Tag Archives: arts and facebook

Audience development for the arts: TEAMWORK (Or you cannot leave social marketing just to the marketing department)

I hope you had a nice weekend!  After walking a 10k, I wasn’t able to post on Monday, but I will be back on Friday with my typical plucky commentary.

It’s Wednesday, and I have a guest blog post for you as promised.  Today, my friend and colleague, Howard Seth Cohen, submitted a post about social marketing teamwork.  I agree wholeheartedly that social media tasks should not be left to the marketing department alone.  It’s called social media for a reason, right?  Please do give us feedback on how you are conducting your social media for your organization.  What is working for you?  What is not? 

Here are Howard’s thoughts, and I hope you agree too.


TEAMWORK (Or you cannot leave social marketing just to the marketing department)
by Howard Seth Cohen

As arts organizations look to the social web to engage past and future audiences, the one massive misstep they can make is to think that the only way to engage is through an official channel, e.g. a theater company’s Facebook page.

An ‘official’ Facebook page or Twitter account, while important, can get bogged down in two different ways:
1. The posts and shares and activities can be hampered by the illusory need to stay on brand, and a feeling that each post must be precious, perfect, and on point.
2. When you keep your online activity confined to an official channel, you are only speaking to an audience that is already aware of you and your mission.

Your goal on the social web is to interact with new audiences just as much as it is to reinforce your relationships with your current group of supporters.

The social web of today is just like word of mouth marketing used to be before our telephones became portable and morphed into pocket computers. You want to activate a wide swath of supporters to spread your message for you, in attractive bits of snackable content that reach out to new people- potential audience members that are outside of your current social circles.

You cannot control how someone else uses social media, so simply inviting someone to an event, or emailing, or posting to your page’s wall is not sufficient. Posting to social media once is never enough. If your goal is to reach everyone, you must constantly post so that a relevant message is shared on someone’s wall when they choose to be on line.

The best way to do this is to think of your entire staff as a TEAM of promoters…
Keep the ‘carefully thought out on brand message’ for the official page, and then have everyone, from your interns to board members to guest artists to creative team posting regularly.

Train your team to search for and engage with each other’s posts (re-share, like, and comment on them.) This way, you game the Edgerank algorithm into thinking that your content is important enough to share with more people, and become a Top Story.

Your organization has the power to utilize social media to foster growth and create a larger community of like-minded people ready to support your mission. But you cannot forget that the first word in “Social Media” is SOCIAL. Now is the time to engage your entire team in a thoughtful effort to increase your visibility online. Support in joining social networks, and learning how to create effective posts.

Unfortunately, arts organizations are usually overburdened with production duties, and effective, subversive promotions like this that take time and concerted effort to achieve are never implemented. But they should be.

Understanding that you have to be where your audience is should incite action to engage with them on the social networks where they spend their free time. Communication through social media is the norm for your audience’s demographic. If your current attempts are not effective, it does not mean that social media is not the right place to find your audience… It may just mean you have to reassess how you are reaching out to them. Rethink your social engagement priorities to utilize the social networks your staff already has at their fingertips.

When a team works together to expand their reach, the true power of the social web can create word of mouth that consistently drives new eyes to your content, and eventually your productions themselves. [:O)]

Howard Seth Cohen runs Thomas Hampton Reviews, a free service that helps artists and producers create great looking pr tools. He creates social strategies for online promotions as lead consultant at socialservicesLA.


Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

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Audience Development, Peter Gabriel and Orchestras

Last night I went to see one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel.  He is right up there with the Beatles, Sting/The Police, and all my favorite classical music composers.  For this concert tour, Peter Gabriel was being backed by his own orchestra, the New Blood orchestra.  He chose particular songs to have arranged (brilliantly, I will add by John Metcalfe) so the mix was a little more on the mellow side.  There was no “Big Time” or “Sledgehammer,” but instead moving and powerful renditions of “Mercy Street” and “Blood of Eden.”

I’m not here to review the concert per se, although I highly recommend going to see this concert, but I am here to tell you that the crowd was not only hooting and hollering for Peter, they were also very excited about the orchestra.   The orchestra was mainly comprised of  musicians from the local area and the UK.  The conductor, Ben Foster, looked very young, but was extremely polished. These musicians played with such passion and conviction that you couldn’t help cheer them on.

