2014 production of the Cole Porter musical "Kiss Me Kate"

Arts Organizations and Social Media: Collaborators or Competitors?

All non-profit organizations using social media share at least one goal: using these platforms to both reach and amplify their audience.

Whether you’re looking to increase awareness of your mission, gather signatures for a petition or drive online revenue — donations, tickets, sponsorships, memberships — the more people you reach, the better.

This goal becomes complicated when your audience largely overlaps with (or is possibly even the same as) other organizations that share your mission.

It’s especially complicated for arts organizations whose audience is usually geographically constrained as well. The pie being sliced is an even smaller one.

So how should arts organizations interact with one another in social media?

If you follow other arts organizations, even share their messages, are you sending potential ticket-buyers away to a competitor, or does amplifying the arts community overall grow the base of customers for everyone?

Chad Bauman, director of marketing and membership for the Smithsonian Associates, and formerly of DC’s Arena Stage Theater, has addressed these questions in posts both on his own blog (here and here) and for DC Theatre Scene.

In them, he argues for a collaborative effort for DC’s theater arts community in both production efforts and in marketing.

As he points out, it is only to the benefit of theaters to work together to expand the pool of audiences. More theatergoers overall means not only more individual ticket sales but more potential season subscribers, a theater’s most valuable customer.

[Photo credit: Monomoy Theatre Photo GalPal, Flickr Creative Commons]

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