Is choir social media important?
One of the most frequent questions I get from my small business clients, as well as choir committees, is “Do we need to be on Social Media?” The answer to that usually is “probably, it depends on where your target audience digitally hangs out”.
But the follow-up question of “in that case, which platform(s) should we be on, what should we be doing on them and how do we do it?” is a lot more complex.
Before we delve into all that, let’s start with that ‘simple’ first question.
Do we need choir social media accounts?
The reason I start with “probably…” in my answer above is that social media is now so ingrained in our lives that to ignore it would be foolish.
The UK Office for National Statistics latest report “Internet Access – households and individuals 2017” highlights that 80% adults use the internet daily and 66% of users do so for social media. Even in the over 65 age group, 27% of internet users are accessing social media.
If you are wanting to ‘talk’ to potential concert attendees or choir members you should seriously consider using choir social media accounts.
If you have profiled your target audience as I discussed in “Understand your target audience” you will know whether it applies to you.
I would not suggest that social media is more important than your website or email marketing. However, as well as a way to communicate and advertise, choir social media accounts can be very useful in increasing traffic to your websites and in getting new supporters to sign up for your email newsletters.
What do we use choir social media accounts for?
As I will discuss later in this post, each of the social media platforms has slightly different characteristics and is used for different things. In general, you use social platforms to engage with followers in conversation, to share news and other interesting items and as a way to advertise to both followers and strangers.
What you say or ‘post’ is referred to as ‘content’ in marketing circles and so social media marketing is known as a type of ‘content marketing’.
Spreading the news
Social media posts are a way to send out latest news items to an interested audience. The instant nature of both posting and consuming means you can make followers aware of what’s going on in your choir at the moment, or share news about local events. A quick photo and comment posted from your mobile phone will keep everyone up to date immediately.
The best content on social media encourages engagement and a response – it is a two-way conversation and not a lecture! Social media is a great way to ask questions, get opinions or even encourage input.
To be engaging means that the content is of interest or value to the recipient – not necessarily to you. Engaging also means responding to others – make sure that you are not just posting items but that you also comment and reply to other peoples’ posts.
One of the strengths of Facebook, in particular, is the ability to target advertising posts to a specific audience type based on a range of their demographic characteristics and behaviours. This is not free, so you will only use the capability for particular campaigns, but it can be very useful in reaching a wider audience than you normally talk to.
For choirs, it is also probably more useful, and certainly less costly, than using Google Adwords. On Facebook, someone might see your ad for a concert they didn’t know about and say “hey – that’s a good idea, I’d like to go to that”, whereas no-one searches on Google for something they haven’t heard about!
Focusing your ad audience very tightly will keep costs down while ensuring you are reaching those most likely to be interested.
It’s not all about you
Most people avoid real-life conversations with people who just want to talk about themselves, and the same is true of the online world.
The content you share on choir social media should be of interest to your followers and not just about you! Try sharing posts from other choirs or news stories that are of interest.
You are not in control
You should be aware that the social media platform will ‘decide’ in which user timelines it places your post, based on complex algorithms. This means that, even if someone ‘follows’ you on the platform, there is no guarantee that your content will be shown to them let alone whether they will actually notice it. It is estimated that organic posts (i.e. not paid promotions or ads) have a reach of just 10% of their potential audience on Facebook.
This is a reason why you should have a website where you can guarantee that any visitor will see all your content and an email list to ensure your messages get to your important followers. You can then link your choir social media accounts to your website and also drive sign-up to your email marketing list with promotional posts.
Which choir social media platforms are the most important?
There are so many different social media platforms that you could sign-up for but I would suggest that you should start with just one or two. Even with just one, there is a level of commitment that you will need to ensure that you keep it going, so don’t overstretch yourself.
By far the largest social network in the UK with 32 million accounts, Facebook has 74% of the market. 78% of adults over 18 use Facebook and it is best for addressing the age span of 18 to 49. It also has the highest proportion of users (70%+) accessing their accounts on a daily basis.
Facebook’s sophisticated ad targeting makes it attractive, but that is gradually getting more expensive.
Facebook provides an ability to post ‘events’ so is ideal for alerting choir followers to upcoming concerts.
It is important to make content posted on Facebook visually appealing, and video is becoming more important to gain engagement.
This is probably the platform that should be your first choice for your choir social media account.
45% of UK adult internet users, around 20 million people, are on Twitter with 37% of them using it daily. The main age range of Twitter account holders is from 18 to 49. 62% of users have a household income of over £48,000 so using Twitter targets the more affluent.
Many users just read, with 85% of all Tweets from just 15% of accounts, and Twitter is most useful for sending out quick news snippets.
The downside of Twitter is that there is so much traffic that any item is quickly lost – so don’t use it if you want to be sure everyone has seen your news.
A strength of Twitter is that you can target messages to specific other Twitter account holders even if they are not your followers. This, combined with the fact that journalists frequently use Twitter to source stories, means that you can use it as an element in your press relations strategy.
YouTube is not a social network. However, it is used by 85% of UK adults and, after Google (which actually owns YouTube), it is the second most important ‘search engine’ on the internet as well as being more popular than any cable TV channel!
This combined with the fact that content on YouTube is video based makes it an ideal vehicle for promoting choir performances and recordings.
29% of UK adults, around 19 million, are Instagram users. 64% are under the age of 30, so this is a platform mainly used by the younger population.
