Nice appearance by members of the symphony at the local mall. I like that they are playing from memory. Feels more organic, though no doubt well 'orchestrated'....
Nice appearance by members of the symphony at the local mall. I like that they are playing from memory. Feels more organic, though no doubt well 'orchestrated'....
I was curious myself, and so did a little google search and found that this link would list the NPO's in order of number of fans (mostly in order). Then I wondered about which arts groups have the most fans. Maybe there is an easier way, but I found myself clicking 'next' for page after page, sort of like putting nickels into a slot machine.... who was going to win. It was addictive.
I think the first arts group showed up on page 76 of the search in the Non-Profit category. It occurred to me that some fan pages got started before the 'non-profit' option was set up, and others might simply have chosen other ways to describe themselves.
So I did further searches, on 'orchestra', 'symphony', 'museums' and finally 'places'
....and the Unofficial results are in!
Fans as of 11:30 PM Nov 20, 2009 (I know I should have been sleeping not clicking)
Museum of Modern Art 190,421 (WOW!)
Metropolitan Museum Art 89,896
Le Louvre 58,071
Design Museum 49,405
Monterey Bay Aquarium 36,880
Art Institute Chicago 23,650
City Museum of St. Louis 22,948
Tennessee Aquarium 21,370
Salvidor Dali Museum 17,134
Victoria & Albert 16,867
MFA, Boston 12,140
Amer Museum Natural History 11,941
Louisiana Museum Modern Art 11,720
Brooklyn Museum 9,485
Children's Museum 9,010
Metropolitan Opera 26,142
Berlin Philharmonic 23,835
Sydney Opera House 20,010
Royal Opera House 18,115
Chicago Symphony 14,107
New York Philharmonic 12,292
New York City Ballet 10,301
London Symphony 9,298
Stratford Shakespeare 8,892
Oregon Shakespeare 8,462
Vienna Philharmonic 5,078
Boston Symphony 4,870
San Francisco Symphony 4,073
There is a good possibility I may have missed someone, as I was getting a bit click happy, but interesting results never-the-less.
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
I can see that I have my next interviews lining up - lots of questions to ask.
What other questions should I ask when I interview all these amazing people in these orgs?
PS - Great post from Geoff Livingston about "What 100K followers [fans] gets you".
In the meanwhile we have one little baseline stat for the arts. Where do you fit in?
Posted at 01:39 PM in Beth Kanter, Boston Symphony, Brooklyn Museum, FaceBook, metropolitan opera, MoMA, museum, Music, nptarts, NYPHIL, opera, orchestra, performing arts, SF Symphony, social media, V&A | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: facebook, museum, nptarts, orchestra, social media, stats, symphony
Do you have a strategy or plan or policy (written or otherwise?)
As for specific ROI, there's no monetary investment in social media, so measuring return on it isn't possible."
'For them, and indeed anyone else in the nonprofit space asking how to get value from social technologies, now is the time to take a deep breath and reconsider what social technologies can best be used for and what nonprofit executives can reasonably expect from them.'
I'm kind of intruiged about the assertion that social media is "a surprisingly expensive strategy" - what on earth are people spending money on? If you're spending money on social media, you're doing it very wrong! As one of the commenters said, using social media has zero cost, so any gain from it is a 100% gain, financial, profile or otherwise."
Thanks Jo! You Rock!
About Jo Johnson
After gaining her Batchelor of Music degree from the University of Hull, Jo spent five years working for the BBC, cutting her teeth on the newly emerging novelty, the orchestra website. After four and a half years at the London Symphony Orchestra, running the main website and all sorts of digital activities such as mobile marketing, email marketing, film making and lately social networks, she just about feels she understands what it's all about! Although as soon as that happens, something new comes along and she has to start all over again. She is in demand as a speaker on the subject of orchestras online and is particularly passionate about debunking the myth that social networks are a waste of time.
In her spare time, Jo enjoys playing the violin and viola in orchestras and show bands, and has recently taken up the ukelele. When not at rehearsal she can generally be found in the swimming pool or at the sushi bar.
I recently talked with Jean Shirk,
Public Relations Manager of the San Francisco Symphony about their social networking
community on Ning.
How did they get started?
