The Strand Theatre has upped its social media presence in an attempt to stay on people’s minds online while the physical theater is still closed due to COVID.

“You might notice some things happening with our social media. (Warning, tech talk ahead),” theater staff said in a weekly newsletter. “For small businesses like the Strand, social media is critical. The Strand Theatre uses Facebook and Instagram as our main platforms to interest you into coming to events, help us renovate the building, and engage with our community. We would not be where we are without our social media following. It is an excellent way to get the word out. We also use Twitter for these Weekly Newsletters.”

As of Friday, the Strand had 503 Instagram followers and 4,731 Facebook likes.

“Our presence on social media is driven by many things, with upcoming events being at the top of that list,” the newsletter said. “As you can imagine, the Strand has lost a significant amount of social media presence since we have 0 upcoming events because of the pandemic. Instead of gaining 3 or 4 Facebook likes a week, we are losing 1 or 2 because we are not present with new content.”

This caused a problem for the theater’s social media presence because social media websites have algorithms that generate what posts its users see.

“When a page has a following on any social media platform, the platform uses the same algorithm to: show more posts of pages you like/follow in your feed; recommends popular pages to those who haven’t liked it; recommends posts of popular pages in ‘explore posts’ sections; and show relevant posts of pages you like/follow at the beginning of your feed, rather than chronologically,” the newsletter said.

Since the Strand hasn’t been able to post much because the pandemic eliminated its events, its social media pages have not been showing up in people’s newsfeeds as often.

“The algorithm is beatable,” the newsletter said. “Over the next few weeks, the Strand will be working to beat the algorithm. This is only possible with your help!”

On Facebook and Instagram’s stories, the Strand is playing “games” for its followers to “play.” These games include polls, where one can vote between popular favorites (like Coke and Pepsi), and also trivia.

“The more interactions we have on any of our posts and stories will convince the algorithm to put The Strand’s page out there, so more people can be aware of who we are and what we do,” the newsletter said. “This will be invaluable down the line when we reopen.”

The Strand’s social media pages can be found at https://www.facebook.com/The.Strand.Theatre and https://www.instagram.com/strand.shelby.

In the meantime, the Strand volunteers are still working on the stage project.

“We are having fun working on the theater,” the newsletter said. “The technology upgrades continue. Strand board member and network engineer Cody V. has been working on our data infrastructure. We installed a new open frame rack in the projection booth. We are in the process of installing all our equipment in one rack.”

Anyone interested in seeing the improvements in person, stop by on Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon. Anyone interested in helping with the work session are welcome to join at that time.

The Strand is asking people to wear a mask inside the theater.

“The Strand is slowly getting through 2021. With luck we will be open on a limited basis starting this summer,” the newsletter said. “Right now there is too much uncertainty. Our volunteers are the best, and we look forward to welcoming them back at that time to do what we are here to do, provide live entertainment for our community.”