Where have we got to with our social media experiments?


Over the last few months Drake Music (DM) has been carrying out some social media experiments in order to create a social media strategy. As two of the experiments have provided us with a range of learning points, I’d like to share a quick update on where we have got to.

Before I get tucked into that I want to provide some context about Drake Music as every organisation is different and so needs to use social tools in a way that fits with that organisation and those who work within it. Taking an ‘experiments’ approach enables us to identify what works best for the organisation.

Drake Music is a charity that is officially twenty years old this year. It employs one full time member of staff, 4 part-time staff members and some 40 associates who work around the country.

It has centres in London, Bristol and Manchester and serves a large and diverse number of clients. Clients typically include people of all ages who face disabling barriers, special and mainstream schools, musicians, artists and technologists, music education hubs, arts organisations and so on.

You can see from our DM Live Wire page exactly how much is going on at any one time: http://www.drakemusic.org/dm_livewire

So, Drake Music is a small organisation with colleagues who have limited time and are dispersed geographically.

The context is important and has determined the general approach to creating a social media strategy. Setting up experiments has allowed DM to understand more about what works and how and why it works and more importantly what doesn’t work and why.

The current experiments have provided us with some insights into the challenges of creating a social media strategy.

Gawain’s experiment – Drake Music R&D: building an R&D community
Our first experiment has shown that making connections using Twitter has enabled us to start to reach different communities and develop ideas and create events.

Although in its early days still, the experiment has demonstrated that Twitter can be used to help grow our networks and make connections with new communities that we are looking to connect with. Gawain’s hack day was a great success which has shared on the blog he has set up to support DM’s research and development work. Without Twitter, Gawain would not have had leading music technology hackers at his hack day.

It is early days and Gawain has taken his time to find his ‘voice’ on Twitter, as he described here. He also recognizes the fact it is difficult to make time to use Twitter and the blog, but he is keen to do more and understands that by doing so he can build up his work and extend the reach of Drake Music’s research and development.

Ben’s experiment: ‘The Brazilian Connection’
Ben’s experiment has revealed other challenges. Ben’s ambitions to shoot video, write blog posts, take pictures and tweet proved to be too much to take on at once.

Ben’s video vignettes, however, have proved to be very popular (this one on Makey Makey even got a comment from the Makey Makey inventor Eric Rosenbaum) and although he has not used Twitter as much as he had hoped he feels it is a really useful tool and – to his surprise – it has helped him connect more with his colleagues at Drake Music more on that here).

So where does this leave the Drake Music social media strategy? First, I’d like to thank Ben and Gawain for all their efforts. We are still in the early stages of creating the strategy and have already learned what works and what doesn’t thanks to them sharing their journey.

We have learned the following:
•    Twitter is very useful tool for DM colleagues to connect and share with each other
•    Twitter has proved to be a valuable tool in connecting different communities – I am thinking of the Drake Music and making communities in particular.
•    Video vignettes are a great way of sharing what the work of great music is all about
•    Twitter has enabled DM associates to support each other and to amplify each other’s work
•    By doing so the associates are showing – through tweets, Twitter conversation, images, video, blog posts – what it’s like to work at Drake Music as well as sharing what type of work they produce.

In terms of the goals we set ourselves for the experiments, we are edging towards them and Gawain has managed to achieve some of his thanks to the hack day event.

Next steps
We now need to build on what we’ve learned. As well as continuing to support Gawain and Ben with their use of social tools, we need to look at how we can share what’s worked more widely across the organisation. Based on these two experiments, we will be setting up a third – more on that shortly.

I’m currently talking to DM’s CEO about how we can build on this learning. I’ll share this shortly but in the meantime, please feel free to share your thoughts on what we have been doing in the comments below.

One final point, with Drake Music reaching its twentieth birthday this year we have an opportunity to look at how we use our social media thinking to support the celebrations, build connections around them and help use the tools to include others and to amplify the event.

Here is the social media strategy so far – in blog posts!

Social media strategy at Drake Music
DM social strategy experiment #1 – Ben Glass in Brazil
DM social strategy experiment #2 – R&D at Drake Music
Ben Glass: Getting going on Twitter and Youtube
Social strategy update: Drake Music R&D
Social media strategy update: Ben Glass in Brazil

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