Jean says that they had been thinking about social
media for a number of years, and wondered about the best way to engage with
their audience. The SF Symphony established a YouTube channel in 2006 and had
created a Facebook page. They had
organized a very successful blogger night in 2007. They wanted to know more
about what their audience was doing on-line.
Media was in a state of upheaval – arts coverage was
declining and a lot less space was being devoted to the symphony in newspaper
coverage. The question was:
“How do we continue to communicate with people interested in us and new people that want to find out more about us?”
With the help of SF Symphony board member Matt Cohler (from
Facebook), and through some surveying last year, they began to think it out and
decided on a community site using NING.
They began talking and planning last fall and began construction in January. The building process took about 2 1/2 months. They launched on May 6, 2009, and now have over 1400 members.
Cachet - The prestige of the Symphony and its existing relationship with its audience has helped to build the community. As one patron said:
“I never joined a social network before. If the San Francisco Symphony is doing it, it must be okay.”
Popular Features - The most popular sections of the community site include the home page, the member profiles, the contests for Opening Gala and Final Fantasy concert tickets, photos and videos, and then the blogs and discussions.
Contests – For example, a contest was created around the popular iPhone SMULE apps apps that turn your iPhone into an Ocarina or ‘Leaf Trombone’. Among other prizes, winners received tickets to a sold-out concert at which the San Francisco Symphony performed music from the Final Fantasy video game series. The evening included a class on how to play the Ocarina, and the class played music from Final Fantasy together.
Rich Media Content - The symphony has tremendous content that populates the site. Excerpts from their ‘Keeping Score’ television series with PBS, or their Mahler recordings is a key part of enlivening the community experience.
Musician Participation – Musicians are encouraged to join, and a number of have done so including guest artists like Yuja Wang and tenor Alfie Boe, appearing at the Symphony’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik and new SF Symphony Youth Orchestra Music Director Donato Cabrera have done video Q&As for the social network. Principal Bassoon Stephen Paulson is featured in instructional videos made as part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project.
Personal Profiles – Some interesting discoveries for the symphony
- Many people browse and read but don’t join
- They thought more people would create content, but in fact most people are browsers
- The personal profiles of many people are very in-depth offering much deeper insights into themselves than could ever be gotten in a survey.
- They are offering themselves up in some detail including their favorite composers and concerts.
- A key part of this is the implicit trust placed on the community.
Community Management Jean oversees the care and feeding of the community. She spends about an hour a day
uploading content and monitoring.
Jean reviews the profiles of new members, welcomes them to the site, and
highlights people and content.
Other important activities that are part of her day include:
Some Social Media insights from Jean:“Social Media touches every department in the organization
in a way that more traditional media doesn’t. For example, when single tickets went on sale, it was a huge
day. One person was having trouble
on the website and posted a note on twitter about it. Because we were monitoring Twitter, we were easily able to
address the concerns of the ticket buyer. Sometimes you can’t fix it, but you
can show you care and are not a mute institution behind an impenetrable
In addition to their
community site, they use Twitter for listening as well as a news channel. They
have a YouTube Channel, a rapidly growing Facebook presence, and of course
their ongoing “Keeping Score”project, which encompasses a PBS television
series, a public radio series, the website www.keepingscore.org, and a national
education program for K-12 teachers that helps them integrate classical music
into core subjects.
SF Symphony Social Network
SF Symphony www.sfsymphony.org
SF Symphony on Facebook www.facebook.com/sfsymphony
SF Symphony on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sanfransymphony
Jean Shirk on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bean
SF Symphony on YouTube: www.youtube.com/sfsymphony
Keeping Score www.keepingscore.org and http://video.pbs.org/video/1295290184/search/keeping%20score
Matt Cohler http://www.facebook.com/matt
"Let everything happen to you,
beauty and terror.
Just keep going.
No feeling is final."
Rainer Maria Rilke
There are so many new tools for social media - it seems like I can barely learn one and the next one comes along. Its overwhelming! Invites come for yet another social network..... what might I be missing?
I stopped writing blog posts for most of a month, with various excuses, some valid and some not. It was just hard to know where to begin.
