Author(s): Vidyard
Date of Publication: 2017

This report shares trends from analyzing data colleced from Vidyard video platform of more than 500 businesses over 600 million video streams in the year 2016.

Ballin’ on a Budget? Five Reasons Why You Need to be Using Canva

If you’ve never used the online design platform Canva, then you need to change that—starting today!

Canva is truly a gift for nonprofit organizations. Through my work with a membership-based capacity-building nonprofit, I’m able to spread the word of Canva’s wonderful features far and wide. But that just isn’t cutting it—I thought I would spread the word to you, too!

Let me be honest: I once thought that the creative gene had decided to pass me over. I could appreciate great graphic design, but every time I tried to create a work of my own, I was sadly disappointed. However, when I was hired on with my current employer, “marketer” was added to my job description (hence, I now enjoy referring to myself as an “accidental marketer”). If you work in a nonprofit organization, I’m sure you are familiar with the idea that we wear multiple “hats”—you may be a development professional, but you’re also the event planner and the marketing person, too. That’s just how it goes! So, I found myself in a position where it was time to be creative and produce marketing materials, even if I didn’t feel I was talented enough to do so.

When I found Canva, I found a platform that allowed me to express myself creatively – and be proud of the things I produced, too. I often tell people that they don’t need to be creative to produce beautiful marketing materials with Canva. However, while thinking about this blog post, I realized that Canva has actually provided me with a medium that allows me to finally be creative. With a free and easy to use platform, I feel confident in my ability to create attractive and effective materials.

Photo credit: Pexels

With all of this being said, you may be a professional designer and feel that this post just isn’t for you. HALT! That may not be the case. I have interacted with many professional designers and those familiar with platforms such as InDesign and Publisher—99.99999% of the time, these people have made comments like, “Wow, this is so much more intuitive than ______,” or “Golly, this sure will save me time vs. working with ____.” So, stick around, professionals, this “accidental marketer” might have some gold for you!

Without further ado, here are five reasons why you need to be using Canva:

1. Canva likes nonprofits—another reason why I love them!

Canva offers an enhanced version of their online product, “Canva for Work,” free of charge for nonprofit organizations. Canva is aware of the financial pressures within our sector and they’re giving us a break by allowing us to produce awesome collateral on a real budget.

2. Canva recognizes that teams need to work together, and that brand consistency lends legitimacy to organizations.

By using the Canva for Work account, users can set up a Brand Kit. With the Brand Kit tool, the user can identify their specific brand colors, fonts, and logos. Then, while working with teammates via Canva for Work, members can access this kit. Not only does this save time by making brand items easily accessible, it also lends itself to teamwork and consistency, which gives organizations an air of professionalism and legitimacy.

3. Canva offers free layouts for any and every occasion and need.

Looking for a Facebook cover? Canva has those. Looking for a Halloween card? Canva has those. Looking for a presentation template you can use to spice up an average PowerPoint presentation? Yep, you guessed right—Canva has it covered. Literally. Anything. You. Could. Want.

4. If design elements aren’t labeled free (which most are), then they’re $1—gosh, Canva, break the bank why don’t you!

Did you ever notice that most subscriptions and tools always have some sort of gimmick? 14 days free, then BAM! A huge charge hits your account (because, of course, they made you enter your credit card information right off the bat). Well, I have wonderful news—Canva isn’t out to scheme you out of your hard-won dollars. I have looked up, down, and all around for where they may be hiding the gimmick, and guess what, folks—I can’t find it! And trust me: I’m a naturally suspicious person. I have an eye for these things. Canva is just truly good. Ah, how refreshing!

5. As if they hadn’t already done enough with the FREE Canva for Work for Nonprofits, they also have FREE resources available to ANYONE. WHERE DID THESE PEOPLE COME FROM?

I think the Canva people may be angels. They also have resources such as color palette generator, photo editor, font combinations, design tutorials, colors, design size guide, and more!

So, if my somewhat embarrassing enthusiasm hasn’t convinced you that you need Canva in your life, then I don’t think we can be friends.

Take my advice, start designing with Canva today!

Special thank you to Canva for all of the free resources for nonprofits, and also to the National Arts Marketing Project for this opportunity to share my Canva love.

P.S. If you want to learn more about Canva and/or some other great email marketing tips, join Americans for the Arts on ArtsU on Thursday, April 26, 2018 for an “Email Marketing Makeover” session.

