While digital media has been around since the 50’s, it was not until the 21st century that made the digital media industry booming with the introduction of social media and smartphones. Digital media marketing is said to be one of the fastest and most effective ways to reach a large amount of audience in a short time span. The theatre industry – which was previously known to cater mostly to older audiences, have finally decided to step their game up and has since been heavily relying on digital media to promote their productions in hopes to reach out to a wider audience segments. The following post will focus on some useful tips and tricks that I think will help in boosting theatre audiences while helping fill the house.
Social media indeed plays a big part in many of our daily lives. Let’s be honest, we’re living in the digital age and the majority of us have own at least one social media account. Although the use of social media can indeed boost ticket sales, we’re all about making connections here. Especially for a student theatre company, the main purpose for using social media is to get attention of your key audience and get them talking about you (post sharing, commenting, and visiting your event page). Also, because most student theatre companies are not seeking profit, social media platforms are genuinely used to promote their work and to engage with their peers.
Get people blogging about you !
Student theatre makers and performers take high priority in connecting and engaging with peers especially when their producing new and original works. Blogging is definitely a good pathway to start a conversation with like-minded thespians and to gain recognition from the outside world. From my experience, while everyone is encouraging, student theatre companies can get pretty competitive especially during peak show seasons (Week 7 and Week 12).
To make sure people get talking about you, they’d invite reviewers/bloggers from within the University or freelancers that would post a review or two in their professional or student theatre blogs. As mentioned previously that many shows will be ongoing during peak show seasons, catchy header shots and titles are essential to catch the attention of the readers. It is also a good way to strategically focus on audience participation while being able to expose your company to the world.
Of course, Facebook is THE place to get your fans and peers talking about your company and productions. Although other social media platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram is a good way to post snappy updates and hold quick chats, Facebook acts as a live newsletter for many to receive instant news and updates.
Facebook has since added many features to their site after rising to international fame in 2008. There are many features on Facebook that allows us to keep fans and peers updated on company productions. Take the live streaming feature for example, student theatre companies can now post live videos of cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scene snippits, and even production trailers.
Other tips to get your network growing is by posting production pictures, and have your directorial team, cast, and crew’s profile on event pages and on the company’s timeline to add personal touch to your production.
Basically, social media marketing in student theatre is to market your company and productions to as many people as you can to gain exposure and while making your company more approachable and searchable on the internet.
Attachment image source: Four Letter Word Theatre | Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? by Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, and Christos Tsiolkas