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Your chorus/choir/group already has a Facebook page, Twitter account and perhaps even a Google+ page. Do you need Instagram or Pinterest, too?

Before we look at how you should use Instagram and/or Pinterest, let’s look at what these apps are about.

Instagram
Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape (source: Wikipedia). The digital filters, however, can only be applied on the mobile app. No editing functions are available from the instagram.com.

Pinterest
Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organise events or save articles and recipes (source: Wikipedia).

Using Instagram

Instagram is a photo-sharing app, it is no different from Flickr or your photo gallery on Facebook where you post images of your group. For the purpose of this blog post, I will only discuss the photo feature of Instagram and leave out the video for another blog post. The unique proposition of Instagram over these apps are: (1) having the ability to apply filters to the image, and (2) the square format that gives images a consistent look. Instagram also plays nice to other apps so you can share your Instagram images to other social networking sites including Flickr and Facebook. An additional Instagram account, however, means that you have to maintain both, which is an additional effort for your Marketing/PR team. They could, however, just create Instagram versions of your existing photos, which would make it easier to manage but that means you will have the same content in both. If you do decide to create an account for your group, I would suggest that you use the same digital filter that best reflects your group’s image.

Another way to use Instagram – without having to create an account – is for special events, like a concert. Ask your audience to tag their Instagram photos of you with a specific hashtag like #concert2014. Hashtags allow you to view images taken by others of the same event or activity. You can then display all images in a single place (your Facebook page or website) using apps like SnapWidget or Webstagram.

Using Pinterest

Pinterest is more of a visual bookmarker so it will provide more value to a music organisation (i.e. the governing body, association, membership group) by providing ideas to members and other audiences. For example, you can create a board called “Sparkly Costumes” where you pin photos of different choruses/choirs in their sparky costumes. Look at the boards on the Sweet Adelines International Pinterest account to give you some ideas. As with Instagram, you will need someone who will manage your account and that someone should be diligent with trawling the internet to collect pins. Oftentimes, pins get re-pinned so make sure that you also follow other people who are interested in the same things as you are or ‘collect’ the same items that way you can just re-pin what they’ve pinned. But don’t do it all the time though, otherwise people will see the same pins over and over.

I have seen choirs/choruses use Pinterest as a photo album. It works (meh!) but really is no different from Flickr and photo gallery on Facebook or your website or even your YouTube channel (yes, you can pin videos, too!). You must harness the raison d’être of Pinterest – a visual discovery tool – to gather ideas, inspiration, things you like instead of showing your photos and videos again.

I hope this post has given you ideas on how to use these apps for our choir/chorus. If you have used them in other ways than those I described here, please share them in the comments. It is also quite understandable if you decide not to use them at all. Like I said, it takes someone on your Marketing/PR team to manage these accounts and you need to decide whether you would want the same or different content.