By Annelise Larson
Social media is a critical tool for audience development and the marketing of any choir. It can also be a colossal waste of time if not managed well or strategically. Here are 10 best practices for maximizing these important tools and have to spend very little money (although time and other resources are required):
1. Set goals & have a plan. While time and other resources are often stretched thin for choirs, having some kind of plan will ultimately make everything you are doing more strategic and effective. Ideally, it is best to set specific goals and have a plan for every social media network you are using. But even having a simple plan about how many posts you want to release each month and where can be a helpful place to start.
2. Understand your audience. It is likely that you will have different audiences on different social media platforms. It is important you understand who you are reaching with each network and most provide analytics tools to help you do so. For instance, taking a quick look at your Facebook Insights under “People” will give you some basic demographic information about your audience there as well as where they geographically come from. And make sure to pay attention to what posts get the best positive reactions, shares and comments to give you insight into what they like.
3. Understand your story. Every good social media strategy has a cohesive narrative. This means you need to understand the story of your choir and how everything you post enhances or expands upon in. Your story can be your history, why your choir exists, what type of music you perform, a focus on your community, and so on.
4. Follow best practices for each platform. Facebook is not Twitter is not TikTok is not Pinterest. You should not be doing the same thing on each. Know the best practices of each platform, including things like hashtag use and the current & correct specs for images & videos (which often change without notice). Online resources like the Sprout Social blog (https://sproutsocial.com/insights/) or the Social Media Examiner (https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/) can be a good place to get started understanding these best practices.
5. Use the right tools. There are many fantastic social media management tools including Buffer, Hootsuite, Later and more. Using a tool like this to pre-schedule your posts, automate some interactions and track the results in one place can help tame the social media beast.
6. Add value. There are so many ways to add value on the social media platforms of your choice. Make sure you are not just posting about only your choir (try to limit these kinds of posts to about one third of the total posts you post). You can add value by entertaining, educating, elevating others and most importantly creating space for two-way conversation.
7. Be responsive. While scheduling is important to making your social media presence more effective, you still have to check in regularly to respond to your audience. The more you can do this, the more they will feel a part of your story.
8. Leverage the live & the temporary. Most major platforms include options to provide live or temporary posts. This includes Instagram, Facebook and even LinkedIn stories, live streamed video, tweet chats, and more. The immediacy of these kinds of content pieces create very responsive opportunities for engagement.
9. Pay attention to your data. Every major social media platform and social media management tool provides data about your audience and what they like. This is invaluable information to know what is working and what is not. The more you pay attention, the more you can refine what you are doing on these networks.
10. Be flexible & adaptable. As with every part of your digital strategy, it is important to have a plan, but you should also be prepared to adjust as you learn about what is working and what is not. There will also be new opportunities and challenges that come up all the time as the social media networks change and evolve. Be prepared to pivot as needed.
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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.