What Broadway Actors Could Learn from Social Media

What Broadway Actors Could Learn from Social Media


 By Jamie Gavin

Broadway play
Image: Benjamin D. Esham / Wikimedia Commons

In a recent article for Ad Age, Gian Fulgoni, Chairman and co-founder of my former company comScore, looked at What Social Media Marketers Could Learn From Broadway.

Within that he explained that there are five key words that, when spoken about a show, invariably indicate that it is likely to be a sure fire hit: “You’ve got to see it!”

As an occasional actor – although sadly not of Broadway fame -- I thought it might be fun to look at this from the other side of the coin, and examine what Broadway actors might hope to learn from social media. Principally, whether you are a brand trying to gain recognition or an actor trying to make it big on Broadway, there are five key words to remember: “You’ve got to be seen!”

The latest research from comSocre’s newly launched Social Essentials service shows that for every new fan a brand pulls in on Facebook, an additional 34 fans can be reached. This emphasises the huge potential for using Facebook and other social media channels to raise brand awareness and gain recommendations.

However, the comScore study also analyses the ways in which people are exposed to branded content on Facebook. In May 2011 Starbucks, which according to Famecount is the World’s second most popular brand on social media behind only Coca Cola, delivered 156 brand impressions throughout Facebook for every one page view on its Fan page.

Far from taking starring roles on their own Fan pages, these brands are primarily being exposed within the Newsfeed.

This reminds me of the advice that was given to me upon graduation when I first entered the London acting scene six years ago, by the agent of a certain Mr. Fiennes – now of course playing the starring role in The Tempest at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London: “To wait for the perfect role is to plan for failure. Get out there and be useful – then be discovered.”

With the rise of social, the media has shifted in recent years from being a didactic towards a more conversational platform. The huge centralised media hubs of old are being bypassed by more direct communications channels. This presents a significant opportunity for brands to engage with consumers directly online if they are prepared to play a bit-part in consumer’s day-to-day lives.

By monitoring trends, starting conversations, sharing links, and publishing content, the brands achieving social media success are those who are taking a conversational approach to modern PR that does not involve trying to cast themselves in the starring role every time.

Broadway actors treading their first tentative steps on the boards would do well to take note of this social shift. Get out there and be seen, become part of the conversation, develop brand awareness, offer engaging content, and of course become useful to consumers. These are the steps that -- over time -- will build the path towards playing a Prospero at the Haymarket, or at the very least catapult you up the social media rankings.

Jamie is the MD of inPress Online, who are experts in Online PR and Social Media Management. Check them out here.

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