Twitter – It Isn’t Just for Breakfast Anymore

A couple weeks back, I had a lovely conversation with Jared Hughes (@LegacyPlanning) who found me on Twitter as I am the head tweeter at Palm Beach Opera.  He included my comments in his most recent blog post:



Palm Beach Opera

In seeking other examples of fundraising success for this article, I turned to my own 521 followers (which seems to grow every time I post to the AFP listserve with my handle @LegacyPlanning).  First I just tweeted it to all my followers.  A few wrote back.  I followed Beth’s advice and targeted ten NPOs that I especially wanted to interview and direct messaged them – ALL responded almost immediately in the affirmative. I also posted my question on Linkedin and heard from still more people.

Ceci Dadisman, Group Sales and Marketing Manager at the Palm Beach Opera says, “We use Twitter to have a communication vehicle that allows us to tell our patrons what we are doing in a more immediate way. It gives us an edge and corners the market since not many other arts organizations in our area are on it.”  

When I asked her to tell me her Twitter success story, she told of a hocky-stick spike in ticket sales of $12 student seats to evening performances and condensed kid-friendly, mini-versions when @TimeandMoney, a reporter from the Sun-Sentinel, re-tweeted an announcement, ran it in the next days’ 605,600 papers and posted it on-line as part of her her well-read “Time and Money” column.

Journalists looking for fresh material and new patrons aren’t the only one’s following @palmbeachopera. Dozens of other opera companies from all over the world are sharing ideas and collaborating with Ceci via their tweets.


Access the softer side of your group sales message

I know all of you out there are piggybacking on your arts .org’s general marketing message.  You use the same marketing verbiage for each show, get your group discount prices based on the regular ticket prices, and use the same graphics and artwork on your brochure.  Don’t forget that you are not only trying to get people to by tickets; you are trying to form a relationship with a group leader.  This isn’t some one off ticket purchase.  You are going to be communicating with your group leader for weeks and perhaps months until their performance date.  Don’t be afraid to soften your image a bit in your collateral and on your page of the website.  Speak in plain English and use fun vernacular speech.  Why not even include a photo of yourself?  Make your pitch not only compelling but also accessible and friendly.  It will pay off in the long run.

The New Blog is Done!

I’d like to give a shout out to Brianna Young of Mad Hatter Design Company for this awesome blog design!  She was great to work with!  If you are looking to have a custom blog design or move your blog onto your server, Brianna is your go-to gal.

Non-Profit Marketing with the AMA

I just returned from a killer American Marketing Association event in Delray Beach.  To be honest, the event was my incarnation – but it really came out well.


Rather than having the normal panel discussion with a series of experts, the goal was to establish a dialogue and have one-on-one communication with those experts.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

The result was a fantastic interactive event where all the attendees were engaged and hopefully gained useful knowledge.

Melissa Carter - Director of Marketing at Old School Square -... on TwitPic

Looking for a speaker on non-profit marketing?  Contact me today at info [at] cecicreative [dot] com

Arts Convention Alert

Attending conventions and conferences related to your .org can be VERY rewarding.  Here is a short list:

Opera America

Americans for the Arts

Dance USA

American Musicological Society

Arts Reach

Technology in the Arts
(2009 information is not available yet – so bookmark this page!)

Why your arts .org should use Twitter

It allows you to get the point of your message out quickly and easily to an audience who wants to hear it for FREE!

Arts organizations are historically slow to jump on the technology bandwagon and that is just as true with social media.  Sites like Facebook and MySpace had already exploded before most arts .orgs started using them.  Now everyone from the huge Metropolitan Opera to the tiny Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches have Facebook fan pages.  

So, if you are already on Facebook and MySpace, why add Twitter?  Isn’t that too much?  Well, no, it really isn’t.  Twitter is sort of like a Facebook status update only outside of Facebook.  You’ve got 140 characters to get your point across.  And if you need more – you can link to it easily.  

In the .org world, where convoluted, wordy marketing verbiage is the norm, Twitter forces you to resist the urge to wax loquacious and get to the point!  Got $10 student tickets for Don Giovanni?  Great!  Then that is your “tweet” along with the link on how to buy on your site:

$10 Student Tickets for Don Giovanni:

Simple and easy to understand.  

Also, don’t forget that the people that are following your updates on Twitter, want to know what is going on at your .org.  You’ve got a captive audience!

Check out these arts .orgs on Twitter:

HoustonBallet / Houston Ballet

paballet / Pennsylvania Ballet

MapleBallet / Maple Youth Ballet

FortSmithBallet / Fort Smith Ballet

DanseEtoile / Danse Etoile Balle

sfballet / San Francisco Ballet

sfopera / San Francisco Opera 

palmbeachopera / Palm Beach Opera

operamemphis / Opera Memphis

Conopera / Ctr for Contem Opera


LondonLyric / London Lyric Opera

operaboston / Opera Boston

usuo / UT Symp | UT Opera

NashvilleOpera / Nashville Opera

operatheater / Center City Opera 

roh_london / Royal Opera House

vaopera / Virginia Opera

BirminghamOpera / Birmingham Opera Co

LyricOpera / Lyric Opera

MNOPERA / The Minnesota Opera

AustinOpera / Austin Lyric Opera

kcopera / Lyric Opera of Kansas City

SacramentoOpera / Sacramento Opera

atlantasymphony / Atlanta Symphony

nwsymphony / New World Symphony

chicagosymphony / Chicago Symphony

BaltSymphony / Baltimore Symphony

londonsymphony / London Symphony Orch

V_S_O / Vancouver Symphony

gcsymphony / Gulf Coast Symphony

Marketing inspiration…

Check out Kivi Leroux-Miller’s site:

TONS of valuable information for non-profit marketers and group sales folk.  

Check out the cool webinars!


Follow me on Twitter:

I find myself on Twitter more and more.  It is a great way for me to share bits of information about marketing, group sales, plus other random thoughts.


Have you ever participated in a FAM tour?  You’re CVB probably does them at least a few times per year.  Normally a large travel or tourism organization (like a CVB) will bring in tour operators, travel agents, or other group leader-type people to your city for a week or weekend of fun and frolicking.  How great would it be for you to provide the entertainment!?  Seek out FAM tours and try to get on all that you can.  Actually getting potential group leaders into your theater is the best prospecting measure that you can do.

Does your CVB not really do a lot of FAMs?  You can have your own FAM either just by inviting your own group prospects to a performance or by joining forces with your other group sales contacts.  These mini FAMs can be just as useful and draw on the local crowd.

Do you want more information about planning your own FAM?  Contact me today!

the Forum is open!

Ever wished you could ask other Group Sales Managers a question?  Wanted to share information?  Maybe get feedback?  Well, now you can!

I have just started the only Arts Group Sales Forum on the web:

Check it out.  Sign up.  Share.  Create a community.