5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Audiences Engaged Online

The performing arts are inherently live experiences meant to bring us together. But how do you engage with your patrons if your season has gone on hiatus or you’ve had to temporarily close your doors?

While you may not be able to physically bring your audiences together, it’s now easier than ever to reach your patrons online. If you are not accustomed to engaging in this way, it can seem like quite the challenge to figure out where to begin. We’ve put together some tips for how your staff can think outside the box and engage with your audience virtually.

Lean on Social Media
Perhaps the easiest way to interact with your audience online is something you’re likely already doing: utilizing social media. What’s great about social media is the more you interact with your audience, the more your audience will see your content! Use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to potentially reach thousands of patrons with one simple post. Try a poll asking your audience what their favorite musical is. Go live on Facebook or Instagram and hold Q&A sessions with your staff or artists. Build your following on Twitter by holding a contest asking your patrons to follow your page and retweet a specified post to be entered to win! Not only will these actions keep your audience engaged in the short term, but building up an engaged, devoted following on each of your social platforms can serve your organization’s marketing efforts for years to come.

Rethink Email Communication
Email communication is still one of the most effective ways to engage with your patrons online, so create a weekly or monthly newsletter to directly communicate organizational updates to your audiences. In addition to such newsletters, send out periodic surveys through Survey Monkey or Google Forms to gather insights from your patrons, like suggestions for your next season or learn what concessions you should offer at the bar! This will keep your events top of mind while providing your audience with a feeling of ownership in your organization that’ll be beneficial when reengaging for future live events.

Showcase What You Already Have
If you’ve been internally keeping digital archives of past shows, concerts, or exhibits, consider opening that archive to your audience. Make accessible some of your most popular performances that can be viewed with the purchase of a discounted ticket through your website. If your organization holds classes or workshops, consider having your teachers livestream or record their lessons, which you can think make available on your Youtube channel or a new section of your website. You can even consider asking for a donation to help support your faculty and working artists. Promote the online performances and classes in your email campaigns and social media platforms.

Personalize Your Engagement
It’s important when there’s a lull in your season to actively engage with donors both new and old. You can create more specific communications like personalized appeal letters that’ll target your largest donors by email. Consider having your Executive or Artistic Directors record short video appeals that can live directly on your donation page for them to view. Also, once you’ve made your first ask, keep in touch with each donor through follow-up emails or direct phone calls from your development team.

Create Simple Guides
It’s likely that a large portion of your donor and subscriber base are older, which means they may have less experience engaging online. Alleviate any potential headaches by developing clear guides for your patrons who may not be the most technologically savvy. While you may not get your septuagenarian patrons on TikTok, through easy step-by-step guides on how to access your online content, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised to have them engaging with your organization like they never have before!

If you’d like to learn more, our blog is a great resource for advice on developing your online content strategy, thriving in the digital age, and how technology can expand your live experience.

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