A Guide to Twitter for Musicians


Profile Creation

If this account is for your band then probably use the band name, if you’re an individual then maybe use your own name – durh.

Your Handle is how people will tag you in stuff on Twitter – it’s the thing that starts with an “@”. This should be similar to your band name, perhaps adding your country initials if you think there’s another band with your name elsewhere in the world, or adding the word “Music” to the end, especially if you’re a solo musician.

You have your main profile pic which I strongly suggest is your band logo. Then, you have your header which is a much larger image. I’d suggest either using a band photo either of you performing live, or a studio shot – something to visually evidence the fact that you are musical performers. Or, it could be some kind of extension of your logo. Solo musicians often do this the other way around, which I think is fine because you only need to fit one person into the tiny profile pic. I think as long as you have a pic of the band and the logo in there somewhere you’ll be fine.
Some bands are clever and overlay an “available on Spotify” image on their headers – you could do the same with tour dates, album art or website URLs.

In regards to your Bio, either go factual and concise, or get funny with it.

Lastly, remember to provide a link to your Website, SoundCloud, YouTube or anywhere you want people to listen to your music. Don’t just send them to your Facebook page if there isn’t a way to listen to music there.

Tweeting

Posts on Twitter are called “Tweets” -a form of what’s referred to as a micro-blog. You make posts of up to 140 characters, which includes alphanumeric characters, punctuation and spaces, about whatever your subject is or whatever interests you. Because you’re so limited, it’s important to make your posts as concise as possible. Don’t be afraid to break out a thesaurus in order to cram more detail in there.
Also, unfortunately, links do count to your character limit so you might want to employ bit.ly or some other link shortener. Definitely provide a description of what the link is, otherwise people won’t click it because it looks like spam -you have to make fan interactions easy.

Focus on the product

That’s your music, in the form of a new album / E.P., your next big gig, or a new music video. My pet peeve is when I follow a band but then go to their feed with the intention of getting my Re-Tweet on but there’s no… friggin’… music… links… What?

You can pin a post to the very top of your profile – make damn sure your pinned post is somewhere to listen to your music and something you want Re-Tweet as much as possible. Stay on message the rest of the time as well – make sure that for every few tweets you create you’ve got some music links in there or some actual news. I find that maybe 10-15 tweets is the amount I’ll happily scroll through before I get bored and leave if there’s no music.
Again, make interactions easy, and don’t be afraid to request replies, likes or Re-Tweets – those are what we call a “Call To Action” which could also include a track download, or a newsletter sign-up. You need to be clear what it is you want people to do.

Aside from posting music, what else is good to tweet about:

  • Pictures or videos from rehearsals, (visual stuff works much better than text across all social media)
  • New gear you like.
  • New gear you want.
  • Teasers of album artwork.
  • Other bands you like
  • How much fun the last gig was

Don’t tweet nothing. No,that’s not a double negative. For example:

“Exciting stuff on the horizon guys!”

Oh, yeah, really? Tweet us then, idiot.

Whatever you tweet, make sure it’s consistent – if more than one person is going to use the account, (which is fine), make sure they all have a solid understanding of grammar and spelling, (or at least an equal understanding). Make sure you all stick to whatever rules you decide on.

Give some music away for free. You should be prepared to do this anyway, as I’ve said in previous videos. Ask people to RT the post then help themselves to the download link.

Leverage your existing fans / friends / family to relentlessly Re-Tweet your posts. By leverage I mean blackmail. Or, just ask politely.

Personal Accounts

Have personal accounts in addition to band accounts. Some people tell me that you should make your personal account first, get a bit of a following by just being you and socialising on it, (I mean, that’s what it’s for – networking, right?) then create your band profile and shout about it to your personal followers.

This means 2 things. Firstly, you can retweet your band stuff on your personal account and tag it in your profile bio- giving your band a slightly greater reach because your own account will have different followers.

It also means that you can post your political opinions on your personal account without it tainting your band profile. The exception is if your band is politically motivated, and that’s part of your appeal, and lyrical content, in which case go nuts with that.

 

The Followers / Following Ratio

Some people feel like if you follow more accounts than follow you, (basically if this number is bigger than this number), then you might not be worth following. It’s this weird hierarchy thing – it doesn’t actually mean anything other than the more people you follow, the more you’re likely to actually use Twitter. A lot of other tutorials will tell you to not follow many people, but I think that’s B.S. I think twitter users are smarter than that, and will be more likely base their following of you on how many interactions you have (replies, likes, and Re-Tweets)

Tweet aggregation / automatic tweeting

If you’re worried you won’t tweet enough to be interesting then there are ways to set up automatic posting from, say, a blog you really like – so every time they post, you tweet about it. Now, I don’t use these so I’m not going to make any recommendations, other than those services are out there if you want them. You can also setup sites like SoundCloud and ReverbNation to tweet on your behalf when you post a new track or follow another artist, that kind of thing.

There’s also services like HootSuite which allow you to schedule posts, so it’s a little more personal than aggregating from a website – I used to use this before I properly made time for Twitter. So, you could make sure that you post about your music at least once a week, then you only need to focus on tweeting about new stuff as and when it happens – just alleviates some of the pressure.

Hashtags

This is one of the big things with Twitter, and one of the ways you can gain new followers and fans. You can turn a word into a hashtag by adding this icon (#) to the front of the word. It’s common to tag phrases as well, you just have to remove any spaces from between the words. Sometimes it looks nice to capitalise the first letter of each word when you do – it’s a bit easier to read that way.

The weird thing with Twitter is that you can find posts using a certain term regardless of whether or not it’s tagged. I think tagged posts tend to show-up earlier in searches, and you can actually select the tag and see who else is talking about this same issue. When you make a post with a tag, select the tag and interact with people talking about the same issue – don’t be afraid to start a conversation.

Because you’re so limited on characters, try to work tags creatively into the sentence. Rather than:

“New song from my band: LINK #music #rock”

How about:

“New #music from my #rock band: LINK”

You can add tags to the end of the post as well – just try and leave some space so people don’t try to read it as a single sentence.

 

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