Non-traditional Social Ideas for Marketing Your Venue/Performances

Written by the Founder of iStrategyLabs, Peter Corbett

As a social experiential agency, we at iStrategyLabs get to play with all sorts of emerging platforms and methodologies for promoting our clients’ brands and events. The following concepts are ones we’ve tested, and which show great promise in being applicable for arts organizations that are looking to market their venues and performances in new ways. These approaches are meant to be inexpensive and lightweight to produce, yet have impact that can be felt at the box office in terms of lifting brand awareness for the organization.

Concept One: The Venue as A Co-working Space for Creative Innovators

Many readers of this article may already have a “co-working” component to their venue where artists, producers, entrepreneurs and technologists can come to work together in ad hoc ways. The following method is built to enable the creation or expansion of a co-working program in your venue:

1. Segment out the days of the week, dates and hours when you’d like creatives/patrons/collaborators to come hangout in your venue to work together on whatever they want.
2. Create an Eventbrite RSVP like this one (for our ideaXLR8R project) so you can track RSVPs and capture email
3. Use in-venue signage to encourage on-site Tweeting, Foursquare check-ins and content creation by attendees.
4. Promote these co-working opportunities to all channels you have at your disposal

This method only requires setting up an RSVP and making sure your venue staff know how many people to expect. Ultimately, this kind of approach will produce foot traffic to the venue, social media content development/distribution, and guarantee deeper engagement with your current and potential patrons.

Concept Two: The Crowd-Sourced Space “Rental”

Each year iStrategyLabs produces 50+ events focused on strengthening the creative and technology communities around the world. We’ve learned that one of the scarcest resources required for community building is cheap, usable space.The following method can be used to offer your various spaces to community groups in such a way that the very groups vying for the space become your social word of mouth marketing team. Here’s how it works:

1. Setup a voting platform on Uservoice. The simplest plan is free, with the next level up being $20 a month – it will take you about 20 minutes to setup your site.
2. Customize Uservoice to let people know that the organization which has the highest number of votes by a specific date will have free use of your venue for their community meetup. If you have multiple spaces, allow the top X voted on organizations to have access that same night.
3. Promote this opportunities to all channels you have at your disposal, and also directly to Meetup organizers on Meetup.com.

In the course of crowd-sourcing your free space rental, those vying for this value (which costs you very little to offer for free) will spread the word in order to garner votes. Other community groups will see these messages, submit to vie for the opportunity, and continue a viral loop of promotion for your brand. In the end, you’ll end up with additional emails for future use, word of mouth on the web, as well as a lot of love within the community you eventually provide the space to.

Both concepts are repeatable on a monthly/weekly basis and cost little to know out of pocket, and require minimal staff time/oversight. Please let me know if you try either out! You can find me on Twitter @corbett3000 or on Facebook.


About Peter Corbett
Peter Corbett is the founder and CEO of iStrategyLabs – an interactive agency that develops creative solutions to clients’ challenges and brings them to life in the digital and physical world. He’s widely known for his creative marketing approaches coupled with a deep technical background, and a focus on civic innovation through community building.

Peter has won multiple industry awards and accolades:

•5 Addy’s for digital and experiential campaigns
•2 Living Labs Global Innovation awards
•1 Pioneer Institute Better Government Award
•Power 30 Under 30™ 2010
•Name Technology Advisor to DC Mayor Vince Gray’s transition team
•3x named one of the most influential Washingtonians under 40 by WashingtonLife
•Named one of 100 Tech Titans by Washingtonian Magazine
•Named one of 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers by Government Technology Magazine
•Won Great Washington DC Board of Trade’s “One To Watch” award for being “A rising entrepreneur who has a bright and sustainable future in Greater Washington”

In Government 2.0 circles, Peter is widely known for co-creating Apps for Democracy with Vivek Kundra and DC’s Office of the CTO, and the Apps for the Army program for the US Army. His focus on creating – rather than just talking about – smarter, better, faster, and cheaper ways of doing things has inspired initiatives in more than 25 countries around the world.

iStrategyLabs is currently working on the Apps for the Army program for the US Army.

Peter is a highly sought after speaker on the topics of creativity, entrepreneurship, marketing, social media, Government 2.0, Civic Innovation, mobile and web application development for federal, state, local government and consumer use, application development contests, innovation contests, digital divide issues and crowdsourcing.


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