The majority of my promotional activity for the publication was online. This makes sense in the context of the main presentation method of the publication being a virtual exhibition, and that I have a reasonably good network of followers on three particular social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The online promotion was in three main phases, with a little overlap:
- During the exhibition
Looking briefly at each one in turn:
Although the funding of the publication was perfectly achievable without a crowdfunding campaign (mine had a very modest target, only £300), a significant reason for doing the Kickstarter campaign was that it gave me a platform and a reason to start communicating about the publication well in advance of it taking place; it gave me an excuse to post about the project early and often!
The campaign started in mid-October, two months before the exhibition went live. I started posting about it shortly before, and kept up a steady drip-feed of updates through the campaign.
The key message here was: this is happening in the near future, you can help
The campaign was successful pretty quickly, hitting the target in less than a week. I had 22 backers, but the posts about the campaign reached over 1000 people (admittedly with some overlap between platforms).
Between the Kickstarter campaign and the actual exhibition launch I kept up a steady campaign of trailing the exhibition and catalogue as ‘coming soon’.
The key message here was: this is coming very soon, start looking forward to it
During this phase I got mentions and shares from others, such as OCAfotograd, a collective of Level 3 photography students.
During the exhibition
The virtual exhibition went live on Friday 11th December 2020 and the promotional activity was turned up several notches.
The key message here was: this is live, go see it
During the exhibition I also did a mini-campaign on Instagram where I posted one image from the set and discussed it, e.g. expanding on what attracted me to the scene, any inspiration, additional layers of meaning I wanted to highlight, etc.
Because of the limitations of Instagram I had to come up with a good way of getting across the images, which really should be seen reasonably large. I ended up doing a multi-image post per photo, with a full view, a text crop, a detail crop, an installation view from the virtual exhibition and a shot of the catalogue.
These averaged 20-40 Likes, or between 5% and 10% of my followers.
I had some success with people sharing my posts, especially on Twitter and a little on Facebook (Instagram does not do sharing).
I even had a review of the exhibition in Spanish! (thanks Blas).
Exhibition visitor feedback
I included a feedback form into the virtual exhibition and encouraged people to comment on what they saw. Following is a selection of comments:
- “Excellent images with great titles. Very imaginative concept. Love the format.”
- “Super well done. Looks really professional and a moving contemplation on age.”
- “Well worth visiting for wonderfully crafted images and a few minutes of reflective time!”
- “Interesting concept. Many of the prints are sad; empty of memories sometimes. Well done.”
- “Absolutely fascinating exhibition – thoughtful, sensitive and evocative.”
- “Wow. Quite simply just wow. The exhibition was like a breath of fresh air, changing visuality and creativity at every corner. Simply stunning.”
- “I was amused and touched by your images – and found your image framing and colours and textures really involving.”
- “I think your images are superb and there is a sense of humour in them too.”
- “I really enjoyed looking through your exhibition, your photos are very captivating and you have captured the beauty in many things that we often overlook.”
- “Your images are really beautiful you know.”
- “I loved your virtual exhibition – really triggered something in me in terms of memory.”
- “I can certainly empathise with it.”
- “It made me think about time and loss.”
- “It is the striking of the thought or memory that occurs to us all out of the blue and seemingly at random that as we age, begins to make us consider if we too are entering a stage of life where a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or one of the myriad types of dementia is only a visit to the doctor’s surgery away.”
- “It has made me think about how my own memory is affecting me in middle age and how it is almost making me reconsider how I live my life.”
- “Opens up the depths of your mind that you don’t often venture and what a beautiful message about memory.”
- “I found this work really fascinating and it made me think about how many times I forget things.”
- “In many ways I can relate to the images and the situation of fading or altering memory.”
There were 581 unique visitors to the domain and 492 views specifically on the Remembering Forgetting exhibition page.
- 55% direct links (includes sources such as OCA Discuss forums, emails etc)
- 34% social media (of which 22.5% Facebook, 9.5% Twitter, 2% Instagram)
- 11% search engines