Why A Musician Should Be On Twitter

TThere is big debate about whether Twitter is a time waster for bands. For a long time I was a Twitter snob. I thought it was irrelevant, trivial and annoying and I refused to use it. But I was wrong. There are some very important reasons that you need to be using Twitter. If you sift through the crap (and there are programmes that will do that for you) Twitter will become your news source, your network centre, your feedback monitor and the number one place to engage with fans.

For me, 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.

Image credit: Viicsellos on Tumblr

It’s also useful to keep an eye on what bands 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.

Fan Engagement

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 by the way) so don’t start updating fans with unnecessary tweets. Keep fans interested with little teasers about what you have coming up. Ask for opinions and encourage retweets. Fans love to engage and respond to bands so give them the opportunity.

Incentives such as ‘tweet for a track’ have proven very effective for many bands. You ask your fans to retweet your posts and in return they get a free download. It gets your message out to your fans’ friends and increases your audience.

Too Much Effort?

One of my reservations about Twitter was how it seemed to present itself as a mess of social updates without any relevance. However, dashboards such as TweetDeck or HootSuite can organize your followers, the people you follow and group them as you want them. 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.

The article, written by the Dotted Music writer Ben Brown, was originally published in the December issue of Indie Connect Magazine.