In this day and age, social networking is one of the primary ways in which an a cappella group can interact with and expand upon its fan base. In this recurring feature, we explore how a group can best use different available technologies to promote itself.
In the age of do it yourself marketing and online advertisement, press releases may, at first glance, seem like an outdated mode for spreading the word about your group. We live in an interesting, transitional time, though, when print media is losing its grip, and professional media is, in many senses becoming less formal. Just the same, mainstream media remains a force when it comes to communicating with an older demographic, and still has a longer reach than many of us want to give it credit for.
When I was growing up, we hung flyers for yard sales, and put up sheets with tabs people could rip off if we wanted to sell something or get in touch with people. People took out classified ads in newspapers, or even went door to door to sell their wares.
Today, folks accomplish most of these ends via Craigslist.
Most a cappella groups will claim they perform the music their fans will most enjoy, and most group will probably, honestly, have the intention of doing so. But do they know that they're hitting the right notes? A group that wants statistical data to back their claims, and that wants to open a true dialogue with fans might consider putting Survey Monkey to work.
With the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and like sites, a number of groups have stopped paying attention to their group website in favor handling business through these more standardized formats. There is some merit to paying greater attention to a social networking platform that people are already on, rather than trying to direct traffic to a separate website. This practice allows a group to push content to users rather than waiting for them to come to it, and it narrows the number of sites a group has to manage and update.
Skype can represent an interesting platform for a cappella groups to rehearse when the members don’t live near one another, or are bound to the indoors by inclement weather. It also affords opportunities for a cappella performance. Place some video calls and all of a sudden, you have the opportunity to perform live for all of your Skype chat friends.
A lot of fans of a cappella groups are fans just because they like the music. Others have crushes on group members, or, if you're really fortunate, follow your group just because it's the cool thing to do on campus. While these conventional means serve many groups well, there are other, proactive ways of solidifying an audience, many of which are served well when a group chooses to blog.
One of the biggest advantages to being a collegiate a cappella group is the fact that with the school affiliation can come school benefits. Sure, this means performance spaces, a youthful audience, the potential for faculty guidance, a large pool of new people coming in each year from which to recruit new members.
It also means a school website.