Review: Be More Chill at Two River Theater

#BeMoreChillMusical

I’d like to think I know great content when I see it, both online and off. Somewhere between talent, tact, knowledge and creativity, there’s a certain something that separates good content from great content. It could be a piece of art. It could be a video or a song. It could be a musical. When I saw the outstanding digital marketing (more on that below) and the talk surrounding Two River Theater’s Be More Chill, I knew that it would be great. Spoiler: it is.

(Full disclosure: Two River Theater graciously provided tickets for me to attend. Thanks guys!)

Jeremy meets his Squip. Photo courtesy of Two River Theater

Jeremy meets his Squip. Photo courtesy of Two River Theater

Without giving too much away, the plot to Be More Chill is about a young, painfully normal and unremarkable high schooler named Jereme Heere. Jeremy discovers a new experimental microprocessor called a “Squip” that comes in the shape of a gray oblong pill that, once swallowed, will activate an artificial intelligence inside his head, instructing him on how to be more chill. Not cool. Chill.

The play is hip, energetic, vibrant and young. From the myriad of stylishly dressed characters, to the use of bright colors across backgrounds and lighting, Be More Chill is as much of a delight to see as it is to hear. The man behind the music is Mr. Joe Iconis, and every song is smartly written and incredibly catchy. Even as I write this, I find myself singing the opening theme or “I Love Play Rehearsal”, as if I myself have had a Squip implanted in my brain that only sings songs from the show. Every single member of the cast (only ten performers) is incredibly talented, and all get the singing spotlight at some point. One of the more memorable songs of the show for me was “Michael in the Bathroom” not only because it’s catchy (like all the songs), but because actor George Salazar did a knockout job with the entire scene. Here’s a taste.

The colorful set design was also impressive and utilized well with quick scene changes that never missed a beat, all under a catwalk occupied by the Squip, symbolizing his existence only in the main characters mind. Behind the set sits the live band, performing every song and adding sound to every scene.

Be More Chill set

 

Be More Chill is everything you could want in a fresh, fun performance to kick off the summer. But before I knew how incredible the show was, I was drawn in by the stellar marketing campaign surrounding it.

Marketing

I admittedly don’t see a lot of shows, but this one caught my eye. To be more specific, it wasn’t any of my friends recommending the show, but the marketing that got me interested. And to be even more specific, the digital marketing on social media was what really drew me in. Two River Theater has an outstanding digital marketing team and some very smart folks running their social media. They understand their audience on social, and how to story-tell on every platform. From the Be More Chill sunglasses, to the fantastic content across Instagram and Facebook, I had a very good idea of what Be More Chill would be like before I even stepped into the theater, and I was excited. Be More Chill has all the youthful energy that resonates perfectly with more artsy, 30-and-under users on Instagram, where Two River Theater pumped out lots of great content. And to top it all off, they offer $20 tickets for anyone under the age of 30.

Be More Chill has been extended through June 28th! There’s only one thing left to do…

C-c-c-c’mon, C-c-c-c’mon, Go Go!

extended

Social Media Done Right: GetBusyMedia Interviews the Social Media Chef

I recently had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed by Brian Morris at GetBusyMedia about my work as the Social Media Chef. Brian is a fellow Red Bank local and frequent visitor to Basil T’s, one of the restaurants I do social media marketing for. He noticed the expansive amount of content being put into the marketing campaign for Basil’s (Facebook, video recipes, Twitter, the works) but honed in on a specific point he thought I excelled at: engagement.

We exchanged a few emails and a few days later I answered Brian’s questions to feature on GetBusyMedia. You can read the full interview below, or over at GetBusyMedia.com.

For me, it was a great opportunity to respond to some targeted, well thought out questions. My favorite was the last question:

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give a small business regarding social media and getting more engagement with their customers?

A. Keep the “social” aspect alive in your social media. Don’t think of Twitter and Facebook as radio stations where you broadcast messages to your customers. Find which content is relevant to them by engaging in conversations and always continue to release new content on a regular basis.

The interview was also featured on SmallBizTrends.com as a case study on How To Do Social Media Right!

