The Northampton Symphony Orchestra (NSO) has turned to social media savvy students at the University of Northampton to help it attract new audiences.
The orchestra, which will be celebrating its 125th anniversary next year, tasked second year Advertising & Digital Marketing students Rafael Pires, Eli Pay and David Spacek with the job of recruiting new musicians and helping to boost ticket sales for its winter concert.
The students created targeted Instagram and Facebook campaigns to attract a younger demographic and increase in ticket sales.
Rafael said: “After meeting with the organisers of the orchestra, they made it clear they had three issues that they needed our help with. The first was attracting a younger demographic, the second was attracting new members to enhance their sound and the third was boosting ticket sales.
“To help solve this, we set up three separate campaigns across Instagram, Facebook and a promotional advert for local radio. The NSO already had an established Facebook group, but it hadn’t tried Instagram before. Instagram is a really powerful tool for creating and sharing more engaging content – so we set up an account and built a campaign to attract a younger demographic and draw more engagement from its existing fan base.
“The Facebook ticket sales campaign in particular was a huge success – as the winter anniversary concert was the first NSO event to sell out just through word-of-mouth and social messaging.”
As Rafael admits, the band of three students were not all orchestral connoisseurs before they embarked on the project.
He added: “Eli and I had had no experience in orchestra music before this project. So we went to regular events, concerts and rehearsals so we could understand what people felt when they watched the orchestra.
“It really helped us understand what draws people in and understand the emotion behind it – so we could properly communicate this in our campaigns. The NSO is one of the UK’s longest-established orchestras and deserves to be heard across all ages to keep it running for years to come.”
The students laid out their findings from the project in a course assignment and showcased their work at the #AdStudents Project Showcase. Held at NLive Radio’s studio, the Project Showcase celebrated the work of Digital Advertising students with various Changemaker Hub-supported local organisations.
The NSO is one of several Northamptonshire-based groups supported by the Changemaker Hub – a University-wide initiative that encourages its staff and students to find solutions to environmental or social problems, either at home or abroad.
Frank Jordan, member of the board of the NSO, hailed the project: “Rafael and Eli were invaluable in helping us to seek new audiences and supporters. We didn’t have very much experience with newer social media outlets like Instagram, nor did we use the analytics available to us through our Facebook group. Rafael and Eli were invaluable in helping us to seek new audiences and supporters.
“We were very pleasantly surprised to have a sell-out concert two weeks prior to the night – a new record for us. We will continue to use Instagram and expand our social media presence, and are very pleased with the impact the student team had on our marketing strategy.”
For more info on Advertising & Digital Marketing, visit the course page.