I have no idea if other people in this audience were orchestral fans or as big of a Peter Gabriel fan as I am, but the audience was right there with me in acknowledging powerfully performed music.

Aside from the high quality content of this concert, the execution was audience friendly.  Peter told stories of how a song came into fruition to lead into the music.  Having a better understanding of the song led to a deeper enjoyment of the music.  He was gracious in always giving nods to his fellow musicians, and he definitely seemed to being having a wonderful time, always adding his personal theatrical flair.

Of course Peter couldn’t help adding a multi-media show with video images on a finely meshed backdrop.  It served as a curtain for the orchestra as well.  He is a highly creative individual that has to share the many sides of his artistry.  The video shared the many sides of the music, including the performers themselves.

Even when it rained, perhaps due to his heavy choice of water image songs, the crowd continued to be enthralled the entire time.  I was getting bathed and soaked in both rain and wondrous music.   This means that despite the set backs of the venue or any happenstance, there was no way the audience was budging from this amazing night.

Now back to the orchestra.  There has been a trend with musicians wanting to go on tour with an orchestra, and I do not see this trend letting up.  Just today I saw another article Deep Purple Guitarist Talks North American Orchestral Tour.  There is a draw for musicians to spread their wings, and working with an orchestra can provide a new outlet for their music.  This has many advantages for the orchestra world if they are smart enough to see these advantages.

First, there are new audiences being introduced to the sounds of an orchestra in a format that is already pleasing to them, a rock concert.  The audience usually ends up cheering on the orchestra as well as the main artist.  Some of the audience will take a liking to how an orchestra sounds and seek out recordings and concerts in the future.  Here is the biggest advantage, if you are an orchestra in the area and happen to have one of these types of concerts in town, you better believe I recommend finding a way to reach this new audience.

Our local theatre performance center had a chat session during the Tonys.  I can envision local orchestras equally latching on to this opportunity by hosting Twitter chats or Facebook posts, etc.  Or, perhaps finding a way for the venue or artist to mention going to see a performance of a local orchestra.  If there is a will, there is a way.

Also, if there are local musicians performing, like there were on this concert, find a way to connect with them.  Perhaps they can be personality advocates for the orchestras in the area and reach the audience by tweeting what is it like to perform with someone like Peter Gabriel.  There are people in the audience that would enjoy getting this backstage perspective.

Lastly, I would recommend attending one of these events yourself and take notes as to how the concert is executed.  The orchestra world can learn a great deal from one of these concerts, as aforementioned.  Would it really hinder us to program new and interesting music that an audience can relate to and get excited about, and allow them to applaud when highly moved after a solo?  Mozart enjoyed it.

New audiences such as the ones that attend these types of concerts are ready and waiting if we find ways to reach them, but we must make the effort to reach them.  We could stand to shed our high orchestral ideals and learn from the world around us, even if it is outside of our genre.  Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra put on a concert that could teach us many lessons that are vastly needing to be learned.

If you would like a real review of the concert, click here! 

Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra recording Digging In The Dirt at Air from York Tillyer on Vimeo.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Announcing Audience Development Media – ADS and Rosebrook Classical partner

After several conversations with David Weuste of Rosebrook Classical and seeing the work that we both have accomplished, we realized that a partnership would be a fantastic addition for both of us.

Rosebrook Classical offers services that support artists and arts organizations in setting up anything and everything involved in social and digital media.  David has the know how and can teach you or give you hands on support to get you ready to attract your new 21st Century audience.

Audience Development Specialists (ADS)  helps artists and arts organizations build a quality audience.  We help define who you are so you can find the exact audience that will fit with your art.  We teach you how to attract, obtain, and keep your audiences as well as how to get your audiences more involved to help support you.

If you add Audience Development Specialists plus Rosebrook Classical, it equals Audience Development Media.  We give you the means to create the social and digital platforms you need to reach new audiences as well as the knowledge on how to build your audiences.

If you have questions on how to set up a social media or digital media platform and then what to do to engage your new audience and attract more audiences, contact us for more information about Audience Development Media.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Arts Advocacy Day! Do it for Mozart! Twitter and Facebook Instructions…

It’s time to take action!  I ask you to lend your voice by writing a letter and then posting on Twitter and Facebook that you took action.  Let’s make some noise today!  I am dedicating this arts advocacy day to Mozart.  In order to find our next Mozarts in this world, we need to support and fund the arts.  (Happy Birthday Mozart!)

