Armory’s Director of Communications, Jon Lapointe, joined the institution not long after the crash of 2008. Due to the economic crisis, pressure on the bottom line caused Armory to reduce the communication department’s print budget in a cost-cutting effort. They did less print advertising and reduced the size and expense of the large, elaborate printed promotional pieces that had previously been the primary means of getting the word out. These cards were reduced to a postcard format. Meanwhile Armory shifted to promotion via email and Facebook. But Jon thinks Facebook is the biggest driver. “We have more Facebook fans than recipients of our email blasts. We send 5,000 or 6,000 emails via constant contact. The open rate for these is 1,200 in the best case. But we have over 6,000 Facebook fans and there are 2,300 impressions generated by every Facebook post.”
Even though there have been improvements in the economy and in Armory’s budget condition, Jon sees no need to go back to print. “We’ve seen steady increases in class enrollment. Last summer was the best we ever had. Also we’ve had the best fall ever – typically a slow period.” Armory has also posted a new volunteer form online. This has brought in more young volunteers, age 30 or younger, than they ever had before.
Recently Jon has been fine tuning Armory’s Facebook presence so it is now not exclusively about Armory. Items now highlight interesting art installations that may be on view anywhere in the world, from London to the Netherlands projects. These are interspersed with items about Armory studio classes and contemporary art exhibitions. Jon thinks the ecology of the feed is important – that it’s not all about Armory all the time. “It’s like curating the messages on Facebook. We need a variety because parents of children in the classes don’t really care about the exhibitions program and young art fans without kids don’t care about the studio program,” that Armory promotes with postings like photos of an “Oreo Cameos” project – portraits carved by kids into the filling of Oreo cookies.
- Featured quote from Jon Lapointe
“We substantially reduced the communications department’s print budget, reduced our reliance on print, focused our energies on social media and web marketing and have seen attendance levels increase.”
- Proof points
- It’s possible to reduce the print media spending and grow one’s constituency.
- In one’s social network presence it’s important to balance the amount of self-referential material with citations of relevant ideas from a variety of sources.
- Keep in mind multiple constituencies for the organization and sustain information that appeals to each group.