Thanks to Eric Woodhams, Director of Digital Content and Engagement at Carnegie Hall, for sharing his “channels” toolkit with us as a way to guide your thinking about where you want to be active.

Please note: This guide was shared in September of 2016 and we will update it quarterly. When you read it, it could be out of date. Check back for updates.


Facebook

The Basics

Facebook is the “meat and potatoes” of the social media world, reaching audiences of all ages (and increasingly skewing older to the age of many arts patrons and donors). Organizations need to be cautious of overwhelmingly “sales-y” posts, as Facebook’s algorithms advantage the use of the platform’s robust advertising and targeting capabilities vs. unpaid “sales-y” content.

The Good

  • Broad reach across generations
  • Superb mobile platform, targeting options, audience insights
  • Different features and ad opportunities added frequently
  • Versatile in terms of ability to post text, images, links

The Bad

  • Different features and ad opportunities added frequently
  • Facebook often re-prioritizes its algorithm to align with new product offerings

Tip

Avoid text in images, and incorporate a diverse mix of content (photos and natively uploaded video) while limiting the number of external links in your posts.


Twitter

The Basics

A spontaneous, public, and shareable platform for live event/live audience interaction, customer service, and breaking news. Hashtags were born on Twitter, and they’re a great way to collate posts surrounding a specific topic, theme, or event.

The Good

  • Easy for content to be shared and picked up by news sources; conversely, easy to keep up with industry news and happenings
  • Potential to engage conversation online with followers, artists, other organizations, and even celebrities!
  • Image, gif, and video (currently up to 30 secs) friendly

The Bad

  • Character limitations
  • Slight lingo learning curve for new users
  • Can delete but cannot edit a tweet once posted (remember to proof!)

Tip

Reciprocate! When new users engage with your organization in a positive way, be sure to favorite their tweet, reply with thanks, and/or follow them back.


Instagram

The Basics

Instagram is perfect for conveying your ideas and projects in images and photography, and as well as brief video clips. Using images and very few words you can share your activities, performances, artworks, artists, and behind-the-scenes activities.

The Good

  • Like Twitter, Instagram is a very hashtag friendly platform — include as many as are relevant to your photo
  • Instagram has built-in tools to enhance and personalize your photos (but don’t over filter!)
  • Easy to tag other users

The Bad

  • Cannot easily link to external sites in organic posts
  • Video clips are limited in length (though extending to 60 seconds soon)

Tip

Invest in an inexpensive WiFi-enabled DSLR camera with a nice lens for shutterbug photo quality


YouTube

The Basics

The world’s most powerful online video platform. Create and customize your own channel and playlists to reflect your organization’s values and identity

The Good

  • Super high quality video potential that’s compatible on all devices (including SmartTV)
  • Increasingly a way for people to browse performance-based content
  • Opportunities to link to related content within video

The Bad

  • For much music content, YouTube’s automation will challenge videos for copyright infringement of other existing recordings (which you then have to “dispute”)
  • Be careful with post-1923 musical content

Tip

For marketing purposes, link to your channel using this URL, which prompts user to ‘Subscribe’: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=yourusername


Other Platforms

SnapChat

Skews toward a younger audience, but is emerging as a powerful way to reach younger people.

Tumblr and blog platforms

Ask whether you are really creating a blog with original content, or are you simply sharing news content? How can you make your Tumblr or blog unique? Why will people want to read and share your posts?