Jessica Wilt

Jessica Wilt

In January 2012 I started the New Year with an ARTSblog entitled So Many Resources, So Little Time. I wrote, “With endless emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds, I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed.” For the most part, that statement was true – except for one thing. I wasn’t using Twitter!

Of course after mentioning Twitter in the resources ARTSblog someone would reach out to me in an email requesting my Twitter handle. Uh oh. Once upon a time I had set up an account, but when I tried to remember what the original handle was and how to login? Forget about it. I had been caught red-handed!

Just what I needed, one more thing to add to what already felt like an overflowing plate. I couldn’t respond back with, “sorry, I don’t do Twitter” after mentioning it in my blog so I decided it was time to officially throw myself into the #Twitterverse. Hence, @JessicaLWilt was born.

Over the past year I’ve been teaching myself how to navigate and speak the language that is Twitter while building a truly authentic and genuine community. I don’t have thousands of followers – yet – but I do regularly interact and connect with a diverse group of people. Never could I have imagined how vast the information, people, ideas and life-changing events I’ve experienced through Twitter would enhance my personal and professional circles. Read the rest of this entry »

Not-For-Profit Arts Are Grossing Me Out

Posted by Howard Sherman On March - 14 - 2013
Howard Sherman

Howard Sherman

I have made no secret of my disdain for the practice of announcing theatre grosses as if we were the movie industry. I grudgingly accept that on Broadway, it is a measure of a production’s health in the commercial marketplace, and a message to current and future investors. But no matter where they’re reported, I feel that grosses now overshadow critical or even popular opinion within different audience segments.

A review runs but once, an outlet rarely does more than one feature piece; reports on weekly grosses can become weekly indicators that stretch on for years. If the grosses are an arbiter of what people choose to see, then theatre has jumped the marketing shark.

So it took only one tweet to get me back on my high horse [last week]. A major reporter in a large city (not New York), admirably beating the drum for a company in his area, announced on Twitter that, “[Play] is officially best-selling show in [theatre’s] history.”

When I inquired as to whether that meant highest revenue or most tickets sold, the reporter said that is was highest gross, that they had reused the theatre’s own language, and that they would find out about the actual ticket numbers.” I have not yet seen a follow up, but Twitter can be funny that way.

As the weekly missives about box office records from Broadway prove, we are in an endless cycle of ever-higher grosses, thanks to steady price increases, and ever newer records. That does not necessarily mean that more people are seeing shows; in some cases, the higher revenues are often accompanied by a declining number of patrons. Simply put, even though fewer people may be paying more, the impression given is of overall health.  Read the rest of this entry »

#NAMPC Takeaways

Posted by Shoshana Fanizza On November - 15 - 2012

Shoshana Fanizza

I wanted to start out by giving you the link to my Storify—My #NAMPC experience via Twitter. I ended up winning the Most Tweets Award [at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC)] and I received a fun t-shirt!

I also won by connecting with more people on Twitter and getting to meet some of these people during the conference. It has been a fun and educational experience for me. If you had to miss the conference they promised to archive the keynote presentations soon.

NAMPC had its ups and downs, but mostly ups. However, through the entire conference, this year, like last year, there were some common themes running through most of the presentations.

Instead of a complete play-by-play like I did last year, I would like to leave you with the my most impressionable takeaways and some of my own thoughts (in no particular order):

  • You gotta have passion—if you don’t, people will not be attracted to your mission, cause, project, program…Without passion, what is the point?
  • Be weird and silly—or in other terms, be true to your own particular self. It’s not about being similar—it’s about standing out.
  • Adding your own personality will increase your likeability.
  • Have fun! What makes people want to join? Fun! If it is not enjoyable to you, it probably won’t be to your audiences.
  • Everyone is diverse in one way or another. These are my personal thoughts: We can learn to reach out to others after we discover our own sense of diversity and understand personally what it feels like to be stereotyped and discounted.
  • Keep ego out of the organization.
  • Visual impact is necessary! There is so much blah, blah, blah, and not enough “language” of our arts. If you are a music organization, it would be good to have clips and videos of performances and music. If you are an artist, make viewing your art an experience. If you are theater and dance, videos are a must. How can people figure out if your art is for them if they can’t “see” it and feel it? Read the rest of this entry »

