Twitter doesn’t come with a rule book, and the most common reaction for a new Twitter user is, “um, what am I supposed to do now”? Overwhelming though it may be when you start out, Twitter is becoming more and more important for the music industry. It’s a great place to promote new releases, connect with fans and stay on top of the latest music news. Want to maximize your Twitter success factor? These tips will help:
- Be A Real Human Being: Don’t expect to set up a feed from your site to your Twitter page and wait for the followers to flock to you, and don’t be afraid to mix a little personality in with your business stuff. Business connections on Twitter tend to thrive with a little help from the personal connections, so let people know who you are. That’s not to say that feeds are a bad strategy – in fact, if you have a blog, a feed can be an important part of promoting your work on Twitter. Just don’t sit back and let your feed do all your talking.
While we’re on the subject of feeds and automatic updates, most people on Twitter aren’t fans of automatic direct messages, either. Don’t do it.
- Be Nice!: Twitter is set up for fostering conversation and debate, and you don’t have to be a blind cheerleader for whatever people say. However, remember that when you’re using Twitter for your music career, you’re in a “business casual” environment. Stay professional. Tweeting “I think @soandso is the biggest idiot on Twitter” makes you look bad, not them. I’m not saying you won’t THINK that from time to time, but – and this is especially important if you’re working on the business side of the music industry rather than an artist – resist the temptation to engage in public humiliation. Who wants to work with someone who lacks discretion? Plus, the music industry isn’t as big as you think. You don’t know what bridges you’re burning when you’re a Twitter bully.
If you see something you disagree with and want to know where that person was coming, ask them. Politely. If what you have to say could potentially embarrass them, direct message them instead. Again, conversation – good. Belligerence – bad.
- Build Relationships: The great thing about Twitter is the way it connects you to other people who are trying to accomplish the same thing you are. Reach out to them. See how you can help each other. Tweet each other’s shows, link to each other’s sites, let your followers know when one of your colleagues does something cool – it all helps.
- Avoid the Numbers Shuffle, The Follow Test and Other Twitter Mind Games: A lot of people spend a lot of time on Twitter checking out how has the most followers, who is following more people than follow them back, culling their own follow list and so on and so forth. Other people follow someone, wait for a set period of time, then unfollow them if they aren’t followed back. This kind of stuff is exhausting, counterproductive, and more than a little bit third grade.
Remember that you’re on Twitter to further your own projects and learn from others. The relationships you cultivate there can’t be quantified by a number on the screen, and you’re better off working on connecting with like minded folks in your network than frantically trying to manipulate your volume of connections. Just keep your eye on your own project and contribute to the community as best you can. The rest will fall into place.
- Let People Hear from YOU: Retweeting what other people have written is a great thing, and you should do it. Tweeting quotes that have caught your ear, song lyrics and so on is cool, too. It gives people an idea of who you are. But don’t forget to just jump in there and say what’s on your mind. Your words, your stories, your life – people in general respond more when they feel like that know you as a person, and if you’re a musician, this is the kind of stuff your fans really want to hear from you. You don’t have to air your dirty laundry in 140 characters, but being yourself is a good business decision in the Twitterverse.
- Don’t Get Spammy: Setting up a Twitter account and randomly tweeting people to promote your new project is not effective – at all. In other words, “@randontwitterperon Check out my song!!!! bit.ly” repeated 200 times on your Twitter page is not winning you any fans. In fact, this is one of those attempted promo moments that not only fails to make an impact, it can actually actively make your LOSE fans. Ditto for formulaic direct messages to all of your followers.
- Relax!: Twitter is useful, but it’s also supposed to fun. Don’t get all wrapped up in developing the “perfect” Twitter formula. It doesn’t exist. Sure, you’ll see a lot of people spending a lot of time critiquing Twitter approaches. You know, it’s just not that deep. Getting too sucked into in any of these social networking tools can be counterproductive when it comes to actually making progress with your music career, if you let it. Just use Twitter the way that feels right to you – you’ll figure it out, and people will respond.