As the marketing officer here at Little Angel, I sometimes wonder about how we can engage our audiences more. We’re already fortunate that the work we do – puppetry – is a visual artform, allowing us to work with outstanding images and visuals. Our audiences know straight away what to expect because we always push out visual content which I hope alone engages our audiences.
Our Flickr and YouTube accounts are excellent ways to showcase the work that we do. From uploading sets of images onto Flickr from our productions (and especially the making of the puppets), to our YouTube video trailers of the shows, we’re finding people are viewing these continually.
Whilst it’s great seeing that thousands of people have viewed a video or photo set, the engagement is minimal. Our Facebook and Twitter accounts on the other hand do better with engagement. We’ve now got over 2,000 Twitter followers and over 1,000 Facebook likes, with our audiences responding to our communication through these social channels.
However, all of the above comes from me as the Marketing Officer. I’ve built in the last year and a half of working here a certain voice for the organisation. This ripples through into the newsletters we send to our mailing list, and possibly into our print material too (but only slightly). Keeping a consistancy within a brand/image is good practice, but I worry that we needed to be doing more. How can our work extend beyond just simple marketing tactics?
The perfect chance seemed to come up for a bit of experimenting when it was clear that Twitter-fever had hit the Little Angel offices. Our Artistic Director Peter was already a convert, and even our General Manager had crept onto it, although through a private account. Having realised that Twitter was clearly shaping up to be an outstanding source of news and fast-paced communication, and of course our followers increasing (how does a small 100-seat venue get over 2,000 followers?!) we were keen to explore further.
Whilst I might manage the marketing activities of the Little Angel, I’m also very determined not to ram marketing down peoples necks through our social channels. So, how can we move away from just the voice of me? Well, why not let other staff members use twitter too? And thus a Tweet A Staff Day was born.
If you’ve been reading our blog over the past year, you’ll notice that our Technical Manager David has appeared numerous times. He is always up for engaging online, and having never used Twitter he was also a bit of a gamble to explore our Twitter day, but David turned out to be perfect.
The premise was simple – David would take over the @LittleATheatre twitter account and give his personal and professional insight in working in a puppet theatre doing technical work. David ended up tweeting about fire alarm testing, operating lights, giving a twitter call times for the cast, and even took votes on where to put the bins out for the day.
So it’s not ground breaking work, we’re not redeveloping our approaches to marketing or engagment, but we hope that those who interacted with David or saw his tweets enjoyed them and saw a glimpse into a different side to the way in which a theatre works.
You can see a full report of David’s adventures on Twitter through this Storify which we created – including images, videos, and his tweets.
We’re planning on more staff tweet days, which will hopefully explore our Artistic Director in rehearsals, our General Manager in a day-in-the-job experience, and also some tweets from our Education Team on the planning and involvement of young people and adults through the theatre.
It would be fair to say that I’m excited by all of this. For so long now I’ve been slowly working away at building up online conversations and communications with our potential audiences. It’s not easy, and there is a tendancy to just focus on the work that you are doing, or just the shows in the theatre. Having David tweet really made me realise that actually there is so much we could be showing our audiences – and this doesn’t require a marketing angle – just a pure ‘look at what we are really about’.
Until the next Tweet a Staff Day, you can catch me blabbering on Twitter through our account here: @LittleATheatre – and who knows, perhaps we’ll extend this to Facebook too?