t.

To film most YouTube videos you only need a decent phone video camera. Production values don’t have to be all that high as long as you focus on creating interesting content that is well edited. Don’t stretch clips beyond 3 minutes if you can.

Audio can be recorded direct to computer using a Skype mic, or if you want to make the investment something like the Zoom is an excellent device.

Writing copy and uploading YouTube and audio clips to several social media channels takes time, but responsibilities can be divided among all participants of a company and good use can be made of social media dashboards like Hootsuite 

If you want practical help getting your social media going or with a specific campaign give me a call at +44 07912 979567 or e-mail me at jon@jonhartley.com

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About jonhartl

Jon Hartley is a former manager in international online and traditional publishing. He has over 20 years experience in marketing, training, editing, copywriting and translation.Jon Hartley Internet Marketing is a collective of professionals expert in all aspects of internet including design and IT

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