As part of Brighton Fringe Online, we launched an audio version of Waiting For Hamlet. Lorks! what fun it was!
Having never done anything like this before it’s surprising how much there was to learn. There are various posts on our website and social media, showing how we did it.
In simple terms, the actors (Tim Marriott and Nicholas Collett) separately recorded an adapted script, hunched under duvet’s and 30 miles apart. With unwanted sound kept to a minimum, they performed their parts. Trevor Datson, the sound director, made them re-record various bits, before stitching it all together. David, the writer, gushed effusively about what a wonderful job everyone was doing. I, as the producer, was allocated ‘various other tasks’, designed to keep me out of the way.
Eventually, Trevor announced he was happy with the result. The team listened to it, and we declared that we were happy with it too. Much joy, happiness and mutual backslapping ensued.
The next question was; How do we get people to listen to it? Social Media was discussed and considered to be a good thing. Plans were drawn, jobs assigned and expectations raised. Then, David shared a couple of bottles of Vino Zoom with ‘a friend’, who suggested holding a Red Carpet Premiere. Bizarrely, when looked at it in the cold light of day, it didn’t seem to be such a bad idea.
Battle plans were redrawn. David wrote scripts, while we dug out moth-eaten dinner jackets, polished camera lenses and arranged props. Then, over a couple of sunny days, the team filmed lots of little videos. It was a simple premise, the crew and a variety of stars were filmed turning up in various gardens for the world premiere of Waiting For Hamlet. Each clip had its’ own joke which David edited them into longer sequences. Even for someone as uncomfortable in front of the camera as me, it was a lot of fun to do.
The next step was to build a social media campaign around #FrontPathRedCarpet.
So, I was sent into the murky world of social media.
Waiting for Hamlet has its own social media accounts; FB, Twitter and IG. Relatively new, and used to publish news updates, followers were few and far between, and post engagement was limited. Whilst thousands of adoring fans would have been nice, our show has not set out to build a large follower base. Turns out there was a bit of a strategic error there.
Personally, I do have some social media experience through running an online newspaper and shop. However, it transpires that this type of campaign involves a very different type of marketing.
I thought it may be helpful to share some key learning points.
- Content is king. You can’t have enough of it.
- Organise your content. Set up drive directories, easily navigable folders and a master spreadsheet, classifying the content by; type, post wording, date published and storage location. The last one is very important, you don’t want to trawl through hundreds of images to find the one you need.
- Define a strategy and objective for your campaign.
- Learn how to identify when your followers are most likely to read and engage with your posts.
- Know the recommended posting frequency for each network.
- Know which type of post generates what type of engagement.
- Content, content, content.
- Think of your social media stream as though you were putting together a magazine for your followers. Build something they will be interested in.
- Don’t make it all about you. Share details of other shows, industry news, engage with other Social Media users and most importantly of all, repost funny pictures of cats.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your followers to help by liking, sharing, commenting and reposting.
Remember it is a network, if you don’t do share other people’s posts, why would they do it for you?
Ultimately, what I learned was that social media marketing may be free to do, but it is a full-time job. It never goes away. If you put up one post saying, here is my show! Don’t be surprised if no one turns up. It takes more effort than that.
As a result of our efforts, one strategy we are currently considering, is finding related shows and sharing the burden of generating social media content. For example, if you are a stand-up comedian; join with 3 or 4 other stand-up’s to share each others content, design joint campaigns, create specific content for them, and generally, just chivvie each other along.
Just like a New Year’s Resolution, you start off in a blaze of glory, doing all the right things and committed to the cause, but then it becomes a chore; and you miss one day, and then another, and then there is that video of cats doing something silly that you just have to watch.
This post has taken a very unexpected turn. So here is a brief summary, we made an audio-version of Waiting For Hamlet and put it online. There was social media promotion, some people listened to it and donated money. We learned that social media campaigns are hard work, time-consuming and a bit boring. If you are considering using social media, get help. Ultimately, we had a lot of fun doing something silly, in connection with something we are immensely proud of.
P.s. We also recorded an interview between Paul Levy and the Waiting For Hamlet team which can be found at; Interview between Paul Levy and The Whamlets