Posted: Feb 12, 2013
**Guest post written by Chris "Seth" Jackson, a bass guitarist and composer and founder of HowToRunABand.com.
Get Rid of the Egg. The biggest mistake you can make on Twitter and a surefire way to get yourself labeled a “noob” is to not have a profile picture. If you don’t have a picture uploaded, Twitter gives you a default “egg” picture. Do you know what that egg picture tells people? Don’t follow. Read more HERE.
Don’t always be selling. Your tweets should be extremely varied and not just repetitive promotions. If someone goes to your Twitter feed and only sees “Show coming up on _____” or “New album out! Get it on iTunes!”, you are being boring. Don’t sound like a cheap salesman hocking his wares all the time. Join the conversation. Read more HERE.
Now that you know Twitter is not for spamming people about your band but about starting a conversation, it’s time to start following people. Twitter has great features for finding people that closely match your band’s interests. On Twitter, you can follow anyone. No one can prevent you from following them unless they have their profiles set to private. You can follow top celebrities or the random guy down the street. Read more HERE.
Retweeting is a fundamental and powerful aspect of Twitter. Though it is simple, musicians often overlook its power at building a community. Mastering the retweet will open doors for your band, so don’t dismiss it. So… What is a retweet? A “Retweet” is simply sharing someone’s post on Twitter. You “retweet” a person, and their tweet shows up in your Twitter stream for your followers to see. Read more HERE.
In the Twitter world, the way to tag people in your posts is to use mentions. A mention is simply using the ‘@’ symbol before a person’s Twitter handle (their username). For instance, to mention my band Shiplosion, you would do the following: “Hey, @Shiplosion, how are you?” The result is I see this in my mentions stream (or @Connect on Twitter). I can then reply back. It’s sending public messages to people. It’s similar to Facebook’s tagging. In fact, Facebook adopted Twitter’s ‘@’ mention for tagging people in posts. Read more HERE.
Like everything else with Twitter, hashtags are deceptively simple. A hashtag is simply the ‘#’ symbol followed by whatever you want. On Twitter, hashtags are used as a means to group conversations together from all over Twitter. The hashtag in your tweet could possibly be seen around the world! Read more HERE.
Twitter Lists allow you to group people together into categories. Lists help you filter out people, so you only see relevant tweets. As the people you follow (and follow you back) keep growing, your Twitter stream can become chaotic. You need a way to fight this chaos. Lists have an additional purpose. Well made lists can be your marketing and networking bomb! Nothing beats lists when it comes to laser focusing your online marketing and press-grabbing efforts. Also, you don’t need to be following someone to add them to your list. You can add anyone. Read more HERE.
Omg! Have you see this video of you? So embarassing! If you are seeing a message on Twitter like the one above, either you, or a person you are following, has been hacked. Getting hacked sucks, but there are definitely some powerful steps you can take to prevent your account from being hacked. And they aren’t difficult! More importantly, you don’t want to be spreading viruses to your followers. Also, your account looks like a spam account when it’s sending out spam messages. Either way is a great way to lose followers. Read more HERE.
The worst type of spam from bands doesn’t come from hacked accounts. It comes directly from the bands themselves! Below are some of the most annoying behaviors you can do on Twitter. You don’t raise thousands of dollars on Twitter like Amanda Palmer by doing any of this crap. Who the fuck are you? The first thing many musicians do is tell people to go listen to their album, or go to their show, or watch a video, or even go to their Facebook fan page. Spam attack. No one knows who the fuck you are! The first thing you should be saying is “hello” and “how’s it going”. Read more HERE.
So you’re all happy, following a ton of people on Twitter, when suddenly – BAM! Twitter won’t let you follow any more people! What the hell just happened? Why Can’t I Follow Any More People on Twitter? Twitter has restrictions on how many people you can follow if a proportionate amount of people aren’t following you back. It’s usually around following 2,000 people that this limitation kicks in. Until enough people follow you back to get closer to a 1 to 1 ratio of followers and following, you are stuck! Read more HERE.
How can you use “micro-blogging” on Twitter? You can use micro-blogging in multiple situations. You can basically become your own journalist for your band and your music scene. As a musician, you are always out seeing shows. Bring your cell phone and start micro-blogging what’s happening. Tell the world what’s going on at the show. Who’s playing? What’s going on? Anything weird or funny happening? Read more HERE.