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Help, I’m Marketing and I Can’t Get Up

Queue up that social media post. Write that blog article. Respond to a bajillion emails. Check your site’s Analytics dashboard. Adjust the Facebook ads budget. Check in on your Google AdWords account.

If you’re an arts marketer, this to-do list might feel all too familiar. If you’re not, it might leave you feeling overwhelmed or maybe just a little checked out. But how many of us are walking a line between both extremes? Nowadays it seems as if dual and blended roles are becoming increasingly the norm for all except the largest arts and cultural organizations.

Seth Godin once wrote, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” Like so many things, this is easier said than done. There’s a sweet spot out there, or so we all hope. We aim to distinguish ourselves from the crowd, meaningfully demonstrate our organization’s value, and drive people to want to experience our product (be it a performance, service or any number or related arts and cultural activities). But with ever changing and emerging media platforms and advertising modes, it can be difficult to figure this all out or, let’s face it, have the time to even think about figuring it out.

Awareness of issues stemming from this growing imperative for marketing expertise and the reality of capacity limitations inspired the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to team up with Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project to develop Arts Marketing and Audience Engagement in the 21st Century: Building the Capacity of Pennsylvania’s Cultural Sector (AMAE21). This training initiative aims to equip Pennsylvania arts and cultural organizations with the knowledge and ability to build and engage with audiences, address systemic issues of declining arts participation and audience loyalty, and assist organizations—particularly those within diverse communities—to attract and retain broader audiences.

Signature characteristics of the program include a two-person team structure (per organization), tailored curriculum, and a two-year training arc.

The team structure (usually the marketing person and a “decision maker,” like the executive director or a board member) is designed to ensure that participating organizations absorb learnings and methodologies in such a way that both the why and how are understood in terms of why prioritizing this work is so important.

Each cohort begins by participating in a three-day “boot camp” to ensure they have a baseline knowledge set on which to build. Curriculum is then tailored around the needs and interests of the specific cohort. From this process, some of the training topics from year one included: branding; developing a marketing plan; diversity, equity and inclusion; and web assets and SEO.

In terms of qualifiable benefits, the program outfits participants with, and makes them a part of, a network of peers. In the same way that attending a niche industry conference gives you the chance to connect, learn, and—let’s be honest—commiserate with people who are dealing with the same challenges and experiences as you, AMAE21 cohorts work together closely over two years, building deep relationships while sharing challenges, successes, and tips along the way.

I realize this is a lot of information, but the long and short of it is that we all need help sometimes, right? Or in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” So, if this program sounds like something that would help you and your organization (and you’re based in Pennsylvania), you can find out everything you need to know here. The deadline to apply is April 27, with notification by May 18.

And if you’re not in Pennsylvania and thinking “Well, thanks for nothing!”, fret not—you can bring this program to your state too! Contact Americans for the Arts’ Local Arts Advancement team to learn more.

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What does hosting a birthday party for a hotel duck have to do with arts marketing?

(Only the Cohort 1 attendees of #NAMPC 2017 know!)

As arts organizations, we collect stories of transforming individual lives; sometimes, we have stories of transforming communities. We also collect survey information with “numbers served” or assess the effect our programs and events have on our constituents. And we have hard data that show the arts have an economic impact and add public value to our schools. But storytelling is essential. We need to do this in a way that addresses current and future modes of communication. We must tell our stories to the world in an impactful way that reaches our current and/or new audiences. We must command increasingly fleeting moments of attention, Facebook algorithms, and new trends.

Nonprofit organizations are tasked to do much with little, all the while growing programs and reach, and always keeping the plates spinning. All too often, organizations give short shrift to marketing and communications, rather than making them an integral part of a strategic plan. But they are essential tactics that ensure we serve our mission and stay focused on vision. Professional development for nonprofit employees often is also an afterthought, rather than a part of strategic focus.

It was these factors, and a desire to shift my organization to be more marketing-minded, that led me to the Arts Marketing and Audience Engagement in the 21st Century initiative created by Americans for the Arts and funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

I began my tenure as Executive Director of 35-year-old Perry County Council of the Arts one year ago. I knew it was vital that the importance of marketing in our organization be expressly supported by leadership, so one of the first (and smartest) decisions I made was to move our part-time media coordinator, Missy Smith, to a Communications Director role.

