5 Ways to Build a Global Community Around Your Show Using Social Media
BroadVersity — founded on the principle of taking the starving out of artist. The belief that you don’t have to struggle as a storyteller. Now, more than ever, ways to distribute your work and tell your story on the global stage are available free, or at least relatively cheap. Gone are the days of knocking on doors to get your song heard. Sure, auditions still exist, but they’re not the only way to prove you’re a tried-and-true performer, either.
We want to champion the idea of treating yourself, and/or your show, like a brand—like a small business. You’re not just a writer, an actor, a designer—you are an entrepreneur. Start acting like one now and take control of your career, and your craft.
With those goals in mind, we bring you 5 ways to build a global community around your show—BEFORE IT GETS TO BROADWAY!
We all know what social media entails, but how do you tap into the potential your show has there?
1. Identify Your Style
First and foremost, you must identify your social media style. Everyone, every show, every brand is different. In another section of this blog, we’ll get into the different platforms, what they’re best for, etc. But you’ve gotta know how you want to present your work to the world.
Are YOU the subject of the photos, videos, tweets? Or perhaps your show is at the center and the name of the account is "MyNewShowTikTok” (okay, don’t add TikTok to your username, but you get what we’re saying, right?).
If you’re working on more than one project at a time, it may make sense for you to have personal accounts where you post about your work. If you want the show to be the star, go that way. BUT DECIDE! Splitting focus not only takes up more of your precious creative time, but also splits your audience.
2. Identify Your Audience
Not everyone will love your show. Heck, not even everyone will like your show. And that’s okay!
Casting a wide net doesn’t work in this instance. Trying to catch every fish doesn’t help you build your core community, or even your global audience. Instead, identify the people you think will love your show. Who is your target audience?
Once you’ve wrapped your head around your ideal audience member, create a persona profile for them! What’s their name? Where do they live, how old are they, how do they dress, and what are their hobbies? Do they have a job, a family?
Every bit of it helps develop your content. You can have multiple personas, but flesh them out.
3. Choose Your Platform(s)
Just like not every show matches every person, not every social media platform matches every audience or persona type.
We’ve broken down each content type and the platforms they’re best on. Check them out and decide what fits with your audience.
Let’s start simple, with text options. In this category you’ve got Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (stick with us, many platforms show up a few times), and Discord.
Twitter and Facebook are more or less the old guard at this point. For social media marketing, they’ve been around longer than most. There’s a lot of controversy around these mediums, but you and your show(s) don’t have to be a part of that. Stick to growing your audience and stay out of the fray.
On Twitter, focus on conversing with people in your industry, networking, and introducing new bits and pieces of your work to current and future fans. Where Facebook is concerned, start a group—get fans talking about your work, supporting each new piece as it comes out. A lot of cross-posting happens between these categories and a solid practice would be to blast out works on video and audio platforms through Twitter/Facebook each time you make them.
Instagram isn’t a super text heavy app by nature, but captions are important, and so are stories. These are places where you can write blurbs and start a conversation or get feedback on something you’ve been working on. If you feel like getting fancy, you can make a graphic with some lyrics on it, post it and let people share what resonates with them!
Last in this category we have Discord—think of this like the modern version of message boards. People find a really niche topic and commune with others who enjoy the same game, show, fandom, whatever! You can make a Discord channel for anything you want, including your art, and have subcategories within it. The people here are your champions. If someone is going out of their way to get this granular with your work, they’re a fan. Get them involved in as many ways as possible. Word of mouth goes a long way.
B. Static Image
Here we’re talking key art, cast photos, press photos, graphics with your lyrics on them, et cetera. Instagram announced earlier this year that they’re moving away from being a photo-sharing app (primarily), but it still happens there more than anywhere else (other than Facebook, but that’s less advertising and more “family photo dump!”).
Get your community hyped about your new logo, show off a photo of your lead singing their song, or get personal! Especially on stories, sharing your process and the photos of said process go a long way. Have a shot of you at the piano composing? Bellissimo, so do the greats! Was there a photo behind the camera for that famous shot of Sondheim? Sure, but times are changing. Set up that tripod, get the shot for yourself then put it out there. Let your community reply with heart-eye emojis and become attached to your artistic flow in the process.
Twitter can also be used to post static images, but not quite as heavily. Pepper them in between your other tweets.
Whether you’re a musician, or a musical theatre artist, or another type of artist who values conversation around your work—audio is important. For many years, it was king, right?! Hellooo radio (this coming from the team that put on Memphis, not a surprise, right? -wink wink-).
That said, there’s more to consider here than with the previously mentioned platforms. Of course, if you’re a musician or musical theatre writer any music distribution medium is going to be an obvious yes—Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud.