For those times you are not micro-blogging, you should have a set plan on what you are tweeting every week. Making a daily plan helps save you time and frustration on Twitter. If you already know what you are going to do today, you can blast through it really quickly and not waste precious time. Your Daily Tweets - At the bare minimum, try tweeting once a day. Have something that you want to tweet about. This could be a meaningful quote, a joke, or a picture. Read more HERE.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to make it look like you are on Twitter all the time? A way to be posting to Twitter even when you are asleep or jamming? You are in luck! There are a host of tools to help you with Twitter, and I’m going to go over a few that I like. This is definitely not a complete list! There are a ton of cool tools out there and new ones coming out all the time. But here’s what I use to handle my Twitter-verse: HootSuite, BufferApp, Tweriod, FollowFriday, Paper.li. Read more HERE.
Posting too much to Twitter usually isn’t much of a problem. You can post 20 to 40 times a day without burning out your readers for the most part. The average person’s Twitter feed is a constantly moving target. So many tweets are flying through someone’s stream, it’s difficult for one person to over do it. In fact, sometimes you need to post the same thing a few times to make sure your followers see it! But there is some etiquette around this. Just be aware, you can be way more chatty on Twitter than you can be on Facebook. Read more HERE.
Viewing media directly from your tweet serves a couple of purposes. First, you make it easy on your followers if they don’t want to leave Twitter to listen to your music. Second, you can help increase your song’s views, promote your “email for an mp3″ campaign, or simply try to rank better on services like YouTube. Tip: The more places your YouTube video is embedded, the better your ranking is on YouTube. By the way, it’s good to keep sharing your music repeatedly. It takes quite a few listens before your music sticks in someone’s brain. Hell, it takes quite a few posts before someone will even listen to it once! Read more HERE.
Constantly finding something new and interesting to say on Twitter can sometimes be difficult. Especially when you are busy recording, playing shows, and trying to write new music! Fortunately, you don’t need to always make new tweets! If you have good tweets in the past, recycle them! Re-use Tweets? Won’t People Notice? You might think people can tell if you re-use your older tweets. For the most part, though, no one will notice if you recycle your tweets. Read more HERE.
Power Tweeting is dedicating an hour or two of hardcore tweeting where you become highly engaged with all of your followers and those you follow. This is different than real time micro-blogging around an event or hashtag. When Power Tweeting, you fully focus on creating conversations with people in your Twitter feed. You can’t automate this. You can’t fake this. You need to be real and present. How To Power Tweet? Turn off all distractions. No other browser tabs open. No TV. No email or Facebook. FOCUS! Read more HERE.
Though Power Tweeting heavily engages your followers in conversation, a Twitter Chat is a much different beast. A Twitter Chat is a group of people having a discussion using a hashtag to keep track of the chat. Power tweeting is more of a manic effort on your part, while a Twitter Chat is more of an organized conversation with a group of people centered around a topic of discussion. To Twitter Chat, everyone talking just adds a common hashtag of their choosing at the end of each tweet. If you are having a chat around Washington State politics, you might choose “#wapol” to be your hashtag. After agreeing on a time to have the chat, just make sure to have the key hashtag in every post. Read more HERE.
Here’s the number one reason for musicians to use Twitter: Almost all bloggers, journalists, and DJs have active Twitter accounts. If you want press, Twitter is the backdoor to gaining access. However, not many bands interact and network with the press in a non-promotional, friendly way. Twitter is a great way to connect with these tastemakers meaningfully. In the next few posts, I’m going to cover how to use Twitter to get your band noticed! The first step is creating your list. Read more HERE.
Some media outlets are just huge juggernauts. Faceless organizations hooked up to automated tweet updates that will never see your retweet, mention, and will definitely not follow you back! Here’s where you have to do some leg work. Go to the organization and find out who the individuals writing the articles are. Find the DJs. Find the PERSON. Use Twitter search to find that person and start following them instead of the organization. You will have much more success building a relationship this way. Start now! Go to your local newspaper and find the music editors and journalists. Go to your local radio stations and find the DJs. Follow these individuals on Twitter and start retweeting, talking to, and sharing with them instead. Read more HERE.
