I have a somewhat love/hate relationship with Facebook pages for singers. I have enthusiastically jumped on and pessimistically fallen off of the the Facebook page wagon over the years. 2014 found me singing the praises of the Facebook page as a way to make sure you aren’t spamming your full network with singing posts. Then, 2016 found me writing, “We are so incredibly lucky to have all of these resources at our fingertips which we can use for free. It can be overwhelming, though, to use it in a chic and efficient way. Just keep thinking of these online spaces as physical spaces. Into what kind of gallery would you like to invite your fans?” Finally 2017 has included phrases like, “yeah, I think they’re important but they don’t really have an ROI.”
The moral of the story seems to be, “social media is constantly changing.” However, we have this incredible ability to create these specific professional pages that work as a social media extension of our websites. Something along the line of, “smoke ’em if you got ’em” we’re gonna make the most of these puppies while we got ’em before they turn into something else.
What Are You Sharing?
Singer Facebook pages often turn into these dusty corners of the social media universe because their owners are unsure of what to post beyond “Here’s my next upcoming gig.” If everything you post on your Facebook page is a broken record of the same calendar update, your audience will likely get bored and move on. Facebook is like the subway in New York. It’s noisy, it’s crowded, and there’s probably a creepy guy checking you out. Unlike the subway, however, we can use this as a powerful publicity tool for our singing businesses.
One of the most important steps is to recognize the functionality of Facebook pages for singers. “What the heck is the use of this thing?” Facebook pages are the top of your prospective funnel. In #29DaystoDiva 2016, we talked about singer’s sales funnels. “Your website and social media platforms should work as a self-motivating cycle keeping your audience thinking of you, as a singer, first. Do the major players in your musical orbit know who you are and how to contact you?” You should be thinking of your Facebook page as the first step of the funnel in which you are demonstrating expertise, expertise, and attracting your intended audience.
Look Like You Mean It
I got to the very bottom of this post and then came back to make this the first point because your page needs to look like you mean it. This doesn’t mean you need to shell out tons of money to get new headshots or get a designer to make lots of slick graphics. Put your headshot as your profile picture and make sure that your header image is relevant to your purposes. Pick your favorite internet business idols and model your Facebook page off of theirs. Do not copy it. For example, I like checking out Tara Gentile or the Being Boss ladies whenever I need a shot of inspiration. You should be able to populate your Facebook page with compelling visuals, contact information that is easy to find, and informative about copy. Then, you’re on your way to being able to create a sense of community on your page.
Provide Tips, Time-Savers, and Solutions
You will never see me suggest being dishonest about your current expertise and experience level in order to attract fans or potential customers. However, I deeply believe that, no matter where you are in your journey, everyone has a unique point of view and inherent value to share with others. Demonstrating expertise and experience is different at different waypoints in that journey. Maybe you feel comfortable sharing tips for organizing your practice sessions with an overload schedule of courses. Or, perhaps you feel called to share your extensive research on syntactic doubling in Italian diction. Go for it. Sharing expertise and experience on your Facebook page will help you stay relevant not only to your audience but to the Facebook algorithm.
As I’ve spent time identifying my target and secondary markets, I know that working with composers is one of my core business functions. I like to share calls-for-scores abundantly on my singer Facebook page because I want to remind composers that I am in their camp. I am on their side. The call-for-scores doesn’t have anything to do with me but it has everything to do with my intended audience. It is a way that I can provide value to them, in a very small way, that acts as a small trigger to remember me when they write for mezzo-soprano.
Share Relevant Industry News
One of my major tenets as a performer, blogger, and teacher is to be a “shepherd for the field.” I take a personal responsibility for bringing curious outsiders into the field of classical, opera, and new music. The first step of that is to actively attract non-musicians into my network and the second step is to share information in a way that makes it clear why that is important. This means that I don’t share every obituary that crosses my newsfeed unless I’m willing to describe why that person was important to the field and how their legacy continues to shape our collective work. If I don’t provide context, it’s incredibly likely that someone could simply take that as proof that classical music really is dying. Literally. Obituaries are just one example.
Another example would be sharing reviews of your local musical organizations even if you don’t happen to be a part of that production. One of the most lamentable aspects of the eradication of classical music reviewing in local/regional publications around the country is the loss of the “stumble upon factor.” On the way from the local news to the sports section, one might have stumbled upon a review of the symphony and that became a trigger for them to say, “oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to buy tickets to that.” Your Facebook page, can help provide a “stumble upon factor.” It is a digital way of reminding people that you live in a diverse, arts-loving, and creative place.
