This is something that has been playing on my mind for a while, beyond Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are there other social networking tools that people working in theatre and the arts can use to engage with new audiences? The answer: yes. Let me introduce you to Tumblr, a relatively new and up and coming micro-blogging platform that allows you to effortlessly share content with users.

If you’re thinking, but I already have a blog which I work effortless hard on – why do I need another one? Well, yes, perhaps that is something you should be thinking – but it is all down to content and what you use blogging for. If you don’t have a blog, then I strongly suggest using Tumblr as a starting point.

You have to view social networking and media websites as an extension of your website. You website is your hub, where the main bulk of what people want to see quickly, easily and informatively happens. You don’t actually sell tickets through your website – you generally sell them through an extension of your website, a box office plugin. The use of social media is exactly the same, as is a blog, and as is Tumblr.

The great thing about Tumblr is if you’re a new theatre company or very small arts organisation you can use it as the set-up for your website. You can create your companies website using Tumblr in a matter of minutes and practically free (to make it look really professional you should have a domain name which costs around £5). If you’re from a larger organisation you can easily use Tumblr as a micro-website for an individual project or event.

Tumblr is good for arts marketing because…

– It is free.
– It is amazingly simple to use.
– You can use it to build a website.
– Users can ‘Re-Blog’, and therefore spread your information.
– Free designs which can be edited easily.
– Website making for dummies.
– Share images, text, video, quotes, links, audio.
– Users can subscribe to your tumblr.

Tumblr users mostly post photos and quotes, so why not let this be a starting point for your company. A photo a day – posting rehearsal shots, stage design ideas/concepts. Think imaginatively. If you’re The Shakespeare’s Globe or RSC why not post a quote of Shakespeare a day on a ‘Shakespeare Tumblr: RSC Style’.

If you’re thinking, ‘I don’t have time for Tumblr in my marketing’ – you’re wrong. Tumblr is all about the short, precise, and simplicity in what is uploaded. It’s a space for sharing content – simple and informative content. This is where Tumblr differs from your blog which should be more detailed and crammed packed with detail – Tumblr is short and sweet.

Effortless create a tumblr, a Memory Implosion example

To give an example of how easy and good tumblr looks I set up a simple account for my performance work. I brought a domain name and linked it to my tumblr account. – so not only does my website address transfer to what looks like a real website, there is little indication it is hosted on tumblr other than a simple ‘theme by’ and including a link. I’ve edited the layout to include an image of our current show, added pages to the left hand side for further information on shows, the company etc.

Wait – have I just made a website look professional, nearly free of charge, and easy to update and manage? Yes! Isn’t Tumblr suddenly a marketers dream?

A great example of a theatre that has embraced Tumblr as a way of promoting their shows is the Belgrade Theatre, in a series of Tumblr accounts they take the marketing of their shows to a new depth, and in a manner that looks wonderful. They are micro-sites from the main Belgrade Theatre website.

Belgrade Theatre Tumblr

Large media based companies are already using the platform: The New Yorker, Elle, The Today’s Show, Rolling Stone etc. Yes they are mostly US based, but they are well known brands across the world, so are easily transferable. Is your brand – your company – your theatre transferable across the UK? You would hope so.

Tumblr Tips:

1. Always make your content unique and/or your own.

2. Follow other tumblr accounts – much like you do on twitter. This helps to further your profile.

3. Don’t spam – it’s not a place to sell, it is a place to inform and excite users to look at your brand further. It is a snapshot

4. Edit the design to suit you, some themes are more designed for images than text. Keep that in mind.

5. Include links back to your main website to direct traffic back to your main website, but remember the purpose isn’t to force the audience to do this, you want them to willingly research you further.

Other Theatre/Arts Websites/Projects already using Tumblr:
Rain Reminds
Belgrade Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast
Walk With Me

Some guides for Tumblr can be found here, and here.

You might also want to take a look at Theatre Marketing: Twitter for tips on how best to use Twitter for marketing of your theatre/arts organisation. If you need help, or have questions tweet me @jakeyoh