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22nd May 2019 Jacqueline Haxton

Digital Advent Calendar #DigiLab

Digital Lab Fellow, Charlotte Angharad from Metro-Boulot-Dodo (MBD) shares the thinking behind and outcomes of her second #DigiLab experiment — a digital Advent calendar.

In our second #DigiLab experiment we didn’t have a specific goal as such, we just wanted to try lots of different things through our social media channels to see what worked and what didn’t.

We thought Christmas was a good time to experiment with playful content, so each day throughout December 2018 we published different types of content on our three social media channels — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — a bit like a digital Advent calendar.

The type of content we published varied — photographs, videos and plain text. Some posts we put across all three channels to see how they performed, some we just put on one channel.

We had a series of posts on ‘meet the team’ with a bit of information about each MBD team member. We asked the team questions such as what’s their favourite thing about Christmas? And what were they most looking forward to in 2019?

We also asked questions as posts. Some questions related to our work, for example, asking whether people had seen a show that we’d done or whether they had any feedback on a show. We also asked unrelated questions such as — what’s your favourite Christmas film? We just wanted to get people talking and engaged on our social media channels.

We monitored the level of engagement we got from these posts. We wanted to see if there were any trends we could identify with the type of content we published. We wanted to gain some insight into what our audiences engaged with and “liked”.

Results
The results were very mixed. We found that the posts that gained the most engagement were the ones about the team — information about real life people rather than pictures of a show or a prop. Posts that had human interaction — either a video or a picture of a team member — were the ones that got the biggest interactions with the most likes and occasionally some comments.

The question posts were really hit and miss. We found that some of the questions were our top performing posts while others didn’t get any reaction at all. It was very hard to glean any evaluation from these. What we did find was that top performing questions were the ones that generated a conversation. Posts with interactions and comments were the high performing posts.

It seems the key to social media is not just sparking interest in a post it’s about sparking a conversation amongst your audience. We know that’s a good thing for us to do but we’re still figuring out what kind of questions and posts work best.

Outcomes
What we’ve gained from this experiment, and from the whole Digital Lab experience, is that our social media channels have very different purposes.

We now see that Twitter is more for engaging professionally with partner organisations and other organisations and artists within the sector; and that’s where we get the most interaction. Whereas Facebook is more for our already engaged audiences — giving them more insight into the work that we do. We’re quite new to Instagram so we’re still finding our feet but it tends to be a mixture of both.

We’ve definitely changed the way we engage with social media. Knowing which audience suits which social media channel has helped us think more about the type of content we share and who it’s aimed at. We’re more mindful of the content we post on each channel. We might share the same subject matter across the three social media channels but how we present that content is very different.

Images courtesy of Metro-Boulot-Dodo ©.

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