When social marketing consultant Crystal Muno first attended a Creating Connection workshop she wondered what this connection-based approach could mean for arts organizations in her hometown of Klamath Falls.
Known as the sunshine city of Oregon, Klamath Falls offers both natural and cultural wonders and has a history of grassroots organizing around the arts. So it didn’t take long for Crystal to start putting Creating Connection into action working with organizations such as the Ross Ragland Theater and Linkville Players to help them create connections among audiences, encourage community engagement, and test new approaches to arts marketing and fundraising.
Social media reboot
Crystal’s focus has been on applying the concepts to social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. She’s leveraged memes to help the organizations connect with audiences, asked questions of the community rather than simply providing information to them, and shown behind-the-scenes stories of the performance process.
According to Muno, these small shifts have made all the difference on their social platforms—posts that usually received 12 comments went to 90 comments, and content that invited audiences to share how they feel fared better than those that only spoke about the featured artists or art forms.
If you give a mouse a photo opp
This increased engagement hasn’t been limited to social campaigns:
"In the last year, [Ross Ragland has] definitely seen a shift in demographics, community involvement, and it's very much thanks to the Creating Connection model."
Last year instead of using a traditional image of professional dancers to market their Nutcracker performance, Crystal recommended that Ross Ragland use an image of the mice in the ballet—a group widely recognized in Klamath Falls as young children from the community.
This image, paired with photos from parents taking their children to the show and having Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Parties in the lobby, helped audiences see that the performances were friendly to all ages, and helped boost ticket sales.
Crystal’s passion for the Creating Connection concepts has spread to another organization close to her heart—Linkville Players.
While programming has always been family-friendly and kids have been welcomed as patrons, Crystal wanted to engage local youth more deeply in the organization—from casting them as performers, to offering meet and greets with the actors, to inviting them to design the posters for upcoming shows.
Give it a try
Applying the Creating Connection framework is easy! Download tools to get started telling stories that help people grow, give communities a voice, and contribute to people's happiness and well-being.
All photos courtesy of Crystal Muno.
Ross Ragland Theater and Linkville Playhouse’s participation in Creating Connection were made possible by the generous support of the Miller Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, The Jackson Foundation, The Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Cultural Trust, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Kinsman Foundation, Portland General Electric, The Standard. Leadership support was provided by the Metropolitan Group and Arts Midwest.
Special thanks to Crystal Muno, marketing professional with Ross Ragland Theater and Linkville Playhouse.