From the data so far: Philly ahead of national trends

A number of Philadelphia arts groups, convened by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, participated in the baseline data collection phase of our national survey, How Strong is Your Social Net?

A comparison of the participating groups’ data against more than 1,400 national responses we’ve received to date revealed that the 98 participating Philadelphia arts organizations are ahead of the curve nationally, echoing some of the interesting results we observed in St. Louis.

Rory MacPherson (left) and Jai Sen present findings to members of the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

In common with early results from the national data, most respondents in Philadelphia achieved at least some degree of results from using digital and social media, with some reporting either major successes or that digital and social tools have become “mission critical” to their organizations. Email continues to rule as the communications tool used most heavily and frequently, with growing numbers using Facebook, Twitter, and other online channels.

Philadelphia survey respondents reported levels of results that were higher than national averages in the areas of building live participation, ticket sales and developing fan networks via social media outreach. They are also ahead of the national curve in identifying social media strategies as “mission critical” for building live participation and ticket sales.

In terms of internal attitudes toward digital media, Philadelphia groups reported greater levels of “excitement” on the part of management, fewer groups than in the national sample reported management is “daunted” by the technical aspects or that they are driven by peer or competitor pressure, and none of the groups in Philadelphia reported internal “resistance” to digital media, whereas 7% of groups did nationally.

We presented our data to the Philadelphia participants and followed it with a workshop we call Strengthening Your Social Net.

  • Jennifer Kallend, director of public relations for the Curtis Institute of Music, described an innovative way to organize broader staff contributions to Curtis’s social media efforts. Kallend created a marketing group involving staff from multiple departments to help identify appropriate content for dissemination, with particular attention to the 2011/12 season that has the unique focus and theme of Appassionato, meaning excitement, spirit and joy.
  • Bucks County Choral Society’s social media coordinator, Lindsay Van Osten, talked about using the chorus’s blog to offer choristers a beginner’s guide in how to use Facebook to share enthusiasm for choral music with the people in their networks. Another strategy Lindsay explained was how the chorus had used social media to organize a successful caroling flash mob last December that was also recorded for viewing on the Choral Society’s YouTube channel.
  • University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology digital media developer Amy Ellsworth described the museum’s very successful “What in the World” game on Facebook and Flickr in which fans had to guess what an object from the collection was and where and when it was made. “We got a big response and generated a good discussion,” Ellsworth said.

Watch this space for updates on interesting things we’re finding through our other presentations and workshops, and contact us if you would like to speak with us about doing one for you.

And if you haven’t taken the survey, it’s not too late: we’re keeping it open through the end of the summer.

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