Facebook

Facebook-Promotion One of the big hurdles for small independent theatre companies is letting enough people know about their upcoming productions. This is where facebook can come in. Facebook is a very popular online community with somewhere around 1 billion people participating. It is where people share their own news, other people's news and communicate with each other. For a cash-strapped theatre company, facebook seems to be a god-send. You can easily let people know online what show you are doing. Your facebook friends will be more interested in what you are doing than the general public because, theoretically, they are more interested in you and what you have to offer. You can create a fan page and put pictures up promoting your show. Create a narrative for the show by putting up stories and news as production nears. You can create an event profile of your show and invite all your friends. You can ask your friends to share news of the show with their friends and thus, news of your show will get marketed to a wide range of people. Your facebook fans and friends will review the show right away if they like it and tell their friends.

Facebook can be an important marketing tool, but because Facebook has to make money for their shareholders, they have downgraded the ability of organic reach; the free way of reaching people in favour of paid advertising. Fan pages and events are now less effective then they used to be due to the sheer number of invitations everyone on facebook receives. People become invite blind. Invitations start to seem like spam. Everyone clamouring for their friends to see their event.

Facebook-Advertising. Not to worry though, Facebook's advertising program is very good and as evidence of that their shares have gone up nearly 400 percent from their share price low. It is because they offer an advertising platform that works very well. Facebook has extensive dynamic marketing information on its users. They have collected info an all their users interests, the things they talk about, the things they are interested in doing in their leisure time. With Facebook, you can create an ad to suit a certain demographic. If you decide to target women in your community over the age of 40 that like theatre, only those customers will be shown the ad. In that way you have a much higher likelihood of reaching the exact people you want to reach instead of the scattergun approach, hoping that some ad in a newspaper might actually be seen by interested customers. You set a budget and you only pay when a customer clicks through to your website or fan page. With Facebook, people who see the ad are much more likely to buy. Facebook is continually refining thair advertising model to help advertisers succeed. In fact organic reach or free promotion in facebook is diminishing rapidly in importance compared with paid advertising.

Through a combination of organic reach and paid advertising, facebook can indeed be a useful tool for reaching potential audience members. Facebook however, is not yet a place where people go to buy things as much as it is a place where people go to sell things. A bit of a disconnect there. People go on facebook to talk about themselves, to shape their own personal narratives. Everyone is a seller on facebook; selling shows, news, hopes, dreams and stories. It is a useful marketing tool to create brand awareness for your company and news of your production, but no matter how many people respond to an invite and say they are coming, facebook people are just as likely clicking on your event just to meet social obligations, to fulfill their duty of being a facebook friend. If you really want to sell your show, you need to promote your show somewhere where people are looking for shows, not friends.


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