The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Are Facebook Invites Dead? September 15, 2010

Okay, so I consider myself to be a social media enthusiast. I love it, I love talking about it, and learning new things.

So it hurts me to say this, but I am afraid that the Facebook invitation may be dead.

Here’s the thing: I get tons and tons of invitations. I have over 700 friends, and I like 250+ pages. All of that adds up to many, many events that I get “invited” to. And I’m really terrible at going through them and responding. It’s just a time thing–it’s a pretty low priority in my world, especially seeing as my theatre viewing is mostly limited to shows I am doing publicity for.

There’s one more thing: I have had producers in the past have hundreds of people RSVP “yes” to their Facebook invites and then be dismayed when less than half of them actually showed up at the box office.

Facebook invites, it goes without saying, are a bit lame. Because it’s easy to check the yes box when you don’t have to fork over any cash.

In my experience, only about 40% of the yesses on your RSVP list will actually translate into sales.

Applications to sell tickets directly through Facebook are currently happening, although these are not yet accessible to the little folks (read: us) just yet.

What do you think? Is the FB invite dead?

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The Rule of Brian September 13, 2010

So, I just got back from doing a series of workshops in Australia. Sorry, you’ll be really sick of me talking about this soon, but I am processing through all that I learned, and I want to share it with you.

One thing kept coming up repeatedly at all the workshops, and that is this:

You cannot take old methods of marketing and apply them to social media.

I start to teach my course at Emily Carr tonight, and this is exactly the topic of tonight’s class.

In the past, we employed what my former boss at the Alliance, Judi Piggott, called spray and pray: you got as much marketing material as possible, and then put it in as many places as possible. Your goal was to reach as wide an audience as possible, because you never knew where they were. I’m talking, billboards, TV commercials, sides of buses, ads in the newspaper, posters, postcards, websites, the whole works. The problem with spray and pray is that it’s expensive. And the return on your investment was minimal, maybe, if you were lucky, 10%.

Now, if you’re a big business with lots of money in your marketing budget, maybe this isn’t a problem (although many big businesses are adopting the new rules of marketing, as well). But if you are small business, like an artist, you probably can’t afford to buy the side of a bus. So instead, look for your niche, and market to that.

But you can’t just spray and pray to your niche using the same methods. I mean, you can, and you will probably have a higher return rate. But increasingly, we are exploring methods of relationship marketing. I’ve talked about this ad nauseum, so I won’t get into it too much here. But I had a great conversation on Twitter the other day with Brian Seitel, and I promised him I would quote him in my class tonight. So, ladies and gentlemen, The Rule of Brian!

New Media, Social Media Marketing, is about creating a conversation with your potential or current audience. How is that marketing? Well, if we define marketing as being creating relationships based on trust, then being accessible to your audience and being responsive to them is a great way to make that happen.

If there’s one thing I want my class to take away with them tonight, this would be it.

 

Oops. September 10, 2010

Filed under: ettiquette,Marketing with Twitter,social media — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:44 am
Tags: ,

This was sent to me by John Paul Fischbach, who hosted my recent trip to Australia, and I wanted to share it with you.

File it under “You’ve been duly warned.”

From The Nest: National Theatre’s Twitter Screw Up–What We Can Learn From Other Peoples Mistakes

On 25th August, in discussing that state of the city’s South Bank arts precinct, London Mayoral advisor Steve Norris commented in the media that “the National Theatre should have a Compulsory Demolition Order”.

Of course, to the National Theatre, that is very much what you might call ‘fighting talk’, and you would expect that the National Theatre would push back, right? But would you have expected them to say this?

Read the rest of the article

I look forward to discussing it with you in the comments section below.

 

Hoopla and Heartache over Reviewers August 23, 2010

The theatrosphere has been buzzing the last few days with controversy involving reviewers and what their rights are.

