Singers: here's how to use social mediaHow-to
Social media is…what? Handy? A headache? Free self-promotion? It can be all of those things, but more than anything, it’s a necessity. We know that lots and lots of opera singers are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the rest, and it’s completely changed the way we see the business. Now, opera lovers can see all the dressing room selfies in full make-up, still-life photos singer luggage, links to covert rehearsal videos, and funny #overheardbackstage quips.
Since we look at (and look for) a lot of singers on social media, we offer up some tips on how to use your online presence to your advantage, while staying classy.
Do singers really need to use social media?
Yep. You do.
The long and technical answer is no, you don’t need to, you can all make your own decisions. And of course, whether or not you use social media doesn’t change your singing technique or your stage presence. It does change how visible you are, and it would be a shame for your hard work to fall on deaf ears. If you have a website, that’s a great start, but most people aren’t likely to check the websites of their preferred singers regularly. They do go on Facebook and Twitter all the damn time, and so that’s where singers can tell the world about their great new gig or their cool costume.
It may sound superfluous or unnecessary, but people are naturally curious, and your job is super interesting. Give them a little taste.
Get organized, get connected
Be diligent about linking up all your social media accounts. Your Twitter bio should include links to your Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc., and vice versa. On your website, they should be easy to find, and all in one place. You’ll have crossover with the content on various social media platforms (photos on Instagram and Twitter, videos on YouTube and Facebook, for examples), and the more you connect your accounts, the easier it will be for your followers to notice.
Post when you’re not at work, and post about others
The biggest trap into which singers can fall is using their social media accounts strictly for self-promotion. You’re absolutely allowed to talk about your work online, but if your feed resembles an ad-campaign, your followers may stop paying attention to what you post.
When you’re not posting about your awesome make-up job, or putting up backstage photos from your latest gig, your social media presence shouldn’t wane. It doesn’t mean you need to shallowly publish photos of your cat or your latte, though. A better way to bridge the online gap between show nights is to reach out to others.
Find out details about that upcoming competition your colleague is in, and tell your own followers all about it. Check out what’s going on with companies or festivals with whom you’ve worked (or would like to work), and give them an online shoutout. Retweet, reshare, reblog.
When the time comes again for you to shamelessly promote your work, which is still a good thing, you’ll have already invested in the reciprocity that is so vital to social media. In short, scratch their backs, and they’ll scratch yours.
Show us that you’re more than a singer
We know a few of you singers are also avid soccer players, yogis, foodies, film buffs, salsa dancers, photographers, ju-jitsu fighters, and parents. That stuff is cool! And relevant! Honestly, nothing makes people more impressed with your singing than the knowledge that you also bake bread from scratch and have two kids. Those things make you a superhero, and they make you a whole person. Not everyone can identify with #singerlife, but we all know what it’s like to multi-task.
Acknowledge that you have fans, and that those fans are people
Because you’re not constantly posting about your own singing, you’ve fostered a group of followers with varying points of entry into the world of opera. So, when you do have a show, and some of these followers (fans, really) are in the audience, it’s the absolute perfect time to make a individual connections over Twitter. Did your pre-show selfie get a bunch of retweets? Are people wishing you luck from their seats? Let them know you’re paying attention, by reponding or sharing as soon as possible.
The intermission tweet is an especially valuable tool. Your followers in the audience now know that you’re just like them, checking their phone when you’re on break, and chiming in on the well-wishes and feedback from the show in real time. So, whenever you can spare some attention, take a few moments to consider your fans and make them love you even more.
Think outside the box
Standing out in the ocean of social media profiles takes creativity; that’s great news, because you’re all artists. When we say “think outside the box,” we’re talking about the connections you make with your work in opera, and the rest of the world.
Simple options are a shout-out to the restaurant where you have your post-show dinner (maybe you went for French food post-La bohème?), or to the designer of the dress or tux you wore onstage, for making you look so fab.
Are you getting ready to sing Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia? Tweet at a social-media-friendly barbershop in your area, and ask for their best tips on shaving with a straight-razor.
Working on L’elisir d’amore? That next bottle of wine you buy from your local winery, should probably be a #Bordeaux.
Does your costume have a bustle? Tweet some jokes to your local gym or personal trainer about how you’ve gotta lose some of that booty. Also, #twerking.
Here are a few singers whose social media habits we really like. Bonus: they happen to be all ladies. (Well done, ladies!)
- Joyce DiDonato: [@JoyceDiDonato](https://twitter.com/JoyceDiDonato)
- Ambur Braid: [@MsAmburBraid](https://twitter.com/MsAmburBraid)
- Tamara Wilson: [@tamschloo](https://twitter.com/tamschloo), [Exit Stage Left](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6jidviYzIjuBRq_5mzIgzQ)
- Christine Goerke: [@HeldenMommy](https://twitter.com/HeldenMommy)
- Elizabeth DeShong: [@egdeshong](https://twitter.com/egdeshong), [A Singer's Suitcase](http://www.asingerssuitcase.com/)
Who do you like to follow? Let us know your favourites in the comments below!