The first impression gained from the home page of the London Contemporary Theatre’s website, is the consistent colour scheme throughout, with the performance artwork juxtaposing nicely with the font of the logo and website. There are also clear links to social media- twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. So a customer gets the impression is that the theatre is communicating through various social networking sites using a variety of media.
Further down the page, there is a side panel informing the reader of their productions, but next to this, there is a rather squashed ‘What’s on’ section that provides a lot of information in a small space. It seems that the company focused on the initial impact of the homepage, but this attention to detail is not consistent.
Community & Education
There is a photograph of a beautiful building at the top of this page, however, after exploring the website, it was not clear why this particular photo was used. Sadly, the Community & Education section does not get much better from the first impression. The other photographs do not seem entirely relevant to the content and they are not particularly exciting or engaging. In addition to this, I do not like the lay out of the text. It seems disorganised and I feel that London Contemporary Theatre would benefit from experimenting with text colour.
The online shop/ box office page is also lacking. It has a very disjointed and confusing way of presenting, describing and selling tickets. It is also clear that there has not been a great deal of care involved in the presentation, as there are gaps separating paragraphs caused by photographs (see photograph to the right). The shop gives off a very bad impression to the customer. Despite these issues, I do like the basket section in the top left hand corner and the total amount in pounds on the right. I found this section the most disappointing from the whole website, which is worrying, as for a business, revenue is integral to success.
At the top of the home page there is a panel that instantly connects you to the social media sites, which is very good. The Twitter account is generally positive- the art work is contemporary, there are behind the scenes photographs and the updates are useful. However, the cover photo has not been updated now that the theatre has moved on from Macbeth to the History Boys. In addition to this, although useful, the twitter updates are infrequent. In general, the twitter page is a good representation of the theatre, but there are a few issues that can be easily sorted.
Other Social Media
In addition to the Twitter, London Contemporary Theatre also have a Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. The Facebook is much the same as the Twitter, with very similar updates, so I am focusing on the other two.
The theatre have recognised the importance and benefits of having a YouTube account, which they can also link to their Twitter and Facebook. However, rather like the Twitter, the YouTube has very infrequent updates, the last being 2 months ago and in total there is only 6 videos. Once again, like the Twitter, they have seen the opportunity but they fail to fully use the site to their advantage.
The biggest issue I have seen is the Pinterest account. There is a direct link to the page on the website but it leads you to an account, with nothing. There are no boards, pins or followers. Understandably perhaps they have not had time to fully establish the account, but they should not have a link from the website. It comes across as very amateurish.
Strengths: The productions are very exciting and they speak for themselves. The chosen artwork for the productions are also very good. They also have just over 7,000 twitter followers.
Weaknesses: Inconsistencies in the branding throughout the website and social media sites. The lack of social networking activity is a poor reflection of the company. I feel unless there is the time to dedicate yourself to various media sites, do not spread yourself thin, as in some cases that can do more worse than good.
Opportunities: From this website, Reading Rep should recognise the importance of frequent updates on social media sites and relevancy of photographs. I hope it is also a lesson to show businesses that when it comes to social networking, it is better to have one account at a high standard, than be involved in too many sites and spreading yourselves thinly.
Threats: The issues London Contemporary Theatre are facing with their social media is threatening. They also need to proof read and take a step back from the website and view it as a customer. Hopefully that way the irrelevant photographs will be removed. The overall impression gained from their website and social networking is amateurish.