Posted by Brian Mahoney, Vice President – Ticket Sales
We love social media. It’s cheap, it’s fun. Everyone has a good time talking about the social activity we generate as well as what people are saying in posts and tweets, not to mention how many likes and followers there are. The raw numbers of likes and followers provide comfort that the show has a strong fan base who will buy tickets. The posts provide a lift as well in the form of positive feedback from the fan base. Everything is coming up Roses. But are we reaching today’s ticket buyers? Who is engaging with social media for Broadway?
We asked five questions about the use of social media. The first - and possibly the most important- was “Have you ever seen a post in your newsfeed on Facebook about a Broadway show either from the show, or a family member or friend?” 44% said yes, with fewer New Yorkers saying yes (41%) than out of town customers (45%). The Wednesday Matinee customers posted the lowest percentages: 35% NYC, 37% suburbs and 38% out of town. The highest percentages were posted by the second year customers, not a large sample (1,200) as compared to the total but still significant: 47% NYC, 42% suburbs and 52% out of town.
We also asked “Have you ever visited a show’s Facebook page?” 27% said yes, with a range between 23% in the suburbs and 31% out of town, with NYC at 24%. Once again the Wednesday matinee customers were not heavy users of Broadway show Facebook pages: 27% of the out of town respondents but only 20% of locals (both New Yorkers and those who live in the suburbs). Then we asked those who said they had visited a show’s Facebook page if they had “liked” the show on Facebook: 78% of those who had visited a show’s webpage said they had “liked” the show on Facebook (for the statisticians reading this that is 78% of the 27%).
There are some interesting takeaways in this data. 50% more customers saw a post in their newsfeed than visited a show’s Facebook page. Are most of those posts from when their friends or family saw the show? Is this a form of “word of mouth”? This suggests the payoff to a show in Facebook activity is greater from the number of posts made by customers in their own feeds than it is from the number of “likes” or visits to the page. For a potential customer to know about likes they have to visit the show’s Facebook page (or at least the page of a friend or family member who had “liked” the show), which requires both a decision to visit and the action of visiting whereas a posting that appears in your newsfeed requires virtually no work. You have to be active with one and you can be passive with the other. At the same time the low usage by our loyal Wednesday Matinee crowd suggests social media is still used by younger audiences, or at least younger by Broadway standards (or Wednesday matinee standards).
Encouraging posts from people who have seen the show is an activity that could pay dividends. With all the problems with ringing cell phone usage (not to mention trying to charge the phones when on low battery), how to generate posts around attendance without creating more problems may be challenging.