We applied and were selected to participate in the first cohort of the program, along with twelve other arts and culture organizations from the eastern part of Pennsylvania. The Cohort training requires engagement by an organization’s leader, paid or volunteer, and a marketing representative, whoever that may be. So together, Missy and I began our work with the training group in the fall of 2017. We were up for the challenge, and we have had invaluable arts marketing learning experiences since.

The experience of this training group has helped transform our organization as we reimagine our branding and marketing initiatives. We’ve also seen it in the other arts organizations that have participated in this group. We’ve received phone and in-person trainings, and attended last year’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis (home of the famous Peabody Ducks referenced in the headline). The value of having, for the first time, a marketing plan cannot be understated. We have also adopted a brand identity guide that was co-created with our board, development committee, and entire staff team. In many ways, small and large, we are designing, re-designing, and assessing our organization as we focus on telling our story to the world.

Without this Cohort experience, it’s fair to say that we would have moved much slower in our marketing self-assessment and planning. The trainings, readings, exercises, workshops, and, most importantly, time with our fellow arts marketers have given us the tools we need to expand our organization’s reach and strengthen our strategies, and to share the broader message that the arts are vital to life.

Applications for the next cohort of the initiative are open through April 27, 2018! You can learn more and apply online—or nominate an organization you think could benefit from the program—on the National Arts Marketing Project website.

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Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Arts Marketing and Audience Engagement Initiative

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Arts Marketing and Audience Engagement in the 21st Century: Building the Capacity of Pennsylvania’s Cultural Sector kicks off its second year of programming. This two-year capacity-building initiative, funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, supports, strengthens and advances the arts marketing and audience engagement skills of arts and cultural professionals.

With internally-facing and externally-facing goals and objectives, the Initiative seeks to:

  1. Assist Pennsylvania-based arts and cultural organizations achieve increased and engaged audiences on a consistent basis through skill-building in the areas of arts marketing and audience engagement.
  2. Address long-term systemic issues of declining arts participation and loyal arts audiences in Pennsylvania.
  3. Assist arts and cultural organizations – particularly those within diverse communities – in attracting and retaining expanded audiences.

Focusing on the Western part of Pennsylvania, the second Cohort (a group of 50 participants made up of 25, two-person teams) will participate in an intensive two-year curriculum that provides all participants the opportunity to build new skills in arts marketing and audience engagement. The Cohort will have access to both common core resources as well as resources tailored specifically to regional teams. In addition, each Cohort will have access to a new network of leading arts marketing experts/trainers to guide their work.

Applications for the 2018-2020 program are open now through April 27, 2018.

For more information on how to apply, click here.

Have questions? Send e-mail to Ruby Lopez Harper or call (202) 371-2830, x2079.

Customer Retention is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.

Content sponsored by Spektrix.

If I told you you’d lose 68% of your customers next year, you’d probably be a bit worried, right?

The recent Spektrix Benchmark Report highlights a concerning issue for the arts: we’re just not doing well at retaining our customers. And not much has changed since we last did this report in 2014 where the retention rate was 31%.

On average arts organizations retain just 32% of their customers in the year following a visit (year two), and just 27% in year three. 

This means you will probably lose around 68% of this year’s customers. That’s a lot of people. Let’s say you have 30,000 customers a year, that’s 20,400 customers. Ouch.

But, the step change in the number of customers you retain in year three is evidence of the value of customer retention. If you can get your customers to come back in year two, you’ll only lose a further 5% of them in year three.

How do the arts compare to other industries?

The arts are doing a little better than some industries, such as clothing who retain 24% but worse than the health and drug supplements industry who retain 44% of their customers.

But some companies are achieving great retention rates. Apple retained 92% of iPhone customers in 2017 while Amazon Prime keep 96% of their customers.

What are the benefits of increasing retention?

It’s around five times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain customers. If we think about the resources we need to invest in getting in a new customer, such as expensive advertising, compared with the cost of emailing a customer who has already visited you once, it’s clear to see the return on investment is much greater when retaining customers.

For arts organizations, this means building a core audience who are loyal, will take risks with you and in general are easier to sell to. These customers are also more likely to support your organization with donations.

So why do the arts struggle?

In recent years there’s been a growing need to increase audiences. With the average age of audiences getting older, many organizations are focusing on getting in new audiences from all walks of life. And while this is valuable and necessary, we’re ignoring our existing customers in the process.

What are some examples of good retention strategy?

