The best way to get the word out about pretty much anything going on nowadays, is through Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat being the main sites.
Since starting as the Social Media Assistant for the Whitworth Young Contemporaries in January my aims have been to get 7-20 posts and tweets and 1-7 Instagram posts out every week. Sometimes this has been a struggle as there are only so many appealing things (free workshops/events etc) going on for young people around Manchester in a week and especially after our WYC Makes: LYNGUISITIVE workshops finished, there was not much for young people happening at the Whitworth. However, with WARP Festival coming up this was a huge opportunity to market the WYC and what we can offer and so I had to start building up a buzz on Social Media to get people interested in coming to the Festival.
A huge thank you to our amazing volunteers at the festival – we couldn’t have done it without you! Still buzzing ? pic.twitter.com/s1tsWqrGM4
— WhitworthYC (@WhitworthYC) July 1, 2016
We were working towards the festival every week at the Thursday evening WYC meetings and so they were a great opportunity to take pictures and create some intrigue about what we were working towards. Nearer the time we had some finalised flyers and promotional images that I put all over our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and they also created interest. What proved to be a struggle was not having the line up confirmed and so posting things about the artists who were performing or doing workshops at the festival etc was a no-go. When these were confirmed though, I went to town on posts about our headliners and other performers and promoting them and events they may have been performing at before the festival to create a buzz leading up to the festival.
When I started running the Social Media accounts for the WYC in January, our Facebook likes were around 400, our Twitter followers around 550 and our Instagram followers at a measly 140. A week before the festival: Facebook likes were 590, Twitter followers 660 and Instagram 270. I brought these numbers up to 725, 735 and 340 by the end of the festival. The most effective way I found to increase Facebook likes was each time I posted something leading up to the Festival I would invite everyone who liked that post to like our page. Twitter and Instagram followers increased naturally with more content going out and follow-backs from organisations or artists I was promoting.
It is becoming clearer these days that videos on social media which now play automatically as you scroll down your feed are one of the best ways of drawing attention to your posts and therefore your page. A huge way in which we garnered more attention to our page was with the trailers that we put out every couple of weeks before the Festival made by WYC member Jack Makin. Another way in which I generated excitement was starting a countdown 10 days before the Festival which also gave me more content to post each day.
The hardest aspect of marketing the Festival I believe was that the two days were targeted at very different audiences. Not only was our target audience for the Saturday a difficult one (15-25 year olds is a large age group with different interests within it), the Sunday was targeted at families who also have very different interests. Therefore I had to almost market two different festivals in one. However this became simpler nearer the time when the programme was released and clearly showed the differences between the days.
— WhitworthYC (@WhitworthYC) June 25, 2016
I created a Snapchat account for the WYC before the Festival which meant I could film some behind the scenes action of creating the Art Sheds for example and other promotional shots on the days of the Festival. If I could do this again I would create the Snapchat account when we had another youth event at the Whitworth in March (Circuit: Spring Art Party) to trial its usage which also would have meant we would have had more followers by the time the Festival came around.
— WhitworthYC (@WhitworthYC) July 2, 2016
Marketing on the day proved a little difficult as there was so much going on that I could not take pictures and videos of all at the same time. However the creation of the hashtag #WhitworthWARP that we began using a month or two before the Festival meant that people who were there could post pictures of what they were experiencing as well.
All in all, the use of Social Media has been a vital tool in generating a buzz for our Festival and the Whitworth Young Contemporaries too and I have gained a lot of marketing skills through trial and error over the past 6 months and it has been an invaluable experience.