The music industry is tough and unforgiving, but there’s hope yet for those musicians who are willing to get social. With the internet age providing endless FREE opportunities to push music out to the world, there are now a variety of social channels — such as Facebook, blogs, & Twitter — that enable you to directly communicate with those fans who like your music.
While blogs and Facebook are great for engaging with your existing fan base, Twitter is the best source for new fans. Here are some hot Twitter tips to help you get started:
#1: Be you
For your fans to want to read your tweets, click on your links and retweet you, they need you to be authentic. Speak your mind (respectfully of course) and be genuine – don’t just push your music onto the crowds. Engage in real conversations. If you do this, you’ll see a vast improvement in your retweet and click-through rates.
#2: Be credible
Moms are right – honesty is the best policy. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer to a question… it just shows you are human. If you do make a mistake, admit you’ve made one. Your fans will appreciate you even more so.
#3: Reply and engage in a two-way dialogue
Don’t let your fans hang dry. Get in the practice of taking a few minutes every day to reply to fans. Being active and responsive not only shows you care, but also motivates your fans to participate in conversation. Also, don’t just tweet at your fans. Think of it as a game of tennis – don’t serve the ball and disappear. Follow conversations your original tweets initiated, and participate in the dialogue. Be sure to follow others on Twitter and recognize fans that tweet about your blog posts or retweet something you’ve previously shared. Thank them for their tweet – you can be sure they’ll continue to ‘market’ you.
#4: Find and reply to conversations about you
Search for existing conversations about you, your band or your music. This is a fun way to see what others are thinking and a great learning opportunity. Heck, you my even chose to reply to a conversation or two.
#5: Be diverse
Don’t just engage in conversation, be sure to share links to other useful content. In fact, fans really love to see photos, videos, etc. so be sure to share those. If you don’t have a music video, share a ‘behind the scenes’ look, or a casual interview. Be sure to post a comment along with the video or any other link. Research has proven that including and sharing links helps to grow and retain followers.
#6: Drive fans to your blog and website
Don’t just use Twitter as a conversation channel; use it to drive fans to your blog and/or website for additional content. One way is to provide something of value, like a new single/soundtrack download, for free. If you write a blog post longer than 140 characters, you can quickly tweet about it and link back to the longer piece.
#7: Update your profile
Do not forget to update your profile. Be sure to include a link to your website, a photo of you or your band, a short 3-4 word description of your music and even a name or two of known artists you sound like. Include a link to your music (preferably a free download)… people love that.
#8: Respond to criticism
So not all tweets will be rosy, and not all tweeters will be fans – expect some brutal honesty and criticism. The real challenge is how you respond to these, and you need to respond. Remember anything you or others tweet is public and is ‘tattooed’ onto your account, so think before you type. Acknowledge their comments, and propose to take the conversation offline if necessary. If you do it properly and respectfully you may turn your critic into your biggest fan.
#9: Leverage technology out there to make things easier
There are some great FREE tools out there (such as www.sociopal.com or www.hootsuite.com) that can save you a lot of time and boost the quality and quantity of your posts by suggesting tweets (such as holiday posts, breaking news, links to videos, articles, etc.) and automating best practice issues such as coordination across social channels, scheduling etc. Some tools also help you set up additional channels such as a blog, a website, a Facebook Page. While these tools by no means replace personal posts, they do help by increasing the quantity, quality and diversity of tweets you send out.
#10: Invite your friends & put the word out
So the easiest, most natural way to get started on Twitter is to invite your real-life friends to have real-life conversations with you on Twitter. Once you get the ball rolling with your friends things will naturally pick up and you will start reaching out to others. Also, use your gigs to promote your Tweeter user name and invite your audience to post photos or comments about the show. You can even include your Twitter username on posters, flyers, emails etc.
I hope these tips helps get you started on Twitter, and feel free to add tips of your own to the mix. Good luck and keep that music playing.
About the author: Tamar Shor is the founder and CEO of SOCIOPAL, the free tool that gets your small business on Twitter a Website, a Blog and Facebook within minutes! Learn more here or connect on Facebook and Twitter.
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[Image of “Twitter” definition from Shutterstock.]