Okay, so you don’t have a budget like Apple or Amazon but you can steal the guiding principles behind their strategies and apply them to your own efforts.

Case study: Apple

Let’s look at Apple. They release a new iPhone pretty much every year at the same time. When they released the iPhone 6 in September 2015, it’s likely that they already had the iPhone 7 ready to go. Apple carefully manages the timing of their new product releases because they know that releasing a new phone every month won’t keep retention rates up. On the other hand, releasing a new phone every year is in tune with when customers naturally start thinking about getting a new gadget. A parallel in the arts is the way that you manage your programming. If you program the two most anticipated events of the year back to back, how will you get a customer to come back in 12 months? Wouldn’t it be better to have a great excuse to get your first-time buyers back around six months after their first visit?

Case study: Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime does two things:

  • they offer benefits members want;
  • they make it easy to stay a member with auto-renewable membership.

Neither of these are expensive to offer and they keep their customers engaged. In arts organizations, it’s easy to monitor the uptake of member benefits so you can make sure members are getting the benefits they want. You can also offer auto-renewable membership with significantly increased retention rates.

Three Things You Can Do Right Now

As well as using inspiration from the above, there are a few more things you can do to increase your retention rates.

1. Make that first visit really great

Everything leading up to a customer’s first visit has to be great: from buying a ticket, to finding out all the information about their visit, to getting from the front door to their seat. Their experience has to be positive and everyone in your organization contributes to this.

Firstly, staff have to be friendly and approachable. If you can flag first-time buyers to front of house staff, do it and make sure staff know how to greet these customers.

Cut the line wherever possible—whether it’s lines in the parking lot, at the box office, for the bathroom, or at the bar. Offering print at home tickets, advance dining options and plenty of information on when to arrive can mean your customers go from standing around and getting frustrated right before the show, to having a great evening even before the curtain’s up.

2. Pay attention to the morning after the night before

So, your customer has had a brilliant evening and you have permission to email them. What could be better timing than getting in touch the next morning, just as they’re raving to their work colleagues about the great night they had last night?

Capitalize on the post-show high by inviting first time buyers back with an incentive. Something as simple as 10% off tickets or a free drink is a great way to drive them back to your website and start thinking about their next purchase.

3. Always make one last attempt

With all the best strategies in the world, some customers might not come back, and that’s okay. But before you give up, send lapsed customers one last amazing offer, and make it really special such as $5 tickets, access to a sold-out show, or a free meal. Not all of them will bite, but the ones who do are much more likely to come back again.

What retention strategies have you tried that have worked? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Arts and Cultural Solidarity

This post is part of our Marketing Equity and Content blog salon.

Art Should Love. I’m sure that wasn’t what you were expecting to read.

In the wake of last year’s presidential election results, no matter who you voted for, there emerged feelings and concerns coming up from dark places inside. Anxiety. Mourning. Real fear. Fear of the Unknown. There were acts of hatred perpetrated upon people of color in towns both large and small.

But yearning for peace is a nonpartisan act.

Art and making is a shared language. Using our hands, eyes, lips—creating art can be tactile and grounding. For many artists, making art is a coping mechanism to find inner calm and some kind of understanding about a confusing, chaotic world. When great works of art are described, qualities often include those of Peace and Beauty. These same feelings are often experienced by artists when they create.

So how might art heal our world? How might the artist become the healer?

We at Perry County Council of the Arts (PCCA) are grateful to have the privilege of seeing this happen in seven counties in central Pennsylvania. Our Arts in Education program administered through our partnership with Pennsylvania Council on the Arts help us execute our mission—connecting our rural community through the arts. In these residency art programs, whether students are elementary-aged or seniors, whether students work together on a mural or work toward a culminating event, these are all experiences of people coming together in community for a bigger purpose that we all might enjoy. As we work, we recognize our similarities, understand our differences, and build something wonderful, together. Ordinarily quiet students open up to each other, friendships are formed, and students with learning disabilities find strong worth and feel valued as part of the team. I’ve seen seriously conflicted community members come together to celebrate a mural, helping build bridges across relationships strained for years.

Art class for many students is a quiet respite, a cathedral of sorts during confused, unsettling times with conflicted emotions regarding peer groups and families. This classroom becomes a place of peace and solace. In this place, we remember our higher purpose, to contribute toward our community and our world. We remember that divisions are superficial, whether they are mental constructs or skin color. It’s what’s inside that’s real, that matters. It’s what we share with others that counts.

