Social Media and Arts Advocacy

Guest Post By: Jason McCool, Classical Music Evangelist, Actor, Professor, Musicologist, and Public Speaker

“It’s not only music that I feel compelled to share but sunsets and jokes and cracked crab. I mean whatever I enjoy I want others to enjoy – at least one other person, but preferably one thousand… or a million!” –Leonard Bernstein

Arts people are in the business of passion, and sharing passion can be awfully contagious. For many years, the most desired paradigm in selling the arts has been “word of mouth” advertising, traveling from one enthusiastic patron to the next, creating that elusive “buzz” marketers dream of. Conveniently, and perhaps contrary to common perception, the shiny new tools of social media are based upon the very same model – “I like this, and you should too!” Social media is quite possibly the most important (and underutilized) tool in our arsenal when seeking to build bridges to younger, non-traditional audiences who will become the arts advocates of tomorrow. Further, the arts are potentially well served by the ways social media users seem to reject traditional “billboard” advertising and respond more positively to a fresh, interactive paradigm based on conversations and connections.

Many besieged artists and arts organizations, however, already underfunded and short on resources, have been slow to activate the true potential of social media, often due to a lack of know-how, but at times, a resistance to alter “the way things are done.” But social media isn’t going anywhere (nor should it!) and a model of embracing and integrating the new tools promises to open exciting (and inexpensive!) channels for arts advocacy and audience engagement. Honoring our “share it” culture, I’m hoping we’ll use the next hour to learn from each other and to advance our common goals of encouraging the arts to open its windows to the wider world by way of these new forms of media. And now… share away!

1) Everyone seems to have their own favorite case studies for campaigns which have successfully implemented social media – what are a few of yours, and what can we learn from them? And the flip side – how can we learn from “bad campaigns?”

2) What are some success stories you’ve have had with connecting to people who weren’t already interested in the arts? How can artists or arts organizations integrate themselves into their local communities better through use of social media?

3) Shoutout time! Quick, name your “Top 5 arts advocates” on Twitter (locally or nationally) and let’s all blanket follow them and invite them into this chat if they’re not already participating. Be sure to use the #artsmgtchat hashtag… go!

4) A consistent worry seems to be whether the quality of the artistic experience might be somehow “diluted” by social media. (e.g. “tweetseats!”) How can we ensure that social media complements artistic goals without obfuscating content? What about examples where social media has become not merely an add-on, but an integral part of the art itself?

5) What are some of the challenges of individual artists using social vs. organizations? For organizations, what are thoughts on training employees in-house to integrate social, vs. bringing in outside consultants?

6) In 2012, social media seems to encompass mainly Twitter and Facebook – what are the best ways to leverage the unique power of these two mediums? And what about other, newer platforms like Pinterest?

7) What are some strategies for convincing skeptics that social needs to be a legitimate and important part of organizational strategy?

8) What strategies have you found for using data and analytics to track the efficacy of social media use?

9) Lastly, a fun one – what artist over the course of history would you have loved to have followed on Twitter, and why?

About Jason McCool

Jason McCool, who comes from a long line of people who have been asked, “is that your real last name?,” is a Washington, DC-based actor, musician, composer, and social media consultant passionate about helping artists connect with new audiences. He currently runs accounts for the National Philharmonic and for Theatre Washington, has consulted #DCarts organizations such as the Capital City Symphony and District Karaoke, and will begin pre-concert lecturing for the Baltimore Symphony in September. Originally from Brockton, MA, Jason holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and UMD. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and Social Media Club of DC, and a company member with Solas Nua. Learn more about Jason here, and connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, don’t miss his awesome video on Mahler!

Join The Discussion!

  • Tune in on Friday, July 27 at 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern (6:00 p.m. GMT) to participate in the eighth round of #artsmgtchat.
  • Follow @coolmcjazz and @artsmgtchat for questions. You can use TweetChat to follow the discussion. Make sure you use the hashtag #artsmgtchat to be included in the discussion.
  • If you are new to our Twitter chat, please check out our Twitter Chat 101 guide.
  • Bring a colleague to this Friday’s #artsmgtchat.
  • Tweet this post and share with friends on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Photo Credit

2 thoughts on “Social Media and Arts Advocacy

  1. Great comments! That was enjoyable. Thanks Jason! Good job navigating all that. The beginning of a much larger conversation I suppose. Brought me back in to thinking about arts orgs which I haven’t done in a long time. Cheers

  2. With havin a great deal content as well as articles do you ever run directly into any problems of plagorism as well as copyright intrusion? My site has many completely exclusive content I’ve truly either produced myself as well as outsourced nonetheless it appears many it will be popping it up all over the internet without the permission. Have you any idea any approaches to help stop content via being compromised? I’d truly enjoy it.

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