Arts Organizations Thriving on Social Media: An In Depth Look at 3 Stunning Campaigns

Posted by Rebecca Evans, Oct 27, 2015 0 comments

Arts organizations should be benefitting from the rise of social media more than anyone – the arts are all about storytelling.

And the numbers emerging from social media research are astonishing. 65% of adults use social media, and according to one study, millenials spend 5.4 hours on social media daily.

Here are a few examples of recent social media campaigns that illustrate what social networking can do for us as arts marketers and advocates – you’ll be amazed at the fun you can have.

1. Who: Lyric Opera of Chicago. From live streaming excerpts from outdoor performances on Periscope to offering patrons photo ops with a giant Instagram cut-out, Lyric Opera is always finding new ways to engage their audience on social media.

What: The marketing team at the Lyric took their inspiration from popular dating app Tinder, which allows you to meet potential dates through swiping through photos and brief blurbs on your phone.

The Lyric created fake Tinder profile graphics for characters from Rossini’s opera La Cenerentola, aka “Cinderella.”

Clorinda’s (one of the evil step sisters) bio: “I can’t stand poor guys with plebian souls and common looks. Pink hair, don’t care.”

Where: Facebook and Twitter

Why It Works: Using a hot trend like Tinder to advertise performances draws in younger people who might not otherwise be interested in seeing an opera. An art form often deemed inaccessible takes on a different shape in the eyes of millenials when Tinder-themed promotions start showing up on their newsfeeds.


2. Who: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Woolly Mammoth is great at producing risk-taking evocative productions and even better at showing their relevancy through their marketing – especially on social media.

What: For the world premiere of Women Laughing Alone with Salad (part of DC’s Women's Voices Theater Festival), Woolly’s social channels featured feminist critiques of pop culture and Photoshop, write-ups on what it’s like to be a stock photo model, and funny videos about women being sick of eating salad, all under the hashtag #WoollySalad.

Where: Facebook and Twitter

Why It Works: Woolly’s “shtick” is its relevancy. They don’t produce traditional retellings of classic tales, but innovative, edgy narratives that challenge DC audiences. The social strategy behind Salad, which encouraged debate about feminism and social issues, lined up with that mission.


3. Who: Metropolitan Opera

What: Opera performances are often like bizarre fashion shows – and I’m not talking about the costumes onstage. The Met’s Tumblr and Instagram “Last Night at the Met” features photographs of patrons seen in interesting outfits at the Met.

Where: Tumblr and Instagram

Why It Works: 1. People love to feel fancy at the opera, and 2. Timing. With the rise of Instagram, visuals are more popular than ever.

The wide variety of styles (some grungy, some chic, some avant-garde) makes for fascinating photos of dresses with piano keys, blue lace gowns complimented by brown leather jackets, big hair, sequins, floral coats, and frog broaches.

Each photo is branded with #LastNightAtTheMet at the bottom. Elegant, simple, and striking – everything a social campaign should strive to be.


We’re fortunate to work in an industry where creativity is inherent to what we’re marketing. With fun sets, costumes, stories, music, and vibrant visuals, how can we possibly run dry on content? What are some of your favorite arts social media campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.

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