Our PCCA Gallery sells the work of over 150 of our member artists of every discipline throughout central Pennsylvania. However, the story I’m going to share is about art that you can’t buy in our gallery. This art is a symbolic manifestation of love, and helps the beholder, and the holder, meditate on their place in our world, and so it’s getting my attention.

The creator is potter Robin Wheeler, one of our PCCA member artists and co-owner of Wheel of Light Studio with her husband, photographer James Wheeler. All pottery is tactile, a part of the earth that we all are connected to, a grounding experience to grasp, a joy to the eye to behold.

Wheeler’s Solidarity Cup helps spread more peace and love in our world. Paraphrasing from their website, the cup’s roundedness is meant to represent the mothers’ womb from which we all grew. The cup has no handle, to allow a universal grip from all directions, by all hands. Its black band is meant to represent an armband, to remind us to mourn those lost to the fight for freedom and equality. This band is not glazed, so that we can stay in touch with our inner clay and be mindful of our inner darkness. The cup is lined in yellow, the color of soft sunlight, to remind us that we all carry a light within us, the Divine Light, and it is our duty and privilege to spill that light out and share it with others. The body of the cup comes in many colors, just like our fellow human beings. Best yet, a quarter of every sale is donated to a local non-profit supporting education in diversity and social justice reform.

Remembering that for many, Art is their church and holy place, we might all take a page from Wheeler’s book and share the lifesaving message … of Art—and create for the benefit of mankind.

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Questions to Begin a Conversation about (Re)Designing Your Organization for Equity

This post is part of our Marketing Equity and Content blog salon.

As we approach the upcoming National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Memphis, I’m excited to enter a new conversation about the possibilities for our sector that can be unlocked by embracing a designer’s mentality (Design Thinking Boot Camp preconference). Indeed, we must first understand—and continually learn—about the people we are not currently engaging if we are to develop a shared organizational strategy that results in the creation of meaningful programs. Designers understand that how we frame a challenge often determines what solutions we deliver, and it is my hope that we can embrace the critical need to diversify our audiences, our leadership, and our organizations as an opportunity to center the arts in every American community.

The following is a list of questions about the language, culture, design, and learning that I believe could lead us to spark important conversations within our organizations that lead to positive change in our work as we seek to shape a more equitable field for our future. By no means is this list all-inclusive or conclusive. In the spirit of partnership, I invite you to join me by sharing your own thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

Questions About Language

1. At what reading level must a visitor be competent in order to understand and appreciate printed programs, web pages, labels, or other public-facing text?
2. What are the most common languages that the people in your community speak, and in what languages must a visitor achieve fluency in order to fully participate or appreciate an experience at your facility?
3. Does your organization have a common practice and expectation that its staff, board, artists, and collaborators will ask for and use an individual’s pronouns?
4. How does your organization hold its staff, board, artists, and collaborators accountable in using trans-positive and culturally-respectful terminology?
5. Does your organization have a representative fluent in American Sign Language, or has it identified solutions to better communicate with a person who is deaf or a person who has a speech impairment?
6. What possibilities exist for your programs if language were not a barrier between your artists and audiences?

Questions About Culture

7. Does your organization have a common definition of cultural equity?
8. Would you still invest in the work of reshaping your organization for equitable outcomes even if it did not produce short-term financial gains (e.g. higher ticket sales in the current season)?
9. Are you looking to build a more diverse audience that might excite new conversations and visions for your organization, or are you seeking new faces to join and behave like your existing audience?
10. Does your organization have methods of evaluating its efforts to become more inclusive and equitable? Do they include qualitative and quantitative benchmarks?
11. Among those who have never visited your facility or attended your programs: how much do they believe is the cost to attend, visit, or participate? How do you know?
12. How do historically-marginalized groups feel about your organization? How do you know?
13. What questions are visitors most frequently asked by those who work for your organization?
14. Are historically marginalized groups represented in your organization’s primary artistic programming?
15. How does your organization ensure that women and people of color are being considered for leadership opportunities?

