June 22, 2009 at 11:33 AM
I mentioned that I recently joined Facebook as an individual and it was something of a time sink. But I'm enjoying it too, it's nice to be able to discuss little triumphs and annoyances during the day with other friends who may be similarly computer-bound (in different states and even different countries).
Then as I became a fan of different sites, and the orchestra where I play was discussing how to publicize our concerts, it occurred to me, maybe we could use a Facebook site. We already have a website, and I'm not yet sure what having a FB presence will add. But, with a friend who has already made several pages, I decided to give it a go.
It's more complicated than you might think to choose a category. This is something that FB doesn't seem to have thought out very well. Orchestras are all over the map when it comes to category: The Vienna Philharmonic is an "Other business." The Brooklyn Philharmonic is a "non-profit." There is an interesting guide to Facebook pages for non-profits available here. The Lexington Philharmonic is a "Musician." The Erie Philharmonic is an "Other Public Figure." And once you've made the page, you can't change (we are an "Other Business" in Arlington). There's also the issue of a group vs. a page. Pages have fans, groups have members. Right now we are a page but not yet a group. This lets us have fans, post videos and pictures, announce events.
We're just at the beginning, with a few fans. I'd be interested in hearing about others' experiences. What has worked for you to publicize your orchestra?
My experience not about an orchestra page, but from a pair of businesses: There are three things you get from a Facebook page that you do not get from a website. The first is that it is absurdly easy to add information, so you don't need to jump through hoops with additional software, uploading, passwords, etc. - and you can easily add a couple more people as administrators so you can share the responsibility for putting up new info. Second, you can provide timely, even late-breaking news, and no one expects the material to stand the test of time - everybody who uses Facebook understands it is ephemeral. So you can put up pictures of the concert, a special thanks to a board member, a request for volunteer assistance to complete a task RIGHT NOW - and in three days when it's no longer of interest, no one has to look at it. Third, the information is delivered directly to the desktop of people who actually want to know about it - since they have opted in it is focused advertising at its best.
It may take a little effort to get people to sign up in the first place. I suggest inviting everyone you know who is connected to the orchestra to become a fan of the page (explaining to them how to find it if necessary) - and ask them to invite others. I have seen a couple of pages go up, and I think you need about 25 relevant people to get the ball rolling -after that they will pick it up off each other's pages.
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