How the Royal Opera House uses social media to engage the newcomer and ballet buff alike

Chris Shipman of the Royal Opera House reveals how social media has allowed the brand to connect with its audiences, as part of a speaker session at Social Media Week London.

The Royal Opera House: the venue's 'Your Reaction' content hub
The Royal Opera House: the venue's 'Your Reaction' content hub

"We're very lucky to have a passionate, intelligent and engaged social media audience,"Chris Shipman, content producer for social media and news at the Royal Opera House (ROH), told an audience at Social Media Week London.

Shipman said social has allowed the ROH to generate feedback and build buzz around its events, which consist of approximately 60 productions each year.

He said: "Our ‘Your Reaction’ content on the ROH website showcases what audiences think of shows after an opening night, giving a core set of fans who like to review events the opportunity to do so via social media using a dedicated hashtag.

"We aggregate that content onto our website in real time so that subsequent audiences to the show can read existing comments and add their own views."

The benefit of a brand like the ROH being able to do this is that it adds authenticity to its overall content offering. He said: "The reviews we get have that element of constructive criticism and we want to embrace that.

"It also amplifies the content further as people start talking and sharing it more on social because it comes across as realistic."

'Inject personality into social content'

Because the ROH is a large institution, the brand has previously had difficulties with showing the personality behind its logo. Shipman said: "We’ve tried to encourage a sense of personality through a number of different formats.

"One of those is by getting artists and staff to engage on social so that they are telling the brand story themselves."

Another format has been to tailor content for specific geographical markets, as Shipman explained: "We have a very heavy international focus, and have identified key territories for global strategy including Europe, Argentina and Brazil, the US, Japan and Australia.

"We tailor our content specifically for these areas by translating certain pieces content such as video trailers for performances into their native language."

The ROH has also tailored its social content by segmenting audiences. "We have about eight or nine different social personality types, including ‘Newcomer’ and ‘Ballet Buff’," said Shipman. "We then tailor content to each type of audience."

Shipman highlighted a couple of examples as to how the ROH achieves this. "For #WorldEmojiDay on Twitter we created a number of emoji synopses for plays and operas, for those who wanted a more light-hearted piece of content from us as a brand."

"One example as to how we have tried to provide content for more invested audiences is through our Royal Ballet Daily Class video series, demonstrating how dancers train and what they go through."

Contributors have also been an invaluable resource to the ROH’s digital team of nine.

Shipman said: "We create 80% of content in-house, however, we do draw in contributors when we have a desire to reach a particular audience.

"When we discuss who we want to contribute, they have to be someone with a strong social footprint."

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