Discord comes into play here in a completely new way—Discord for voice allows you to share audio files with that group we talked about above. These fans are perfect to get direct feedback from.
Lastly, Podcasts. Do you want to start one? Do you want to guest on other podcasts? Do you want to submit your work to be played as an ad on podcast? All options are viable, depending on the outcome you’re looking for.
Naturally, starting your own podcast requires the most work among these options, but if you’ve got a conversation to start and people you want to discuss it with, this might be the way to go!
You could technically split this into three categories: long form video, short for video, and live streams. They can, and should, be used in very different ways.
Let’s begin with long form video as it has been around longer and most people are already familiar with the concept: Youtube, Vimeo, and other long form video platforms can be used to get your work seen by large swaths of people, in really any length you see fit. Maybe you have a music video for a song you’ve been working on, maybe it’s rehearsal, maybe it’s just you talking through the process of writing your show—heck, you might even make a short documentary about the team behind it. Either way, publish these works and then repost them on the above-mentioned text and photo platforms.
What about short form video? This would be your Instagram Reels and TikTok videos (some would include YouTube shorts here, but those haven’t proven quite as profitable for most—not to say you can’t or shouldn’t give it a go!). While these started at 15 seconds, they’ve since expanded to 1 minute for Instagram reels and up to 3 (and in some cases 10) minutes for TikTok videos. We’d suggest varying the length of video you make, and also the style of video you make here!
Have fun here, use this as an opportunity to show off your personality, and the personality of your cast, crew, and beyond! There’s even room here to include your community with user generated content. Include fans, reaction videos and beyond — if it fits your style—and thus increase the amount of content you have to share. It also makes them feel included, which of course solidifies the communal feeling.
Streaming/live video takes a lot of energy, but can also bring in a completely new audience. Think of it like live TV! Here you can stream your creation process (if you’re comfortable with that), rehearsals (check with the team here!), or just interviews and discussions with the team, or even alone. People want to talk to you. They want to talk to anyone whose work they’re interested and invested in. And here we’re talking emotional investment.
Keeping track of a popular chat during a live stream can be difficult, tiring even, but it’s worth its weight in gold if you strike it right. The platforms available for live-streaming today are plentiful. Twitch is probably the most popular outside of regular social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Discord also has a live discussion element to it as well.
Now we’re dipping our toe into completely new realities. Platforms in the category are foreign to most, but why not be cutting edge? Even if you’re unfamiliar with everything under this heading as you’re reading —it’s time to get started. Do a little digging around in the metaverse and beyond so that you (and subsequently your art) are the first in this new world!
For relatively cheap you can get yourself (and relevant team members) an Oculus headset and boom, within minutes you’re able to get into VRChat, AltSpace VR, Horizons, and other metaverse social platforms. The ways you can use these apps for your show vary—and there’s room to make it your own: build a world that looks like the world of your show and let friends, fans, and beyond explore. Make that world into a set! Put on portions of your show for an audience. Or, better yet, adapt your show for VR completely and be one of the first to produce a virtual reality play or musical. Yes, it’s being done, but not heavily yet, we’re on the bleeding edge!
When it comes to social media consistency is key. People want to see regular content and frankly they want to see a lot of it.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by promising more content than you’re able to produce, but make sure whatever the cadence you start you continue to the best of your ability.
If you want to start by posting once every few days, that’s fine! But if you post every day and then suddenly drop off for a few days, the algorithm will notice, and so will your followers!
Do you want them to notice? Yeah! Of course, because that means they’re paying attention and they care. But if you’re gone too long the care can wane. That we don’t want.
Make your audience comfortable with the idea that you’re going to show up for them with your content and they’ll show up for you with their support.
Isn’t that, uh...the name of the whole blog? Yes yes, but in this case we mean a sense of community rather than a physical community.
Whether you’ve chosen to make yourself the star, or focus solely on your show, you want the audience to feel close to it. Nay, you want them to be attached to it. You know how RENTheads can’t help but clap at a certain moment in Seasons of Love, Hamilton fans are obsessed with rapping the lines just as fast as the OBC? You want that for your show. And you get it by keeping consistent (yes, we mentioned it above, but it all ties in) and giving heart to whatever you’re producing.
Make sure your content feels personal and alive. Have movement and humor when applicable, people not only like to laugh, they need to! Even if your show has a serious element, some of your content needs to be lighthearted or it all feels like a drag (not a drag show, that’s a hoot and a half!).
Second, allow them to participate! In one way or another, make sure your content is interactive: offer duets on TikTok, polls on Instagram, et cetera.
If you put all of this together, you’ve got a great shot at building a global community around your show. Don’t forget to count us in. We want to hear about it, too!!