Don’t make my mistake. I got excited about using Twitter in exactly this way, started retweeting all the music bloggers, radio stations, and even news outlets. And then the big problem hit. My band’s website didn’t have any music, photographs, or even a bio! We had blog posts and some cheesy YouTube videos, but nothing to give the press something to bite into! Get Your Website in Order …and not your fucking Facebook page. Your Facebook page sucks as a means of telling the press who you are. You need a basic website that has your bio, your music, and photographs of you. If you also have entertaining videos, make sure they are front and center. Read more HERE.
Most musicians and venues don’t seem to pay attention or reciprocate in any way. Still, the few that do are powerful friends to have. Support Your Scene. Retweet your fellow musicians. Follow other bands in your area and give them support for their shows. Do the same for local clubs. Retweet their shows and encourage your followers to support the scene. Support your Fans. What are your fans into? Do they have any projects they do that are worth sharing? Read more HERE.
Sounds a little dreamy, right? All of your band mates helping to put out tweets seems to be an awesome thing. It is, until you don’t know who responded to what. Or your guitarist goes on a drunken rant making fun of all the other bands. Or your drummer posts the most horrific picture of his penis from stage. (I know that last sentence was way out of line. I mean, your drummer using Twitter? That’s insane.) Here’s a few ways to avoid a mess on your Twitter account when you’re sharing with multiple people: Agree on your Message, Leave your Signature, Check Before Replying, and Create Separate Band Accounts. Read more HERE.
Though it’s simple and, I’m sure, stated all over the web, you should be using pictures in your posts to liven things up and engage your followers. Go Mobile. For most mobile Twitter applications, you can upload pictures directly from your smart phone to your Twitter account. Mobile applications such as Foursquare and Instagram let you share pics from your phone directly to your Twitter account as well. Read more HERE.
YOU! I learned this from Chris Guillebeau’s book, The 100 Dollar Startup. (Great book! I highly recommend picking it up!) People follow you on Twitter for YOU! If you do nothing but share other people’s posts, you neglect your core followers. People want to hear what YOU have to say, not everyone else you are following. Okay, I know what you are thinking, “What the fuck, Seth? You just spent 24 days telling us how to share OTHER people’s shit! What gives?” Read more HERE.
Even though Twitter is a great tool for engaging with people and networking, you should still be leading people back to your website. Not your Facebook page. Not your Reverb Nation page. Your WEBSITE. Your website is fully under your control. You can easily display your email signup form, your music for sale, and whatever else you have to offer. Twitter does not have this capability. Leave links back to your website. Read more HERE.
I told you not to be self-promotional. I told you not to spam. I told you to be conversational. I told you to share other people’s posts. So, isn’t me telling you to sell on Twitter just being contradictory and hypocritical? Hell no! All of that work has led up to the sale! First, you build confidence and trust in you. You network with people, share their posts, and interact with your followers. Then, you know that 80% of your posts are about entertaining, trust-building, and networking. Finally, 20% of your posts are self-promotional. Here’s where you can hawk your wares! Read more HERE.
Vanity is our friend. In some circles, being vain is considered a sin. In social media, ignoring vanity could be your downfall. Very simply, you need to keep tabs on people talking about you on the internet. You might actually be getting the press coverage you so desperately want, but you have no idea! Or someone could be talking shit about your band. Do you know if they are or not? On the positive end, what if people are singing your praises? Do you know if your song is being discussed? How do you know? Read more HERE.
TweetAdder is a tool I hesitate to tell you about. This tool can be used for pure evil in the wrong hands. TweetAdder is an automation tool for Twitter. It automatically follows people, unfollows people, searches for people, and even generates tweets. If you want to grow your following on Twitter quickly with relevant followers, TweetAdder is the tool for you. On the dark side, TweetAdder can also get your account banned and get you labeled as a major spammer. If you choose to use this tool, tread carefully. And, unlike the other tools I’ve shared in previous posts, TweetAdder is not free. At this time, it costs around $55 for 1 profile (Twitter account). Read more HERE.
Most people don’t even know you have a Twitter account. Why? You never told them. It’s very important to let people on your other social networks and your email list know that they can follow you on Twitter. Also, just because you said it once doesn’t mean they heard you. Read more HERE.
Thank you for following along with my Twitter for Musicians 30 Day Guide. This has been a joy and a challenge to write, and I hope you find it helpful. I plan on expanding this guide and releasing it as an eBook. If you would like to be a beta tester for the eBook, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to email me as well. Or you could always hop over to the Forums and ask your question there. Happy tweeting!
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