The Circus School, like businesses, bands and other entities has turned to Facebook both to generate an audience and figure out who makes up their audience. While professionals specializing in social media are often hired to streamline communicating messages across different platforms on the internet, this school doesn’t have a dedicated social media manager.
However sophisticated social media operations may appear to be on paper, what the numbers of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ really come down to is the popularity of what the organization is offering.
“Unfortunately, it’s the 20th thing that I do…” Marc Miller, managing director of The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, located at 5900A Greene Street in Germantown, lamented about social media. Despite not having a full-time social media position, the school’s Facebook page has 2,716 likes, more than any other page for a business or organization in Germantown. Many of this school’s posts reach at least 1,000 people.
Circus artists and enthusiasts in and outside of Philadelphia follow the school’s page for updates. “It feels like an echo chamber for people who are already in your group, which can be a great thing. We can reach people who are already in our network. However, I don’t think we’re particularly skilled in using social media to attract new business,” Miller said.
When it comes to attracting new students, the school values old fashion networking as well as newsletters. “We’re not really looking at Facebook to reach people who don’t know anything about circus,” Miller said.
In March 2013, the school helped host an event for author Duncan Wall. Organizers created a Facebook event for the night, which was a combination of live performance and lectures. For this event, posting it on Facebook was very successful. For general performances, the school has found that such a posting doesn’t make a big difference.
“The people that come to our performances are generally already in our network, so putting it on Facebook is no more successful than putting it out on our newsletter,” Miller said.
Those using social media in circus have to be careful about what photos show up on the internet. Some high-level professionals need to protect their images so keep their jobs. “You can make a good living doing circus, but If an image of them gets out there that shows an artist falling or messing up, then that could threaten their work potential,” Miller said.
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