Content is very image based but as you cannot place hyperlinks to web pages in posts Instagram is not ideally suited to advertising your choir.
LinkedIn has 21 million UK users, but it is predominantly a networking tool for business users. It is a way for them to find each other and message – especially about job opportunities.
Most users access LinkedIn infrequently and only turn to it when they need to use it – only 10% access it every day.
I would not suggest this is a priority social platform for marketing your choir, but it is useful as a tool to find individuals to approach when you are on the hunt for perhaps a new Musical Director.
Only 5% UK population are on Pinterest with half of the users in the 18-29 age range. It tends to be a personal research tool for finding new ideas rather than a social network as such. I would not prioritise it for choir promotions.
Google+ has a very small population of active users and would not normally be a social media platform I would recommend prioritising.
However, if you are publishing blogs on your choir website you may want to consider having a Google+ account and posting links to them. This is because, strangely enough, Google seems to favour items posted on Google+ in its search enquiry returns and so may be a way to get noticed.
There is a host of other platforms, such as Reddit, SnapChat, StumbleUpon and Tumblr that I have not covered, but I would not suggest prioritising any of these for action by choirs. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of them further – or comment below if you have found any of them to be useful.
- I found this article an amusing, and pretty accurate, analogy – Understanding Social Media Algorithms by Jeff Elder.
- This is a useful, more detailed analysis of UK social media platform demographics from a survey carried out in 2016 by media company we are FLINT – Social Media Demographic report.
How often should we post content?
There is a tricky balance to be achieved with this. Post too infrequently and your audience forgets about you. Post too often and you become a nuisance that gets ignored. Underlying that is the fact that you must be posting what your audience wants to see – so however often you post make sure you are adding quality not just quantity to the conversation.
From surveys of engagement statistics on the various platforms here are some suggested guidelines for posting:
- Facebook: minimum 3 posts a week, average 1 post a day, maximum 2 posts a day
- Twitter: minimum 3 tweets a day, average 10-15 tweets a day, maximum 30 tweets a day
- Instagram: minimum 1 post a day up to 3 posts maximum
- LinkedIn: minimum 2 posts a week, average 1 post a day up to 3 posts maximum
- Pinterest: minimum 3 pins a day, average 11 pins a day up to 30 pins maximum
- Google+: minimum 3 posts a week, average 2 posts a day up to 3 posts a day maximum.
Now you see why you should not try and be on all platforms – focus on 1 or 2 whose users most closely resemble your target audience.
Having said that, the posting task is not quite as onerous as the numbers above might make you think. Remember that what you post should not all be about you – sharing other people’s news, articles and posts all counts. And, in addition, there are tools available to help you.
What tools are there to help with my choir social media?
It might seem like you have a Herculean task ahead of you to keep posting and following the posts of others. Luckily you do not have to keep logging in to your social accounts during the day and sharing the odd post one at a time.
There are a number of online management tools out there for social media marketing, but the majority are costly to use unless you are a business. There are a couple of tools with free versions that are more suitable for the average amateur choir.
This is a great, easy to use, tool for just scheduling a series of posts over a number of days. The free version allows you to link to a single account on each of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. It is also limited to scheduling 10 posts.
You can upgrade to a paid version, for $10 per month currently, that extends this to 10 accounts and 100 scheduled posts.
Like Buffer, Hootsuite allows for scheduling, but it also is used for monitoring and managing engagement on your various accounts. This means that you do not need to log into each social account individually to see others posts, comments on your posts and to reply to them.
The free version is limited to 3 social media accounts and to scheduling 30 messages. Because of its extra functionality, it can take longer to get used to than Buffer, but it does a bit more. And it includes some nice basic analytics around your posts and how well they are engaging your followers.
Upgrading to the ‘Pro’ edition enables support of 50 social accounts and unlimited messages plus more analytics for $14.99 per month currently.
Don’t make it all down to one person
The other way to reduce the load on one individual is to encourage other choir members and supporters to post, share and comment. After all, these are called social ‘networks’ – they are meant to be places where everyone pitches in. Not only will this relieve the pressure on one person but it will also widen the reach of your content to their networks of friends and family.
When is the best time to post content?
Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to schedule a series of posts and you can define what time of day they will be posted. But what times should you select?
You can find a variety of surveys online stating best times to post on the various social platforms, and they will often conflict with each other.
Your best bet is to think about your target audience and when they are most likely to be looking at their social media accounts. A good indicator might be to ask your current choir and audience members. Another way is to start posting and keep an eye on what seems to be working best by monitoring the engagement levels through analytic tools.
Measuring and monitoring
Each of the choir social media platforms will provide you with some sort of analysis on how well your posts are being seen and shared.
On Facebook, this is under ‘Insights’ and on Twitter under ‘Analytics’. In addition, the Buffer and Hootsuite tools I mentioned above can provide you with some analysis.
Over time you can use all these analytics to work out what content is popular, what times are best for posting and adjust your choir social media posting regime accordingly.
In summary, I do think you should look to using choir social media pages as part of your marketing plan.
Limit yourself initially, perhaps just to Facebook or Facebook and Twitter.
Use free tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to make the scheduling of posts on your choir social media accounts easier.
Encourage everyone to get involved in making the discussion happen online and keep testing to see what works best.
Use Facebook ads to promote key concerts and campaigns, but make sure you have focused the targeting to limit costs and to get better engagement.