Working for a digital marketing company, I live my life in social media. It has simply becomes a way of doing things. Social media best practices have been implemented through work flow into my life and have become my norm. So what happens when online marketers practice what they preach? I accidentally found out in one of the most unlikely of places: musical theater.
I’ve always been interested in musical theater and five years ago when I moved to the Hudson Valley I told myself I would begin auditioning for shows. That was 2007, and in March of 2012 I finally auditioned for my first show, Legally Blonde the Musical. First of all, I found out about the audition for Legally Blonde the Musical by missing the auditions for Hairspray by a few days. I found out quickly that the same director would be doing Legally Blonde and I should audition for it. I sang for him after we had connected via Facebook years back.
I kept my eyes open on Facebook, connected myself with the production company that would put on the show, as well as the performance space by liking both of their pages and making sure their updates flowed through my streams on Facebook and Twitter. In March, they created an event for the auditions on Facebook and I quickly RSVP’ed, then set a calendar reminder for myself. I connected on Facebook with the official page for Legally Blonde the Musical, the London cast, the touring company, anything and everything Legally Blonde. I began listening to the original Broadway cast recording on Spotify, even sharing a few songs with co-workers .
After the audition, the waiting period began. I waited patiently for a week all the while still diving into the material. I was watching the show on YouTube, still listening to cast recordings and trying to tell myself to calm down and be patient. I would still find myself scouring Facebook and Twitter for any information on casting, impatiently checking the director’s status updates for any hints.
The call finally came in and I was offered the role of Warner Huntington III. I accepted and then waited more. But this period of waiting could be more focused. I began studying the Broadway version of the show on YouTube and looking at any clips of anyone else performing as Warner Huntington III .
When I received the phone call, I was told to keep it confidential for a few days and was specifically told “no posting to Facebook, or anything.” I was one of the first to be called and there shouldn’t be any discovery by others before everyone knows. It felt strange to hold back sharing socially, but I dutifully obeyed.
I couldn’t stand waiting to find out who the rest of the cast was, so I took to Twitter. It was there that I discovered who would be playing my converse, Emmett. A simple search for “Legally Blonde Rhinebeck” brought up a tweet congratulating the actor on his role from his girlfriend. I began to follow his tweets and left it at that.
Finally, the rehearsal schedule was emailed along with a cast breakdown. Then the real social media stalking could begin. I went through the cast list and looked for my new friends on Facebook. I was too intimidated to simply friend request them, but I did check out a little background on all of them. Before long, the intimidation wore off and friend requests began to roll in freely from other members of the cast. I accepted them all and we began to share with one another.
It was also through Facebook that a co-worker discovered the “competition.” A local playhouse would be staging Legally Blonde the Musical right around the time of our production. A few other cast members and I could not wait to go and support the other cast and crew. Seeing their production calmed our nerves about our performance and made us realize that we just needed to have as much fun as this cast looked like they were having. It especially made me feel better as I watched the actor playing Warner fumble on a line that I had consistently messed up all through rehearsals. It wasn’t just me! It was actually a difficult line!
Through the use of Instagram, I discovered many other productions of Legally Blonde the Musical across the US (by searching for the hashtag #legallyblonde) and have been able to connect with members of those casts, specifically the local production that we saw. Simply by liking their photos of their rehearsal process and genuinely commenting on what a great performance they had, we found a mutual connection. From there, we found each other on Facebook and Twitter.
Before the show even began, social listening presented an opportunity to connect with audience members. Questions on the event page for Legally Blonde the Musical created an opportunity to answer honestly, openly and most importantly, quickly.
After our first weekend run of Legally Blonde, I was searching through the #legallyblonde hashtag for more fun photos on Instagram and came across one taken at our production. I made sure to like their photo. Soon after liking, I received a message from that photographer who had successfully tagged my cast member and me in her message telling us that she really enjoyed the show. I quickly responded, thanked her for the compliment. In her response, she revealed that she was actually there to review the show. Not that my connection with her could have influenced the review of the show, but in the end it was a great review. Then came another social media best practice: thanking the reviewer for a great review and for connecting!
Anything that I’ve posted about the show, I’ve been certain to use a variety of tags, tagging those involved specifically such as my cast mates in photographs, the production company, and the performance space. This increases the audience seeing my post and hopefully increases ticket sales, increasing visibility for the show and my fantastic cast members.
We all know that social media is not all about what you’re posting. It’s far from it. Sometimes it’s as simple as Social Listening. As the show continues its run, I’m constantly using social media monitoring tools to see if there are any new reviews out there. I will carefully avoid a social media blunder if a negative review comes out and take the feedback graciously.
Without these social media best practices, I never would have been able to make the connections that I have made in the world of theater. There are so many more opportunities to connect out there and I’ve only peeked behind the curtain. Applying these social media best practices makes connecting with audience much easier and isn’t it always refreshing when marketers practice what they preach?