NativeHQ expands its pioneering SMI Arts programme after successful pilot

If you’re an arts organisation looking to use digital media more intelligently, this post is for you. Read on for details of how NativeHQ can help you, through our Social Media Insights: Arts programme.

Social media have the potential to change the possibilities for arts organisations to connect meaningfully with audiences, communities, staff and other key people – if done properly. It’s getting it right in a specific arts context that is the challenge. And it’s much more than just improving your promotional activities or selling tickets.

All arts organisations are facing challenges:

  • How can we achieve more with less public funding?
  • How can we involve our audiences better in the creation, as well as the production of new work?
  • How can we build a better understanding of our company that can help us recruit more volunteers or help raise funds to secure our future?
  • How can we test a new business model in the quickest and cheapest way?

Social Media Insights: Arts is specifically designed to help arts organisations develop social media understanding and skills that are most relevant to them.

NativeHQ can help your company develop more efficient working practices, embrace emerging art forms; reach new audiences and participants; and sustain the company through new business models or generate more income from new sources such as crowdfunding.

“Social Media Insights came at just the right time for Hijinx. We were in a period of change as a company, so it was the right time to stop and reflect on who are we, what we do, and how digital and social media could help us do that at a foundational level. NativeHQ have helped us to take a holistic approach to digital and social media as a company: to see digital’s potential for serving the company’s entire mission, rather than just as part of the marketing strategy”
Vanessa Morse, Hijinx Theatre

As NativeHQ’s newest associate I can also offer my expertise in helping arts companies undertake organisational development and innovation reviews.

Your arts organisation would work with NativeHQ to develop and follow your own agenda for improving your use of social media, covering issues such as strategy, training, network growth, individual campaigns, advertising, media production, monitoring and evaluation.

We won’t run your Facebook or Twitter accounts for you, but we will teach you how to run and manage meaningful social media relationships that support your overall artistic and development needs.


On the roof of the Millennium Centre, Cardiff


The programme consists of the following activities:

  • 10 x half day sessions with NativeHQ over a four to eight month period (agreed with you and starting when most convenient for you)
  • We will begin with a process based on our 4P Method for developing strategic direction with social media and prioritising initiative ideas, that we will then pursue through training and enabling work with you
  • Between each session, you and NativeHQ would agree agendas for the next sessions
  • Our closing session would focus on developing ongoing social media plans and success metrics.

What we would ask of you:

  • An enthusiasm across your organisation for the potential of using digital networks for development. We would prefer to include leaders, marketing/communications and other team members. The implications are important to all aspects of the company’s work.
  • A morning or afternoon set aside for staff to meet with NativeHQ regularly
  • An open, rigorous, experimental approach to learning
  • A named lead person for the programme in your organisation
  • Willingness to participate in a limited number of R&D and evaluation activities to assist learning in the programme

“When we embarked on the Social Media Insights I really had not anticipated quite how the project would touch on every aspect of what we do and how we operate. Instead of some glib, generic advice on what to do / what not to do on social media, the project went so much deeper than that and required us to unpack who we are, how we do things and how we want to be and do. It was very, very bespoke and accommodated everyone’s’ skills and needs as well as the organisational needs.

As a result of the SMI Arts, we now manage our projects; communicate within the team; manage our time; market ourselves; make and edit films and of course, use social media – much better than before!”
Amanda Griffkin, Powys Dance

If you are interested in engaging NativeHQ for this innovative programme, or for a specific social media project you are considering, I would love to meet you.

I will provide more details about the programme including wider business and organisational development, our costs, how we can help you secure additional funding (if necessary) and to ensure we tailor the programme to your company’s needs and plans.

Email or phone 07870 569316 for a discussion about Social Media Insights: Arts.

Social Media Insights: Arts launched / Lansio Craffu ar y Cyfryngau Cymdeithasol ym maes y Celfyddydau

Mae NativeHQ yn hapus iawn i lansio rhaglen gwasanaeth newydd o’r enw Craffu ar y Cyfryngau Cymdeithasol ym maes y Celfyddydau, mewn partneriaeth â Chyngor Celfyddydau Cymru. Mae’r rhaglen yn agored i bob sefydliad celfyddydol yng Nghymru gyda dyddiad cau o 20fed o fis Medi 2013.

Dros gyfnod o wyth mis, bydd NativeHQ yn darparu cymorth pwrpasol i bump sefydliad gan gynnwys strategaeth a hyfforddiant ar gyfryngau digidol a chymdeithasol.

