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Changing your organisation from a Virtual wallflower to a Social butterfly

This blog was posted by Sebastian Cheswright on June 2, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

Imagine you’re at a party, with a room full of people. Some people are quietly standing by the side, sipping a drink, and watching. Others have already drunk far too much and are flailing about trying to get the maximum attention. And some are chatting away, making eye contact with those around them, and gradually gathering a crowd of interested onlookers.

My Mentor DK used this analogy as a good way of getting my head around the difference between a passive/broadcast approach to social media, and a more active/conversational one. Read his blog for more info.

As an organisation with a reputation to uphold, a limited in-house resource, and a loyal and ever-growing base of followers on social media, we’ve been grappling with ways in which we can connect better with our audience through social media channels. Our Likes and Followers are going up each month, and our engagement on our posts is increasing, but we’ve wanted to find the best way to make closer connections, and to get social media to work smarter for us in terms of generating word of mouth marketing with some online influencers.

We held a team meeting to look at outputs vs. outcomes (i.e. using the content we’re putting out there to deliver clearly articulated outcomes), and started by discussing what we wanted our social media to do for us. Our first thoughts were understandably about sales, reaching new audiences, and building our brand. But as discussions developed, we started talking about some more emotional responses – we wanted people to feel excitement, inspired, entertained, a sense of anticipation, and we want to remove any barriers to people understanding contemporary dance.

Keeping these outcomes in mind, we then started looking at ways in which we could find people who are already enthusiastic about dance, and collaborate with them to help us spread the word. Another tip from DK was about utilising Twitter’s Advanced Search functionality to identify the most influential, and relevant, tweeters, so that we can cultivate them, in the hope that we can build an online relationship with them, to benefit both our audiences.

This is definitely one of those grey areas in the ever-decreasing divide between marketing and press, as some of those influencers may be bloggers, or even journalists, so we’ll keep our Press team abreast of these developments. However, our biggest concern was the Pandora’s Box effect this cultivation may have on the team and their workload – once we start talking to these people, what happens if they all start talking back, and all want to keep the conversation going…? The team are looking at creating a rota so that our Twitter is staffed on a rotating basis, to manage the potential increase in traffic – and workload – that may be created by this online relationship building. Watch this space for future developments…

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