The Creative Workforce in the Post-Recession Economy (A Creative Conversation Twitter Chat)

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders On October - 17 - 2012

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

In celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month and the annual Americans for the Arts tradition of Creative Conversations, my colleague Ally Yusuf (Founder & Moderator of #ArtsMgtChat) and I are co-hosting the first national Creative Conversation on Twitter!

The Creative Workforce in the Post-Recession Economy is open to everyone and takes place today (October 17) for one hour starting at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT using #NatCC12 as the hashtag.

Come share in 140 characters or less, your thoughts, resources and stories about your view on this fascinating topic. We all either know someone or are someone who has been professionally affected by the recession. Whether you are a staffer, freelancer, consultant, employer or recruiter—you probably have something to add to the dialogue.

(Editor’s Note: For a quick primer on how Twitter chats work, check out this ARTSblog post by Kristen Engebretsen.)

As an arts leadership and professional development researcher and advocate, I’ve been profoundly concerned about the effects of the recession on our nonprofit arts workforce. In response, I established the Art Career Cafe which has both a website with job listings and resources as well as a Facebook page to provide an interactive community.

Since its launch in late July, we have over 200 Facebook group members. Many members are young arts professionals with degrees in arts management looking for full time work; others are freelancers who have chosen a less traditional but equally viable path to a creative career. Read the rest of this entry »

Join Our Common Core Twitter Chat

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On September - 12 - 2012

Kristen Engebretsen

Based on a survey Americans for the Arts completed last year, 46% of respondents said that they would be interested in arts education programming that related to broader education reform issues, such Common Core State Standards, No Child Left Behind, the achievement gap, student engagement, and state or federal policy.

This week, we have 15-20 arts and education leaders from across the country discussing the intersection of the arts and common core here on ARTSblog.

To accompany our blog salon, we will also be hosting a Twitter chat today (Wednesday, September 12) from 6:00– 7:00 p.m. ET. All you need to participate is a Twitter account (or simply follow along without one). Don’t have one? Sign up for free! If you’ve never participated in a chat on Twitter before, here are some tips on how to participate:

Twitter Basics

Here are some of the basic Twitter functions to get you started, adapted from Allison Boyer’s article on Blog World:

  • @ Reply: If you see an @ symbol followed by someone’s screen name (or their “handle”), it’s a way to hold a public conversation with that person.
  • DM: DM stands for direct message. It’s a way to hold a private conversation with another Twitter user, but you can only DM people who are already following you.
  • RT: RT stands for retweet. If you like what someone says on twitter, you can retweet it to spread the message to your followers as well.
  • MT: MT stand for modified tweet. It’s just like an RT, but you might have had to change a piece of it in order to RT something and still fit it in under 140 characters
  • Hashtag (#): If you see the pound symbol (#) before a word or phrase, it is essentially a keyword tag for the tweet so that others can find it more easily. On Twitter, this is called a hashtag, and they can help people search for your tweet. Basically, it’s a way to follow the stream of everyone talking about a specific subject.
  • Twitter Chat: A Twitter chat happens when several people get on Twitter at once to share ideas with one another. They do this by using a specific hashtag. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Contenders (Pretenders?) to be the Next Facebook

Posted by Tim Mikulski On May - 30 - 2012

Tim Mikulski

CNN’s What’s Next blog recently published a list of current social media outlets/apps that could take over as the “next Facebook” if everything falls into place.

While there has been wild speculation in the past that other products would have replaced the big blue ‘F’ by now, it hasn’t happened; however, I’m pretty sure that I never thought MySpace would be replaced either (p.s. have you checked out what Friendster has become?).

