Ten Reasons Why Musicians Should Be On Twitter
In a cyber nutshell, Twitter is a social networking tool. And, since I know some of you are going to ask me what exactly is social networking, a social network is a broad group of websites that lets you connect with other people over the Internet.
Twitter, when compared to MySpace and Facebook, is still pretty simple. It got its name by “comparing the short spurts of information exchange to the chirping of birds,” according to computer.howstuffworks.com. You simply post a message of 140 characters or less. It’s immediately accessible to the millions of Twitter members. To make it a bit more manageable though, Twitterers, or tweeps, choose to “follow” each other, and those chosen “tweets” are what appear on your home page.
I’m not saying Twitter replaces your blog or your MySpace page, but I think every band, every musician can benefit from joining Twitter. And engaging.
1. Twitter can help you reach new fans. Music lovers are everywhere – working in offices, in college, on vacation, at home, in cities, in small towns, at their in-laws, at the coffee shop, at the dentist or next door. Twitter puts you right in front of them.
2. Twitter can help you develop relationships with your existing fans as well as new ones. Answer a fan question in thirty seconds. Post a thought about a new song you’re writing. Share a video of another artist who inspires you. Make a connection with someone so they care about what you’re doing.
3. Twitter can help put your name out there. Music lovers on Twitter tend to follow other music lovers. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and let people know about your new CD or a great performance review. If you write a blog, tweet your subject matter and include a link. If you’ve come across a list you love of 20 CDs You’d Want On a Desert Island, tweet the link. As more people follow you, your name will be in front of all their followers … and some of them will be curious enough to follow you.
4. Twitter can help you learn something new every day (while you’re making new contacts). Twitter is full of people willing to share information, and you’ll find a lot of it to be really helpful. For instance, another musician may have come across a particularly insightful blog on new ways to market your band. He tweets the link. You then go to the blog and leave a comment, asking the author a question. Then author responds; you thank the other musician. Now you’ve got the start of two new relationships. And you’ve learned some valuable new skills.
5. Twitter can put you in touch with other musicians, producers, labels, venues and other industry folk. Some of these may be names you know. Others will be brand new. All represent the chance to make a connection. Just remember, you shouldn’t just be looking to take away. You want to bring something meaningful to the table.
6. On Twitter, others toot your horn for you. Or tweet it, rather. You’ll find people to be very generous in this respect. Once you’ve connected with people, they’ll retweet your posts, send people to your website and encourage their own followers to follow you. It’s like having a massive street team.
7. With Twitter, you have immediate one-on-one contact with people– important for announcements, feedback AND troubleshooting. This is maybe Twitter’s greatest strength and its largest challenge. I personally LOVE Twitter as a resource for weirdly interesting factoids.It’s like a crazy RSS feed, but I believe its greatest attribute for musicians is this one-on-one connection. Music is such an emotional facet of our lives. If you, as a musician, reach out and touch me … through your music and also through your messages, I develop a vested interest in your music, your career, your success.
8. Being limited to 140 characters means you can tweet without spending too much time. Okay, I have to admit, I DO spend a fair amount of time of Twitter, but when I’m pressed, like when I’m on deadline for this column, I can still check in, tweet something and be finished in a couple minutes. My point is, this is doable. It’s not a huge commitment of time and research. You can make time for this.
9. If you don’t have a computer handy, you can tweet from your mobile phone. So when you’re hanging in the band bus before the show, take a couple minutes to check in with your tweeps. Tell the gig’s about to start. Or let them know about the guitar wizard who stopped by to say hey and is going to sit in for a set.
10. Twitter is free, it’s easy, and it takes about five minutes to set up. Really, five minutes. You choose a user name, a password. Be sure you include a photo, your band website or MySpace page AND don’t leave the bio space blank.Don’t worry, it’s very short. You’d be surprised at how many people read this. Hope to see you on Twitter. I’m @darielb. Follow me!
References for this article include: computer.howstuffworks.com; nealwiser.wordpress.com; millercaton.com;arielpublicity.com.
This piece was published in Beach Newz, a music column in Coast Magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, issue March 12 – March 26, 2009.