As a quick overview, I’ve spent the past 12 years buried in the entertainment industry, and when I saw the lack of material available for how to successfully market a theatre production, I felt I could help and decided to create my own series of blog posts with tips, inspiration and ideas.
Now that you have your team in place and your website built, the next step is to create and manage your theatre production’s social media accounts. Some of you may think this is easy (after all we’ve all been on Facebook for years) but it takes commitment, time and a deep understanding of how each network operates to be successful.
First we’ll go over your production’s Facebook page, below are some suggestions on what should be on it and best practices:
Get A Vanity URL: When you first create a Facebook page it’ll look something like this: www.facebook.com/pages/u7sy6544999uikxx?.
Vanity URL’s were created to make it easier for Facebook users to identify their profile and share with others. As a public figure, business or brand with a Page on Facebook, your username should be straightforward and easy to remember.
Have A Correctly Sized Cover Photo & Page Logo: This is important in order to prevent your cover photo and logo from being fuzzy or misaligned. Facebook lists the exact dimensions HERE
If you need inspiration, I’ve found a bunch of awesome examples and unique design ideas in this article from Canva
Add Production Info: Just like we did for your website, you’ll want to add your production’s info in the page ‘About’ section. A basic version should include your website URL, dates & times of shows and links to tickets.
Add Media: Facebook changes their algorithm frequently, and even popular pages have a hard time getting their posts to show up in people’s feeds. Facebook has actually said that their algorithm shares posts with photos or videos more often, so add media to every post. This not only makes it more visually appearing for your audience but it’ll help it from being lost in the Facebook universe.
Share & Tag Posts: Make sure every member of your cast and crew are sharing your production’s Facebook posts. This will increase their reach and help them get more interaction.
Tagging your cast and crew in posts related to them will also ensure they are aware of the post, with it generally showing up on their Facebook profile (unless they have timeline moderation turned on) this will help your audience discover who’s behind the production and allow them to connect.
Use Photo Albums: As mentioned, Facebook loves photos, so make use of your page’s photo album feature. Facebook recently released a new feature allowing you to add posts and other media to albums allowing you to get creative in what you choose to put in. Some ideas off the top of my head: rehearsal photos/videos, cast and crew introductions, promo/media shots etc
(Advanced) Use Sponsored Facebook Posts: If you’ve figured out all of the above easy and are wanting to do something more advanced, then I’d suggest looking into Facebook advertising. It’s relatively simple, and you’ll learn about boosting posts and creating ads. Just make sure to have a credit or debit card handy.
Now that we’ve got Facebook covered, let’s go over Twitter quickly since it has its own unique rules and use cases.
Add Media: Like Facebook, Twitter loves media. So add photos, videos or gifs to your posts to increase interaction and visibility. Media no longer takes up 25 characters, so you can still have your tweet with 140 characters and add a photo or video.
Re-tweet: This is one of Twitter’s most important features and it should be used a lot. Re-tweet good press reviews and interviews, tweets from the cast and crew, tweets by the event or festival you’re part of and tweets by your sponsors. The more a tweet gets re-tweeted the more it’s seen and the more interaction it will create.
Reply/Quote Tweet: I like using the quote tweet feature more than reply, but both are great for reaching out and saying thank-you to the media who have covered your production and to the people who came to your show. If the audience tweets at you saying they loved your show, make sure to reply back. Make sure to ask the same of your cast and crew. Again, the more tweets, re-tweets, replies etc, the more visibility you’ll get on Twitter.
Always Use Hashtags: Hashtags are important, it’s a way for people to find the latest and top tweets related to that subject. For example, if you’re part of Toronto Fringe then make sure to use their hashtag of #FringeTO at the end of every tweet.
I’d recommend having a specific hashtag for your play, this will help both you and your audience find the latest news, tweets and media related to your production. Try and keep it short as it counts as part of your 140 character limit.
Although hashtags are important they shouldn’t be used for trolling or spam, and Twitter generally recommends no more than 3 in a tweet. You should also check to make sure the hashtag you’re using hasn’t been used for something inappropriate and is spelled correctly.
Follow Other People: Follow every media outlet, blogger and theatre lover you come across. They will get a notification that you’re following them, which could lead them to viewing your Twitter profile, website etc. Also, this will increase your Twitter followers as many users often follow back.
A good way to find users to follow who are already interested in your production or festival is to search with the hashtag. For example doing a search for #FringeTO and following other people tweeting about it.
Don’t Spam Or Ask For Coverage: I can’t stress this enough. As someone who works in entertainment, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. Don’t tag a bunch of people in your tweets who have nothing to do with your production. Don’t tweet at every media outlet asking for an interview or coverage, and don’t send out the same tweet over and over again without tweeting other content in-between. This is the fastest way to annoy everyone on Twitter and get yourself blocked and possibly banned, trust me.
Have A Correctly Sized Cover Photo & Page Logo: Same rules apply for Twitter as they do for Facebook. Make sure your branding is the same, it’s correctly sized and looks good.
If you need Twitter cover inspiration check out this blog by Hubspot.
Add Website Info and Bio: Just like we did for Facebook, make sure to add your website URL and a short bio and profile image to your Twitter account.
Other Ideas: If you have Facebook and Twitter down, and are looking for something more advanced then I’d suggest the following:
Instagram: It’s perfect for sharing photos, short videos, gifs and stories. Again the hashtags are important.
Snapchat: Similar to Instagram you share quick photos, videos and ‘snaps’. It’s also pretty easy to make a Geo filter specific to your production, so your audience could snap while waiting in line or during intermission.
Pinterest: If you’re going to use Pinterest, then create boards for specific things related (or loosely related) to your production. Some ideas: audition songs, audition tips, rehearsal must-haves, female monologues, male monologues, music, prop or set inspiration, costume inspiration
I’m sure there are a bunch of other social networks we didn’t cover but this should get you started, and will take up a lot of your time as is. Our next post will go over some creative outreach and the marketing materials you should have.
Have questions? Thoughts? Comment below!