Go Deeper

Other Blogs: Do Not Use Social Media For Marketing

Posted April 19th, 2013

Oh, how I dislike the word social media, especially when it is expressed with such reverence and fuzzy hopefulness that by putting your message on “social media” it will spread like a supernova through the webverse and everyone from Boise to Shanghai will suddenly kneel down to your influence and your show/company/institution/theater/museum/etc. will be not only saved, but all-powerful and fiscally secure in perpetuity. Nobody wants your damn message*, they want your art!

It takes content to make a thing interesting.

That is why it was refreshing to read to Kelly Page’s article Bringing Backstage Onstage with Social media on ARTSblog. “Digital technology now permeates the operations of many arts organizations, especially in marketing and audience engagement activities,” Kelly writes. “Social media, however, are not marketing channels, they are social spaces wherein networks of people meet, share, and learn from each other. Sometimes they are even spaces for the co-creation of art.” And to put it succinctly, “When arts organizations forget this, they join the queue of thousands of organizations and individuals who use social media to push out content, spam followers, and annoy their friends.” Love that last part, because so often when working, people forget the obvious.

Thus her argument of bringing the backstage on stage through social media platforms. This is of course but one creative use, but a very good one, and one that any arts organization can begin with and sink its teeth into. Still it is important not to leave it to your interns to put up any ol’ thing up there. It needs a level of  “curating the voice of the artist and sharing the creative process behind artwork.”

Kelly looks at a number of organizations who are playing with this idea, which also helps share ideas within an organization as well as give more programatic fodder for audiences. The other refreshing thing about this idea is that people within organizations can have fun and be creative when they commit to this path. Not every post will succeed in capturing interest, but a continued effort will rely on the expansive efforts of creativity, rather than the narrowing, frustrating task of putting the right ten words together for messaging. And the more organizations that commit to this approach, the more ideas are shared and the more creative competition between them–in the words of the late industrialist Gordon Cain, “Everybody Wins!”


–Said Johnson

*Unless your message akin to the messenger who enters the room to describe the death of the king. But that’s rare these days.