Social media marketing seems to run the gamut of potential impact — from exponential success, a la Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, to screaming in the dark and bargaining for likes. It’s tricky business. Social media “gurus” make it sound like a science that you’re not analytical enough to understand or don’t have the time to keep up with, both of which are probably true. Whatever your experience has been with social media marketing, here’s what I know for sure: it’s valuable, it’s not going away, and it’s time-consuming.
Allocating the right mix of platforms and the right amount of time to maximize social media can be difficult to manage for arts organizations with already stretched budgets. However, engaging people that are not only savvy, but popular on social media presents a wonderful opportunity to expand your audience and check off social media on your marketing to-do list.
Adly, a startup that matches celebrities willing to post with consumer brands, calls this “amplifying” your content. Rather than working your poor intern to death trying to get your twitter followers up, retweeting, posting, and sharing your little heart out – identify and engage the socially savvy in your community. There are most certainly people in your immediate reach, who have a huge following on twitter, Instagram, and Vine (Facebook is so 2 hours ago) that can push your content out to the audience you want to reach.
In Atlanta, a collective of Atlanta photographers deployed a social media project called #weloveatl with the goal to “bring the citizens of Atlanta together to tell simple and authentic photographic stories of their love for the city and its people.” For Elevate 2013, a weeklong public art exhibition by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, #weloveatl was brought on as a strategic media partner to engage their audience of people who love to see and share new things in the city. During the Elevate exhibition, #weloveatl will be hosting a film and photo competition via Instagram. Users can upload photos and short films with the hashtags #weloveatl and #elevatefilm. The top three pieces of content will win a package of equipment specifically designed for making smartphone videos. The online content will also be used to make the official Elevate film documenting this year’s project.
The collective’s hashtag, #weloveatl, was started in 2012. Since then there have been 23,000 unique Instagram posts under that hashtag, displaying a diverse picture of Atlanta’s arts, architecture, culture and people. Connecting with #weloveatl allows the Office of Cultural Affairs to maximize social media interaction and reach a very engaged segment of the population.
If you google “amplify content,” you will find a host of information about how to better leverage your social media interactions. Paid advertisements on facebook, google placements and a host of other channels can drive traffic and get more people to click the thumbs up on your project page. However, connecting directly with social media influencers in your own backyard pays the additional dividend of connecting with your community and drawing in audiences that you (or your intern) may not have been able to find on your own.
Alex Davis will be presenting the following session at our National Arts Marketing Program Conference November 8-11 2013 in Portland, Oregon:
For more information or to register for the conference, click here.