By Annelise Larson
The digital space is a crowded one these days as everyone heads online to escape, to connect or just to increase visibility for their organization or business. Choirs are no exception. While there are challenges with establishing or growing a presence here, there are still many opportunities for those who can be strategic. Developing a digital plan for your choir can feel daunting, but here are 5 basic steps to help you get started:
1. Define your goals. One of the best ways to have a cohesive strategy is to be clear about what you want to accomplish for your choir online. Is it just to get online in the first place? Is it to grow your following? Is it to get your virtual concerts online and seen? Is it to sell tickets? Is it to recruit singers? Is it to increase your choir’s professional profile? Keep in mind your goals can change, but if you start building a plan without them it will be much more frustrating and less effective.
2. Define your audience. Once your goals are established, then you need to figure out who you need to reach to accomplish them. The more specific you can be the better. And forget about gender or age ranges. It is more important to define your audience by the (relevant) things they care about, such as their community, a certain kind of music, the people in the choir, other choirs like yours, and so on.
3. Follow your audience. People that care deeply about something have likely already found each other online. They will be gathered in online groups or communities, following key influencers, or participating in online conversations. Research these as completely as possible and this should almost answer all the questions you have about your digital plan. This could be a represented by a Choral Music Subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/choralmusic/), or a Facebook group for choral composition (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2228835682), or using and following the #singing or your city’s hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, or a LinkedIn group for Band, Orchestra & Choir Directors, Composers & Arrangers (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3822519/), or joining the Choir Place online community for choral fans and performers (https://www.choirplace.com/).
4. Find ways to add value. Once you have identified where you need to be online, you then need to determine how best to add value. You can’t just show up in any of the places detailed above and say “donate to my choir” or “come to my concert” for instance. You need to learn about these online communities, conversations, and influencers first. Spend time “lurking and learning.” Pay attention to what is valued. What posts get the most positive reactions, which generate the most conversation? Learn from that and start to participate. Entertain, educate, elevate others. You will need to test things out to find what is the most relevant and authentic way to engage others. You need to win them over and engage them before you can expect them to engage with and for you. It is critical you give (A LOT) before you ask anything of the people present in these places.
5. Pay attention to your data. When you are goal setting you should also think about how you are going to measure whether you are successful or not. It could be increasing followers on social media or website visits or measuring other metrics like ticket sales or donations. Online everyone can gather data generated via their online platforms, whether Google Analytics to measure website activity or Facebook or Instagram Insights or YouTube Analytics or the metrics provided by your email management tool. Measure everything you do against these outcomes to know whether you are getting closer to achieving success. The basic rule of thumb is test, measure, repeat.
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Choral Canada is the national voice of the Canadian choral community, representing and uniting a network of conductors, educators, composers, administrators, choral industry leaders, and more than 40,000 choral singers from coast to coast to coast.