EastBay Today

News
Posted April 17, 2018

How to Promote a Ballet Company

Cal State East Bay students create marketing strategy for Oakland Ballet Company program

Leah Curran is Oakland Ballet Company's director of operations.
Matthew Kertesz

It’s Monday morning, and Leah Curran is busy. Her to-do list at the office is overflowing with duties: grant writing, delivering contracts, volunteer management and that barely scratches the surface. As Oakland Ballet Company’s director of operations, Curran has her hands full every day behind the scenes at the award-winning dance company.

One of Curran’s toughest assignments has been an ongoing effort to promote the eighth annual Ballet Boot Camp Summer Intensive through OBC’s social media. Hosted by the OBC, the boot camp is a summer dance training program for serious dancers ages 9 to 17 who want to learn new techniques and further improve their current skills.

Every year, Curran commits to planning the boot camp’s marketing strategy several months before it starts, and it can be a daunting task. However, this year, Curran has enlisted the help of Cal State East Bay Social Media Marketing Certificate students who are creating a comprehensive social media marketing plan as part of their final practicum.

“Meeting with the social media marketing class was wonderful, and they provided a really valuable tool,” Curran said. “They had so many great ideas and insights and tips. I will definitely use all the information they gave me.”

For the past seven years, Curran has been in charge of promoting the summer program, which she says has lacked a strong social media presence before now. In fact, before the students’ involvement, the social media marketing for the boot camp consisted of only a few posts mixed with their other social media posts for the organization. Now, with a strong marketing plan in place, Curran believes this year will bring increased awareness to the program and hopefully boost enrollment.

To assist Curran, students extensively researched social media data and mapped out a potential campaign for her to follow. They began with a brand analysis, suggesting the best ways to distinguish the program from competitors and how to present it on social media. For instance, students suggested Curran use strong words and phrases to describe the camp, such as “nurturing,” “individualized attention” and “high-quality.”

As part of the presentation, students examined analytics and identified the target audience. They also provided examples of potential posts Curran could publish, like articles about the benefit of summer programs, faculty member highlights, training tips and testimonials from past students.

“Many students have not worked in an environment where all their knowledge is put into action,” said Kimberly Legocki, program director for Cal State East Bay’s Social Media Marketing Certificate. “For many students, this practicum is a chance where they can build confidence.”

One student who worked on the social media project was Jaron Liclican. He and his seven other classmates regularly met after class for several weeks before the presentation to come up with the best plan of action for their client. He says the assignment and meeting with Curran have been beneficial to his future career.

“Meeting with a client, talking to them and finding out what their goals and needs put you into the field and makes you think about what you’ve learned and how to approach the assignment,” said Liclican. “It’s a real-world experience.”