So, here’s a quick rundown that CNN provided with links and my added commentary in bold after each description:

Highlight (number of users unpublished): This “social discovery” app was the buzz at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive, a conference in Austin, TX, that makes or breaks many tech start-ups. Essentially, the app aims to give people real-time information about the people all around them. “San Francisco is a city of 800,000 strangers,” Highlight founder Paul Davison told Time. “You sit on the bus next to each other. You stand in line next to each other. You go to bars and meetups to meet each other. You walk by each other on the street. And you don’t know anything about anyone you see.” This app seems move intrusive than Foursquare, so I’m not sure people will give it a shot.

Path (3 million users) Founded by ex-Facebooker Dave Morin, Path has a couple things going for it that Facebook doesn’t: It’s mobile-first, which is important in a world where people tend to network on their phones more and more than on their desktop computers; and it’s intimate. Path caps users’ friend lists at 50 people, ensuring that you’re actually communicating as the real you with people who you really know in real life. An app redesign won Path a new wave of support from the early-adopting tech public, but a privacy snafu in February, during which it was revealed that Path stored users’ phone contact lists, may have eroded the trust of some people. Morin apologized for that data slip, saying it was accidental and had been remedied. Privacy concerns aside, it seems like it’s what everyone intended Facebook to be—a more limited circle—and that could prove to be a draw for people like me who had to friend his entire high school class for reunion planning purposes. Also, there is an Instagram-like photo feature with Path that adds some value. This might be my pick as the next potential Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you ever wondered if it’s worth your time to start that Pinterest page for your organization or business? Is it important that you know what Digg is?

Thankfully, OnlineMBA.com has pulled together a fantastic infographic that will help you determine if Facebook is better for your message or if you should hurry up and start that Twitter account.

By gathering social media demographic info and putting it together in an arts-friendly way (a solar system of social media info), you can take a quick look at the social media universe and then decide if you’re on the right path or if you should be heading toward another orbit.

Here are some facts I gleaned from the resource (as posted on Mashable):

  • FACT: Facebook users visit the site 40 times per month and average over 23 minutes on the site per session.
  • OPPORTUNITY: That creates an opportunity to really engage with Facebook users. If you can get an article or link to your site on a Facebook user’s newsfeed at the right time, you will have them hooked…for at least that day. A study covering 2007-2010 Facebook use says that the peak use time is Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. ET and daily it is at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. ET.
  • FACT: 82 percent of Pinterest users are female.
  • OPPORTUNITY: The arts are already female-skewing, but if you want to reach out further into the demo, you’ll want to sign up for an account and try it out soon.
  • FACT: 71 percent of Google+ users are male and 43 percent are single men.
  • OPPORTUNITY: The arts are already female-skewing, but if you want to reach out to older, single men who may bring dates, girlfriends, and/or mothers to your gallery or performing arts center, you might want to dabble and see where Google+ takes you. Read the rest of this entry »

Local Arts Agency Tweetup: A New Approach to Networking

Posted by Megan Pagado On April - 11 - 2012

Megan Pagado

In late February, we at the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County hosted our first-ever #CreativeMoCo Tweetup for creatives in and around Montgomery County, MD.

Why did we, a local arts council, host a tweetup?

  1. Our constituents asked for it. They wanted the opportunity meet others in a casual, laidback, unstructured setting. (We’re fans of speed networking, but had to put those impulses aside for this particular event.)
  2. While we’re active on social media, we‘ve never had the chance to meet most of our followers and fans face to face. And isn’t eventually creating real, genuine interactions the whole point of social media?
  3. We saw this as an amazing opportunity to not only meet and introduce creatives to each other, but to mobilize them and take them to the next step of becoming self-identified arts advocates.

The tweetup was first announced on Facebook and Twitter, which generated over 40 registrations in two days. As I saw the number climb, I was amazed at the number of people registering that we didn’t know.

