Fine arts organizations in Philadelphia are quickly enveloping their marketing campaigns around social media, according to a story I wrote for today’s Inquirer.
“When we post an interview or a video, our fans like the inside track, the details,” says Janine Zappone, a marketing director at the Arden Theatre. “I think Facebook and the rest give you that inside track”
The social media story is admittedly beat. Don’t think I don’t know it, but I believe it is something different for Philadelphia’s cultural institutions, like the Kimmel Center, pictured above, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet and others.
It’s different because, really, these organizations in this city are so often seen in so many ways unlike what social media is supposed to be about: crowd sourcing, democratic thought, details and speed before accuracy.
I think perhaps the most interesting quotation I grabbed wasn’t even in the top half of my story.
J. Edward Cambron, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s vice president for marketing, said the following:
“There were early hurdles to the fine arts using social media. Arts organizations are about quality and always presenting nothing but the very best. With social networking, you let go of some control, but what we’ve learned is that if you’re proud of your brand, well, that shouldn’t be a big worry. In fact, people will usually say fabulous stuff.”
If that isn’t at least a bit interesting, then I’m alone, because I sure do. Check their Facebook page.
In my story I breached the three perhaps obvious broad motivations for fine arts institutions to use social media: reaching newer, younger audiences; creating communication to improve the viewer-experience and marketing more cost-effectively. But there’s a fourth I didn’t much get into: branding beyond the limits of geography.
The best known Philadelphia cultural institutions, like our city’s chief orchestra, opera and ballet companies, in addition to the Curtis Institution and others are unquestionably international. But smaller, but certainly still classical in coverage groups like the previously mentioned Arden Theatre have the opportunity to reach beyond borders.
I saw on their Facebook page the other day a comment or two from someone from Chicago. There’s a power there that we already knew about, but I didn’t put it on the most classical of groups. …Groups whose mission are offered looking toward programs based around art forms made a hundred, two hundred years ago.
Seeing their dialogue blossom is what is best about social media.
“Arts organizations have spent a lot of time, from a marketing standpoint, with one-way communication – sending brochues, mailing out post-cards,” said Shawn Stone, the marketing director of the Pennsylvania Ballet, which is introducing a YouTube channel with monthly videos. “We want to move more into a way of nurturing a two-way dialogue and building relationships with young viewers who will be part of our audience for years to come.”
I do wish the Inquirer made a habit of linking out to these and others in their online stories.
I posted on my professional Web site other items from my interviews that didn’t make it into the final story.