Social Media for Choruses
These six commandments from marketing and communications professional Nancy Roberts will help guide your chorus’s social media tactics and save time and money.
Choruses have a lot on their plates and a lot of audiences to nurture, from board members to ticket buyers to donors to the community at large. Feeding the ravenous, always-open maw of social media can seem a daunting task to add to that already bulging to-do list. But if your goal is to reach people at a time and place where they’re likely to be receptive, social media merits a prominent place on that list of tasks.
Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Not Attempt To Be All Things To All People, Everywhere.
You may think that you need a presence on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, LinkedIn, and Tumblr (wait, what about Reddit? Google+?), but that is nearly impossible to do properly with limited time and resources. It’s also unnecessary. Pick one or two channels, based on where your target audience is, and where chances are good they will be open to messaging about your concerts, outreach, and choral music in general. Got lots of great video of performances, rehearsals, impromptu interviews, and more? Focus on your YouTube channel, and then cross-promote on other channels as you can. Looking to grow your board? Spend some time buffing up your presence on LinkedIn. Study each channel’s advantages and culture, and pick the best fit for your overall outreach goals. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself reaching that particular audience and watching your marketing campaigns sing.
Commandment #2: Thou Shalt Not Be Boring.
Effective social media is a many-way street. Social media audiences, by definition, expect the channel to be interactive and responsive. Treating it like a nagging bulletin board (“Here’s our new season”; “Buy this now”; “Do you have your tickets yet?”) will eventually cause your audience to tune you out. This leads us to …
Commandment #3: Thou Shalt Provide Relevant, Interesting Content.
Content marketing is king these days, and that quirky infographic, eye-catching image, or catchy video is key to capturing the eye of the people you most want to reach. Stick to your core “product,” but find an angle that makes what you do matter to those who matter to you.
Commandment #4: Thou Shalt Be Strategic.
Having written social media guidelines will streamline your work and allow tasks to be shared or passed on without wheel re-invention. Guidelines should include topics, tone, type, and frequency of posts, all the while referring back to your overall marketing plan goals (you DO have a marketing plan, right?). This will save time and ensure that you present a consistent public face.
Commandment #5: Thou Shalt Listen Intently … And Respond.
Social media is not about you; it’s about what other people are saying about you and your programs. Use Google Alerts or other search tools to listen in on what folks are saying about your chorus, your “competitors,” the kind of music you perform, and even your venue, good and bad. Find influencers (they may be bloggers, avid tweeters, or simply articulate fans) and build relationships over social media before you ask them for any favors. And if someone is kind enough to praise your concerts or ask a question, a prompt response demonstrates that you listen and care.
Commandment #6: Thou Shalt be Flexible.
As with any marketing tactic, evaluation and measurement are essential. If a social media channel is not working (and you’ve given it the old college try), modify your approach. A drop-off in engagement could be an early sign that your message, channel or both aren’t working. The only certainty in the world of social media is that it moves fast, fast, fast. So take a gulp of coffee and look at your analytics (web metrics, Facebook Insights, YouTube views, etc.) with a critical eye.
Lastly, the Golden Rule.
No, not a new one. The Golden Rule you already know. “Do unto others …” works in social media as in life. Be sure to support relevant causes, applaud others’ efforts, respond to comments, and thank your supporters. Choruses that take the time to participate fully in this amazing global phenomenon will stand out and enjoy remarkable returns.
Nancy Roberts has over 20 years of experience in marketing and public relations, communications, and project management for mission-driven organizations. She has been a member of Chorus America's Chorus Management Institute faculty since 2002, and will be presenting the BETA version of Chorus America's new e-CMI, focused on the fundamentals of marketing and communications, this October. For more information, please click here.