Imagine if you had access to a completely free marketing tool, where a single, well-crafted communication from you about your event or business was then shared by everyone you know, to everyone they know, causing it to spread like wildfire to hundreds if not thousands of people in a matter of days?
This really is the potential marketing power of Facebook. We are not talking about paid or display ads either, we are talking about cost free ‘organic’ posts on your Facebook Page that reach all of your choir members.
There are a number of different ways in which you can take advantage of Facebook to promote your group and communicate with members. Each of the Facebook tools has a slightly different purpose and works differently, so here’s a simple check list to help you get started:
Your Facebook Page is open and accessible to anyone and everyone on Facebook. If you do not have a website, you might consider it the official public face of your choir.
In the ‘About’ section, provide some essentials such as who you are, where you’re based and what you do, and in the ‘Description’ you can key in comprehensive details covering rehearsal venues and duration, whether new members need to read music, the size of the choir, and the frequency of rehearsals and events.
If you have any discounts such as free taster sessions be sure to mention those too.
Then, invite all of your friends and choir members to ‘like’ your Page. This will have a small viral impact because their friends will see a notification of the new Like on their timelines as well – it all helps to spread the word about your choir.
People are more inclined to like the Page if it is dynamic and vibrant with lots of colourful, fun, feel good photos of rehearsals and events, as well as regular, engaging posts. Make sure you have populated the Page with some content before you ask people to like it.
Facebook Groups are intended for real and virtual communities. As such it is a more private space for your choir members only.
The Facebook algorithm is such that only a small percentage of a Page’s fans see each update, but members of a small Group generally see most of the content posted there.
Set your Group up as a private Group (the options are Open, Private and Secret). This means that it can be found by others on Facebook but they must apply to join.
Your Group acts as virtual notice board for your choir members only. It is an effective and easy way to convey information to the whole group at once. It can also be a great place for encouragement and peer support. All members can post to the Group (with Pages only Admins can post) which means that members feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Groups really can be a virtual community for your choir.
Anyone who is listed as admin or moderator is able to create posts and add or remove members. If the rehearsal is cancelled due to illness, or is starting ten minutes late, you can post it in your group. If there is a change to the set song list or venue, post it. If members need to know about formal dress code for an event, or minibus pick-up points, post it in your Facebook group, and then you can check to see exactly who has seen it.
It’s a good idea to create separate Facebook Events for your forthcoming gigs or one off workshops because these pages (assuming they are created in your Page and not your Group) are public.
From your Event you can go about inviting everyone in your friends list to attend, and also encourage your choir members to share the event page with their contacts. You’ll find that Facebook will also surface news about the event to other local people it thinks might be interested. This will assist enormously with promotion and ticket sales.
Most groups on Facebook keep comments open it’s worth bearing in mind that you could be swamped with superfluous questions and opinions, and even inappropriate remarks that need to be reviewed and filtered.
You may want to turn off the commenting function, then let members know they can send you a direct message anytime they need to communicate. Perhaps start with comments open and see how it goes. You can easily turn comments of for particular posts if you want.
Some choir groups have one group for instructions (with no comments allowed). This is great for larger choirs where lots of comments can be overwhelming for some members and important information is lost. They then have another more general group where members can comment. You’ll need to see what works for you and your choir members.
Try to weave your Facebook updates into your routine so the page or group is current, active and dynamic.
A good habit to get into is posting an update in your group after every weekly rehearsal. Don’t feel the need to be too earnest, post up encouragement after a great rehearsal or inject a bit of humour or moral support with memes, gifs and quotes, this will encourage members to frequent your page and stay in the loop.
A poll, which you can create from your Facebook page or group, is a really useful tool for interacting with your members and the public. You can gauge interest in workshops you are planning, start a conversation or ask members for general feedback on any aspects of your choir.
If you’re really keen on kind gestures and helping members feel important and included, then a wonderful feature of Facebook is the inclusion of the account holder’s birthday. You could make a record of these in your database, and give each choir member a cupcake with a candle and a group rendition of Happy Birthday during rehearsal, for that extra warm glow!