Today’s Challenge: “Fan-dom” of the Opera? Check this out!

with Neil Godin

What? You may think that opera is a bit stodgy. But park that thought. And take a good look at what Vancouver Opera is doing with social media. If you’re looking for ideas on how to use SM – in every possible way – to drive traffic and sales, it’s hard to imagine a better example. Here is just a sampling of what VO is up to….

  • They have appointed a full time Social Media Manager, named Ling Chan
  • They blog – and they list four regular opera bloggers on their website – while another popped up in my Google search
  • They have a great set of photos on their Flickr site dubbed ‘fashion at the opera’
  • They even have a social media sponsor:  @georgiastraight.

Why? Their next big production is West Side Story (advertised as a full blown New York style production, with original Jerome Robbins choreography). Can you think of a better way to get the West Side story out than putting up trailers on YouTube and Vodpod – and on their website and blog as well – then using all their SM platforms to drive traffic to the trailers – and to the box office? Neither can I.

Vancouver Opera - West Side Story

How? VO social media maven Ling Chan says that her goal is to drive ticket sales – particularly by engaging and attracting younger people who are social media savvy – as well as raise funds, and generate publicity. The immediacy of social media plays a big role. VO blogs live – offering sneak peaks of performers seen only on Facebook, for example (“fan-dom” of the opera?). They also tweet from backstage during dress rehearsals. And, they capture “live” feedback from raving audience members as they exit the theater. Perfect.

The Challenge: Okay. So whadda-we-do with this great example?  Well. I’m thinking of two of my marketing and sales coaching clients that design and build magnificent custom homes in their factories – instead of the old-fashioned “messy” approach to building on site. These companies always have at least twenty or thirty “serious” prospective buyers who are still thinking about buying at any given time. Wouldn’t it be great if they used social media to keep those prospects informed – every step of the way – as they build homes for customers who have already bought? YouTube videos could show “live” discussions with the design department, for example. Twitter and Facebook messages could alert both customers and prospects when the next stage of production is about to begin at the plant – while shooting and sharing every step of the production process.  Live video interviews of customers, at their building site, could show the feelings of suspense, worry, excitement, and delight, when their home finally arrives on huge flatbed trucks – and is then erected and enclosed in a matter of days (instead of weeks and months using the old way).  I’m thinking “reality TV” that is actually “real.”  I’m thinking mobile phone video. Twitter and Facebook. Everything that social media has to offer.  But. I can hear you saying, “wait,” who has time to do all this stuff? Well, Vancouver Opera has discovered (and you may too) that they can’t afford not to have someone (like Ling Chan) who literally has nothing else to do. Just a thought. Just a thought.

See you next time.


Special Notice: Our last Social Media Challenge gathering of the season!

Here are the details:

When: Monday, June 27th at 7 p.m.
Where: Watershed Arts Cafe
Location: #11-20349 88th Ave, Langley BC
Telephone: 604.882.0651

Topic: ‘How to manage your social media marketing program in 30 minutes a day.’

Our speaker:

Owen Clark is an entrepreneur. After starting and building his online business and community 2 years ago through social media platforms, meetup groups and live networking, he has become recognized in Vancouver as a Notable Networker. On top of that he runs a manufacturing business that distributes a product North America wide. When he is not in the city, Owen spends his time playing with his three kids and enjoys the beautiful outdoors at his home on the sunshine coast.

Come listen to how he manages his social media applications in 30 minutes a day.  “In today’s world of social media and being around so many business owners I constantly hear phrases about how social media confuses them, too time consuming, where do I start, I don’t know what to say…?”   Social Media doesn’t have to be time consuming or confusing and in fact it is not… Come and learn why and how.

Please RSVP at

Owen Clark

Owen Clark's QR (Quick Response) Code for Smart Phones

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