Many years ago when I was at music school, I was a 'natural' player. I could play just about anything and it all came so easily. The challenge came when there was something really difficult and I had to develop discipline and learning skills to persist through to the other side. My horn teacher wisely pointed out that the payoff is not immediate - that results rarely come at the moment of work, but only later. Thus it is sometimes hard to be objective and trusting with delayed gratification.
I wandered off the professional horn playing path in pursuit of other ideals, and proceeded to watch a dear friend, just keep going, one foot in front of the next with unbelievable discipline until he sat in the chair of one of the top orchestras in the country, and continues to sit there today. He 'Just Kept Going.'
So what do we need to do to succeed in the online social world?
I took this picture at one of the scarier points in a trek some years ago and sometimes working with new media can feel this way.
Blogging for Community Building
One of the key tools that people use for online community building is blogging. We have this idea that if we build a blog that people will come flocking to our doors to buy tickets and attend performances. If only it were that simple.
Being an Interested Blogger
I was reading a post today from Problogger about how to be an interesting blogger. The key take away for me in that post was about being interested in what you writing about and what your readers are interested in. Being interested in your readers. Are we writing because we love it, or because we are really intrigued with something?
Who is Your Blog Audience?
Chris Brogan talks about this in his post today, with the really good point that we need to be clear about who our audience is and stay focused on writing about what they want to hear about.
Who is My Audience?
Well that really got me thinking. Who am I writing for? I'm really interested in knowing about how people in the arts are using social media tools. What works, what doesn't. What can we learn from others using social media? I've mostly been interviewing people in this process. But I think I need to branch out and try other things as well. I think my audience is people interested in the same things.
What are you looking for? What interests you?
I was sitting at lunch today talking with new friends from the Museum World about why I, an "Orchestra" person was at a conference for Museums and the Web.
Well the first thing that popped into my mind was that there isn't an Orchestra and the Web Conference, nor has there ever been one, unlike the MW which has been going on for 12 years. Thats Twelve Years...Were YOU even on the web 12 years ago??? Well I was, but barely. There are over 600 amazing people here, from 32 countries from around the world. Hello.
This got me thinking, about why is it the Museum world is doing all this amazing and hip stuff on the web, while I observe only a fraction of it on the Orchestra side. Why is it that Museums are coming together in this way - discoursing on "The Semantic Web" and "Mash-Ups" and "The meaning of Open Content", Tagging Consortium, and what is really 'community" and "the place of openness, value, trust, give" and and and.... Inquiring minds want to know.
Well a provocative friend of mine said... "Well its like Geisha's and high priced Call Girls. The Museums, are a more passive experience, and so it takes more to make a connection, so circumstances require them to be like these wonderful Geisha's that spend the entire evening and night with you listening and entertaining and discovering you., whereas orchestra's are like expensive call girls who just give you a quick hour or so experience without paying a whole lot of deep attention."
Is that it? Is there more to it then that? I think so, but what do you think?
With over 75,000 people subscribing...
Integrated Email Campaign
Boston Symphony created an email marketing campaign that sends out a preview email for the concerts coming up the following week. It includes links to podcasts, music clips, program notes, and bios. They send it to ticket holders and those whose musical interests match those on the program as identified in the MY BSO profile. The profile includes musical interests, genre, and types of soloists and day of the week. If there is a match, they get an email.
New Opportunity for Sponsor Support
Their season sponsors are interested in extending their sponsorships to include the podcasts because they now see the exposure. That helps to underwrite the costs of doing them.
The BSO began to explore the idea of Video on Demand, through a project launched in October called “Internet TV”. The project is a parallel program to their latest Pops CD. Its like a mini concert on the web. The reaction has been very positive. People have been asking for the DVD of it and it’s had about 60,000 views in the first 6 weeks.
If the value is there, it may translate into buying a CD, or attendance at a concert, and in the future a video on demand.
The podcasts, and Internet TV, are in large part driven by the agreement with the union as well as requirements from the music publishers. Everything was specifically delineated for the website by the business agreements which currently don’t address reusing at other sites like YouTube. While the agreement allows the podcasts and Internet TV to be used without additional compensation, there are payments to musicians for any sales directly attributable from the Internet TV, such as CDs.
Interestingly, for Rich, like a lot of others, his job has gone from being a technical person, to having to deal with business issues and overall strategy.
