20 Social Media Post Ideas for Arts Nonprofits

A performance venue with balcony tiers and orchestra floor filled with audience in red seats under soft lighting.

Published May 12, 2021

Nonprofit arts marketing can be tough! Nonprofits are often balancing content that needs to sell, educate, advocate, and fundraise– all with a strong, mission-driven voice. To maximize the effectiveness of your nonprofit content strategy, make good use of a content calendar, and take a look at some social media post ideas to use for your arts nonprofit:

  1. Announcements of your event or production– at LEAST once, preferably more. Give people a chance to get excited about what you’ll be bringing to them. Include the basics: what the event is, when and where it will be presented, and when tickets will go on sale, along with one strong appealing graphic (in the appropriate sizes for the platforms you’re promoting on). 
  2. Information about the artists and creators. Author, composer, lyricist, artist. Who are they? What other works might your audience have seen from them? Is this their first work with you? Never assume that just because your staff knows an artist’s canon, that your entire audience is equally well informed. This is a great chance to introduce newer or lesser known artists and spark interest in their work.
  3. Behind-the-scenes. A perennial favorite with audiences! What’s going on in the rehearsal room, and the production process? You might be surprised– that which is old-hat and prosaic to artistic staff can be intensely interesting to your audience.
  4. Technical magic. How did you achieve a lighting effect/quick change/ dramatic scene shift/ stage illusion? Sometimes the magic of the how is just as incredible and exciting as the magical effect produced.
  5. Performer bios. Another perennial favorite that is often overlooked, especially in smaller organizations (which is understandable– chasing artist headshots and bios can be a challenge!). But this is a terrific way to build audience familiarity with regularly appearing artists, and warmly introduce news ones. 
  6. Other staff bios. An underrated way to build a strong audience relationship with your organization is to constantly remind your audience that your org is made up of people. Highlighting the people that contribute to the functional/organizational side as well as the artistic side can be a good way to show the depth of your organization.
  7. Rehearsal sneak peeks. Rehearsal photos or brief videos (with appropriate permissions, obviously) can be a wonderful way to drive excitement and let your audience have a taste of what’s in store. We often hear pushback about this — in not wanting to show something ‘unprofessional’ in rehearsal/street clothes, or concerns about showing imperfect work that may not be fully realized yet. However, we almost always find that this is more than made up for by the fact that an audience is thrilled to get even a small glimpse of something– and that thrill is supported by a robust increase in ticket sales.
  8. Design insights. A wonderful way to deepen interest in the work or the world of the work, or the craftsmanship of your artisans, whether in-house or contracted. Anything  that involves setting, lighting, costume, design models, mockups, sketches, that shows the audience how the work is created from the first inspiration.
  9. Director/conductor/curator insights. If your event or production will occur under the artistic leadership of one or a few people, have them comment on what drew them to the work; what it means to them; what they hope audiences will feel or experience; what some of their favorite aspects, sections, or scenes are. These comments can also be useful excerpts for press releases.
  10. Quoted text or lyrics in connection with the event. If your production involves text or lyrics, pulling out some of the shorter, punchier (non-spoilery!) excerpts can make striking quote cards for social sharing. If it’s a newer work, it can awaken new audience interest; if it’s a well-known work, you can use this to highlight beloved text or lesser-known text.
  11. Related history or dramaturgy. Your audience absolutely includes people who are hungry to learn more about the work, the context, and the history around it and its creators. Break some of the more interesting or insightful bits down into a series of bite-sized social posts, paired with text graphics or historical photos/illustrations (with appropriate permissions).
  12. Updates on organizational DEI work. Obviously, this should only be undertaken if your organization is actively engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion work (which we highly encourage). If you are doing this work, then plan regular posts updating your community on your organization/leadership’s commitments, actions, and transparent accountability. Be prepared to engage honestly with critical comments or feedback, or to delete/moderate comments that could make your social page an unsafe place for marginalized people.
  13. Trivia & quizzes. Fun and low-stakes, these could be about the work/production itself, the characters and the world, or the artists/creators of the work.
  14. Teaser posts & partial reveals. Want to stretch out your announcements? Make your audience guess! Whether partial images or a string of clues, this is a lighthearted, high-engagement way to handle programming announcements.
  15. Trailers & sizzle reels. Video has an astonishing engagement rate on social media, and if you’re not making use of short trailers or sizzle reels (<2 minutes), then you’re missing an opportunity for ticket sales, full stop. If your recording budget is small (or nonexistent) use built-in reel capabilities on Instagram or Tiktok, or a video app to create something on your phone. Even an imperfect video far outperforms no video at all!
  16. Throwback or ‘from the vault’ content. Everybody loves being reminded of their old favorites. Bonus points if you can point out beloved local artists or community members! 
  17. Artist guest posts or takeovers, “a day in the life.” If you have trusted artists or have content takeover agreements, provide a true behind-the-scenes look through the lens of one of your artists! This type of content is especially good for Story-style posts. Just make sure you have some clear content guidelines in place ahead of time so there are no surprises. 
  18. The “children and animals” rule– in reverse. While the W.C. Fields quote which advises “never work with children or animals” is predicated on the idea that they would be scene-stealing, this star quality is exactly what you want in your digital content. If you have children or animals involved in the art or event (and you have the appropriate juvenile media releases!) they can be a very charming subject for your posts.
  19. In-depth sponsor posts. While much of arts sponsor content seems to be limited to season, venue, or production sponsors, a new take on airtime for your organization’s sponsors might be to give them some airtime on your social media for their thoughts on the work or the event. Why are they excited to support this work? What do they think it will bring to the community? If they’ve seen or interacted with it, what was their favorite part? 
  20. Audience feedback and testimonials. Perhaps the best way to communicate how your audience might enjoy your work is to let a fellow audience member describe that experience to them. For this reason, we recommend jotting down anecdotal feedback after intermission or post-performance conversations and then turning that over to your marketing team so they can make use of it. If you don’t expect a lot of earned media/press, this can be a good way to bridge that gap of an outsider’s reaction to the event.

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