I’ve been getting into Twitter lately – for a long time, I just didn’t get it. And I’m finding that this seems to be a fairly common experience. There’s a lot of advice out there on how best to utilize Twitter if you are a band or musician, so this post is a round up of some of the best that I’ve come across.
So, first up;
To Tweet or Not To Tweet?
This seems like an obvious question – of course you should have a Twitter account, right? Well, yes, it is advisable to use as many means of social media to connect with fans as possible, but – and this is a big but – there’s no point signing up to a Twitter account if you know you’re not going to be able to put some time into it.
If fans search for you on Twitter and find an account where the last Tweet was a year ago or more, they’re going to think that you either a. don’t care enough to keep people up to date, or b. haven’t been up to much for the last year. This is not the impression that you want to give. If you’re not prepared to update regularly, then it’s better not to have an account at all. That way fans searching for you will just think ‘oh they must not tweet’ (it’s ok – tweeps do understand that the whole world isn’t on Twitter – although a lot of them think it should be), and will hopefully look for your other accounts or official website.
So, if after reading that you do decide to Tweet, this brings us to;
Building a Community
Twitter (and other social media) is about connecting with people, it’s not just an opportunity to try and flog your stuff. As a musician, it is really important to remember that people want to get to know you as well as your music. They don’t want to be constantly bombarded with updates that scream BUY MY TRACK, COME TO MY SHOW, CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE – that will put people off and make you sound like a spam bot, not a real human being. So, the general rule of thumb is this: keep people updated, but don’t be pushy about it.
Its good to have some fun with your tweets, to be likeable as a person and to form relationships with your fans. Of course, you do need to plug stuff, but make sure that it is balanced – too much and tweeps will be turned off, too little and they’ll stop associating you with the very thing you’re trying to get out there: your music.
For more info on getting the balance right, see Kristen Lamb’s post here. It’s primarily aimed at writers, but the goal for musicians is the same; to build a platform. Actually, if you’re starting out on Twitter, Kristen’s blog is a really good place to start – and she’s met Dean Koontz (SO jealous)!
You are not a big corporation, you are a person or band with a personality, so you need to approach Twitter differently and use it as an opportunity to get yourself out there, not as free advertising.
The other thing that Kristen recommends is using TweetDeck – and I would agree that this is a great tool that allows you to see what’s going on in the Twittersphere and to more easily join in conversations. It allows you to edit before you re-tweet and you can have columns following your most useful hash-tags. If you have no idea what I meant in that last sentence, then read this getting started guide from Twitter, more info on hashtags and @messages – it’s ok, I’ll wait!
Good. So hopefully now you should be getting the idea – Twitter is a powerful platform if used in the right way, but, as with some many things in life, it’s all about balance.
I’ll leave you with some final points:
Remember that everything you tweet is public
This is a very good reason to also remember to stay positive. Ranting can be funny, if done in the right way, but too much bile can leave you looking like a lemon – bitter. If you’re not as hilariously angry as Charlie Brooker, keep the negativity to yourself!
You can always direct message people if you must moan to trusted friends on Twitter – goodness knows we all have need to occasionally – but if you clutter up your Twitter feed with negative comments, then it reflects badly on you as a professional, and you never know who is going to be looking at your profile… it could be the A&R man on the brink of getting in touch with your band, in which case, you don’t want to look ‘difficult’ to work with.
Oh, and talking of Charlie Brooker and negativity – check out his piece on Rebecca Black, it’s funny and also makes an important point (take it with you on your journey).
To conclude; there’s a wealth of information out there for musicians building a social media platform and I’d recommend checking out as much as you can, whether you’ve started trying to build your platform or are just in the planning stage. There is some conflicting info, so you have to follow the advice that you think will work for you, but the important thing to remember is that the goal is to connect.
Now it’s over to you! Is there are social media advice that you think is important? Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments!