Tag Archives: marketing

Using impactful visuals to sell the arts

We invited the wonderful Jane Hobson to talk about how careful planning results in stunning photographs – something she happens to be an expert in! – and ultimately, bums on seats.

© Jane Hobson. Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in “Necessity, Again”, by Jo Stromgren, Festspielhaus, Baden Baden, Germany, for Dance Consortium

It’s only words… or is it?

Whilst a beautifully crafted piece of copy is a joy to behold, its impact can be multiplied by the judicious use of a cracking photograph. In fact, I’m willing to bet that some reviews are only read because the accompanying image has grabbed the reader’s attention. As for getting bums on seats, a striking poster, leaflet, social media post or web ad invites the beholder to engage with the emotion or theme of the production, and to at least consider booking.

So how can you maximise the chances of this happening?

  1. Quality. Horses for courses. There are photographers who are performing arts specialists for a reason. It’s a specialist area. It takes years of experience, constant practice, and rather pricey camera gear. (I swear the camera sensor manufacturers are in league with contemporary dance lighting designers!) Even within the performing arts, there are photographers who are stronger in one area or another, whether dance or circus, opera or theatre, studio work or live performance – check portfolios and client list. The quality of the imagery is key to whether your communications will get seen/not and how/whether they are responded to. If you don’t have the budget for someone external (see point 3, and remember to budget next time) then by all means DIY/get a mate with a camera in, but please bear the following pointers in mind (and remember to budget next time – I can’t say this too often!)
  2. Plan. Do you need a studio shoot or a live performance/theatre lighting shoot? Sections or full dress? What costumes and lighting will you need? Full cast/not. What are your deadlines? Which media do you need to shoot for (see also below)? Portrait or landscape? (All of these, except for portrait v landscape, impact on timing and cost.)
  3. Budget. I know the arts are underfunded and that budgets are tight, but if you are in the lucky position of being Arts Council/Kickstarter/etc. funded, please remember to put in a budget for marketing and PR that includes photography. I know it sounds obvious but…get a quote first.
  4. Single-minded proposition. What is the one key thing that you wish to convey about the production? (Hint: it’s not ‘come and see this show’) The images selected should help you convey this.
  5. Target. Choose your media according to your target market and when/where they will be most receptive. (This probably warrants a whole post to itself – if in doubt, HdK can advise!)
  6. Shoot. Look for striking shapes, expressions, lighting, moments – they can be subtle or not-so-subtle, but things that trigger something in the photographer are likely to also trigger something in the audience. (Also, keep your photographer in water/hot beverages – it’s thirsty work, and you will become a favourite client if you do!)
  7. Select. Choose an image or a small set of images that convey key intelligence about your production. Whether it’s a theme, key character, moment or emotion (or all four!) Avoid spoilers though, and try not to overload with too many messages – simplicity is key here.
  8. Spread. Having multiple options of images (though not too many – you don’t want to reveal the whole show!) for use across social media can help keep the message fresh/keep intrigue up.

In putting together this guest post, I have probably both told granny how to suck eggs for the experienced, and made it sound too complicated for the uninitiated. Such is the nature of having only a limited space! It goes without saying that HdK are the experts and that, whatever the experience level within arts marketing the client has, HdK will be able to discuss your own particular needs, opportunities and logistics with you – in language you understand.

Jane Hobson

Jane is a photographer who specialises in the performing arts, and has a director/partner level background in advertising, brand and creative strategy (as well as market research). Her clients include Scottish Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, Rambert, English Touring Opera, Birmingham Stage Company, etc.


Analytics gone mobile!

pexels-photoWe are delighted to announce that Instagram have recently introduced analytics – or Insights, as the app calls them – and they look amazing! The new profiles offer businesses a wealth of super useful info that will help users reach the right audience at the right time.

In this post we’ll give you a quick tour of the tools as well as the inside scoop on how to use the new profile to your advantage. Much like Facebook insights, the new profiles will allow users to track important characteristics of follower activity including post engagements, site clicks, top posts, most popular hashtags… the list goes on.

14273445_10154366495089333_817327813_oIf you haven’t already, the first thing you need to do is activate your business profile. To do this, tap the wheel in the top right of your Instagram profile and select ‘Switch to Business Profile’ (this option only appears if you have a Facebook account). You will then be asked to log in to Facebook and select which Facebook page you want to connect. You must be an admin of the page you’re wanting to connect, and can only connect one Instagram Business profile and Facebook page together.

Once you’ve activated your business profile, a chart icon appears next door to the wheel – here you’ll find your analytics. You’ll also notice a ‘Contact’ button appears on your profile besides the ‘Edit Profile’ button (or ‘Following’ button on other profiles), which allows you to call or email directly from the app. When clicking through to Insights you are immediately shown your weekly impressions, reach and most usefully, how many website clicks you’ve had. This means you can now track and compare conversion rates across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


The new features!

Top posts

Instagram displays your top posts, organised by number of impressions per post, and you can choose to filter these from 7 days to two years. Do note that Instagram Insights do not pull historical data; it only starts tracking once an Instagram Business profile is set up.


You can click individually on posts to see the total number of times
the post has been seen, the number of people who have seen the post and the number of likes/comments. The app also defines all its statistics for you (so you know what you’re looking at!) Example definitions below – you can see at any time by clicking ‘What do these mean?’ below your statistics.


Instagram will tell you your total amount of followers, including how many new followers you’ve gained each week. Aside from this, Instagram is handing out gold for businesses: follower demographic analytics. Now you’re able to see where your followers are located, their age range, and the gender – even the ratio of men to women!

Location: You can now see your top follower locations by country and by city. Not only is this incredibly useful data for marketers to understand their audiences, but it also gives you a better sense of when you should be posting time zone-wise to reach the majority of your followers. On this note, you can also see the days of the week when your followers are most active and the average times your followers are on Instagram, so you can schedule posts in the specific hours in which followers are most active – hooray!

14247730_10154366493134333_1072462407_oGender and Age: 
Next, you’re able to break down the gender and age of your followers and You can use the age and gender statistics to see the age range of men and women both separately and combined, and view a breakdown of your male to female follower ratio in a circle graph.

Promoting posts

Much like Facebook, you can now turn everyday image posts into ads at the touch of your thumb! You will see below every post you have a ‘Promote’ option – from here you are guided through the steps. Since the app is linked to Facebook, you also have the option to invite or find Facebook friends to follow.

We hope that all this rich data will help you create effective content for Instagram and market your business more effectively. HdK are delighted to see it in action and are excited to incorporate the insights into our clients’ digital marketing plans.

Any questions for us? Don’t hesitate to contact. We’d be happy to walk through the Insta-analytics with you.

That’s all for now!