Communicating with your membership is one of the hardest parts of running a cohesive amateur pantomime group. Communicating effectively with the general public is even harder! Having spent 10 years working on amateur theatre before moving to work professionally in the industry, I know how important these things are. In this blog, I’m going to talk about why social media is a key tool in your arsenal of communications.
What is social media?
Social media refers to the many sites setup specifically to network digitally. The most popular networks are:
Different networks are important for reaching different demographics. For instance; Facebook and Twitter are better for older demographics. Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok tend to have younger users. LinkedIn is a business focussed network for professionals.
All of these social networks allow you to have free accounts as well as offering paid advertising opportunities. This advertising functionality uses the data its collected on its users to target adverts. They do this by working out which adverts the algorithm thinks the individual user is most likely to respond to. You can also target based on specific demographic information such as age, income, geography, interests, occupation, and education.
Return on Investment of Marketing
For most amateur pantomimes, your advertising budget has very little money in it. You’ve ordered your posters and leaflets, so your remaining spend needs to be used well. You could buy an advert in the local paper, but social media gives you the best pound for pound return on advertising spend. This is because you can target specific types of user. For pantomime, your demographic target audience is going to look like this:
- Parents: Between the ages of 18 and 50 with young children still living at home and an average family household income.
- Grandparents: Age 50+ with grandchildren and disposable income.
- Other: Friends and family of cast and crew.
You can target these demographics directly both with free and paid-for content on social media. This means you’re only targeting people who are interested.
Where social media really comes into its own is in its urgency. You can post straight away, with very little hurdles to jump in order to get your message out there. This year has really proven that. If your pantomime group’s rehearsals were cancelled due to Covid in March, you could send a message out immediately. If there’s a last minute schedule change, or some seats become available for a sold-out performance, you can advertise that.
It’s Simple (Once You Know How)
Posting on social media is easier than ever. Plus, there are lots of online and in-person courses available which will teach you how to use it. You can send things like:
- Rehearsal photos
- Production shots
- Ticket availability
- Fundraising events
- Venue updates
Because of your amateur theatre group’s long lead times, you’ve lots of content opportunities. It’s also a great way to engage younger cast members with marketing your show. Social media comes naturally to them, so let them have a go at doing it!
On Facebook, you can create a private group for everyone involved in your pantomime group. So, even if everyone’s not at rehearsals, you can still keep in touch! You can share rehearsal updates, fundraising ideas, and other updates there. If it’s within the group, you know that it will only be seen by those individuals. This helps to grow the network of people who might be interested in taking part in future productions.
Connecting with Other Pantomime Groups
Most big societies now have some sort of social media presence. There are also regional and national groups for organisations who support the amateur pantomime network. This support ranges from organising training, to annual awards. You can post in these wide reaching groups for help and advice, to sell set, props and costumes, the list is endless.
If your pantomime group is not yet on social media, start by just posting once a week. Then you can increase as you get more confident. It’s never too late to begin, and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll start reaping the benefits. Have you got a social media presence already? Send me a link, I’d love to follow you and see which productions you’re putting on.