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The audience has an audience

This blog was posted by Zen Grisdale on June 1, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

Our first interaction with the DMA was a very inspiring chat with DK, our DMA Mentor, based in New Zealand.

Here are some of the discussions we had surrounding social media (one of the areas we will be tackling):

Our student scheme ‘Attitude’ was something we wanted to troubleshoot since we have found it difficult to get our student reps actively involved online.

DK came back with a slew of ideas and questions; what better ways were there to get these student reps involved? Could we set up a tumblr blog which they could make their own? Could we shepherd them into digital journalism and facilitate this process – providing the means (mics etc) for them do their own interviewing perhaps?

The end goal is to get them participating. As DK reasoned, “The audience has an audience”. So why not help them create their audience? We hope to try out some of the above ideas when the students are back in September.

A similar issue was with our online Night Shift audience. We find it very hard to encourage interactivity through social media with this younger audience (18-35). Do they need something different which we don’t currently provide? Are we posting the wrong content?

He proposed a social media strategy which few adopt: Commenting. We do plenty of broadcasting but do we do enough listening and interacting on social media?

New thing to try:

  • Spend 15 minutes a day looking at what others are saying (i.e. people who have liked us recently on Facebook) and comment on their posts.

A topic close to DK’s heart is ‘Curation rather than creation’. If we can get our audience creating, what about curating and focussing that content into a narrative? I.e. ask them what art do they love? Compile results, create a blog. This would in turn enable us to know more about our audience and not just in terms of classical music but their other cultural interests, too. Can we make our Night Shift blog an arts hub of things going on that interest our audience?

New things to try:

  • Do an advanced search on Twitter looking at 25 mile radius around our location of what people are saying about orchestral music. See what they are saying. Great research for knowing what it is about classical music they like.
  • Offer our audience a chance to write for the Night Shift arts blog.

Talking in a broader sense, for those (chief executives/funders) who question what the ROI is for your social media channels, DK suggested some alternative meanings:

Ripple Of Impact: i.e. over time, with constant feeding, your audience builds.
Risk Of Ignoring: what if you didn’t do any social media at all? How would this impact you?

And why not think of social as being a real room of real people? How would we talk to a room of real people? Are we being too marketing-y? These are certainly useful questions to ask when communicating on social channels. We had already considered leaving off concert details at the end of our videos. Is our audience not savvy enough to work out where to go if they are inspired by the video?

So we left this meeting with DK motivated with new ideas on actively interacting with our online audience to understand them better and how we can get them participating so we can curate their creations –  in a non-marketing way. We hope to provide you with some results of these experiments in our next blog.

Zen Grisdale, Digital Content Officer, OAE

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