How Arts and Cultural Organizations are Building Global Audiences Online

By Sam Milbrath | 1 year ago | No Comments

Since the onset of social media, international professional ballet companies are constantly engaging with and entertaining their audience, both on and offstage. We connected with San Francisco Ballet and Scottish Ballet to discuss how they’re engaging with fans and promoting performances by sharing behind-the-scenes, rich media and insider scoops to their global audiences across social media.

San Francisco Ballet ~ Nation’s Oldest Ballet Company Turns Digital

Photo of the San Francisco Ballet by
Photo from the San Francisco Ballet.

Founded in 1933, San Francisco Ballet is America’s oldest professional ballet company and one of the three largest in the United States. They’ve achieved an international reputation as one of the world’s best dance companies, while enjoying a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts,” including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. With a Company of over 70 dancers, they perform more than 100 shows annually both locally and internationally, from new interpretations of classic full-length productions to works by some of today’s most innovative choreographers.

As a performing arts institution, San Francisco Ballet’s audience is their lifeblood, social media plays a very important role in how they connect and engage with them.

HootSuite: How is San Francisco Ballet using social media?

Carly Severn, Digital Engagement Associate, SF Ballet: By offering added value to our online audiences, social media enables us to engage and nurture our existing fans, while expanding into new audience bases. In particular, social allows us to offer exclusive behind-the-scenes content, from Instagram photos and Vines, to backstage blog posts from our dancers.

We tailor our tone and our content to the social platform we’re using—our Facebook audience is our largest collective online fanbase at almost 160,000 fans, but we also have successful presences on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Vine and Spotify. These platforms allow us to connect our fans to our day-to-day life here at SF Ballet and to our dancers, in real-time—even when we’re on tour. Building our local fanbase is crucial, but as an internally diverse company that travels, targeting our content helps us strategically build out both national and international audiences.

Our mission is to share the joy of dance with the broadest audience possible. We encourage our audience to engage with our content, which often leads to reaching people who haven’t been to a ballet performance or touched by dance before. The more fun, appealing and diverse our content is, the more likely that it gets shared across new audiences. To support that strategy, we frequently offer exclusive discounts and promotions to our followers, both newbies and enthusiasts alike.

HS: How does HootSuite help with your brand’s social media management?

CS: HootSuite allows us to be a good listener—to track and monitor conversations around us and dance in general. It’s no fun hanging out with someone who constantly talks about themselves, so it’s important that we share other content on ballet, dance and other related circles like art, music, design, fashion and film. We want to spark conversation and debate among our online audiences, so we’re constantly asking questions, soliciting their opinions and drawing on their own expertise and passions.

HootSuite streams and lists let us keep up with these conversations in real time. HootSuite’s practical functions—being able to apply custom URL parameters and analytics tracking to our web links, or schedule our posts—let us join the conversation in the most effective and efficient way possible, and track the success of those interactions.

Scottish Ballet ~ Scotland’s National Ballet Company Builds Audience On and Offstage

Scotland’s national dance company, Scottish Ballet, presents a wide range of dance performances to audiences across the UK and worldwide – touring as far as Hong Kong and the United States. The Scottish Ballet focuses heavily on giving their audiences an experience that they’ll never forget. From becoming the first dance company in Europe to offer live audio description for their performances, to providing education initiatives and dance classes, they are constantly evolving and offering more to fans.

Capturing a global audience both onstage and online, here’s what Scottish Ballet is doing on social media.

HootSuite: What is Scottish Ballet doing on social media?

Christina Riley, Marketing and Communications Editor, Scottish Ballet: We’re very active on social media; we want our audiences to get involved and become a part of the Company by coming behind-the-scenes through social media. We connect with our international audience and share mixed media across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and even YouTube and Vimeo to showcase our films.

Social media helps us connect fans with the dancers, giving fans deeper insight into their talent and day-to-day lives. It’s important to showcase our dancers as the fascinating and incredibly talented people that they are, while making them approachable to fans – social media makes all of this possible.

HootSuite: How does HootSuite help with your brand’s social media management?

CR: HootSuite is incredibly helpful for our social media management. Being able to schedule posts in advance is a lifesaver when things get hectic. I also love getting ‘Click Reports’ from our Twitter links, because they let us know what our followers find engaging and ultimately what we should be posting more of.

Thank you San Francisco Ballet and Scottish Ballet for participating!

To keep your business’ audience entertained, a powerful social relationship tool is required to manage and schedule your social marketing ahead of time and live share rich media performances on the fly.

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2 comments
Elyse Meyer
Elyse Meyer

Thank you for the great post!  It is fabulous to see how arts and culture groups are utilizing social media to develop their audience.