Five random social media things to do for arts organizations

I had the privilege of speaking at some conferences this year. No matter where I go, people are always asking for case studies, best practices and examples. I can talk about strategy and objectives all I want, but I notice people get most excited about that little tidbit of information that points to something concrete.

I admit, it’s somewhat frustrating. It feels like spelling things out. And why the emphasis on small details when the big picture is often lacking? Besides, we’re in a creative industry, can’t we think of our own innovations and come up with ideas that work for us, rather than copying ideas from case studies?

On the other hand, good ideas are out there. Why should we not use them and make them our own? After all, it was #askacurator that inspired Lacey and me to start askthemusicians.com.

In that spirit, here are five small ideas that can make a big impact if you put them to good use.

1. Don’t publish your news release and marketing copy headlines on Twitter. Use your Twitter account for meaningful interaction. Want to sell tickets? Why not start another account for the hottest deals on your concerts. Take a page from Dell’s book: “Dell Outlet has booked more than $3 million in revenue attributable to its Twitter posts.” Find them at @delloutlet.

2. Optimize your site for Facebook sharing. Sure, you’re using the “like it” button, or the “share this on Facebook” icon. But how does it show up on their pages? St. Louis Symphony’s Dale Fisher has some tips on how to control what shows up.

3. Track your campaigns with Google URL Builder. I’ve been using this amazing tool for a couple of months now. Before, traffic from an e-mail marketing message would be categorized in Google Analytics under “Direct Traffic” because the e-mails would be opened from Outlook and other e-mail clients and open a new browser window or tab. This category is too broad to get usable data. Adding a simple line of code to track individual elements is tremendously helpful. The Technology in the Arts blog has more.

4. Facebook keeps rolling out new features. You’ve maybe heard about Facebook Places? Well, I’ll let John Haydon explain it to you. Got it? Okay, now that you’ve set up your nonprofit on Places, let’s move to the next step: Facebook Deals. Once again, I’ll let John Haydon explain it to you.

5. Mobile is increasingly important. A little while ago, theater social media maven Devon Smith and I wrote an article for the wonderfully collaborative 2AMt blog about the uses for QR codes. Well, it turns out that Vancouver Opera had already put their plans in motion. Read about their use of those little square barcodes here.

I have been struggling to find a workable way of capturing these kinds of tidbits. I have a much-neglected Delicious account, but I can’t seem to turn that into something useful for me. Perhaps I can start posting little blurbs on this blog, but that might get too much. Then it dawned on me that I should maybe be using Tumblr. I know I’m late to that game, but here is Dutch Perspective on Tumblr.

Does anyone have a good method of storing and publishing interesting tidbits? Other than Twitter, of course.

p.s. Don’t forget to check in on askthemusicians.com!

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