Provide Must-See Websites and Other Facebook Pages
Nothing builds goodwill like sharing other people’s websites and Facebook pages. What’s the phrase, “See Something; Say Something?” Not just for community policing anymore… When you see something that inspires you on someone else’s website or Facebook page, share it to your own. They will often be appreciate for the visibility boost and may even return the favor for your original content posts in the future.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the beauty of scheduling posts right here. There are two functions that help you when you’re trying to increase your posting on your Facebook page. The first is “save for later.” See that little downward arrow in the upper right corner of posts in your Facebook newsfeed? Click on that and then select, “save post.” When you come across something in your newsfeed that you want to share at a later date but not sure when, save it here. Then whenever you’re looking for something to post to your page, scroll down the left sidebar, and find your cache of “saved” posts. Share away. The second function is obviously the “scheduling” tool. By clicking the arrow next to the publish button, you’ll open up a drop-down menu that allows your to select “schedule.” Whenever you are publishing something to your Facebook page, I highly encourage you to post and then schedule three additional postings of that content. When you’re ready to drop some cash on it, there are lots of tools that will do this for you for your blog. (I highly recommend CoSchedule for this.) I like to schedule re-posts of original content on a schedule like, “one week later, one month later, two months later.” You’ll find what works best for you to get the most mileage out of your posting content without being redundant. Remember to schedule at different times. People are constantly dipping in and out of their Facebook newsfeeds. Posting more than once is practically required more than suggested.
“Dance like no one is watching.”
While motivational quotes are all well and good, (honestly, Pinterest probably wouldn’t exist without them.) I highly encourage you to be posting slightly more relevant quotes to your desires and interests. So, if pithy motivational statements are your brand, go for it darling.
You can go the just simply posting the text route. “An effective voice technique does not grind out singing machines but produces artists.” — Richard Miller. Or, you can get all fancy with Canva.com and get…
Go ahead. Put that on your Facebook page. Just tag me…
Do Tutorials, Practice, or Process Videos
We are all living our own version of The Hero’s Journey. And, people like to be voyeuristic. Take advantage of both of those by posting tutorials, practice sessions, or process videos. Share what you’re working on and how you’re working on it. This aspect also doubles-down on the sharing your expertise and experience point. Facebook pages aggressively reward you for using Facebook Live because they are wanting more people to use it exclusively. That will likely change over time but for the moment, take all the advantages you can get.
Also, this doesn’t have to necessarily be videos. Think about the various aspects of your process. If you have a habitual practice of hand-writing out all of the text to help you memorize, you could share pictures of the handwritten text. You could also share videos of you speaking the text. Finally, you could do a Facebook Live of how the practice of writing out your text by hand helps you memorize.
Team up. When my Diva Squad gals started using the hashtag #practicetweets, I happily jumped on board and started sharing that way. It works as a personal accountability tool as well as sharing beyond the “here’s my next gig” information with a special dash of “we’re all in this together.” Since you can also use hashtags on Facebook, join the fun or create your own hashtag with your squad.
Share Facts, Stats, or Trivia
This is another great way to keep up regularly posting without too much lead time or necessary tech components (such as video etc.) Get those researching skills firing or just share facts, stats, or trivia about your current work. Working hard on your audition package? Share the facts or trivia around your arias. You’re already doing the work to know all of it, why not maximize it by sharing it with your network?
Use Recurring Themes
Who doesn’t love a good theme party? It’s so easy to come up with some themes for days of the week or even month by month. You could have a Technique Tuesday theme and connect with other singers and musicians about the finer points of mastering your instrument. You could use technique as the theme for a month and break it down into smaller weekly themes. Week 1 = Back to Basics. You can connect with your community about how they get back to their foundation. Do they love the Vaccai or Marchesi books? Do you or they have an annual re-reading of their favorite Richard Miller book? Start there. Week 2 = Step by Step. How do you work actively accumulate technical skills? What kind of process do you use. I am sure that you can come up with more recurring themes and better weekly themes for your favorite subjects. Just get the ball rolling!
Why Are You Sharing?
Like I wrote at the top of this post, most singers let their Facebook pages stagnate because they don’t know why they are sharing. They don’t know why they should be pouring more time into yet another online outlet about their singing lives. “I can barely keep up with updating my darn website!” I am sure I have uttered that exact same phrase before. However, the point is that social media is not just a time-suck. It is an extension of our consciousness as human beings. We are able to reach across vast distances both geographically and professionally because of these tools. But, if we decide to use it like a dusty old bulletin board in a forgotten corner of a boarded up coffee shop, then it will not have a return on the time investment. We want to use social media to engage, delight, and support our community.
Think about your Facebook page as being the very beginning of your singer sales funnel. What is the most important next step that you want your community to take after interacting with you there? Is it to sign up for your email list? Is it to hire your for gigs just from seeing your videos on Facebook. Is it to generate goodwill and reciprocity in your community? Decide on a specific goal and take your Facebook page seriously for one month. I’d love to hear about the results. Did it work for you? What were your metrics? I want to know how you’re moving people from the top of the funnel to the very next stage.