Black and white approaches to social media. Literally.

The differences between the social media channels employed by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) and Trader Joe’s are literally black and white. The OSF website’s homepage is black, presumable to mimic a dark theater, and features the Allen Elizabethan Theater.


Trader Joe’s homepage is white and prominently features products.


Trader Joe’s clean look is inviting. But their simplicity doesn’t end there. The only social media channel that I found for the grocery chain was Linked In. The content provided basic data, such as history, recent announcements, locations, number of employees, contact information for key staff, and job postings. Most likely, its 49,680 followers are looking for employment opportunities.


There are several Trader Joe’s Facebook pages but none of them appear to be managed by the organization. A few of them even had this qualifier:


Even without the qualifier, headlines such as this one seem unlikely to have been posted by Trader Joe’s.


Trader Joe’s minimalist page design and conspicuous absence from social media seem to reinforce their simple brand. It's not complicated. We just focus on what matters — great food + great prices = Value.

To tweet or not to tweet

OSF has a presence on several channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. Their YouTube videos range from .16 seconds to 22 minutes and present a variety of topics, including a demonstration of an artist creating textiles for costumes. The featured video of the OSF artistic director outlining the 2017 season is engaging because it begins playing when you land on the page.

On Facebook, OSF posts a combination of photos, videos and articles about the performances, actors and theaters. Friends’ comments are unfiltered according to the site and are primarily about the experiences of theater-goers. Much of the content on Facebook is repeated on the other channels. For example, most show a recycled set that was used at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

There appears to be more engagement from OSF’s 15,700 Twitter followers than from its Facebook friends, even though 60,511 people had “checked in” to Facebook. Makes sense, since Twitter is a perpetual conversation.

Images seen by OSF’s 1,200 Pinterest and Instagram’s 5,668 followers were mostly recycled from other channels. Pinterest promises ongoing updates of OSF’s AccessforAll project on Twitter and Instagram, which is odd as it could’ve set itself apart from the other channels with its own updates.

Lighten up

Except for Google+, OSF’s channels are updated regularly. Twitter and Facebook have daily feeds and YouTube’s most current post is four days old. Pinterest and Instagram photos aren’t dated but appear current.

While Trader Joe’s has current job postings on Linked In, some are stale and applications are no longer accepted. Those postings should be removed.


Trader Joe’s might dip its toe in a social media stream, perhaps Twitter, to build community among its shoppers. OSF could give each channel its own distinct voice – and maybe lighten up a tad.



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