The art of Facebook: how to make the social network work for you

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February 17, 2014 by imshkpclub

From experiments to audiences, we round up all the best tips and insights from our last live chat on Facebook for the arts

• Eight inspiring brand pages from our panel

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On Facebook? Like, share and comment on the work of other people who you rate. Photograph: Martin Keene/PA

Kealy Cozens, creative data project leader, Sound and Music

Facebook is changing the way posts are seen: I think in general there has been a decline in the amount of fans seeing posts, which could be attributed to more posts out there competing for views, or it could be seen as Facebook trying to force you into promoting posts. That said, one of the things that hasn’t changed too much for us is that cats are always popular!

Experiment with promoted posts: We have a niche audience so the targeting available with the platform’s promoted posts function is an amazing way to get better ROI. They are also great for testing out different ideas and finding out surprising things. I like the fact you can also upload email lists for custom audiences with Power Editor, which means you can see at a basic level how many of your fans are subscribers.

We’ve promoted two tours and are now promoting fundraising. I would say it has been a success; they drive a lot of traffic for the cost and they allow you to target the audience you want. I find that promoting events and so on also leads to growing our page audience.

Rosie Davies, digital marketing officer, The Arches

Think audience, not brand: People inevitably and instinctively care about how things relate to them, their lives, their vested interests and so on. Marketers should always be thinking about their audience, not themselves. Yes, it’s good to show a personal touch, but it still has to be interesting to the customer.

Hannah Barton, communications at SPACE

Facebook v Twitter: We regard the two very differently and we shape the messages we deliver through each as a result. Our Facebook activity is very events-led, which reflects the interests of the communities who engage with us on the platform. Facebook Insights are also extremely useful.

Our Twitter account is more general, covering all aspects of our activity, from events to archive posts along with links of general interest and relevant retweets. Facebook and Twitter messages reach differing communities so we tailor posts specifically for each channel.

Post albums: Something quite simple but really useful when documenting events and activities is Facebook’s photo album feature.

A strategy for posting about events: In terms of click-rate, we have quite a lot of success with the albums we post – photos of our exhibition shows, for example. In terms of likes, the albums do well but event invites are always the most popular thing. As explained in an earlier thread, our Facebook activity is currently geared around events in the main, so this makes sense in our case.

The future of Facebook for the arts: Online communication methods are going through some significant changes at the moment as the value of viral media is further understood, consolidated and reflected in the way that platforms like Facebook are programmed. I don’t think the platform’s usefulness is diminishing right now, but I do think that other channels that are geared more towards active participation rather than content sharing will increase in relative value for arts organisations in the future.

Sarah Ellis, digital producer, Royal Shakespeare Company

Engaging young people: Over the past 10 years, Facebook will have built a strong core community who I’m sure who will be very loyal to it. The offer for younger people today is more varied around social media than it was a few years ago so I’m sure they’ll want to shop around. I don’t think that means young people won’t use Facebook, but they may want the offer to be different.

Be social and don’t work in isolation: Like, share and comment on the work of other people who you rate, and connect with those people and communities.

What not to do: Don’t think that one piece of content you create will service all strands of your social media – also, don’t pretend that people aren’t there; make sure you engage with what people are saying.

Marcus Lilley, founder, FutrSocial

Master mobile: Facebook Mobile is an ongoing issue. The Facebook app is still not as responsive as other social apps – it can prove really frustrating to operate. This is a legacy issue of the company’s origins when it was designing for desktop and having to catch up on mobile. However, its purchase of Instagram and standalone apps such as Messenger and Paper show they understand how important mobile is and that it needs to be mobile-first.

That said, arts organisations should be aware of the dimension and size of videos, photos and posts on mobile, and keep in mind the number of people who visit Facebook through a mobile or tablet. Don’t think of mobile as an independent element but as one of the many ways in which people interact with the platform.

Experiment: Take your time to try out ideas and experiment – always look to your audience to see how they want to interact with you as an organisation. A Facebook page is a two-way conversation.

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