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Looking at some rules (Part II)

June 8, 2009

I would like to continue taking about the “10 Ways to Think About Social Networking And The Arts (the zen of “free” as a strategy)” post from Douglas McLennan’s blog. In my last post I dug a bit deeper into rule #10. In this post I want to concentrate on number 9.

9. You say you listen to your audience? Prove it. Don’t do fake interactive. People hate being managed. And increasingly they’re wary of institutional voices. Mass TV is generic; arts organizations shouldn’t be.

I think this is one of the biggest pit-falls for organizations today. It is so tempting for arts organizations to use social media to get out an institutional voice. I don’t think we can really blame them though, arts organizations have been working on these messages for years, and its what they know. The problem is you can’t just drop these statements on to a blog and hope to be successful. People who engage through social media want a real conversation, and if an organization wants to talk to them that way there has to be real dialogue.

You also can’t market to people on your blog the way you market in a newspaper, it just does in not work, period. Nothing turns people off who use social media more than a sterile marketing pitch.

Audiences want to have a deeper connection to an organization and social media allows this interaction with the community in a way never before possible. It is clear that if they want to be successful, organizations must understand the medium before trying to engage through social media, otherwise they risk the relationship.

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