The latest book from Brian Solis, Engage, is written for champions and executives alike in business, marketing, branding, interactive, service, and communications with a mission to help all aspects of business to the table. But Brian Solis understands how arts organizations work, and how the lessons from his book, and his work with brands all around the world, can be applied to arts organizations.
More from my conversation with Brian Solis:
Reich: Arts organizations are ultimately competing for an audience’s attention just like every other brand out there – and in most cases, the competition has more resources to support their efforts to reach and engage customers. When an organization is small, its focus somewhat narrow, and its resources more limited – how can an arts organization compete? Are there enough people who are interested in the arts, or who are looking to support a small organization, to justify the time and energy required to truly engage?
Solis: It comes down to the idea of a switch. Imagine that you are hosting an event, a conference. The challenge that arts organizations face will actually be very similar, and thus they will need to approach social media and audience engagement in much the same way a non-profit arts organization would. First, a conference, like an arts organization, is looking for people who are contextually bound – an audience focused on specific topic or theme. Well, one of the most underestimated powers of social networking and that is that you can identify clusters of individuals connected around topics and themes. But, to identify those clusters requires a little layer of intelligence. You need to you to connect the dots without necessarily saying: “I want to find everyone whose interested in, say, arts in Chicago” for example. You have to dig one or two layers deeper and develop a more complete understanding of the individuals you are trying to reach. There are so many different capacities on which you can connect with individuals. So if you’re working for an arts organizations and your job is to increase subscribers or donations, that’s one thing. If your role within that organization is filling seats in that particular house, maybe that’s something that complimentary but more likely the challenge is a little different. And then who you connect with and where are all going to be dictated by the results that come out of that initial searching. So if someone you are trying to reach is active on LinkedIn versus Twitter versus Facebook, that intelligence is there, and how you connect with them will be based on how people are interacting in those communities right now. I used conferences as an example because it is one of the more difficult things that you have to do – filling the seats in a particular house for a series of events in a local area for a very specific event. And then when you book a conference, for example, and you now have people who are connected from all over the world and you interact with them, and everyone is fighting for their attention, the challenge becomes even greater. The similarities to arts organizations are pretty clear. Read the rest of this entry »