It all started out with this blog post that was published on August 17th. Mack D. Male’s friend, Sharon Yeo, who writes what is primarily a foodie blog called Only Here for the Food, had been asked, in a not especially nice manner, by the Artistic Director of a company who was producing at the Edmonton Fringe this year, to no longer attend or review any of their shows.

You can read all the posts and all the comments that come after for yourself. But for me, this brings up lots of interesting questions. The joy of the blogosphere, for me, is that anyone with a WordPress or Blogger or TypePad account can write about whatever topic they choose. I love that we have the power to create our own content. However, just because you have a blog, does that make you a reviewer? Or should we leave that job to the people who get paid to write reviews?

The second question this brings up for me is about addressing what is, essentially, a personal issue in a public forum. I’m not saying that Jeff Halsam was right in doing what he did, but I do think it was foolish of him to do it in such a public way. If I were his company’s publicist, I’d be freaking out, because this has all the makings of a PR nightmare.

As a publicist, I would never, ever turn down any kind of possible publicity, whether it’s from someone who gets paid to write reviews or not. A great example is Miss 604. If Rebecca writes a post on one of my clients, I know that post will be seen by thousands of people that day. Rebecca doesn’t get paid to write her primary blog, but her popularity is such that, even though she’s not a formal reviewer, I still welcome her to write because I know it will be excellent exposure.

What do you think? Do reviewers, formal or informal, have too much power? As a producer, do you have the right to tell them to sod off? (sorry, I’m in Australia right now).

As ever, I look forward to reading your comments below.

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Square pegs in round holes November 30, 2009

I went to see a play last week, and had a very interesting experience, which I both wanted to share with you, and hear your opinion on.

I do publicity for the production company of Capilano University’s theatre department, Exit 22. They do four shows a year, two smaller, and two mainstage. Their most recent production was Romeo + Juliet, which just closed this past Saturday.

I thought the show was quite well done–I often think/talk/blog about how we are going to create a new generation of

Photo Credit: Damon Calderwood

theatre-goers, and this show fit that bill quite nicely. It bridged the original Shakespearean text with segments of the actors talking about the play. The actors were what they were–young–and how to address the problem of producing a play that requires older actors when you have none was one of the challenges that they met head-on. It was also sexier and more violent than a lot of Shakespeare I’ve seen. In other words, this was a play by young people, for young people.

The day I went to see it was a weekday matinee, that was mostly populated by high school students. It was a very interesting experience. The students wanted to know if they could take pictures, or video, and when they couldn’t, amused themselves by taking pictures of themselves and their friends at intermission. And they were a little noisy. This, personally, didn’t bother me, but what did concern me was that a critic was in the audience. At one point, he actually got up and shushed them. And his review was more about the noise than the play.

So here’s my question to you: are we trying to put square pegs into round holes? The tradition of theatre is that of a sacred space–and in that space, silence is demanded. For the sake of the performers, and for the sake of fellow audience members. While I do think that it’s important to show respect for others in the audience, I wonder if we are mistaking engagement for rudeness. Is it possible that the audience was engaged in the show, and that their chatting was actually them comparing notes and sharing information about what was going on?

We were watching this piece of theatre that made every effort to meet this audience where they were–their music, their dancing, their footwear. And yet, that audience wasn’t allowed to react to it in a way that they were used to.

Maybe we should have a section of the audience for teen-agers, away from the rest of the crowd. So they can text and twitter and chat without bothering anyone. Maybe we should open up the sacred space, and make it a bit more accessible.

The question I’m asking is this: if young people are the audience of our future, do we need to:

  • train them on proper “theatre etiquette”, and risk losing them because they’ll consider it to be too boring or stuffy?
  • create theatre that is so compelling that they are totally absorbed and engaged?
  • or allow them to do what they are going to do, and look at it as something positive, rather than negative?

I’m really interested to hear what you have to say.

To view some videos (a tool that we are using extensively with Exit 22) of Romeo + Juliet, visit their YouTube Channel.

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