I’ve been lucky enough to experience many different aspects of fringe marketing. I’ve promoted my own shows, reviewed shows (a questionable choice), and was brought on this year to be the Social Media Manager for the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I had the opportunity this year to explore new networks in the way I thought that the Hollywood Fringe should. Luckily, Ben and Stacy were both gracious enough to give me all the rope I wanted.
Prior to being staff I had always wondered why Hollywood Fringe had been pretty conservative in their social media choices. Clearly they had a lot of content happening and a large community. So why not leverage that? After joining, I realized the problem was that they had a ton of things happening all at once and Stacy was being torn between PR/outreach and social media.
For this year’s festival my main goal was to dive in and keep the content fresh. I also wanted to ensure that there was someone answering community questions and trying to foster a sense of place in the social media world. This year I managed to throw together a last minute tweet-up, started a Tumblr account, and generally grew the accounts. The Facebook and Twitter pages were extremely active and it was a challenge to keep up with the happenings on the ground when I was busy with my day job (running the social media team for a PR agency).
While the accounts were better maintained this year with someone exclusively focused on it, there was still room for improvement. At the end of the festival I did some serious naval gazing and came up with a few thoughts for the upcoming year: more tweet-ups and meet-ups, a blog editorial calendar, and a super secret project or two that I’m working on. Basically more ways to establish and create a community that will be able to flourish after the fringe is over. Oh and I realized that I need to be physically present much more.
In many ways these thoughts are things I learned while marketing and producing shows and what I bring to my day job. Translating your online communities into in person meetings can be an invaluable experience for everyone. I did a few informal HFF meetups for the 2010 festival and meeting people early made a huge difference. Setting up editorial calendars if you have a blog also makes it easier to remember to post content and what there is to write about. Being physically available to shake hands, have a drink, and talk is important – no matter the industry, topic, or occasion.
I’ve learned so much from the HFF12 community this year and I look forward to the HFF13 community filled with friends and people I will get to meet. In a growing festival it requires a lot of time to do more than just manage accounts but to connect with your community. And I intend to do more connecting.