Follow Friday: The Lawn on D
The Lawn on D has been keeping busy with plenty of events this summer, from hosting the Pentalum in May to Intrude earlier this month. The outdoor interactive space, which is owned by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), has blossomed into an area that draws the community together for concerts, live entertainment, lawn games, and—of course—its signature light-up swings.
We caught up with the team behind the Lawn’s social media presence: Katie Hauser, Director of Communications for the MCCA; Christina Berlinguet, an account coordinator for marlo marketing, the PR agency that represents the Lawn; and Meghan McCarrick, account manager for marlo. Here, they talk about the Lawn on D’s increased success in its second season of being open to the public, their interactions with their followers on social media, and ways they hope the community will help improve the Lawn on D in the future.
Follow Friday, At a Glance
Connect with The Lawn on D on social media:
How many people run The Lawn on D’s social media accounts? How do you manage all of them?
Christina Berlinguet: The team at marlo marketing and the team at the MCCA collaborate and both work on all the community accounts. We do everything from content creation to monitoring to coming up with various campaigns to best promote the Lawn. As far as managing them goes, we have a few systems to process where we work together with MCCA to upload content and photos and really get the word out about what’s going on at the Lawn on D. The ultimate goal is to get all the information out at once.
Katie Hauser: I would just add that Christina is giving us [the MCCA] more credit than we deserve because she really does the lion’s share of the work. The MCCA owns and operates the Lawn on D, and we’ve hired marlo to be marketing assistants and consultants. Every week, marlo curates the content for all of the social channels, and we approve it, and then marlo uploads it all, schedules it, and also monitors the accounts throughout the week to make sure we’re responding to people, retweeting, favoriting, and engaging them. Occasionally, since I’m on site, I’ll have my team take pictures of the events as they’re going on, and we’ll send them over to marlo to do some live tweeting.
What are the goals for The Lawn on D on social media, and where does your content usually come from?
CB: The ultimate goal of the Lawn on D’s social media channels is to attract guests to Lawn on D itself. It’s also a great tool, we’ve found, for when there are weather updates, since, you know, in New England it’s always changing. It’s a great tool to use when we need to get information out right away.
What have been some of The Lawn on D’s most popular events?
KH: This season I can honestly say that every event has been popular. The attendance from Thursday night to Sunday has been off the charts. I will say that for Pentalum, which was an interactive exhibit in May, the lines were not only wrapped around the art installation itself, but also down the street outside of the Lawn on D, with people waiting to get in and experience it. That was really remarkable to see because last year, all season we had 30,000 attendees in total. This year, I think we broke that attendance record in the first month. Every event draws a different crowd to the Lawn—it’s amazing.
The Lawn has been keeping itself pretty busy this summer, with plenty of events and public art installations like the Pentalum and Intrude. Can you tell us what’s in store for August and the fall?
KH: We have another concert coming up in August—we have G. Love and Special Sauce… Who else is coming, Meghan?
Meghan McCarrick: G. Love, JJ Grey and Mofro… it’s a long list of featured artists.
CB: We’re also pretty excited about Sports Sundays with the WEEI. We’re going to be playing a couple of sports games on Sundays in August and again throughout the season.
MM: We’ve just confirmed the BEAN Festival for August 22. It’s going to be a collaboration between a bunch of different artists and musicians from all different neighborhoods in Boston, and we’re really excited about that. Another one of the events we have in August is Porchfest—I’m sorry, PorchfestFEST—which is next Saturday, August 8, and that will be very similar to the Jamaica Plain Porchfest. Basically, three different porches will be set up on the Lawn, and we’ll have a number of different musicians. Some circus acts will be on the Lawn, and that’ll be a great event from 3 to 9 p.m. for families and really for everyone in Boston.
Your website says that the Lawn will have events running until October 12th. How do you plan on continuing to use social media until the Lawn opens again?
KH: Well, we have a brand new board of directors right now, so once the Lawn closes for this season, the next step is really to go back to our board and find out what the future of the Lawn is. But in the meantime, we will continue to engage the community that’s already following the Lawn to see if they have ideas and things they’d like to see for the future—ideas to improve the Lawn for programming so that we’re going to the board with feedback directly from the communities that love it so much.
Do you make it a point to engage with your audience and interact with your followers? On your Instagram, I noticed you like to repost photos that visitors have taken at the Lawn.
CB: Yeah, we definitely try to interact with our followers. We have a newsletter that we send out on Wednesdays that people can sign up for on our website, and we always feature the “Best Tweet of the Week,” where we pick the best tweet, whether it’s funny, whether it was an awesome picture… We love puns and we’re really into those. But yeah, we go in, and we check once a day on Instagram and see who’s posting pictures and write back with feedback. We’re constantly going throughout the day. I’m always on my phone on Twitter tweeting at the Lawn on D, searching different hashtags… We always try to respond to all inquiries, and we really appreciate feedback we get through Twitter and through Facebook on how to improve the Lawn and how to put that into play.
What’s the weirdest, most surprising, or most outspoken feedback you’ve gotten via social media?
CB: I can’t think of feedback off the top of my head, but it’s always fun to see when there are celebrities or Boston influencers that are posting about us. This past weekend, Emilia [Bechrakis] and Ryan [Serhant] from Million Dollar Listing on Bravo posted a picture on Instagram. That was kind of fun, to see some celebs on the Lawn on D. Every now and then we’ll see someone who’s really influential in the community, and it’s cool to see that they’re enjoying the space and joining the public at the Lawn.
In three words, how would you describe the voice and tone of The Lawn on D’s social media?
KH: I’ll take Christina’s help with this one. Three words, huh. I’d say pretty whimsical, definitely amusing at times, and… the swings. It’s all about the swings. Every single college student in Boston has a picture on the swings.
CB: Very welcoming, I feel like it’s very “that-kid-in-high-school-that-was-always-friends-with everybody.” Just approachable.
What would you say is your favorite part about running the Lawn’s social media accounts?
CB: I would have to say that it’s always exciting. There are so many different aspects to the Lawn on D, and it’s always exciting to see different people of different ages really get excited about the Lawn, and the positive vibes that it’s always putting out there. It’s a great way to rank together so many different people, and we’ve really watched it grow over the past year since we opened last August. It’s really cool to see what it’s turned out to be. It’s kind of the cool kid’s spot and everyone’s talking about it. I think that’s my favorite part, just being behind this cool space.
KH: I would say that for me, it’s watching the social media accounts. I’ve been doing social media for our Convention Center for many years now, and you sometimes run out of things to say if we’re in between events, or if we’ve got a bar exam going on. With the Lawn on D, you never run out of content. I could walk out there right now and there’d be something going on out there that I’ve never seen before. It’s easy to capture with pictures because there’s always something exciting, new, or different happening.
Which social media account is the strongest channel for the Lawn? If you had to pick, which is the one “must-follow”?
CB: Strongest is definitely Facebook. We have over 14,000 followers on Facebook, and we can really utilize everything on one platform. We can post pictures to our album, or just repost, we can get information out right away, which is nice for when we’ve added a food truck. It’s really a great way to engage with our fans as well, whether it’s through them posting a review or tagging their friends in photos… There’s really just a lot that we can do with that. We also use it to make all of our events into Facebook events. That’s another exciting thing, when you see there’s 10,000 people coming to the opening or 2,000 people coming to a Friday night programming. Like I said, it makes you feel like a cool kid. That’s always exciting.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.