When you’re running a music ensemble, one of the last things you have time to think about is social media… that is until the weeks leading up to your next concert or during a fundraiser. Turning to social media only to promote shows or ask for money leads many ensembles’ social media accounts to look like the graph below, which shows post frequency over time. The high points represent a month where a concert and/or fundraiser is happening, and the low points represent a month where nothing is happening.
The result? Your social media presence come off as irregular and overly promotional. But more importantly you are missing a chance to build and engage your audience throughout the rest of the year.
The solution is simple, and I bet you’re already thinking it: post more regularly. The more regularly you post on social media, the more likely it is your increase in followers will remain consistent too (rather than the short bursts of followers frequently seen around your promotional periods).
That being said, posting more regularly does not mean posting more promotional posts. Rather, I suggest ensembles stick to a rule of thirds for posting. This means that 1/3 of your posts should be promotional, 1/3 should focus on building your ensemble’s brand, and 1/3 should share content from other sources that is unrelated to your ensemble but of interest to your audience.
The Nouveau Classical Project is an excellent example of a music ensemble that exemplifies the rule of thirds. A quick glance at their Facebook page shows a regular mix of posts that share outside content…
…posts that build the NCP brand…
…and posts that promote NCP events.
NCP’s high-quality social media presence is reflected in their sizable followings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as high engagement rates across social networks.
In addition to posting regularly and adhering to the rule of thirds, varying the media you share ensures a healthy mix of links, photos, and videos. Regularly posting different kinds of media while following the rule of thirds will lead to a vibrant and engaging social media presence (again, see NCP’s Facebook page).
So now that you have a social presence that is a consistent and inviting space for your audience, the last thing you need to do (and the most important) is actually interact with them. That means responding to their comments on your Facebook page, conversing with them on Twitter, and liking/commenting on their Instagram posts. If you’ve ever interacted with a brand on social media, you know it feels nice when they acknowledge and engage with you. You should strive to do the same with your brand (i.e. your ensemble).
While social media often falls to the wayside for most music ensembles, it should really remain a priority. Social media is an easy (especially with scheduling tools like Buffer) and free tool to continually build and engage your audience. Eventually, this virtual audience may transform into a physical audience buying tickets to your shows, donating to your fundraiser, and buying your latest CD.
Audience development is a priority for most ensembles. Unfortunately, most ensembles don’t consider social media as a part of audience development. Clearly it is. Developing your ensemble’s digital audience through social media is one piece of the larger puzzle, but a simple and easy place to start.