Am ragor o wybodaeth ar y rhaglen a sut i wneud cais, ewch i’r dudalen hon os gwelwch yn dda.

NativeHQ are very pleased to be launching a new service programme called Social Media Insights: Arts, in partnership with Arts Council Wales. The service programme is open to all arts organisations from Wales and is open to applications until 20th September 2013.

Over a duration of eight months, five organisations will receive bespoke strategic and training assistance on their use of digital and social media, which we will provide.

For further information on the programme and an application form, please visit this page.

Your organisation and social media – taking steps in 2013

We’ve been working on how we can best help organisations to use social media in 2013 and are launching a new service called Social Media Insights. So we want to share our thinking behind it in this post.

We have noticed big changes in how people deal with social media since 2008 when we founded our company. In NativeHQ’s early days we found ourselves introducing the potential of networked conversational media platforms in their organisations.

When we started, the term ‘social media’ was becoming more popular and there was a general sense among many that it might be worth investigating although probably a bit risky. NativeHQ received invitations to give talks of a certain kind, to shake people out of their regular routine and tell them that Something Is Coming and to try and unfold a few pairs of crossed arms by the power of presentation. We usually managed to find a balance between practicality and exuberance without straying too far into hype.

Recently we have been travelling between Cardiff, Caernarfon, London, Swansea and other places when we meet people where our clients are based. We get an impression of what people are doing with social media and the kind of questions they are asking.

Let’s just say that people don’t generally ask us for that kind of presentation anymore. Maybe you can identify with this – there is a cycle for anything new, especially in the application of technology. People no longer need convincing that social media can help them collaborate better, develop products, serve customers, promote products, services and events, and so on. They understand that it’s a revolutionary shift in communications and are looking for ways to use it effectively in their own context.

Much of the apprehension and maybe fear about social media is gone, which is good. In place is a feeling in organisations that some things are missing and that better work is possible in various departments. But there’s a sense that there’s a lack of time to learn and develop this. The situation in any company is unique but some questions recur. How could social media fit with the rest of what we do? How should we do it? What are the right platforms for us to use? Who should be doing this work? Could it be that some of our time is being spent on the wrong things? How do we realise the value of social media in our specific situation? How do we measure whether we are being successful? You can find lots of general answers on the web, but how do you make the right decisions for your own, unique organisation?

Sometimes people refer to their organisational ‘unknown unknowns’ too – that is, gaps in the field of view and what lies outside of their frameworks of assumptions brought from previous experience. It’s not as if assumptions are always a negative thing. It’s a bit difficult not to have assumptions. But these people are looking for clear reasoning in order to form a strategy – rather than a haphazard, opportunistic use of social media or an approach based on orthodoxies taken from another field.

Another ‘unknown unknown’ is how the best use of social media will develop over time, during 2013 and beyond. There will be new start-ups and services but there will also be new displays of human creativity using familiar platforms. So that means that it could be a mistake to lock down any particular set way of doing things. It’s a rapidly developing field.

In the context of all these observations we’ve been trying to put together a way we can respond to the evolving demand. Our new service is called Social Media Insights and is based on a longer-term relationship with a client. It involves regular analysis and monthly meetings with you where we explore relevant data and facts, share insights and help you to learn and develop your practice. We are making our experience and understanding available to help clients develop strategic approach, tactics, skills and knowledge on an ongoing basis.

We still don’t ‘ghost blog’, posting on behalf of our clients, on social media because we have no desire to own their network or community and the impersonation makes it a bit fake for that community, frankly. We much prefer to train and equip them to use their own voice and participate in the relationships they develop. We believe that in time, using an outsourced model for social media conversation will seem a bit quaint. When a professional who is in an organisation goes online to share some of his or her thinking, learnings and questions with honesty and enthusiasm then other people pay attention – they respond to that authentic voice.

This is about organisational change, which takes time. It’s about iteration and application of knowledge in context.

Besides there are a whole bunch of other things happening in the organisation and use of social media has to be integrated into the work flows. Personal, individual use of social media is very different to what happens in organisations. You could liken the change process to the difference between steering a bike and navigating a ship.

So that’s a bit of background about Social Media Insights, which complements the existing services we offer and special projects we do. Contact us if you’d like to know more and we can arrange to visit you to discuss what it involves in more detail.