Theatre Bay Area Provides Important Information About Social Media in the Arts

Posted on June 22, 2011


Theatre Bay Area recently came out with a study called The Tangled Web: Social Media in the Arts. The findings of this study are based on the social media presence of 207 diverse non-profit arts organizations around the world. Since the company mostly focuses on art in the Bay Area, the sample used in this research cannot be considered fully representative of all arts organizations, as 39% organizations studied are located in the Bay Area, 54% are from elsewhere in the US, and 7% are international. However, author Devon V. Smith uncovered some interesting information that helps us understand social media trends for organizations specifically affiliated with the arts.

I encourage everyone who is a part of an art related organization to read through the study. It is broken down in an easy to read format and includes several variations of graphs describing the social media participation of the organizations researched.

Here are some conclusions that I have drawn based on the statistical information provided by The Tangled Web: Social Media in the Arts. Read more to learn how you can apply Theatre Bay Area‘s findings to your art related organization:


  • Post multiple times everyday to increase engagement and to improve your organization’s number of likes.
  • Take advantage of the custom url option. (
  • Create a custom welcome page. Organizations that have done so have double the number of likes as their peers.


  • Update frequently! One organization in this study had 200,000 followers and was tweeting more than 20x per day. Posting often has a high correlation with audience engagement.
  • Be sure that your feed is not used solely for self-promotion. Engage in industry discussions and respond to mentions.
  • Include tags that are pertinent to the content. Also, create a title that describes the video.
  • Pick one of two options: update a few high quality videos every year, or update a few times each week. The former can help invite a greater number of views per video and the latter can help create a larger following.
  • Upload frequently and don’t post too many photos at one time.
  • Create a Flickr group and invite your audience to post their photos of your organization.
  • Claim your venue! Yelp venues that have been claimed by their owner have four times more reviews than their peers. Foursquare venues that have been claimed have three times more.
  • Create your own self-hosted website. ( According to the survey, organizations with a self-hosted blog had more subscribers, more views, and more comments per post.
  • This platform has not yet invited a large degree of audience engagement. The average arts blog posted an update one time per week, has seven Google Reader subscribers, and received zero comments per post.
The ideas that I’ve suggested seem to be working for many of the arts organizations involved in the study. According to the survey, audience engagement is the name of the game when it comes to social media.

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Posted in: Social Media