Embrace Twitter! Top Tips For Musicians

AA musician can find a million excuses for not using Twitter. You don’t have time? You listen to big folks like Duran Duran’s John Taylor, saying Twitter is “diluting your creative powers,” or Kid Rock, simply calling Twitter “gay”? You just don’t “get it”? All these things are nonsense.

Assuming that you haven’t been on a charity tour across Africa without an internet (and TV) access during the past two years, I won’t be telling you how Twitter works (if you are a beginner, you might be interested in checking out 9 Twitter Tips for Artists first). Below you will find a dead simple, up-to-date collection of advises from experts all around the web aimed to help you get maximum out of Twitter.

1. What To Tweet

Image credit: board.milkboys.org

Of course just rushing into Twitter client / website and starting “twittering” some random stuff right away won’t work, as won’t work leaving faceless promotional messages once a week. Read this article to understand what behavior should be avoided.

Think how to engage your followers to prove that you are worth their attention, and to neatly promote your brand and your products. I’d suggest looking into what others do. Remember that there are professional PR agencies behind popular artists, so there is nothing wrong with borrowing some ideas from them – just make sure you don’t become a slowpoke in the internet marketing race (like Homer in the pic below).

Here are few recent examples off the top of my head… Muse used Twitter to announce a track listing for their new album, tweeting titles track-by-track; Dashboard Confessional promised fans to put up a free song online once their Twitter page reaches 16,000 followers; I’m sure you’ve heard Amanda Palmer’s story, etc. You will find hundreds of such examples if you want.

And don’t forget that Twitter is about communication. Spend some time on it, listening to others. There is a good feature called “retweet”, and it shouldn’t be ignored. As this useful post called “Retweet Smarter” states, “retweeting in a proper way will develop followers loyalty.”

2. Give Away Your Music

As (I hope) you already know, giving away the music without asking anything in return is pretty stupid. You don’t have to ask for too much, but must have a plan developed and your goals set. Ask for an email address to rise a database for your newsletter, ask fans to spread the message among friends so more people hear about you, ask for a re-tweet, after all!

With Twitter, it’s a good idea to use existing tools for freely distributing your music. Like these:

Let me know if you have tried any of them yourself, really curious to hear pros and cons of each one.

For more reasons on why you should be smart giving away music on Twitter, read this great post at WayCoolJnr.

3. Use Twitter Lists

Lists is a new Twitter feature allowing you to combine multiple feeds in a single stream. For example, here’s a Twitter list I created to keep track on music / media news from pros who I trust and respect. What’s good about lists, you can follow them just like any Twitter account (which I invite you to do with this one!)

Use lists at your advantage, easily checking the fellow bands’ activity, looking for important updates from venues in your region, listening what most loyal fans of yours talk about. Find more ideas at this Indie Music Tech blog post and invent your own!

If you want to track specific phrases appearing in your lists’ feed, try this service (it’s like Google Alerts for Twitter).


Image credit: edwheeler.deviantart.com

So, what have we got?

If you think you don’t have enough time for Twitter, read how others spend just 7 minutes a day on social networks. Then think again.  In fact, any mobile phone can handle Twitter work, though die-hard fans might even consider buying a special device like TwitterPeek.

What about musicians like Kid Rock or Taylor? Basically, they don’t have to be on social networks themselves anymore. Are you one of them? Nope (most probably).

After reading this post, you still don’t get what Twitter is for? Hmm…

If you are concerned about the number of your Twitter followers, be sure – using advises above along with some promotional work and common sense will make you a social media rock star (but always remember about the common sense part).

The bottom line: there is no excuse for a musician to ignore Twitter.

PS: A bonus tip from The New Rockstar Philosophy blog. Try Twibbon, “a tattoo for your twitter avatar.”

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