Since we used the term “creative community” instead of “cultural community” in marketing the tweetup, we had everyone from magazine editors to restaurant owners to DJs in attendance.

Based on our experience hosting our tweetup, here are some tips I can share with you on hosting your own, especially one that is advocacy-based: Read the rest of this entry »

Smart Phones & Theater: Godspell’s Tweet Seats Spread the Word

Posted by Tim Mikulski On March - 26 - 2012

We’ve all been in a play when a phone goes off. Sometimes we see the actors react, while other times the show just continues.

Up until recently, it was forbidden to keep that phone on during a show, but thanks to experiments by local/regional theaters, the idea of “Tweet seats” has grown to Broadway via the new Godspell revival:

We’ve heard all sides of this issue:

Cell phones are just the new “individually wrapped candy wrapper.”

The fad of “Tweet seats” is just a marketing gimmick. Read the rest of this entry »

Tweeting Your Way to a Better Conference

Posted by Tara Connolly & Marshall Rollings On March - 20 - 2012
Tara Connolly

Tara Connolly

The Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts conference (SEA), an initiative of the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC) in partnership with national group Self Employment in the Arts, was at a turning point. As we planned the third annual conference for February 2012, we knew this would be our “make-it-or-break-it” year.

Having seen a drop in attendance and revenue during the second annual conference, we needed to regain the momentum we cultivated during the first annual conference, which attracted nearly 300 attendees from nine states to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) to participate.

Marshall Rollings

Marshall Rollings

We reworked the conference structure and partnered with a regional arts initiative, the Tri State Sculptors Association Iron Pour, hosted at Sculptor Jim Gallucci’s studio, to incorporate the event into pre-conference reception. We knew SEA 2012 was packed with diverse content and value. But could we reach and re-engage our target audience?

We increased marketing across multiple channels with support from Opportunity Greensboro, The Coleman Foundation, and Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff. Additionally, two weeks prior, we arranged a “live tweet” for the conference, which surpassed our expectations and helped to generate more buzz before, during, and after the conference.

On February 11, 352 people, including 198 students and 107 artists, gathered at UNCG for the third annual SEA Conference to share entrepreneurial strategies and resources to help emerging artists become successful in their careers and to network among students, emerging artists, working artists, business professionals, and community organizations. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media Trends for 2012

Posted by Tim Mikulski On December - 20 - 2011

David Armano of the Harvard Business Review recently published six 2012 predictions for social media.

Although he made some inaccurate predictions about 2011, here is what he is suggesting for 2012 (with links added by me):

Convergence Emergence. For a glimpse into how social will further integrate with “real life,” we can look at what Coca Cola experimented with all the way back in 2010. Coke created an amusement park where participants could “swipe” their RFID-equipped wristbands at kiosks, which posted to their Facebook account what they were doing and where. Also, as part of a marketing campaign, Domino’s Pizza posted feedback — unfiltered feedback — on a large billboard in Times Square, bringing together real opinions from real people pulled from a digital source and displayed in the real world. These types of “trans-media” experiences are likely to define “social” in the year to come.

The Cult of Influence. In much the same way that Google has defined a system that rewards those who produce findable content, there is a race on to develop a system that will reward those who wield the most social influence. One particular player has emerged, Klout, determined to establish their platform as the authority of digital influence. Klout’s attempt to convert digital influence into business value underscores a much bigger movement which we’ll continue to see play out in the next year.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Strong is Your Social Net? (Part 2)

Posted by Mary Trudel On October - 6 - 2011

Mary Trudel

Our 2011 How Strong is Your Social Net? Survey – that gathered responses from more than 1,600 arts organizations across the country – explores adoption and usage of digital and social media, measurement tactics, platforms, and return on investment (ROI).

The findings track the “how,” “to whom,” “what,” “why,” and “how often” of communications across multiple platforms and probes perceptions of effectiveness. We also examined internal policies and institutional protocols around issues of community building and audience feedback.

