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By Gregg A. Masters

I’ve been poking around a bit to discover some interesting follow-up metrics specific to the utilization of social media by art’s organizations.

As previewed in the Fall Issue of IJ, the landmark survey ‘The Tangled Web: Social Media in the Arts‘, provides the most useful insights and sets context from which to appreciate the who’s doing what with social media, and what kinds of results are they experiencing.

Before highlighting those key takeways, let me open with the following admonitions by one thought leader in the social media space Gary Vaynerchuk.

The gravity of his message is best represented by the following statements offered:

(1) Social media isn’t a concept, it’s the deciding factor between whether you’re still going to be in business or not, 5 years from now.

(2) You [artists and managers] are in the eyeballs and ears business, and social media has fundamentally disrupted communications. We are in the greatestculture shift of our lifetime.

(3) Every 48 hours in 2011, we create more content than in theperiod between the beginning of mankind….and 2003.

(4) The single greatest opportunity and tool you have is the @reply [on Twitter].

So Gary essentially affirms my earlier suggestion about entering your social media odyssey via Twitter. While I agree with all of his assertions, one may need a little further explanation. His statement about the power of the @reply deserves some clarification.

If you are reading this column in all likelihood you’ve made either a full time or supplementary commitment to making a living in the arts, ergo it’s likely that sustaining your interest and business is an objective for you. So whether its 5 years or 5 months, I think you need to pay attention to the mega shift we are experiencing.

If we are generating the quantities of content every 48 hours that’s suggested above, then two questions come to mind : Both quality and relevance. Clearly not all of this content can claim alignment with either of these ‘standards’. So perhaps this is an opportunity both in terms of origination and curation.

Now back to the power of the @reply. Why did Gary single out this routine option on Twitter? It’s simple. Unless someone has blocked you on Twitter you can respond directly to anyone, from Alec Baldwin (actually he allegedly cancelled his Twitter account following the American Airlines snafu), to your brother or sister. This is potentially powerful access and exposure if your standing and message has meaning in the marketplace of ideas in that moment.

How will you know? It’s pretty simple, you will get a reply back to your tweet or others will ‘retweet’ (RT) your message, i.e., the more RTs, the higher the valuation of ‘the idea’ or conversation.Now back to the metrics side of who’s doing what, and with what early results.

In ‘The Tangled Web: Social Media in the Arts’, a survey of 207 arts organizations revealed the following practices in social media: 

The average arts organization studied is active on 3 social networks (FaceBook, Twitter,
and YouTube), uploads 66 pieces of content each month to a social network (status update, link, Flickr photo, YouTube video, etc.), and receives 162 user responses in return.

• FaceBook is by far the most popular social network, but arts organizations are spending  considerable effort tweeting as well. (FaceBook likes, Twitter @mentions, Blog comments,
Flickr & YouTube views, Yelp reviews, Foursquare check-ins).

• FaceBook Pages that update multiple times a day, use a custom URL, and feature a  Welcome tab have more fans and a higher rate of engagement than those who do not.

• Twitter accounts that tweet more than 4x per day, and do not link to their FaceBook  feed, have more followers and a higher rate of engagement than those who tweet  less often, or sync their FaceBook posts to Twitter.

• YouTube channel owners that upload new video more than 1x per week have more  subscribers and views per video than those who upload less frequently.

• Yelp and Foursquare venues that have been claimed by their owner have more user  engagement than those that have not been claimed.

• Most arts organizations using Flickr do so as an archival tool rather than a place for  engagement.

• Arts organizations blogging on a self-hosted platform, at least twice per week, have  more subscribers and comments per post than those who post less frequently, or on a  non-branded URL, but overall there is very little engagement.

• Twenty other social networks were mentioned on arts organization’s websites, though  none by more than 12% of study participants.

So there you have it. How do you stack up? We’ll drill into some of these practices and their meaning in the next edition of IJ.