Anyone you know like ads? No. They’re the cackling crows getting between you and what you’re after. They’re uninvited, unwelcome, and we do whatever we can to swat them away. So why is my social media packed with ads for the arts? What’s the point?
Every arts organization does social media. But much of it is essentially self-serving product promotion. “Catch this show…” “This awesome artist is coming…” “We just had a rehearsal and it was incredible…” “See our fascinating behind-the-scenes process…”
What value does this really offer? This kind of Tweeting or Facebooking is bazaar (sorry) – as in laying out your goods on the racks of the local market and waiting for passersby to stop and inspect. Fine if the passersby are in a shopping mood and trust you. Mostly valueless if not. Artists who are on social media advertising their every little activity quickly grow tedious (and tuned out).
You’re doing incredible work. You want to get the word out. But is this the way? Big brands are finding that laying-out-your-wares type of advertising is less and less effective:
It is getting more and more difficult for brands to get their voices heard amidst the noise. People are reaching a saturation point where only so much content can be consumed, liked, or shared. At the same time, turning up the volume by increasing content production does not seem to be the answer, according to the report.
So why do it?
Instead of thinking of social media as a way to “get the word out,” or an add-on to what you really do, how about thinking of it as a way to talk about your aesthetic, to define your aesthetic, to provide value to those who choose to engage with you? As opposed to self-serving advertising.
The fastest growing category on YouTube is how-to videos:
Searches related to “how to” on YouTube are growing 70% year over year, and more than 100M hours of how-to content have been watched in North America so far this year. The most popular how-to educational searches show a range of interests—from the practical (“how to tie a tie”) to the creative (“how to draw”), from style (“how to curl your hair with a straightener”) to cuisine (“how to make a cake”). And although we see these searches across age groups, it’s most pronounced among millennials. In fact, 67% of millennials agree that they can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn.
Sites like Houzz are hugely successful by creating massive communities of people – in this case of people looking to redecorate their homes – by using what visitors share to help other people hone their aesthetic. Members of the Houzz community get better (and make Houzz more useful) just by using it.
One last example. In the past year, sportswear companies have all bought their way into the fitness app business. Asics just bought Runkeeper and its 45 million users for $85 million.
Runkeeper is one of a number of fitness platforms that have been picked up by sports clothing makers in recent times. Indeed, today’s news comes six months after fellow fitness app Runtastic was snapped up by Adidas for $239 million, while American sports clothing company Under Armour bought MyFitnessPal and Endomondo — two massive fitness platforms — for $560 million, a year ago this month.
Companies have discovered that:
The big takeaway here is that social collateral is key. When brands make community involvement part of the process to engage and motivate customers; when they can converse with, and see how they stack up against, others, people are more likely to stick with a program.
So what would how-to arts social media look like? Next post.