The two main themes of the day were amplifying your social media following by listening and giving, and building audiences by building community bridges.
Everyone's hot on social media marketing (SMM) because they want to get something from it – sell tickets, raise money. Purematter marketing company CEO Bryan Kramer and Yapper Girl blogger Suzanne Oeler say that's putting the cart before the horse. With social media you should be thinking about what can you give your audience through social media.
We call that body language when we're talking face-to-face. Here's what good social body language looks like.
Start the conversation by listening – not just on your page, but throughout the SMM universe. There are tools to help you do that – both free and paid – and www.socialmediatoday.com has a good list. The list include Sprout Social, OneKube.com, HootSuite, TweetDeck, Radian6 and Mutual Mind. Some will tell you what "share of mind" you have around specific keywords. And social media is always changing. FaceBook and Twitter continue to lead – although young people are losing interest in FaceBook in droves and moving to Instagram.
Then ask your audience to tell you what's on their minds. Instead of telling them to turn their phones off, ask them to turn them on and post to their groups where they are, and what they think of the show. If picture-taking bothers you, provide a moment where everyone can take a picture. Watch online during performances. Offer something in realtime – give us your email address today for a free ticket to the next performance.
Participate in your followers conversations. Respond to comments and "likes." Ask them to tell you more. Find out what other interests your followers have and participate in those conversations. For example, a Santa Clara Performing Arts Foundation follower was looking for an instrumentalist for a group in Fremont. We re-posted his request on our page. The San Francisco Ballet asks followers: What's your favorite....? Pictures are important, too, because Facebook gives posts with pictures a higher ranking. When you engage in conversation, your content is amplified.
Blogging is important, too. You know more than you think. How to get it out of your head? Pretend a friend just asked you a question about your art. How did you come to start your company? What was the best show you ever had? What kinds of questions do reviewers or journalists usually ask? Answer honestly.
And remember that writing is a two-step process: writing and revision. So it doesn't matter what the first go looks like. Put words on paper. The read them and ask yourself: what story did I just tell? Make that your first sentence, organize the rest by topic, tidy it up, and post.
In my next post about Engage(dot)Next I'll talk about the how Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and San Jose Taiko/Bangerz made arts into community bridging events that, by the way, beat all their audience records and turned MAH's deficit into an endowment.