We all know that many things are easier said than done. This is definitely true for social media. For a lot of us it’s easy to understand that when you tweet or post a lot of content online it is more likely that you will receive a larger following and more feedback along the way. However, finding the time and energy to commit to social media is definitely one of those things that is easier said than done. I feel that many artists spend a lot of time thinking about their art but not always how they are going to find an audience for it. There is no problem with that, except that they are most likely failing to reach a potential audience!

I have noticed that many smaller dance companies and arts organizations choose to spread the responsibilities for social media posts among several employees that are high up in the company. Many others also rely on interns to take care of social media updates. Whomever is updating your social media presence should know without a doubt what your company is all about and who it is that you’re trying to communicate with. This voice should stay consistent for a period of time as your online audience will gradually get to know the so-called “voice” of your company.

The truth is, it’s not enough to simply post a a few pictures here and an event there. It is important to actively participate in conversation online in order to engage your audience in what you’re doing. I hope that this list helps you engage in social media in a way that fits into the busy schedule at your organization. Covering one step one at a time should make it easier to move to a place where you feel comfortable updating several times per day in a way that elicits response from your audience. Please let me know if you have any questions!

1. Commit to a platform (or five). Kiner Enterprises Inc. recommends that dance studios should maintain 5 social media platforms including a blog, monthly e-newsletter, Facebook fan page, Twitter page, and YouTube channel. I think that this list can be applied to almost any dance company or arts organization as well. While this list may be daunting, it is important to figure out which social media platforms your company can realistically commit to on a regular basis. Remember that some content is better than no content, but the more you find time to engage, the more feedback you will receive.

2. Plan. Who are you trying to communicate with? What do you want the world to know about your organization that they can’t find out simply by attending a performance? Be sure that everyone that contributes to your company’s online presence knows the answers to these questions.

3. Communicate. Begin an online relationship with people, businesses, and press that your organization already has a personal relationship with. Let everyone know who you affiliate with in the “real world.” Take an hour or two to visit the websites of your favorites and make a few Google searches to find their social media pages.

4. Advertise. Make sure that your current audience is well aware of your online presence. Include links to your social media pages on your website, in your newsletters, and add some advertising in your facilities so that everyone that enters will know that they can potentially speak with you on the world wide web! Commit part of one work day to check this off your list.

5. Log on. Know how and when you will be able to access social media everyday. As I have said before, you may want to invest in a smart phone so that you can post whatever you want wherever you are. This may be the most difficult part of this list but it’s also the most important.

6. Communicate and respond. Find and reach out to the community online that aligns with your company’s field of interest. Respond when someone mentions you and do your best to start a conversation relating to the body of work that your company is currently focusing on. Again, to be sure you can access your social media accounts as frequently as possible!

7. Track your feedback. Once you have been updating for a few months, you should have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. How many people are sharing your content? What pieces are they sharing? Pay attention and make notes!

7. If that doesn’t work, Ask for help. There are people all over the internet (such as myself, ahem…) who are willing to help if you begin to feel overwhelmed by social media. Have you ever thought of hiring an intern? There are students and graduates all over the country who are hungry to learn more and apply their knowledge of social media.

What do you do to find the time to maintain your online presence? What are some of your favorite arts organizations to follow online? Why?