I remember way back in 2006 or so when a friend emailed that I should check out Facebook and invited me to become a friend. With literally hundreds of emails waiting for replies I remember thinking, “I don’t have time for this!” Fast forward to 2008 and this same friend introduced me to a 15-year old girl who it turned out started a Facebook page all on her own and on behalf of the Ottawa Jazz Festival without telling anyone at the festival. As the director of marketing and media for this very organization it was the first time I really came to appreciate the significance of a medium that was sending out messages on our behalf and I didn’t control the messages!
I decided to get to know this girl and invited her to take control of the festival’s modest foray into social media under my supervision. I don’t think I was even aware of the terminology ‘social media’ yet. We’ve come a long way since those early days but I still have personal anxieties about actually taking the plunge into this fascinating and pluralistic form of communication.
I’ve been very fortunate to work with some very clever people to direct our social media. Unfortunately this has resulted in a double edged sword for me personally because while I’m aware of the tools, I don’t actually know how to use that screwdriver. I’ve been interviewed by media several times, sent out literally hundreds and hundreds of media releases, overseen media requests for artist interviews, worked with several website developers and film production companies but when it comes to sending out a tweet I get sticky fingers.
photo: Brian Goldschmied
My primary excuse is that I’m busy. I know, I know, I think ‘busy’ is the most overused word since the advent of emails http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-email-makes-us-so-stressed-out-2015-2 (this article was written for me!). As I sit and watch the reams of emails come in, many people wonder why I’m always so busy when the festival is over for 2015 and 2016 is a long way off.
This is a question many in the festival industry regard with amusement. While long and exhausting hours during a festival is relatable, few realize that the work really begins for the 2016 Ottawa Jazz Festival as soon as the stage lights are turned off after the last concert in 2015.
It begins by immediately (and I mean immediately) gathering and analyzing survey results, several analytics, media coverage, photos, reports from advertisers, research about the tourism industry, etc., etc. Analyses of all this information is then tabulated and assembled into reports for funders and sponsors and a comprehensive media marketing report.
Come September we must be ready and prepared to liaise with new and established sponsors, organize a concerted fundraising campaign for next year’s festival all while promoting fall and winter programming.
This past Festival I picked up Instagram and had so much fun with it and a eureka moment. Besides doing my own posts it was much more effective to get others in the organization involved. So it dawned on me, it’s not about one person controlling your out-going message. Like in-coming messages it’s actually more powerful to work with a savvy team within your organization to send messages from diverse points of views http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-holmes/red-cross-gettingslizzerd_b_1478354.html.