Promoting Theatrical Production through Social Media
A common issue theater companies encounter when producing a new show is lack of enough promotional funds after taking care of overheads and payments. Unfortunately, there is not enough money left to launch a campaign for their new show on a scale as big as the movies.
What is the best way to kick off a much-needed campaign then? Social Media, of course! A Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and bam – you are on board with your campaign! You can go viral and promote your new offering to its fullest in no time if you use this extremely powerful marketing tool effectively.
Here are a few strategies on how to use the social media to reach out to the potential audience.
Create a new and exclusive page /account for your new venture. You can highlight it on your official and group page/ account too. Creating a dedicated page and involving the existing and new followers will generate the much-needed pre-release buzz. Remember, it costs you absolutely nothing to construct these pages or open up a new account. So just go for it! Use these tools to tell all about your new show through teasers, trailers, cast listing and other information you would traditionally use to market it. Besides, you don’t have to share the space with any rival show or production. It is all about you and your show.
On a platform like Facebook, make your page visually very appealing. The first impression says it all. Upload impactful clips as trailers and teasers on your fan page and YouTube channel. Behind-the-scenes videos, bloopers and interviews of leads also go down well with the audience. Pictures, pictures, pictures – pictures of previously successful plays, full houses and success bashes also lure viewers. It builds an impression that your new offering will be just as interesting. On platforms like Twitter, make sure that you have a catchy tagline to promote your show. For instance, the oft-repeated ‘Romeo and Juliet’ might grab more eyeballs if you rephrase it as ‘Capulets and Montague: Forbidden Love’. Be sure to list a one-line description of your show, the most popular characters and a positive feedback about an advance showing. Often tweets with Instagram feeds and pictures are retweeted more. Be sure that hashtags precede your keywords.Get your cast and crew to link up their fan pages and accounts to your page. This gives you a tremendous boost to get your campaign out to their followers and fans.
Involve your followers and audience more on your show’s page/account. Opinion polls, trivia quizzes about the cast and play and online contests with free tickets as prizes can effectively garner more audience turnout on the actual day of staging. Retweeting interesting comments of fans can be very gratifying to them. Making them a significant part of the whole promotion process is the best way to connect with them.
Start following your rivals and contemporaries on social media through your new production’s page/account. The thumb rule on social media is that the more you follow, the more you will be followed. They can end up following your targeted page/account and can open you up to their audience - a huge marketing opportunity here. Allow them constructive criticism, suggestions and feedback. Compliment them on their recent work and give them shout-outs on your page/account. Mutual networking has always carried forward word-of-mouth propaganda which every theatre group relies on so heavily.
Sometimes, the biggest hurdle some theatrical groups encounter on social media is their own snootiness. The accessibility of their twitter accounts, Facebook pages or other social groups is exclusively for theatre aficionados. Theatre groups form water-tight coteries on social media and often shut out potential aspirants, critics and a larger audience by not responding to their requests for joining the group. Make your pages and accounts more accessible to the masses who want to reach out to you. An interested mass audience might not know the nitty-gritties of a theatrical production but they make up for their lack of knowledge with their numbers. Use these platforms to educate and hold captive, a diaspora other than theatre lovers. Be welcoming and get them interested in your production instead of rebuffing them for lack of theatrical knowledge. They are the ones who can get you what you want if they decide to SHOW UP.
Effective promotion of any production on a shoe-string budget need not necessarily mean a money-based campaign. Social media, if used optimally and creatively, is the best promotional tool to rapidly spread the word out and ensure a mega-successful show.