As Rich says, taking the ‘Distribution Method for Idiots’ approach, they are taking their self produced albums and distributing them through CD Baby. The barrier for entry is low with a setup fee of $35. They distribute to iTunes- (all the 6-7 versions across the world), Napster, Rhapsody, Amazon Music, etc.
This is allowing them to explore the online distribution and learn the ropes. Later they may do these things themselves to increase their cut. This lets them see which functionality and channels offer the best opportunities
The downside is that since CD Baby acts as middleman, they take a cut in addition to the retail sites.
CD Baby sells conventional CD’s as well as digitizing and selling individual tracks or the entire CD. The Oscar and Tony CD they put out had the benefit of promotion from the Internet TV site and sold a thousand conventional CD’s, enough to register on Billboard.
New Amazon MP3 Service
Amazon has a new MP3 service. It includes an MP3 downloader which allows the download manager to ‘resume’ downloads. It will go and find which players you have and distribute to those libraries like iTunes or Windows music player. It’s cheaper for the consumer then iTunes and the bit rate is much higher then the standard iTunes MP3s. iTunes does offer the higher quality versions but at a higher cost.
Offering the higher bit rate, and having the functionality of the Amazon downloader are attractive features to the BSO. They like to the model. The downside - While you can use Amazon’s technology, you are then required to have them host your files and use their technology to sell and distribute it. While their agreement works for CDs the pricing model doesn’t work for longer files like concert performances.
Social Network Based Advertising with PaperG
Rich mentioned a new advertising model that they are looking into called PaperG. It's a flash based advertising model that works on social networks. The idea is like a digital version of the postcards that one can pick up at a nightclub, and then pass along to friends. This digital version has a virtual ‘cork board’ where you can post your flyer. Anyone clicking on it can then forward it to a friend.
I can’t wait to hear more about this. Anyone using anything like this?
Meet Rich Bradway at the Boston Symphony
Rich Bradway, Associate Director of E-Commerce and New Media for the Boston Symphony, and I spoke the other day about the BSO’s strategies for the web.
What’s the goal? First Things First.
I’m so interested in exploring social media and web 2.0 and for me it’s a really good reminder that first things come first. One of the first goals is to enhance the user experience, and make things as easy as possible. There is no point in making all sorts of content and connections out on the web only to have people struggle to get around and find what they want when they land back at your site.
For the BSO, on the most fundamental level, one way to accomplish this has been to find ways to make navigation simpler and reduce the number of clicks and pages that have to be refreshed.
Says Rich, “One of the most visited places on the site is the calendar. To navigate between all the performances, flip flopping between Pops, and Tanglewood, or trying to find Mahler required a lot of clicks.”
Using web 2.0 technologies like those that underlay tools like Google calendars and maps, they rebuilt their calendars so that that they automatically refresh content without having to reload pages.
Continues Rich, “Visitors can now navigate through each month and pages automatically update without having to be refreshed. They can go from calendar view to list view, or search within list view to dynamically narrow their search so people can see what they want to.”
This is really important for the BSO because they have 4 brands and hundreds of events to manage. Their new rebuild allows a visitor to see any of the events for any of the brands with just one click.
Similarly, they wanted to keep a calendar on every page, wanted a small foot-print and also to maintain functionality. Now with their horizontal calendar anyone can easily see a month out and every event with one click.
The goal: It helps people get to what they want more quickly.
Creating Versatile Module Based Content: Flash
The BSO is changing how it presents its interactive and educational content. They are converting their “Online Conservatory” to something more accessible and versatile called Classical Companion. The Online Conservatory was an in-depth look at just a few programs from the season, with all the content combined together in a way that limited its ability to be used for other purposes.
Now each small piece of content is being created as separate flash modules that can be used more frequently and in varying contexts. Rich notes that “we have the ability to showcase many more programs, or composers, or music being performed.” Something that could be dropped in and not its own separate website.
Starting last fall with their Carter program, and continuing with other concerts like their Family concerts, they are creating small modules showcasing each of the composers and including kid friendly interactive modules with quizzes, and timelines with certain milestones in a composer’s life or other important dates in history. Another basic module will be called Timbre – and it explores the ‘colors’ of music and how you can orchestrate or arrange a piece of music to create or change that timbre.
