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December 17, 2009
Social Media Making PR Music for Orchestras

An indication of how social media are producing PR music in the orchestral world comes from a survey done from Chicago. Beth Kanter passes it along. Marc van Bree recently sent his survey to 53 orchestra managers and got 15 returned from larger symphonies with budgets of more that $2.5 million. Because of the relatively low return, he considers the results "informative rather than authorative."

Here are some of his findings:

• All orchestras have a Facebook presence, with 93% managing a Facebook fan page.

• A large majority of orchestras has a Twitter account (80%), while only 40% have a MySpace page.

• Nearly half of the orchestras produce a podcast (47%), and one-third of the orchestras maintain a blog.

• Eighty percent of the orchestras have responded to questions and comments on social networking sites, and 40% actively pitch bloggers.

• Forty-seven percent of the orchestras did not respond externally when faced with negative comments in social media; 27% posted a public rebuttal.

• A large majority of the orchestras (87%) does not have an internal policy regarding social media usage by employees, and 40% does not find a need for one.

You don't automatically think of symphonies as social media users, yet the Chicago survey seems an indication of how online methods are spreading in the world of classical music. It's an interesting survey effort, and as Beth says, it's "an indication of how nonprofits can use social media to achieve mission."

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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