Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Don’t Social Media Unless You Know Social Media

Colleen Dilenschneider calls out arts organizations in her latest article, “Why Using Social Media For The Sake of Using Social Media Hurts Organizations.” She describes that an organization who jumps on the social media bandwagon without thinking strategically can self harm because they are really just wasting time. The article is great because it outlines key factors in how to better an org’s use of social media.

She insists that a digital initiative, although increasingly necessary, should not be carried out unless we know what it will accomplish. Determining what it can accomplish can be aided by the following questions provided by Dilenschneider in her article:

  1. Who will this initiative serve/who do we want it to serve?
  2. What do we want this audience to do in the near and long-terms?
  3. How does this initiative help us achieve our stated goals?
  4. “So what?” Or rather, what is the reason why this audience would be interested in this initiative? How is it relevant to them?
  5. What need does this initiative help serve?
  6. How will we capitalize on gains from this initiative with this audience (i.e. what will be the next step in the engagement process for them)?
  7. Does this initiative have value to our desired audience?

Without understanding how to properly integrate social media in a way that will be effective, your organization could just be wasting resources. Don’t let an employee waste time running a worthless social media campaign. Executives will begin to think social media has no value making a social media buy in/commitment even harder in the long run. By the time you figure out how to use Twitter, your exec will already believe that it’s worthless.

The bottom line here is: Don’t waste time, money, and energy on social media unless you know how to implement it strategically. If you don’t know how to do that, figure it out because social media is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity.

This article was important to me because my favorite theater has an abysmal social media presence! One time they just tweeted a link to a Facebook post with zero explanation. Usually they can’t even type a Twitter post with less than 140 characters so everything ends in “…” Check it out for yourself:


5 comments on “Don’t Social Media Unless You Know Social Media

  1. hshambroom
    November 12, 2014

    I totally agree with this article – I feel like a lot of arts organizations today are jumping on the social media bandwagon just because they feel they SHOULD have a “presence” without really thinking about why or how they would use it. Social media can be a great tool, especially in marketing, as accounts through most sites are free and reach a large amount of people. But if it’s used just to be used there exists a danger of annoying the very people you are trying to reach.

    Another issue the article doesn’t really cover is WHO your organization reaches. One danger I’ve observed in social media, especially with public accounts that organizations usually have, is that anyone, even really crazy irrational people, can choose to interact with you. I once worked a museum with a Facebook presence, and any time our Social Media Director posted anything, this one completely crazy guy would comment on it, usually making absolutely no sense. But because of his reaction to a post, other people would react to him, and suddenly one crazy person’s comment would be a catalyst for lots and lots of other crazy people. With organizations, it’s not just their own social media presence that they have to consider and be careful with, but the way the public interacts with that presence as well.

  2. evanjsanderson
    November 12, 2014

    Great article! I think a lot of comes down to the twisting of a platform originally meant for college kids to rate how “hot or not” co-eds on campus were into a marketing content delivery system. You ever see the movie Facebook? That was the start of social media, really. Young people trying to hook up. That transitioned into everyone in the world trying to tell their story to everyone else, at all times of the day, forever. And now the various social media tools have been (justifiably) co-opted by big organizations to reach people where they are. The same rules apply for using social media as business and in your personal life, but the stakes are higher. If you post a constant stream of superfluous, dumb, #blessed pictures, people are gonna ignore you. If you post a few, interesting, beautiful pictures every once in a while that let people into your life in a genuine way, well, I would say you’re gonna have more people commenting on your stuff.

    As for people, so for businesses.

  3. jaredchamoff
    November 14, 2014

    Great article AJO! I think it is definitely true that if an arts organization doesn’t know what its doing on social media, then they shouldn’t waste their time. The best uses of social media by arts organizations I’ve seen are all about engagement, rather than advertisement. The content is interesting and fun, giving the viewers a general sense of what the organization is about, while also not being overbearing with promotion. This creates a nice relationship between the organization and the viewers that could eventually grow into one where viewers actually go to an organizational event.

  4. Jenni
    November 14, 2014

    This is great. I also think it’s important for an organization to have a unified voice when it comes to social media. They should decide if they want to be formal or informal, and one person should really be in charge of the account.

  5. sarasps85
    November 14, 2014

    Nice AmyJo!!t reminded me of Michael Mael yesterday saying that he was ashamed of the website page of WNO. It´s not social media…but it touches also a sensitive aspect. Do not just do a website because you need to, a poor online presence can damage the overall image of the institution.
    Regarding social media, if I had to find a solution I would follow good examples and definetly have someone with humour taking care of the account.

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