Questions About Learning

16. If a member of your community were to share a concern or complaint that involved a micro-aggression or offense, does your organization report back to that guest to share how the incident was mediated and what course of action will be taken in the future? Is this process outlined in a way that is easily found and accessible to the public?
17. Are representatives of your organization encouraged or expected to take part in diversity training and educational opportunities, even if they take place during regular office hours?
18. How is audience and public feedback shared and considered by staff and volunteers of your organization?
19. Does your organization provide recommended reading lists or suggested field trips for its staff, board, and collaborators? How often is it updated?
20. How often does your organization provide workshops or invite guest speakers to provide training on inequity?
21. Does your organization embrace growth in a linear/ending or cyclical/continual fashion?

Questions About Design

22. Have you ever navigated your facility (including restrooms) using a wheelchair?
23. Was your facility ever segregated?
24. Do your restrooms feature trans-positive signage that encourages guests to use the restroom that they feel best aligns with their gender identity or expression?
25. Where are the nearest public transportation stops to your facility?
26. Does your organization have wayfinding tools that guide visitors from public transportation stops to your facility?
27. Does your organization provide wayfinding information to your facility for multiple means of transportation (e.g. visitors traveling by car, by train, by bike)?
28. If historically marginalized groups are represented in your primary artistic programs, are they also represented in your marketing materials?
29. Could anyone at your organization create a document that reflects your organization’s branding principles or style guide? How do you know?
30. How does your organization frame its values and principles when working with third-party or independent designers?
31. Who is invited to provide feedback on design (e.g. season brochures or facility maps)?
32. From its entrances, does your facility face certain neighborhoods and not others?
33. In what meaningful ways can a visitor participate in your artistic programs?

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Please, Do Your Own Facebook Advertising

This post is part of our Marketing Equity and Content blog salon.

I make a decent amount of my living when advertisers do not follow the advice offered in the title of this blog post. And certainly many advertisers—some even in the arts space—have compelling reasons to contract with individual experts or agencies to make the most of their social media advertising spend. This is especially true when part of a large programmatic advertising campaign. But seriously, take my advice.

[By the way, if the title didn’t give it away, this post is mostly about Facebook and, more generally, where it lands within a broader programmatic advertising space. If any NAMP conference attendees have a compelling and scalable paid advertising success story on another social media platform, please share!]

Facebook continues to make a variety of changes to how it incentivizes advertisers and advertising agencies to spend on their platform. Remember when video was super-cheap (like, almost free) to distribute? Remember when FBX launched, then was long-rumored to be killed, then eventually died just last fall? Remember when Facebook essentially didn’t have mobile ads? That wasn’t long ago; if you took a long vacation or simply stopped paying attention to how you or your social media contractors did things on the platform, you’d barely recognize how campaigns are optimized now versus just a year ago. Take your Facebook spend off auto-pilot and don’t sign any long agreements as to how you will be spending your money on the platform, as it always changes. And, those responsible for your social media spends should be communicating with you about these changes.

Facebook’s changes—many from just the last year—suggest a general direction towards offering incentive for DIY advertising: meaning ads that you or representatives of your organization place directly through the platform. Evidence of this direction can be divined through Facebook’s notoriously secretive algorithm changes and with the FBX shutdown in November of last year. And more concrete evidence is increasingly visible: the launch of intuitive (meaning for untrained, everyday folks like you and me) tools to create compelling ad content, the easy process to create a custom and lookalike audience, and the ability to select from a variety of ads to optimize towards particular goals like clicks, conversions (admittedly, this remains a challenge for many in the space—most are optimizing for clicks and hoping for the best), lead generation, event RSVPs, engagement, etc.

Looking for more compelling evidence than what’s just in the Facebook Ad Manager? Perhaps most importantly, these steps align with Mark Zuckerberg’s general and stated goal to make Facebook more like the churches and social clubs of yesteryear; those don’t work too well if a bunch of professional advertisers pack the pews. Plus, you can jettison “authenticity” (a valuable asset in a social media campaign) when you get a bunch of marketers involved. Lastly, this DIY leaning is aligned with the Internet in general—putting weight on the decentralized but hyper-networked power of the individual.

What does this mean for you? Well, first it means you have no more excuses—especially at NAMP where most of the people around you can help, know someone who can, or can look up your question on Google or Facebook’s support center. Anyone who can send an email, shop on Amazon, or navigate around a basic spreadsheet can learn Facebook advertising basics by launching a campaign in under an hour. And then, of course, optimize from there.

