Below are some ways that you can use social media to generate interest in your activity that may generate news coverage.

Tailor your message for each platform

  • Don't just put the same message out on Facebook, Twitter etc. Spend some time getting to know what works on each platform and then use them for different sorts of messages and interactions with audiences.

Interesting content

  • Interesting online content will get shared, tweeted and retweeted. If you have any interactive or exclusive material like video, soundclips, images or multimedia content (rich content), use it. This is particularly true of Facebook and Twitter, which many people use to share rich content.
  • Rich content is often what local newspapers need to build their online presence. It is worth pointing local newspapers to this content.

Targeting key accounts

  • Tweet your local Arts Council England Twitter account to get them to retweet your story. We have many followers and it's more than likely some of them will want to hear about your activity.
  • Be aware of key organisations and people with social media accounts who you think may be interested in your project (eg other cultural organisations, venues, bloggers and news sites), and contact them about it. They may share information with their followers, or they may well use it.
  • 'Like' and 'follow' people. If you are active and retweet and share people's content, they are more likely to return the favour.
  • Look to your stakeholders, investors and people involved in the activity such as performers and artists. They are often just as passionate as you about the project and will want to talk about it. Let them have your key messages, web links and hashtags to help spread the word.

Hashtags

  • Messages on social networking sites may be tagged by putting "#" before important words, either as they appear in a sentence, (eg. "New artists announced for #SXSW 2012 Music Festival!"), or add the end of the message. This groups the messages, as you can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it.
  • Having a hashtag can draw attention to your project. It also allows you to track who is talking about it. The more people discuss it, the more people will see it.
  • Using existing hashtags (for instance, local ones) can be a way of making your Tweets noticed.

Case studies

The Garage Theatre was the first UK venue to offer 'tweetseats' to all 2013 performances of their Curtain Up! programme, giving away a limited number of tickets to young theatre-goers on the condition that they review their experience live on Twitter.

Tweetseats enabled The Garage to harness the views of attendees better and develop the profile of the theatre. An unexpected outcome of the initiative was that it also attracted a national profile.

The Brighton Digital Festival asked participants to tweet about the festival and then retweeted the content on @digitalbrighton with the hashtag #BDF2013. They also use the homepage of their website to quote tweets they have been sent or have sent themselves.