Social media is a dicey proposition for any business – trying to extend a hand from your company to customers that they can identify as a friend rather than an extension of the advertising barrage we all face daily. Luckily, concert venues are already meeting consumers halfway: Your venue is housing the music and performances they already know and love. Fans are built-in, you just have to make them feel at home. And if the brand’s show selection is impeccably curated, your venue may be able to hit the sweet spot, turning routine concertgoers into your regulars, who show up blind to see whatever cool experience is occurring there on any given night rather than just the artists they already know they love.
Twitter, at this divisive political moment, has drawbacks we all know. But it’s the most direct, person-to-person social network, and an ideal platform for your venue’s staffers to directly converse with their recurring clientele. So more than anything else, a venue’s social media spokesperson wants to speak to their following as a fellow fan. Talk like yourself, book bands you yourself enjoy so you can be as effusive as your followers. Match wits with the occupants of your Twitter replies without being mean, condescending or cloying. Pithy punchlines that are all-inclusive and quick-response customer service replies are the little things that people remember. Make them forget they’re talking to a company, which isn’t bone-simple but can be very easy when you act natural.
Cross-Promote with Local Bands and Businesses
If you’re promoting things you yourself enjoy, such as local food or beer, you don’t need some kind of Jedi mind manipulation to sell others on your genuine enthusiasm. You’re from the same city, engage each other about the best things your locale has to offer. Cross-promote other local fare, hold contests for ticket drawings, or vice versa, free meal coupons at your allied businesses.
Speaking of local attractions, one of the smartest and most effective ways to ingratiate your venue into not just the nearby music scene but the conversation surrounding it, is to engage the local artists themselves. If your venue supports smaller, up-and-coming artists or holds local band showcases regularly, you can step up your game by interacting with the artists themselves on Twitter. Bands who have limited media experience on a national scale are your stars, so interview them, offer them mini-AMAs a la Reddit, let them take over the venue’s Twitter account leading up to a show.
Asking followers interesting questions with a diverse (re: not yes or no) array of answers is a given, but include the musicians and present your staff’s own exchanges with them. Music journalism, like all journalism, is never on sure footing these days, and DIY art needs all the exposure it can get. Since it directly benefits your company to introduce more followers to the bands you’re showcasing, this is an obvious win-win.
Use Your Staff
If a longtime favorite or veteran act that needs no introduction coming to your establishment, have your staff and social people recount their best memories of the act. That could be a contest as well, and you can cross-promote with local radio in addition to the artists themselves that you’re tagging. The more DJs, staffers, artists, and surrounding music employees and volunteers you can loop in on the conversational experience, the more likely they’ll be to start conversations with your venue’s Twitter account on their own.
As typical with social media best practices, always search relevant hashtags and create your own! Between contest promotions, radio involvement, and charismatic artists themselves, the most unique and creative venue promoters on social media can get inside jokes flowing, calling cards, slogans, memes. Since virality is unpredictable but indispensable as a promotion tool, be your funniest selves within the bounds of good taste and make good-natured weirdo memes that encourage fans to make a regular habit of finding out what you’ll do next. Entrench your venue in the local consciousness as part of any other tradition in your city, one that eventually a not-usual crowd will find themselves unable to miss.
Last but not least, advertise smartly. Know your audience while trying to grow them simultaneously. Target past ticket buyers for similar events, connect with regular headliners and their audiences, and know what days of the week your buyers are purchasing what tickets and at what time. Create lookalike audiences for advertising to expand your reach and custom audiences to cement your venue’s existing consumers. As you can see, there’s no level on which it’s not a great thing to get to know interested parties, whether it’s vocally in Twitter mentions and replies or via mailing lists and marketing. It’s important to get the word out and make those words easy and enjoyable.