Hanover Theatre, Worchester, MA

Hanover Theatre Invites Audiences to Share Their Own Deadliest Catch and Channel Their Inner Housewives of New Jersey on Girls’ Night Out

Participation-based Facebook contests generate buzz and sell tickets to special nights at the Hanover Theatre.

The Hanover Theatre’s “Deadliest Catch” photo contest on Facebook.

Hanover Theatre in Worchester, Massachusetts is inviting fans and friends to post photos on its Facebook wall – channeling the “heroes” of Deadliest Catch and Housewives of New Jersey.  Weekly emails from Hanover reach 88,000 potential customers and invite them to post a photo tied in with an upcoming show to win free tickets.  Executive Director, Troy Siebels, says there aren’t hundreds of entries but the dozens they do get are creating buzz and selling tickets in advance of the shows featured. Each Facebook fan urges their networks of friends to get on board, proving that quality engagement is much more valuable than sheer numbers of followers.

The Deadliest Catch contest invited fans to send a photo with the largest fish they’d ever caught and the Housewives offer asked for photos from a night on the town.  The weekly email announces contests, offers rich content about the upcoming shows and invites interested fans to Hanover’s Facebook page to check out the deal.

The Hanover Theater’s Halloween email.

Hanover is having success with social media but has not abandoned direct mail (mailing 110,000 pieces three times a year to announce spring, Fall and Holiday seasons) or radio or print advertising.  All its communications platforms reinforce core messages and drive interested fans to the company’s Facebook page.  With more than 40 shows a year, Hanover is balancing the need to “get the word out” about what’s new with building a solid fan base in the community.  Managing Director Siebels’ twitter feed has a personal tone, carrying on a conversation with followers who respond to his frequent tweets.

“We’ve been experimenting with contests on Facebook for the past year and half and we’re pleased with the results.  We don’t have hundreds of responses but the dozens we get have a strong effect on ticket sales.” said Troy Siebels, Executive Director.  “The right tone is everything, I’m very conscious of keeping my tweets conversational and avoiding anything that feels like advertising.”

Proof points:

  • Targeted participation-based contests can create excitement  and build audiences for specific shows
  • Taking a conversational rather than a hard sell tone is all important in Twitter-based conversations

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