NC Arts Organizations Use Twitter to Reach New Audiences

Originally posted on the Triangle Artworks blog, this is a cross post I wrote this Spring. Triangle Artworks is a NC Triangle-based provide the services, support and resources necessary to cultivate and ensure a vibrant creative community in the Triangle. Follow @TriArtWorks on Twitter. 

Across the Triangle and throughout the state, arts organizations are tapping Twitter to reach and engage new audiences. Using social media enables arts organizations to affordably reach thousands of people with their messages. Of course, using social media to drive ticket sales and donations is notoriously hard to track. Though return on investment for a social media campaign often isn’t immediately quantifiable financially, Twitter is a proven and affordable tool for generating buzz, expanding your exposure and amplifying your message about performances, events and overall mission.

Below is a short study about how Carolina Ballet and the Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference each used Twitter for these purposes. The key in each case was to enroll supporters in reaching out to their networks on behalf of the organization. Thus, the organization’s message reaches thousands of members within their supporters’ networks – both your supporters’ existing arts supporter friends and some future arts supporters, no doubt.

Tweeting at the first Carolina Ballet “tweetseats” event. Photo by Chris Walt Photography.


 Carolina Ballet Tweet Seats 

Photo by Chris Walt Photography

Organized by Melinda McKee, ballet supporter and communications professional, Carolina Ballethosted the first in a series of Tweet Seats events during the dress rehearsal for September 2011’s performance of Black and White Swan. The Ballet hosted about 15 supporters to take a sneak peak at the dress rehearsal performance and, from seclusion in the balcony, tweet every detail.  Carolina Ballet’s performance became one of the top ten trending Twitter topics in Raleigh that evening, reaching thousands of people through the tweet seats participants’ tweets – not to mention the retweets and mentions from members of their networks. Read more about the second Carolina Ballet Tweet Seats event promoting Dracula at Tweet Seats participant Lisa Sullivan’s blog.


 SEACon Live Tweet 

To regain momentum cultivated during the first annual Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference (SEA), organizers from the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center increased marketing across multiple channels during 2012 for the third annual conference. Additionally, Conference Coordinator Marshall Rollings and I arranged a live tweet, sending quotes from SEA speakers, pictures from the conference and bits of dialogue from conference attendees into the Twitterverse.

The live tweet surpassed expectations and achieved our goal to generate more buzz before, during, and after the conference. More than 25 tweeters, both attendees and non-attendees – from across the U.S. and as far away as Australia – tuned in to participate in the live tweet, logging 350+ tweets and 50+ retweets. Read more about the live tweet in the Americans for the Arts ARTSblog post. See also the Live Tweet case study.

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