The long-term goal is to build an interface independent of the programs so content can be used anywhere on the site.
Last year the BSO started producing podcasts that were concert previews for the BSO season.
“We tried to create a slimmed down version of our pre-concert lectures that we could extend through the Internet and allow people to subscribe to. Over the course of time, while the audio portion is still trying to be a snap shot of the pre-concert lecture, these podcasts are getting longer and with more ancillary content. People started asking for the program notes at the same time, so now we also pass in the program notes at the same time as the podcast. We try to supplement with other content. For example when we did Daphne and Chloe, we were able to put up some footage of a concert we did in 1967, and getting our toes wet in doing video podcasts” says Rich.
WGBH had some great features and interviews that they were unable to reuse and were happy to provide to the BSO for the podcasts.
So here is the amazing thing….
“We saw a very direct relationship between the podcasts and sales and a direct increase in online ticket sales which increased 50% over the year.”
Every year online BSO ticket sales tend to go up 10-12 % each year, and that was the only thing that they really did differently. This year they are continuing with excellent results. The current challenge is to be balanced with the right amount of content without overdoing it. At the same time keeping the content compelling with each item supportive of the next.
So Podcasts are an important part of their business now.
There are over 75,000 people subscribing to their podcasts, of which about 40,000 are regular down-loaders - (either every week or every other week).
Rich says, “Its gotten to the point if we are 2 hours late in posting a podcast we hear about it. Someone is saying, ‘I’m at Logan, at the airport, and I’m waiting to hear this podcast…’ People are clamoring for this.“
Considering how many people come to the BSO during any given week, this seems like a huge following.
The podcasts were originally designed to augment the concert experience, and make the experience more enriching for those already planning to attend. They thought it might be helpful to those ‘on the fence’.
This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 2 tomorrow.
"We must become expert facilitators of social experiences to be successful as arts organizations" says Alan Brown as part of a recent presentation at APAP. I had the opportunity to talk more about this with Alan yesterday.
Why must we become expert facilitators of social experiences? "Because lack of social context is the biggest barrier to attendance." says Alan, a leading research expert. People need "external stimuli to activate demand." They would go to the symphony or opera or theatre if they had a social group with which to participate.
If we look at the huge divorce rates and number of people using tools like eHarmony, it becomes clear that these underlying social trends point to opportunity.
Alan's theory is that if you set up groups through tools like MeetUp, then this would help to create that context. Just on a whim, I did a little search of 'opera' in New York City and found this MeetUp Opera Group, and this New York Philharmonic Group. Interestingly, the opera group was started by a fan, and the Philharmonic group by the orchestra itself.
These are great opportunities to start building new connections and relationships. How can organizations build on these groups and support them more? Alan suggests finding some of these groups and interviewing some of the people in them. Questions might be about their experiences, how well they are supported by their arts groups, and what would make their experience better. I think that's a great idea. Also integrating the various tools and channels could be helpful. For example, linking the MeetUp group to the website, and from the MySpace Page, and the FaceBook Page. It seems to me that having many portals that all point to these same groups could help to increase visibility and participation in the groups.
Anybody doing this?
Since I originally posted this, Vince Ford at the New York Philharmonic, notes that they have presences on FaceBook, Meetup and MySpace, all of which are referenced on their special series page. While it is a little buried in the site, it does make the rounds occasionally to the home page or the What's New Section.
So what are the obstacles to participation by arts groups?
Here's a few from Alan's list...
In response that last point, Alan reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article on the Cellular Church which describes how Rick Warren built a church with over twenty thousand members by creating small group 'cells' around all kinds of interest areas.
Gladwell says "...In order to attract newcomers, they must have low barriers to entry. They must be unintimidating, friendly, and compatible with the culture they are a part of. In order to retain their membership, however, they need to have an identity distinct from that culture. They need to give their followers a sense of community...
...to create a church out of a network of lots of little church cells—exclusive, tightly knit groups of six or seven who meet in one another's homes during the week to worship and pray..... The focus was on discussion and interaction—not one person teaching and the others listening—and the remarkable thing about these groups was their power."
How do we translate that for our cultural organizations?
What are other ways to get past these obstacles?
How do we do a better job of demonstrating the benefits?
Post a comment and join in the discussion!