With digital marketing plans being mapped out in advance of tours, shows and promotions, the temporary hold that’s been placed on the arts industry by Coronavirus has rendered many of our plans redundant. Of course, losing your work on a strategy that can often take weeks, if not months, to develop – not to mention budget for creating promotional assets – can be incredibly disheartening. However, the work that we have already put in place as marketers for the arts can absolutely still be of value, as our approach to the digital landscape shifts to meet our audiences’ evolving needs. Here are some of our suggestions on how to regroup and ensure that you’re still putting your best foot forward online.
Shift Your Approach
Now more than ever, audiences are turning to digital platforms to find engagement, inspiration and community. While former strategies focussed on building awareness (of your show, for instance) or generating sales, with engagement often being a secondary priority, now is a really valuable opportunity to work on building audience engagement across your online platforms.
Use your profiles to create a sense of human interaction between your organisation and the people that follow you. Not only will this help to encourage and stimulate your followers, it will also create a positive view of your brand in their minds. Doing this helps to nurture a long-term relationship with between consumer and brand, which will last long beyond the lockdown.
Brainstorm Content Strands
With your new approach in mind, brainstorm different content strands to help you fulfil your new aims. What content do you have available to you that can help you engage, inspire and connect with your followers? A good place to start on this is to take a look at which digital platforms you are present on, and what purpose each of these serves to you. For instance, Facebook is useful for informing your audience – what content can you share on there to inform them of online activities or resources that could be useful to them? This could be your content (such as videos of former activity, blog posts and infographics), or content from your friends and partners within the arts to encourage reciprocal support.
Twitter is great for connecting with people in short, fun interactions. In what ways can you use your resources to encourage followers to interact? Can you provide them with a prompt, and ask for their input, be it their opinion, experience or recommendations? Similarly, TikTok is brilliant for short-form content, with users sharing videos that encourage users to recreate them, with dance routines and meme formats going viral, if done well.
For your long-form video content, YouTube is the perfect platform, with some organisations uploading show content or filmed-from-home interviews or masterclasses with company members and dancers. How can you provide value to your followers during this time?
On Instagram, people tend to use the platform to seek inspiration. Share your most uplifting content on here and provide ways for followers to learn from your posts. Thinking about your priorities across each digital platform can help you to identify the different ways in which you can communicate with your audiences online, and provides a springboard for new ideas. Which takes us onto our next suggestion…
Incorporate Live Video
With people being confined to their homes, there is an increasing need to bring experiences to them – we all still want to live full lives, despite the lockdown. To meet this need, many arts organisations are taking to livestreaming videos to create virtual experiences with people joining in from all over the world.
This could be in the form of a dance masterclass or short performance of a scene via Instagram and Facebook live, or a play reading via Zoom with cast members and the opportunity for audiences to get involved and have a go.
Repurpose Your Assets
Having no doubt created many of the assets for your campaigns which are now on hold, it can feel frustrating to know what to do with these. However, they don’t need to go to waste. If you created a series of assets to promote a show which is currently postponed, instead you could use these assets to bring the show’s experience to life across social media.
Is there a certain aspect of the show highlighted in your video or graphic? Use your copy to describe this aspect in detail and allow audiences to experience it still, to some extent. Not only does this allow you to use your assets that you spent time and budget on creating, it also ensures ongoing engagement so that when ticket sales do re-open, you won’t have to start from scratch.
Create A New Digital Marketing Plan
Once you know what content and ideas you have available to you, put them into a digital marketing calendar. This will help you to treat this period like a campaign in itself and ensure focussed messaging across all platforms, allowing you to build and maintain a strong presence despite the circumstances. As with all effective digital marketing plans – particularly one with such new ideas – take a look at how your content is performing once it’s out there and adapt your plan to include only the most engaging posts on an ongoing basis.
With so many things up in the air right now for many industries, including the arts, adapting your approach to digital marketing can really help to renew your focus during this time. What content are you sharing with your audiences at the moment? We’d love to support you and re-share, so do tag us on social media to let us know.