I am asking that each of us write at least one letter (or tweet) today. The letter can be very simple:

Dear  _________,

I am writing to let you know that I support the arts.  The arts contribute in a variety of ways to our society.  The reason I personally support the arts ________________________.  Please do not cut funding for the arts and consider that funding the arts fully will be investing in all of our futures.  A world without the arts would be very dismal.  We would no longer have creative thinkers or something worthwhile to live for.  Investing in the arts is smart since you will see a return on your investment!

Thank you for your consideration.


City, State (Country)

This is a sample letter.  I encourage you to write your own in your own words.  Tell these people why the arts are important to you!

If you are writing the media – please instead ask them for more coverage of the arts and tell them why the arts are important to you.  More coverage of the arts will bring more awareness for the arts, and the arts need our support right now due to proposed budget cuts.  Etc.

Here are the instructions:


  1. Write to your Representative: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  2. Write to your Senator: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  3. Write to your local media:

4. Write a tweet! You can use your zip code to find out if your representative or senator is on Twitter: http://www.tweetcongress.org/

If on Twitter:

Example of tweet:

#Artsadvoc Dear @SenBennetCO I am tweeting to show I support the arts. Please continue to fund the arts. We need the arts! TY, Boulder, CO

If you wrote a letter – please send a tweet saying #Artsadvoc State who you wrote to.

Example: #Artsadvoc CO, Bennet – I support the #arts http://bit.ly/gBuxAw

This will  help us to keep track.

5. If on Facebook: change your status to be: I support the arts and wrote a letter to __________ today!  You can too: http://bit.ly/gBuxAw

Post a comment on this blog stating your state and who you wrote to.

For Outside of US:

Newspapers (see Worldwide section): http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html

Television: (see Worldwide News Sites section) http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html

Radio: Use Radio-Locator: http://www.radio-locator.com/


Please follow the same Twitter and Facebook instructions to broadcast your support, but please comment on this blog:
Country and who you sent your letter to.

Thank you for writing your letter today!  Please feel free to comment on this blog as well.  This is the first time for this grassroots effort, and I welcome opinions for future efforts.

It is time to have a stronger voice in support for the arts. Lend your voice!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists


“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Audience Development Tweets for 2009 – Tweeples Choice Awards?

So, the Tweeples Choice Awards didn’t work out so well.  I only had two votes on last weeks polls, not worth it.  For the rest of the categories, I’m simply going to pick the Audience Development Specialists Awards since we are all busy people.  The last two categories were:

Best Use of Mainstream 2009

  • Lively & Looney Pop entertainment crosses over with classical fare in Bugs Bunny on Broadway http://bit.ly/Bv8xh
  • Audience Development genius of the day: Chicago Museum of Science and Industry “Harry Potter” works wonders http://tinyurl.com/lq6skk

The ADS Award goes to: Star Wars: In Concert’: a coda with Yoda!  From L.A. to Chicago, this concert gave the GenX generation a chance to share with their children the joy of Star Wars and the joy of the orchestra all at the same time.  In our constant pursuit of getting GenX more involved, this was a great idea.

and now for Best Arts Advocate 2009

  • (Gustavo Dudamel) In case you missed this :O)…Hollywood Swoons Over That Hair, That Baton http://bit.ly/1lXiQM
  • (Michael Kaiser) Kennedy Center chief  says great art is key to weathering crisis http://bit.ly/35eWF

As if you didn’t see it coming, the ADS Award goes to: Michael Kaiser.  It seemed like there wasn’t a week that went by where Kaiser was not in the papers.  Traveling from city to city to spread his word on how to save the arts from crisis, he also brought awareness of the arts to many that weren’t aware before.  Although I am still waiting for the documentary and the book, we at least had his blog posts at the Huffington Post to guide us regularly with his thoughts.

The next category is Best Use of Technology and Social Media. There were so many good ones.  Here is the list I found:

I will need to think about this one today.  If you have any comments to help me make a decision, I could use your input!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
Facebook/twitter /E-mazing Newsletter /Blog

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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