Kickin’ It Old School: Two Ways to Get More People at Concerts by Sean

Not all marketing happens online. Some incredibly marketing can happen through person-to-person, “analog” contact. Directors often bemoan the lack of audience members at our concerts—we view the lack of attendance as a lack of support. Many times it is just an indication of band marketing: if people don’t know about the concert, how can they attend? 

While social media and newsletters are a great way to inform people about a concert, they still need to see it and interact with the post to know about the event. Often they will miss these posts. If you want to assure someone learns about the event, individual contact is often best.

There are two easy ways to connect with potential audience members through personal contact that work! Are they more intensive than a Facebook post? Absolutely! But they will produce undeniable dividends in attendance.

Just Ask

This may seem too simple and straightforward, but literally just ask someone you want to attend to attend. We forget that this is an option. Get the students involved in asking people too for a better result. If you have issues getting administrators to attend, have several students ask them to come and eventually they will likely attend because it shows there is an interest in their presence.

The Handwritten Invite

You can print out posters or invitations and drop them in the teacher’s mailboxes, but they are not personal. These are just like social media posts and most of them won’t be read and find their way to the trash bin, but a handwritten note will be read. Write a short note providing the information on the concert and ask the person to come. It makes a big difference. If you can get your students to write them, it will mean more to their teachers. 

These may seem blasé or too much work, and while this is not unnecessarily true, they do absolutely work. If you want to see more people attend your concert, make a personal connection and you raise the chances of having a full house. The more the student’s are involved the better the results.

Six Marketing Mistakes Music Programs Make by Sean

Music teachers are not great at marketing. Often we market to ourselves when creating content, forgetting that we are not our target audience. Many programs make little mistakes through marketing that detract from developing a followership.

  1. Not Following the 80/20 Rule

    Many programs only post about themselves, and while it is important to use social media to advance the program, if it is only about your program, it turns people off. A great rule to follow is that 80% of the content you post should not be promoting the program. It can be reposts of articles, sharing pictures of a recent event, congratulating another band director for an achievement, etc. 20% can be promotional, this includes concert event posts, asking for donations, or any other general promotion. This ratio allows you to connect to your audience and build interest without the appearance of only caring about what occurs in the four walls of your rehearsal room.

  2. Not Having a Personality

    Every person on social media has a distinct personality, but many organizations try to maintain a bland presence. This is not engaging for the audience. Don’t hide behind “professionalism” as a reason! You can be fun and professional, or goofy and professional. It should seem like a human is posting the content, not a robot.

  3. Forgetting About Your Audience

    Whenever creating and posting content, remember that your audience is made mostly of students, parents, community members, and alumni—not band directors and musicians (this is true for even collegiate music programs). THEY should be the focus of your marketing. Not every post should be laden with technical terms, or about big events in the musical world. While it is important to post that information, it passes over the heads of most of your audience (missing the chance to connect). Develop posts that reach your entire audience and make sure there is a variety of content that reaches all levels of musical expertise.

  4. Lacking Engagement

    Don’t post and run. Simply putting a post online does not mean anyone will see it.. or care. To make content creation worth the time and effort, each piece should create the opportunity for engagement. Social media is a two-way platform (it does start with the word “social” after all). This can be as simple as asking for comments, although you can’t be so blatant very often. Build an audience that knows to comment and interact by consistently posting items that make then want to interact. Some useful post types are trivia, polls, and caption this.

  5. Lacking a Diversity of Content

    All text is boring. All pictures is boring. All videos is boring. Too much of any one thing is a turn off. I don’t care how much you like chocolate, after having for every meal for months straight, you will not like it anymore. This holds true for content. To maintain an audiences interest, you must mix up the type of content posted. One day may be a video, another day an album of pictures, then an infographic on the history of the program, followed by a concert announcement and a Throwback Thursday. This keeps your followers interested in your channels of communication and builds in new followers.

  6. Not Using Hashtags or Handles, or Using Way Too Many

    There are so many hashtags to choose from, yet some programs use none. Using hashtags (and handles) are a great way to link your posts to a wider audience. Not using them means you are missing out! The flip-side of this issue is some posts have 27 hashtags and handles. If you use anything more than five hashtags or handles on a regular basis (yes, occasional posts may have more) you look desperate for attention. Use only the best hashtags and handles: be selective.