Cultural Advocacy on Facebook
1. Personal rules: There are no clear instructions or rules as to SMM, but there are always the goals of a specific project. Start with them. When working with social media, just as with any other form of communication, we decided to stick to one important principle: to be useful for our target audience, work for its benefit, and not for a pretty description in the report. Here is an example from real life. The content on our page that is most in demand is information about grants, competitions, and opportunities for creative people. Once a young theatre graduate wrote to us saying that he would like to advocate for theatre in his country, to learn that at the highest level. We thought about this issue and prepared a roundup of grants and scholarships targeting theatre graduates, tagged the young man in the post and wrote: “If you’re listening, we rounded up this selection especially for you.” And he wrote back to us saying that he would try to take advantage of one of the opportunities. We eagerly await news from him.
2. Talk about yourself last: It’s very important to hear what followers write and ask. A “Like” on your page is a sign of trust and expectation of something useful. That is why we rarely post anything about ourselves or our daily work like other narrowly specialised projects do. We often write about examples of strategies and practices, how to bring culture into the spotlight, make it influential and profitable.
3. Promotion can also reflect the idea of the project: Competitions undoubtedly draw attention. But then again for us this is an opportunity to hear those interested in the subject of our project, to ask what is expected from us, what they would like to see or hear in the future. At the core of any competition are surveys, opinions, discussions and we are grateful for that. No T-shirts or pens as souvenirs! The followers of our page are educated, creative people, and so we decided to give out the most interesting books in the field as gifts. We had to order some of them on Amazon for this occasion.
4. Control your desire to tell everyone about everything: Since the project is designed to target the six countries of the Eastern Partnership, we use targeting and give each country the most relevant information. You can’t give followers a sense of “redundant news”. For this, we promote separate posts.
5. Reading with taste: People scroll through lots of text on Facebook every single day. Even a bit too much. We believe that enough time should be devoted to deciding what language to use for your project, brand or the product page. If a writer decides to write an essay, he or she is bound to observe the rules of the genre and avoid long descriptions in his work. We’ve adopted a rule stipulating that we must be concise and informative, but at the same time, our posts should sound as if two art connoisseurs exchanged a few words at a museum or a gallery.
Overall, our ability to reach the 20,000 friends mark and to communicate with them in such a small-scale advocacy project have shown that the creative industries are emerging rapidly as a field of interest and development in countries of the Eastern Partnership. And that makes us happy.