The Opera Theater Pittsburgh puts on a different kind of opera. The performances are opera and theater, which means they’re more avant-garde than your typical “white-tux” opera. It appeals to an audience beyond traditional opera lovers.
The Opera Theater Pittsburgh was looking for ways to reach a larger and younger audience in the Pittsburgh area. We quickly agreed Facebook would be a good social media channel for doing this.
As with all social media, the content drives the interaction more than anything. The immediate opportunity they had for great content was an upcoming vocal competition. This competition would award one winner $1,000, professional opera vocal lessons, and a solo role in an upcoming production. Finalists were to be picked by judges and the winner would be selected by a live audience at a special event.
We decided rather than have the judges select all the finalists from the pool of entries, Facebook voting would be used to select a “fan-favorite” who would be guaranteed a spot in the finals.
A “fan-gated” Facebook app was created for the Opera Theater’s page. Only those who “liked” the page would have the opportunity to vote for their favorite amateur singer.
Contestants were encouraged to promote their entry to their Facebook friends and family to increase their votes and win a spot in the finals.
Before the voting was launched the Opera Theater’s Facebook page had a total of 471 fans with a weekly total reach of 384. Weekly total reach is the number of unique people who had seen anything associated with the page on Facebook (these stats are available inside Facebook Insights).
At the end of the voting, after only 8 days, the number of fans was 2,684 with a weekly total reach of 27,144. A 570% increase in the number of fans and an over 7,000% increase in weekly total reach.
Even a month after the voting ended the number of Facebook fans dropped by only 1.8% and the weekly total reach was still almost 600% higher than it was before the voting started.
Encouraging visitors to like your Facebook page for the chance to vote on something isn’t new. However, the Opera Theater was able to do this on a very small budget by using Facebook’s own “like” button to handle the voting. All that needed to be built was a Facebook app that would display the contestants and make sure only fans of the page could vote.
Putting great content (not even coupons) behind a “fan-gate” can garner a tremendous increase in fans. But more importantly, if the content is relevant to the organization those fans will stick around even after they’ve voted or the contest is over.
Have you tried “fan-gating” before? Did you have different results?
Drop in a quick comment or question below. I’d love to hear what you think.