Theatre marketing in the Digital Age: Pt. 1
Network9 is based in the heart of New York City, the theatre capital of the world. We all love the theatre and want our Broadway and off-Broadway friends to fill those seats by becoming a smash hit ONLINE!
After working in the branding, design and web presence business as long as we have, we’ve all noticed something: most theaters aren’t using marketing technology to their advantage. Really?
Theaters aren’t taking full advantage of the online resources that could generate buzz and sell more tickets.
Theater marketing ideas to make you smash hit online
Whether it be an out-of-date website or an underutilized social media presence, theaters aren’t taking full advantage of the online resources that could increase visibility and boost sales. Here are some theater marketing ideas that can help fill the house.
Use social media to build buzz
First of all, the purpose of social media is NOT to sell tickets. I know – counterintuitive, considering we JUST said that online resources could make you sales. But hear us out.
The purpose of social media is to connect with your fans and get them talking about you, which will naturally lead to making money. Use every social media platform as a way to genuinely connect and engage – and while you’re at it, make it an extension of your art.
Use Instagram to post visually exciting images
Instagram has taken the lead in social content. Broadway is a natural for this platform. Stop worrying about giving something away and share the energy, joy and excitement!
Share photos of the show—and if you spot a celeb in the audience, post that too. People want to be a part of that.
TWITTER ideas for theaters
It’s no secret when it comes to sales: everyone hates being sold to. If every tweet your theatre posts is just a push to buy tickets, who’s going to follow you for long? Make your twitter as creative as your productions are. Show them what you’ve got!
A few ideas for creative tweets:
- Quotes from your staff/crew/artists about their experience as they rehearse or perform. Everyone loves insider information.
- Links to press about your theatre
- Trivia about your show! Or perhaps a quiz to test your followers’ knowledge? Everyone wants to play.
- Photos from your shows—Shows are gorgeous and tweets with photos have a higher share value than those that don’t.
- Exclusive parties and promotions
- Exclusive discount codes for tickets
- Shout-outs to OTHER theatre companies you have a good relationship with/love the work of (we’re all in this together, folks!)
- RETWEET posts from your resident artists
- Then get the SHARING going. Ask your followers to RETWEET your posts to enter contests you may be running for free tickets or another perk. Have a retweet challenge: “if this gets 10 retweets, we’ll post the opening line from our newest play…”
Statistically, social shares generate an extra $1.94 per ticket per share. Doesn’t sound like much, but if you get 300 shares on a single post, well…
Your theatre’s Facebook is THE place to get fans talking about your theatre and shows. While Twitter is a great place to have a quick chat with your followers, Facebook should be a daily updated newsletter full of interesting stories.
Theater marketing ideas for your Facebook page:
- Post photos of your theatre in action. Packed houses, amazing shows – get people visually interested in the stories you’re telling. Use dynamic photos that get people asking “I want to see more of that!”
- Profiles of actors, writers, designers and other creatives working on your latest show will add a personal touch. USE PICTURES – it’s a proven fact that people LOVE looking at other people, so keep it visual.
- Get resident artists involved by having them link to your Facebook on their personal pages, ESPECIALLY if they’re currently involved in a show.
- Place an ad to reach theatre fans in your particular area. Facebook’s free demographic analysis will be a big help in finding people in your area to connect with, or visitors to your city looking for entertainment.
- Create Facebook contests to get more people sharing and liking your page
- Join relevant Facebook groups to get your page noticed by theatre geeks all over your area.
Theaters can especially benefit from a great YouTube channel. You’ve got tons of great writers – have them write content you can shoot, edit, and put up on YouTube as promo material.
A few ideas for YouTube promotions:
- Short interviews with actors, stage designers, the director, crew or dramaturgs about the project
- Funny sketches that complement the current production
- A web-series! (specifically promoting your theater)
- Film a behind the scenes documentary
Be sure to promote your videos on all your social media channels for maximum views/shares.
A YouTube Channel can be a creative extension of your theater, and can do a lot in getting people excited about your latest production.
There are other social media outlets that could be utilized for a theatre, but these three are probably the most prominent/relevant to your interests.
In Part 2, we’ll talk about what makes or breaks a theatre’s website, and how YOUR site could be turning people away, leaving you with empty seats instead of getting you a standing ovation. Read the article here