Chat Recap: Social Media Strategies for Arts Organizations

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Last Friday, 38 arts managers from around the U.S. participated in the second round of #artsmgtchat on Twitter. We were delighted to have Marc van Bree (@mcmvanbree), Director of Marketing at Austin Lyric Opera, as our chat host. As expected, the topic of social media strategies for arts organizations sparked a flurry of fast and furious tweets (427 tweets total!), with participants diving into to strategies and tips for using various platforms, including Pinterest, Google +, Groupon, etc.

A few highlights from the chat:  

Q1. For a quick overview: what social media outlets do you use at your organization? And why?
Most participants indicated they use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as primary social media outlets, or what @mcmvanbree referred to as “the holy trinity of social media.” Here’s what other participants have said:

@Vennesa: Mainly Twitter, Facebook, WordPress. Some (increasingly) LinkedIn. Considering others.

@CStarek: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress blog for outreach, updates, and engagement…recently for a museum exhibit, Like. Comment. Share.

@CeciDadisman: At @palmbeachopera, we use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.

The conversation sparked additional interesting questions, particularly about Google+. Several participants said that they have a Google+ account, but haven’t fully utilized it because it does not generate traffic.

@gpmcleer: We’re “on” G+, but there’s no traffic at all. Shame – it offers lots of opportunities (Hangouts w/ artists, sharing, design).

@LaurenMAlbrecht: My company is on G+ but it rarely drives traffic to our blog or website…Twitter, Tumblr & Pinterest are my #trinity.

As the chat progressed, several questions stood out:

  • Those who use LinkedIn, are you a one-person shop or within an org? If within an org, how do you use it? – @mcmvanbree
  • I am also curious to know how many have dabbled in Pinterest? Future use and implications? – CStarek
  • As a 1 person office, I find it hard to build consistency into social media. Anyone else? – @H_Sarah
  • We are a volunteer run group, and it’s hard to keep up with staff that works elsewhere full time. Anyone else? – @emergingarts
  • What #socialmedia management tool (if any) does everyone use? What about email providers? – @andmegansaid
  • What is the difference between Instagram and Pinterest? – CStarek
  • Do you think social media can help in the churn rate (improve retention of first-timers)? – @mcmvanbree

In addition, @emergingarts brought up a great point about quality versus quantity in social media:

@emergingarts: While there are lots of social media outlets, it’s a question of quality over quantity.

@mcmvanbree: definitely quality over quantity! Plus, go where your audience is!

Q2. What is the main goal and some main objectives of you social media efforts?

The majority of #artsmgtchat participants agreed that the main objectives of social media include (but are not limited to) audience engagement, education and relationship-building .

@t_vallejos: Education is a big thing. We want to make opera un-intimidating & give ppl lots of info before they even arrive at a show.

@andmegansaid: Provide information, tell stories, listen to our peeps, build relationships & spur participation.

@rbiega: Increased engagement, dialogue, and relationship cultivation.

Q3. Social media is great for some testing. Share your success or disaster stories. What worked or didn’t work?

Tweet Suite at Seattle Opera
@t_vallejos : We identified & invited social influencers to view our simulcast from a swanky suite, and live-tweet the experience.

Groupon/Email Marketing
@CeciDadisman Yep! Had a great success story with converting past Groupon buyers into subscribers with a targeted email. #artsmgtchat

Facebook/Twitter Campaign
@gpmcleer: @mcmvanbree we released our tickets a day early via Twitter/FB, making followers feel special. fairly succesful. #artsmgtchat

Live Tweeting
@emergingarts: Live-tweeting – both a failure and a success, hard to get people engaged at first but once it’s on, it’s on!

Other tips from #artsmgtchat tweeps:

  • I am finding that for information with links, it can be good to schedule when the traffic is there, but you might not be. – @AudienceDevSpec
  • A balance of spontaneous and scheduled posts is the way to go! – @artsmgtchat
  • Pinterest could be interesting for performing arts orgs to use as “Plan Your Experience” tool. Restaurant recommendations etc. –  @mcmvanbree
  • It definitely takes time & effort. Social media plan/ calendar + scheduling ahead helps. – @Vennesa

Thank you all another awesome round of #artsmgtchat! And, THANK YOU to our special guest Marc van Bree. If you have additional social media tips to share, feel free to add to the comments section below, tweet me at @artsmgtchat or email me at

One thought on “Chat Recap: Social Media Strategies for Arts Organizations

  1. Pingback: Question: Which arts organizations inspire creativity and innovation through social media? « artsmgtchat

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