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AmbITion Consultant Roger Tomlinson on arts organisations embracing change

AmbITion Consultant, Roger Tomlinson works internationally in the arts and entertainment sector in audience development.

On the AmbITion project he worked with the Royal Philharmonic Liverpool and New Wolsey Theatre.

“Nothing permanent in life except change. Arts organisations must find ways of staying in tune with the public”, he shares in this video:

1 thought on “AmbITion Consultant Roger Tomlinson on arts organisations embracing change

  1. Wow! Lots of questions here. Glad I sparked off some debate – it’s hard to fit everything into 30 minutes and gauge what knowledge people are after, so hopefully this will answer some of your questions…

    I don’t think the focus should be on numbers. Engagement is quality rather than quantity – regular sharing and discussion between any number of fans or followers demonstrates more engagement than a high number of fans or followers who only interact once and never return. Starbucks and Coke are prime examples of mass scale Facebook groups with low level of engagement.

    I thought the graph I pulled from Twitter Analyzer demonstrated nicely how you could track your twitter growth and pull out which tweets were successful in creating more followers, RTs and @ messages – surely the main indicators for whether a tweet was good quality.

    With Tate being an international brand, you would expect the numbers of followers to be high and if Tate weren’t getting high numbers, I think we’d have been doing something wrong. However, if we had been growing at a slower, but steady rate, with fewer followers, we would have still been happy.

    The Digital Communications Manager role was brought in not just to handle twitter, but improve all the e-commerce functions of Tate – including membership, ticketing, shopping, etc. The ROI on the Digi Comms Manager is, at a very basic level, increasing sales via digital elements such as email, website and social media. And by the way his salary is far lower than you’ve estimated! The twitter feed is still being run by a group of people from across the organisation, alongside their normal jobs.

    The followers vs followings debate is always a sticky one. Personally, I don’t think an organisation with such a large remit and audience should be following everyone who follows them. Like you say, how can you possibly read 100,000 peoples tweets? The campaign using the hashtag #tatetweets was a proactive project that asked people – Tate’s followers – what they thought of the twitter feed, what we could do to improve it. We responded to all tweets and interacted in the discussion and – most importantly – made changes that people could see.

    I do feel that Tate has a remit to not necessarily be at the centre of all discussions. That’s why #tatedebate came about – tapping into its followers to start a debate about art. We would post up the subject and then let people go. I see @tate twitter as a unique opportunity to facilitate debate as we can touch so many people from around the globe with one tweet – and encourage them to interact with each other. Twitter’s not just a 2 way thing, it’s a 5 way, 10 way, 497 way thing… you get the idea…

    As for content – everyone has a story to tell. Be it big exhibitions, behind the scenes stories, “making of” processes, passions, frustrations, etc. Everytime you are set up something new online, ask yourself: What are you trying to achieve? What is your goal (for the project and the organisation)? Who are you trying to reach? Does this fit in with other communications you’re doing? Is it being done already?

    And let’s not forget Twitter is a place where we can experiment, put our guards down and chat to our audience. Have some fun!

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