Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The most important element of your social media strategy is customer service.

image: the biomed library public services blog
Yes folks, the most important element of your social media plan is not your twitter account, or the SEO of your website, or even the number of likes you have on Facebook. The number one, absolutely most important thing is the experience your guests/customers/patrons have when they walk in the door of your establishment. This is because social media is based on a conversation, of which you are only one part. The other end of this discussion is fueled by the people who use your service/buy your product. Therefore, if you’re serving up an inferior product or a bad experience, you’re going to hear about and so are all your potential guests/customers/patrons.

Here’s the good news, if you’re doing it right, someone will talk about it. If you’re providing people with great experiences and excellent products they’re going to say something, they’ll even stick up for you if some outlier is railing your cause. By providing a great customer experience and delivering a great product, your social mediums will flourish simply by interacting and responding to your constituency. On the other hand, if you’re peddling something that’s sub par, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of bad viral PR on social media platforms, and it takes a lot of work to dig yourself out of that hole.

So what does that mean for theater?

1. The art is important. Make sure that you’re building marketing and outreach strategies around great works of theater and not the other way around. Building a product to fit a marketing pitch is a recipe for disaster.

2. Prepare your front of house staff. From box office personnel, to ushers, all the way to sanitation, you need to cultivate a front of house staff that is passionate about your theater and well versed in customer service. As the saying goes “People may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.”

3. When you get negative feedback on a social media platform, deal with it. Don’t get defensive or try to block someone and hide all evidence. Engage people who didn’t like your show or had a bad experience and grow from it. Let your audience know when you’re making improvements and thank them for bringing problems to your attention when appropriate. People like to be validated, and if you can improve their experience the next time around, they’re likely to be your biggest advocate going forward.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Social Media for Development

This is just a thought I've been toying around with for a few weeks now, but I wanted to throw it out there and get a conversation going.

photo borrowed from searchenginejournal.com
I feel as arts organizations have ventured into the realm of new and social medias that they're going in with the mindset of "reaching the audience" and "interacting with our audience", which is an extremely valuable and sensible goal.  Isn't audience engagement also part of the donor cultivation strategy?  Isn't social media a great way to connect with our tech savvy donors (who are actually of all ages because lets face it, most industries are way ahead of us when it comes to technology, regardless of whether they are millenials or boomers)?  Wouldn't a donor feel more connected with your organization if they were directly interacting with you everyday?

If you work for an arts organization, or any nonprofit for that matter, that's utilizing social media in your development strategy I would love to hear from you.  Comment here, tweet me @thecastparty or shoot me an email at aubrie.thecastparty@gmail.com. Let's talk!