-The Interview-

Did your foray into social media begin as a side project and build over time or did you fully immerse Basil T’s from the beginning?

Our social media marketing campaign began around June in 2009 when I was hired on to work on Basil T’s web presence. The work was part-time at first, but by the end of the summer, we’d already had tremendous success on YouTube, Facebook, and with our email newsletter list. In the Fall, I was hired on full time to do all the online content management, and was fully immersed in blogging, producing videos and engaging customers online for Basil T’s and Undici.

Which aspect is your personal favorite?

I have a background in writing, so researching and writing content for our blogs is always a highlight for me; I really enjoyed learning and writing about Pizza Napoletana and posting on www.PizzaNJ.net. But my overall favorite has to be hearing back from customers that enjoy our online and offline content. Sometimes we’ll get emails or a YouTube comment about a customer that ate the bolognese sauce at the restaurant, and then made it at home after watching our video recipe on it. I also thoroughly enjoy having the title of Social Media Chef.

What tools do you use to track and analyze your efforts?

We use pretty much everything at our disposal to track and analyze. We monitor our reviews across several different sites daily, our web traffic using Google Analytics and Pages insight, Facebook insight, YouTube insight and several dozen Google Alerts. We try to track which content is the most effective, and learn by what gets the most attention. If our video recipes are getting more attention than our photo galleries and blog posts, we’ll shoot and edit more videos. But it all starts with keeping an eye on what you have out there.

Can you provide any key examples or statistics about how successful your efforts have been?

Our Facebook page for Basil’s quickly grew to one of the most “Liked” pages in the area; we’re nearing 1,500 Likes consisting of mostly local customers who come to our restaurant and are interested in our content. I often post links to our YouTube channel, which is nearing 11,000 upload views and post the videos to our Facebook page. And in the video descriptions on YouTube, there’s a link to our Facebook page; by cross promoting and linking everything, when one of our platforms grows, they all grow.

How much time each week or day is spent on your social media campaign?

I work a 40-50 hour week, and most of my time is spent doing something related to social media for the two restaurants. It sounds like a lot, but between filming videos, editing them, tagging/posting them, writing blog posts, responding to posts and emails from customers, and putting together our monthly newsletters, you can see where the time goes. The email newsletters aren’t exactly what you would consider “social media,” but all the content that is made for it is distributed through our social networks too.

How well do you think the restaurant business and emerging media tie together?

When someone wants to find a place to eat, they will look online. It’s important that we have a good presence online, and are active in the places people look online, whether this be Yelp, Twitter or Facebook. After someone has been to your restaurant and they want to come back or make a comment on their experience, new media is the best tool to engage them, keep the conversation going and get them to share their best experiences with the public.


Do you see a definite ROI on your campaign and how long into the process could you see it?

Absolutely. We could really see how effective our campaigns were after the first few months during the summer, and then again after I was hired on full time and more resources we re-allocated from traditional marketing (print ads, radio, etc.) into new media.

Do you use things such as your Facebook fan page and twitter account to interact with customers and receive feedback?

Yes. We regularly post specials and events to inform our customers of what’s going on. The main way we communicate with customers is through email marketing, but posting and starting conversations through Facebook and Twitter allows for a greater level of communication. If someone had a great meal and posts about it on our Facebook wall, I can respond and include follow-up content such as a special or video relevant to that customer. And while this can also happen through email, Facebook and Twitter are more casual, so people are more likely to start conversations on these platforms. Plus, the conversations that we do engage in on these sites are public for everyone else to see as well.

How have you seen diving into this campaign head on affect other aspects of the business, if it all?

It really helps open communication with our customers. We’re able to promote events more effectively, get the word out about specials quicker, and change things we receive customer feedback on.

What is the best piece of advice you could give a small business regarding social media and getting more engagement with their customers?

Keep the “social” aspect alive in your social media. Don’t think of Twitter and Facebook as radio stations where you broadcast messages to your customers. Find which content is relevant to them by engaging in conversations and always continue to release new content on a regular basis.

When it comes to social media, engagement is the name of the game and Preston Porter and Basil T’s are way ahead of the curve compared to other small businesses just getting started.