Trudel|MacPherson developed the survey to help arts groups connect with target audiences using a wide array of available digital communications options. The survey gathered data on how arts groups regularly communicate with various target publics; whether and how groups are connecting with patrons and fans – creating communities of interest and responding to their ideas and concerns — and how groups are measuring the ROI of their digital efforts.

Creative Connections with Audiences

We asked respondents to share their best/worst experiences with digital media.

Very few arts groups reported any horror stories and most praised the intimacy and immediacy of social media to help them repair relationships, deliver last minute information, and build awareness and demand. A few examples: Read the rest of this entry »

Butts in Seats: 5 Tips for Event Marketing Using Social Media

Posted by Ceci Dadisman On October - 3 - 2011

Ceci Dadisman

Social media is an important piece of the event marketing puzzle. Unlike most nonprofits that are marketing one product all year long (a charitable cause), a performing arts organization markets multiple different products (performances and events) throughout each season.

It can be challenging to market diverse offerings whilst still under the umbrella of one organization.

Let me share my top-5 tips to marketing events that will generate buzz and improve conversions:

1. Don’t forget about the 80/20 rule. This is a rule that I live by regarding social media marketing, whether it is when I’m marketing an event or not. I find that the best ratio to keep people engaged but not tick them off is to have 80% engagement and 20% broadcasting. Even when you have an event to market, talking 100% about that event is just going to turn people off and they aren’t going to listen to one word that you are saying.

2. Engage creatively. This one goes together with tip #1 about the 80/20 rule. You may ask, why should I waste time tweeting or posting about stuff that has nothing to do with my event when I’m trying to sell tickets? Well, that is pretty simple to answer.

If you are engaging with people, you will be top of mind so that when they do hear something about you or your event, they will remember the interaction and be much more likely to check it out. Read the rest of this entry »

The Top-50 Tweets from #AFTA11: Part Two

Posted by Ron Evans On July - 22 - 2011

So, I’ve gone through the entire stream of tweets using the hashtag #AFTA11 (all 2389 of them!) cut out all fat, and filtered them down to my picks for the top 50 most-useful tweets to me from this year’s Americans for the Arts Annual Convention. I say most useful because I wanted to separate out things that can be acted on, resources/measurements that can be explored, impactful facts and figures, and new “lightbulb ideas.”

Here are the second half of my picks for the 50 top tweets from AFTA 2011:

26. @GordonJayFrost The #afta11 sessions on #philanthropy will be available on-demand: http://t.co/id3vwYc

27. @SheWhoTravels Go Marcus! RT“@artfulmanager Sidewalk Poetry project in St. Paul. Turning concrete into canvas. Wow. #afta11 http://t.co/b6mcrgK

28. @trishamead oooh. Direct link to mobil-ready video trailer? I’m thinking how to maximize QR code on coffee s hop poster, i.e. #2amt #afta11

29. @crystalewallis oooh! RT @wkradio: #AFTA11 DO NOT be fooled into using QR Codes >>> Excellent design will always transmit more information. #techfads Read the rest of this entry »

The Top-50 Tweets from #AFTA11: Part One

Posted by Ron Evans On July - 22 - 2011

Ron Evans

I wasn’t able to attend the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention this year, but I did get to participate in the next best thing: following the conversation on Twitter.

There were lots of great discussion and opinions. But unless you were following 24/7, you may have missed some gems.

So, I’ve gone through the entire stream of tweets using the hashtag #AFTA11 (all 2389 of them!) cut out all fat, and filtered them down to my picks for the top 50 most-useful tweets to me from AFTA 2011.

I say most useful because I wanted to separate out things that can be acted on, resources/measurements that can be explored, impactful facts and figures, and new “lightbulb ideas.”

A big thank you to these great posters for posting meaty tweets – If you like something you see, follow the author on Twitter.

So here goes, from oldest (public art pre-conference) to newest (end of conference) order… Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.