Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn't enough to simply hang posters and rely on word of mouth promotion for your theatre production. Audiences spend an increasing amount of time online DAILY, and you have to meet your people where they are. Taking your promotion strategy online doesn't have to be stressful or time consuming, though - just follow this simple step-by-step guide to optimize your theatre organization's online presence and a larger and more engaged audience will eventually follow.
Social Media Promotion for theatres
In today’s world, a social media presence is critical for success in any promotional effort. While you should be setting your social media goals high, it's important to remember that everything needs to lead back to your website. Here are the four most important things to keep in mind when using social.
1. Post Consistently
A big part of appearing like a professional organization is posting consistently. But even more importantly, this creates better engagement opportunities with fans, and it also is one of the most important factors to having positive results with the algorithms. By scheduling posts in advance you can ensure that your show maintains a consistent presence online.
2. Active Fan Engagement
Just like merchandise is a way for fans to promote shows on their own, social media is a place for fans to come together and have a community around the show. Foster the community by actively engaging with fans.
3. Use Multimedia
From Live Videos to various kinds of ‘Stories’ there are a host of multimedia options available within social media platforms. Utilizing these can help create new content and be of use with algorithms.
4. Social Campaigns Always Point Back to Your Website
Algorithms change, and if suddenly a platform you’ve depended on changes its marketing rules, your organization could be out of luck. If you choose to make your website your main hub, and have all social activity point back to your website, you'll be immune from the changes that consistently happen on social media sites. Your website is where where you truly control the content. Also worth remembering: it’s where the ticket sales happen.
Content Strategy For Theatre Orgs
While the audience might think the show begins when they arrive, you know the true story of the months of preparation and planning that made the performance possible. Share that with the audience and do so in a way that truly draws them in by taking full advantage of multimedia content.
In promoting your organization it's critical to maximize the effectiveness of all aspects of your online presence from social media to your website. And while a ‘Broadway style’ website might seem like overkill for your needs, imagine having a hub that can provide more than just a superficial bulletin board or even an online ticket box office.
When done well, your organization's online presence can act as a dynamic resource to develop new avenues for growth and to engage the audience, making them feel like part of the larger experience that extends beyond showtime.
Instead of simply writing a synopsis for the set designer’s plan feature a video where they discuss their vision. Include interactive slideshows of the costume design thought process. Allow behind the scenes videos to welcome the audience into the larger story behind the show. But content doesn't have to be complex to inspire engagement. Sneak peaks and short snippets of rehearsal outtakes are easy to create, perfect for social media and don't give too much away.
Adding multimedia assets can be employed with every aspect of content, including:
- About pages for the show, organization or team. Stand out from the average About page by incorporating video and other multimedia features.
- Cast & crew pages can be professionally created so as to be just like in a playbill.
- It is critical that content be Social Media friendly and able to transition well to various platforms to be of full promotional use.
- Supplemental Content, from behind-the-scenes videos to video trailers, the possibilities are endless.
Fundamental Needs For Theatre Websites
There are some things that both you and your audiences expect from a good theatre website. Having a single online place where you can fulfill multiple functions and provide the right resources might sound great, but perhaps feels out of reach without an IT department. But the truth is, it’s much easier than you think to fulfill all of these functions:
- Promotion: From promotional artwork to the right domain name, as theatre professionals we don’t have to tell you how much the small touches matter.
- Ticket Sales: At the end of the day it’s critical that you are able to provide smooth and reliable online ticket sales. One of the best things about On The Stage is that it is cost-free for the organization, paid for entirely by a ticket sale commission.
- Ongoing Engagement Opportunities: Create supplemental online programming to increase interaction and engagement.
- Donations: The option to automatically request donations as part of the ticket sale process.
- Full Links to Social: The site is the online hub for all of your organization’s activities. Seamlessly link the website to all social accounts, and have all social campaigns link back to the site.
- Merchandise Sales: This has the added benefit of adding another layer of engagement as fans provide their own form of promotion. Merchandising can seem overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. On The Stage makes this physical form of promotion easy and cost free to the organization. Patrons place their orders right at the point of sale and the merchandise is drop shipped directly to them.
While the key components of a theater's online presence can be broken down into three main categories, when employed to their full potential the possibilities for taking both your show and your organization are endless. To learn more about what On the Stage can do for your organization, book a free demo of our software.