Social Media Strategies for Community Theaters: @oncemusical Does Campaigns the Right Way

Social Media Strategies for Community Theaters: @oncemusical Does Campaigns the Right Way

Hang on to your hats, because this Instagram account takes custom hashtags to a whole new level! Meet the @oncemusical Instagram account; this account isn’t for an established performing arts venue (such as @metopera) or dance troupe (like @balletboyz)…it’s for a specific production!


While I don’t suggest that community theaters set up a production-specific account for their upcoming season, @oncemusical has really outdone themselves when it comes to using custom hashtags. These hashtags aren’t overly complicated or elaborate but they accomplish their main goal just the same – intrigue and engage their followers!


Instagram Account Statistics

  • Username: @oncemusical
  • Posts: 346
  • Followers: 6,500
  • Following: 41

Keepin’ It Fresh

Once you have a solid base of followers it is much easier to launch new initiatives successfully. You have more people viewing your posts and are therefore more likely to have a higher rate of engagement with your posts. This is really great news for Instagram accounts that are pulling up through the ranks, but it’s also important to remember the value in keeping it fresh. When your content becomes predictable your engagement will either plateau or decline…and nobody likes that!

@oncemusical found success in launching a few different custom hashtag driven campaigns, such as the #Instathemes monthly contest and the #OnceAroundTown initiative. Both of these initiatives helped with variation in the @oncemusical posting feed and kept their followers guessing about what they might see next.

Photo by @oncemusical
Photo by @oncemusical

For the #Instathemes contests, @oncemusical presented an idea that was directly related to the show. Users then submitted their photos with both the #OnceMusical and #Instathemes hashtags.

#OnceAroundTown is a cast-driven campaign that gives their followers a sneak-peek into the behind-the-scenes life of a Broadway actor. This campaign was great for two reasons: 1) this type of content is really interesting to their followers because it shows the human side of these actors (yes…actors go bowling too!), and 2) the campaign promoted direct cast engagement with the @oncemusical Instagram account and by extension with their followers.

#Instarush for Insta-success

@oncemusical thought long and hard about their Instagram account’s target audience. The Instagram platform is especially popular with the under-35 crowd, which makes it a really great way to reach younger patrons. These younger patrons are also big purchasers of discounted rush tickets…so @oncemusical combined these two ideas for their #rush campaign.

Photo by @oncemusical
Photo by @oncemusical

@oncemusical gave away a handful of tickets to users who posted photos of themselves waiting in the rush line and used both the #OnceMusical and #rush hashtags. This theatre event promotion turned an early morning wait into an fun outing, and @oncemusical found that users continued to apply those custom hashtags long after the giveaways ended.

Apply the Rule of KIS…Keep It Simple!

At the end of the day, it’s incredibly important to apply the rule of KIS. No matter how you choose to engage your followers, keeping it simple is an absolute must. You will not find success if your campaign isn’t straightforward and easy to remember.

@oncemusical does a wonderful job with this because their custom hashtags are very straightforward and simple to remember, while still being specific and very descriptive of the campaign in question.

Photo by @oncemusical
Photo by @oncemusical

Following three years and 1,167 shows on Broadway, the NYC show closed on January 4, 2015; however, their Instagram account still remains active with occasional posts from the touring cast and team.And check popular weekly ads:
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“Instagram and Broadway operate under a very similar principle: inviting a community to share in a special moment that cannot be repeated.”

– Christina Sees, Interactive Marketing Manager at SpotCo



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