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  • Amanda Shur @ Annenberg Center

A Semester of Social Media Marketing at Annenberg Center Live

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A Semester of Social Media Marketing at Annenberg Center Live

By Amanda Shur.

When I told people that my internship was in Social Media Marketing and Development, their first question was, “So, you write Facebook posts all day?” While I did indeed create posts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram at Annenberg Center Live, it’s not as superficial as it might sound. Business social media is a science. It’s not the same as updating your status to share with the world what you ate for breakfast, or to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. Social media marketing is a science, and drafting copy for posts is not too different from drafting copy for an ad agency.

The world of marketing today is a new and exciting place thanks to innovations in technology and changes in how we communicate in the modern world. Businesses are constantly looking for young, “hip” people to take over their social media presence and teach them how to use it. That’s the expectation I’d faced in previous internships. However, at Annenberg Center Live, I quickly realized that this internship was different. The Annenberg Center has a certain level of mastery in social media marketing, and it had definitely perfected the “business” aspect of social media. Yet, it was struggling to fulfill the social media adage of the “70/30 rule,” dividing content between business promotion and “fun” content to engage the audience.

That’s where I came in. My days at the Annenberg Center always started with checking in on the various platforms and making sure we were engaging with our audience by liking, following, and favoriting posts and tweets from fans and artists. The rest of the day could really be anything, and I’m grateful I was given a lot of freedom in that regard. I wandered throughout the building taking pictures of the beautiful artwork in the lobby I had never noticed before — despite having been in the building perhaps hundreds of times for classes and shows. I worked on building an Instagram account from the bottom up, researching the best type of content to post for such a unique platform. I interviewed staff members about the incredible history of the Annenberg Center and its three theatres. I researched upcoming performers as well as previous performances and shows. I watched dozens of Ted Talks; I read several medical studies on the health benefits of the arts and countless articles about what was happening in the arts world in Philadelphia and beyond. I learned not only about social media marketing, but also about working in the performing arts and the arts world in general.

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My favorite aspects of the internship were the initiatives I implemented — namely, Friday Features, a program showcasing a different Penn performing arts student group on our social media platforms each week, and my preparations for the major upcoming performance of Filter Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company’s Twelfth Night, coming to the Annenberg Center February 9–13, 2016. During my internship, I realized that Annenberg Center Live was a great source of arts performances on campus but that few students took advantage of this amazing resource. Friday Features was my attempt to better engage members of Penn’s performing arts community with the Annenberg Center. Twelfth Night was my most interesting project during my internship. Essentially, the goal was to come up with a marketing strategy to engage audience members before, during, and after the show, specifically in regard to social media. We had experienced some success with the Jon Batiste Selfie Contest, but with more time to prepare, we could do something much bigger. There was a great deal of freedom to create and explore, so I did my research and came up with a three-part plan that included engagement across social media leading up to the show, pre-show entertainment, and post-show engagement, which the Annenberg Center is hoping to implement for the production.

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Images: Filter Theatre & Royal Shakespeare Company, Twelfth Night (Credit: Robert Day); Selfie Contest at Jon Batiste & Stay Human performance (#JBatisteACL), October 17, 2015.

In short, yes, I did sit at a desk and write tons of Facebook and Twitter posts, but I also did much more. The most important thing I learned during my internship is that Annenberg Center Live is one of the most underrated resources on Penn’s campus. The caliber of the artists that the Annenberg Center brings to Philadelphia — or I should say, to campus — is remarkable: Grammy-award winning jazz performers, incredible world-renowned dance companies and choreographers, and critically acclaimed theatrical performances. I learned a lot during my internship about social media marketing and marketing in general, and about the arts as both business and entertainment. Yet the most fulfilling part of my internship was the opportunity to shed some light and awareness on one of the most amazing and underrated organizations at Penn.

This internship was made possible through support from the Provost's Interdisciplinary Arts Fund. Learn more>

Amanda Shur is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in Cinema Studies and Theatre Arts. On campus, she is the Social Chair of Front Row Theatre Company and a member of Zeta Tau Alpha.

Edited by Mariah Macias.