We bought a souvenir program and wandered up the stairs to seek out a comfortable lounge to relax before the show started. I flicked through the program and read the short biographies of the cast and was surprised to see their Twitter handles included.
The production also had its own hashtag #LesMisOz so it was obvious that the organisers encouraged the audience to connect with the cast and crew – but also other audience members. Although I deliberately didn’t scan through the #LesMisOz tweets before the show (as I didn’t want to be swayed by other’s views of the production before I saw it myself), I made a mental note to check out the cast member’s Twitter accounts.
During the intermission, I quickly scanned my tweets because I wanted to catch up with the live tweet chat happening at the same time, on the value of Working Out Loud hosted by #OzLearn with guest speaker Simon Terry (@simongterry). However in my notifications, I saw one of the cast members of the show, Lara Mulcahy (@LaraMulcahy) respond to a previous tweet about how excited I was to be seeing Les Mis.
It was quite a timely tweet because I had just been entertained by her memorable and brilliant rendition of Master of the House. I was in a good spirits and ready for Act II but seeing her tweet within minutes of her performance, just seemed to close the dark chasm between the stage and the audience members.
Through one simple tweet, I was connected to someone up on the stage.
What piqued my curiosity even more was that her Twitter banner and biography all related to her role in the show and promoting Les Miserables.
So, for that particular time that the show was on in Melbourne, she represented her production.
Lara was an advocate for her show, her audience, her production and her craft.
If only organisations could see the value for their own employees to use social media as advocates and create a memorable customer experience.
I started to look at the other cast members and sure enough, all of them had customised their Twitter banners to represent their roles in the production. Here are some examples from Emily Langridge who played Cosette and Michael Cassel, the producer.
What does this mean?
There is a lesson here that organisations can learn from the Arts. Through advertising and using their own Twitter handles, the Les Mis cast and crew created a small community that fired up the excitement and anticipation of the show in Melbourne.
They shared their thoughts, feedback, photos and links to the production (and the lead up) so that the audience felt the same excitement about it.
They “worked out loud”. They were the “voice” of Les Miserables.
I can imagine the mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement actors have every time they step into their costumes, apply makeup and mentally transform into their characters. I could certainly never do the job they do but the moment they step onto the stage and under the bright lights we see them for the first time, we have already been through their journey that got them there which which only make us admire and respect their craft even more.
To add to this, by all the cast members changing their Twitter banners to reflect their production, created a feeling of advocacy for their show, their fellow cast members and in particularly, their audience. Through their fearless use of social media and by opening up their world to the audience, they create a bond and excitement to make the experience even more memorable.
The arts have something to teach organisations in this space of using the social medium to promote their program to the audience. In fact, I would say they are leading the way.
They “get it”.
So if organisations used this same approach to allowing employees to use social media, what would be the benefits? Organisations would…
- Be closer to their customers and communities
- Have engaged employees who are productive and act as advocates
- Respond quickly to questions, issues and even compliments!
- Improve the communications with their customers
- Create memorable and closer experiences with their customers
What do you think? Would your organisation allow employees to use social media to act as advocates? Interested in your thoughts!
Other Related Reading and Viewing:
- Doesn’t Matter If You’re An Employee or a Penguin – It’s All About Taking Action (my previous blog post)
- TED Talk of Mark Burgess in The Rise of the Social Employee
- The Social Employee Book Trailer