Gone are the days when marketing and advertising meant beautiful print collateral, well written press releases and feature stories. Thanks to social media and digital communication, marketing professionals have a 24/7 menu of communication platforms and avenues at our fingertips. (Many of which are cost free) For a non-profit organization, social media allows for a level playing field.
The past five years has shifted not only the way I do business, but my entire communication strategy. My programs would shrivel and die if I simply put out a press release and emailed my core constituents. Today, I must create a thoughtful marketing strategy that includes a variety of media.
To effectively promote a main stage production I first create a visual representation. This is used for the production poster, on our website and in other print and digital venues. I then send out a press release with photos, Tweet about the release and Tweet the photos. I link Facebook to the press release and post several images from the photo shoot and ask fans to identify the actors or dancers. I create a podcast from an interview with the director or designer and post and Tweet that. I create a promotional video about the production, post on our YouTube page and link from Twitter and Facebook. I run ads on the radio and ask fans and followers to tune in to those stations and listen for our ad. I create an event in Facebook, invite all our fans and post links from Facebook and Twitter to all internal and external media coverage of our event. I also create an electronic newsletter which I send to those on our email list and then link it to our Facebook and Twitter feeds. When a production is over, I post the best production stills on our Pinterest boards. In the weeks leading up to a production, I am able to be in front of my audience on a consistent basis with variety and diversity of content.
When the recession arrived and many arts organizations went under, I have maintained audience and in some instances, have grown it.