Secondly, once you’ve started advertising on Facebook, you should see what I generally see: your first $500 or even $1000 of a campaign (not just your social spend allocation—your whole advertising campaign) typically sees the highest ROI on that platform. The only thing I’ve seen return better ROI is subscription/membership renewal through direct mail. And with custom audiences, you could even cut down on the direct mail costs for that by advertising on the platform! Assuming you’re targeting the right audience, at the right time and with the right event, the cost per impression to reach this “low hanging fruit” audience is so low (relative to direct mail or other channels) that returns on your spend look fantastic.

That leads to my third point: the returns on this kind of advertising are SO good that it’s no wonder agencies and consultants take credit for this spend when really anyone in arts marketing can do it for you—or, better yet, you can do it yourself—at a very low cost. We aren’t being evil or anything … we, like most humans, are susceptible to a more elevated opinion of ourselves. This probably explains why we got into marketing in the first place!

That leads to my fourth point—a BIG caveat: There is value in getting help. Sometimes that comes in working with consultants that help increase the capacity of your internal staff so social media learnings can be internalized by an organization. Also, as your spend on Facebook specifically approaches five-figures on a campaign, there are some efficiencies and synergies with other elements of a specific programmatic campaign that, again, would make me disregard my own general advice.

So, how would I spend your $500 on Facebook? I’d buy each of us a cup of coffee, ask you to log into your Facebook account, and spend 15 minutes talking you through how to spend your remaining $494.

Joseph will be presenting on “Maximizing This Year’s Social Media Stream with the Right Content” at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Be sure not to miss his presentation on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 11:00 a.m.

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A Perspective on Accessibility

This post is part of our Marketing Equity and Content blog salon.

I’ve worked in the “accessibility field” for many years. When I thought about writing a blog for the National Arts Marketing Project, a topic of “3 ways to look at accessibility” was offered up. That made me start to think—how do I look at accessibility? I provide accessibility, so I don’t often think about what accessibility means to me. Which, of course, led me to other thoughts not only about accessibility but disability, diversity, and inclusion on a larger scale. Since those ideas are way too grand for a short blog post, I thought I’d use this opportunity as a starting point to a much larger and deeper conversation—hopefully at the NAMP Conference in Memphis? I’d like to throw out some ideas I’ve been kicking around that will hopefully get the field thinking about diversity and disability and how this can be part of a larger discussion on diversity—we might all start to think and approach diversity in a different way, and then who knows!

A little about me—my field is not arts marketing per se. By trade, I’m a sign language interpreter and have worked as an administrator in the “deafness” field for more than 30 years. I’m also an arts service provider, running a small nonprofit organization, Hands On, which provides accessibility services to theaters, primarily through sign interpreted performances for deaf audiences in New York City. Oh, and I’m disabled.

I’ve long held that audiences with disabilities, including deaf audiences, would benefit from being considered from a marketing perspective—to understand disability from a multi-cultural standpoint, rather than a strictly legal requirement/service perspective. For most of us, when we think about accessibility, we think about what we do that a disabled person can’t do—we think about the barriers that exist to prevent a disabled person from getting in, from understanding—whether by not hearing or not seeing but generally not being able to “access” what we offer. From there we think about how to accommodate, how to adjust or adapt what we do to allow a disabled person in.

I wanted to start this conversation this way to allow for some reflection and intentional thought into how we think about disability and accessibility. We think about disabled people and inclusion because we’ve created structures and programs that don’t allow for everyone’s inclusion.

We’ve all seen the marketing field take the view that this work is more than just trying to put more “butts in seats.” We’re now looking at audience engagement—the audience experience as a large part of what we need to examine. But I haven’t seen those ideas and this approach necessarily transfer to the area of disability. For disability, I think we’re still relegated to looking at programming and the issues of accessibility often at the expense of trying to achieve a greater understanding of the individual and the community we serve. With all the conversations about diversity and inclusion, disability is often forgotten. For other constituencies, we look at the community, we look at the experiences—but do we really think about people with disabilities beyond the accommodations we must provide?

We think about providing an equivalent experience—but is any experience the same for any two people, and why should it be? We’re all different. We bring our backgrounds, our histories, our experiences to everything we do—and we want that difference, that diverse perspective—so why not that from disabled people?

I hope I’ve given you pause to think—or rethink—how we approach disability, diversity, and accessibility. I know that the more I consider these issues, I’m thinking differently as well.

We in the disability community need allies—we need people to keep us in the conversation about new audiences. We need to work together. I offer these ideas to get the conversations started. 

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