Social media has revolutionized the way tech savvy arts and cultural organizations communicate.

Facebook has 901 million active users; 500 million people use  Twitter; 8 years worth of content is uploaded to YouTube every day; Pinterest has 4 million unique views daily.

Nonprofits are taking advantage of this technology; according to the Nonprofit Social Networking Survey by NTEN, Common Knowledge & Blackbaud, the average nonprofit’s fan or follower base grew by 30 percent on Facebook and 81 percent on Twitter in 2011.

When checking out our Altru user’s social media pages, one garden caught my attention: Bok Tower Gardens.

Bok Tower Gardens have almost 15,000 likes on Facebook and over 9000 Foursquare check ins. They have 1500 Twitter followers and tweet daily. Their YouTube page has 29 videos, accumulating 1000s of views.

I was recently able to get some advice from Bok Tower Gardens’ Martin Corbin on how they manage such a successful social media strategy:

Pictures are worth a 1,000 words

Sharing photos across social media garners a lot of attention for your page. It is also important that links from your website include a photo thumbnail to catch the reader’s eye as they scan their wall.


Asking never hurt

Be vocal and encourage visitors to check-in at your property with reminders on welcome signs, maps and brochures. Make it easy to share your content via your website with share buttons (those share numbers are an excellent and easy recommendation for your customers).

Be social

Incorporate in person meet-ups with your social media followers to deepen relationships. Building relationships with “super-fans” is a sure-fire way to increase your engagement throughout social media.

Start a conversation

Asking (the right) questions on your page provides highly engaging content. Focus on questions that encourages a conversation instead of a response. We like to hear visitors personal stories and connections.

BokTower Question

Sharing is caring

Show your fans how much you love them by sharing their content they post on your page! These unique perspectives are a great way to highlight those who are the most important part of your organization – your customers.

Clearly, Bok Tower Gardens makes the most of their social media. Their Facebook page features images, events, videos, polls, a map and even their gift shop. You can buy a ticket or a tower replica directly from the Facebook page.

Facebook Apps
They don’t just convey information; they have conversations. Point 4 above is crucial. Social media gives organizations the chance to go beyond just providing updates to their followers. They ask questions – what do patrons enjoy about the gardens?  What was their favorite experience there? This sharing of memories can create a strong bond between the organization and their supporters.

What other questions successfully prompt followers to share? How else can you connect with your supporters? Which social media outlets do you find the most beneficial? Let’s talk about it in the comments below or in the Altru Community!


Bok Tower Gardens, a “must see Florida attraction,” is centrally located between Tampa and Orlando among rolling hills of citrus!

Nearly 50 acres of Olmsted gardens surround Pinewood Estate, a 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, and the 205-foot art deco and neo-Gothic Singing Tower housing one of the world’s finest carillons with 60 bells that ring every half hour and during daily concerts.

The National Historic Landmark was dedicated in 1929 as a gift from Dutch immigrant Edward Bok, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and world peace advocate.

“Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” These originally were the words of Mr. Bok’s grandmother, but were adopted by Edward Bok.


Kristen Gastaldo joined Blackbaud’s Altru team in March 2012, leaving behind the late nights of the music business. She spent 8 years in the music industry, managing a venue in Charlotte, NC, and then relocating to Charleston in 2007 to help reopen the Music Farm. While at the Farm, she founded the Lowcountry Artist Market, a seasonal market that features local vendors selling handmade and vintage goods. Her background in event management, marketing and ticketing in the arts and cultural community led her to pursue a career with Blackbaud, as Altru’s Community Manager. Kristen is here to help users connect with information, each other, and to help foster our sense of community.

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