Is Twitter just a huge waste of time for bands? Following on from Bob Allan’s guest article on Building an Online Presence, I received a couple of emails from people saying they couldn’t get their head around Twitter and couldn’t see any advantage of their band being on the service. Join me in the full post to find out why it’s so important to be a tweeter.
Twitter can feel like a massive talking shop where everyone is shouting at each other and no-one is listening but if you use it effectively it can, and should, be one of the key points of your marketing strategy.
The advantage of Twitter is that it provides a personal link to your fans. It’s been proven that trivial updates piss people off (it’s the number one reason for being ‘unfriended’ on Facebook as well by the way) so don’t start updating fans with unnecessary tweets about your breakfast. Similarly, don’t bombard Twitter with continual links to your site.
Your bible on Twitter is ‘The 1/4 Rule’. Only self promote with links every 1 in 4 tweets. The rest should be entertaining updates or little teasers about what you have coming up. Ask for opinions, encourage retweets and engage in conversation with other bands and fans. Retweets get your name and updates out to an even wider audience. Fans love to engage and respond to bands so give them the opportunity.
Regular Twitter updates make your band look active which makes you look a whole lot more attractive to your fans and to any promoters or other important people checking you out.
Twitter’s brilliance lies in its ability to provide real time news updates and continual information. Twitter is fast becoming one of the primary sources for breaking news. Journalists, bloggers and music industry experts have all embraced Twitter which means you can aggregate a whole spectrum of constantly updated knowledge and news into one feed. And because you can’t use more than 140 characters it’s always direct and to the point. If you follow the right people it can give you valuable advice about the state of the music industry, what labels are up to and what bloggers are writing about.
It’s also useful to keep an eye on what bands and artists in your area are doing. Get on Twitter and follow every band in your region, particularly if they have a similar musical style to you. Where are they playing? Who are they talking to? Who’s writing about them? You will find so much information just by being a bit nosy. Find out who their most interactive fans are and target them. If they like a local band similar to you, chances are they’d come to your gigs as well.
If you follow anyone and everyone then Twitter becomes a mess of rants, opinions and pointless updates. Follow the right people however, and Twitter becomes one of your most valuable sources of information.
Too Much Effort?
Twitter can present itself as a mess of social updates without any relevance. However, dashboards such as TweetDeck or HootSuite can organise your followers, the people you follow and group them as you want them. Here at amazing we use TweetDeck and it’s brilliant. It will update you when you are tagged in a tweet or if someone retweets, or replies to, something you’ve said. It simplifies the Twitter jargon with simple buttons and notifies you when someone you’re following tweets.
You can also use Ping.fm to synchronise your twitter updates to Facebook, Myspace and most other social networking sites. This way you don’t have to worry about managing so many different social media platforms. If it still feels like a lot, divide each platform up between the members of your band. Even if you only make one tweet a day that’s enough to keep your name popping up on people’s browsers.
Twitter allows you to search tweets that contain your name or information. Hashtags can also be created and easily followed. A ‘hashtag’ highlights a particular topic and allows it to be followed and searched. You can use this to gauge your fans’ opinions on your gigs and releases. It’s really important to know what your fans are saying about you, especially if it’s negative so you can work on things. Twitter is a huge talking shop and you need to be listening.
Still Not Convinced?
The traditional music industry model where you make millions through selling records is dead. As a musician your income will come through all sorts of different avenues and the most creative and innovative will succeed. Twitter provides the opportunity for creative and innovative ways of making money.
Check out this video where Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls explains how she made more money from one hour on Twitter than she made from record royalties in a year. This video shows how powerful a community there is on Twitter. Information and ideas can fly to new eyes at any time and a small idea can become huge in an instant.
If you have questions about your band’s next step or if you’re just a bit curious about the music industry, leave a comment here, tweet @amazingtunes, Facebook us, or email me at email@example.com.