A Quick Twitter How-To Guide for Musicians and Bands

1) What is Twitter and what should I be doing with it?

The Basics:

Check out this YouTube video – Twitter in Plain English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o

Twitter asks you to update your page with what you’re doing in 140 characters or less

If you want to reply to someone, you type @username and then write your message. That person will see in their replies section that someone is writing to them. To see who is writing directly to you, you can check your replies section. You can also send a private message to someone by sending them a direct message. You can only direct message someone who you are following and who is following you back and that message can only be seen by that person. It isn’t public unlike all other posts on twitter.

Twitter is a tool that artists can use to engage with their fans. Fans are looking for a way to feel connected to artists and twitter can provide that inside look into an artist’s life that the fan may be looking for. Although it may seem odd, people want to hear things such as “going to the gym” just as much as they want to hear “in the studio right now, just finished recording an amazing new song for the new album”. What’s most important is that people know that it’s really you that they’re hearing from, not a manager or an intern at the label, but that what they’re reading is coming from the artist themselves.

It’s also important to remember to not constantly spam your audience with something you’re trying to sell. People can “un-follow” you just as quickly as they can follow you. It’s ok to say “hey, our new album just came out, here’s a link” but that can’t be all you do. If anything, it should be a very small percentage of what you’re twittering about on a normal basis.

Lastly, when you look at your twitter page, is it filled with just announcements? Or are there a lot of @ replies to other people? Hopefully you have a mix of both. Twitter is different from other platforms in that it allows you to interact and engage with fans in a setting that more resembles an open chat room rather than a one way conversation. If a fan writes something to you and you respond directly to that person, it can be a very powerful thing for the fan knowing that they’re actually talking with an artist.

Some things you can twitter about to keep fans interesting:

- Anything and everything – fans want to feel connected to the artist and feel like they’re getting an inside look at their lives.

- Updates from the studio when recording

- Updates on the manufacturing process

- Reminders about shows and other band news

- Links to press, pictures, videos, music streams, etc


- Some good examples to use as a guide – it would be a good idea to follow these musicians and see how they use twitter.

o http://www.Twitter.com/davebarnesmusic

o http://www.Twitter.com/davejmatthews

o http://www.Twitter.com/snoopdogg

o http://www.Twitter.com/matisyahu

o http://www.Twitter.com/dave_grohl

2) How do you get followers?

It’s important to remember that it’s not JUST about how many followers you can get. 100,000 followers who don’t care what you’re saying won’t do anything. It’s a lot more important and a lot more powerful to have 1,000 followers who read every post and who care about what you’re saying.

Use the “find people” link at the top of the twitter page to search for friends. You can also use the “find on other networks” tab to search for contacts thru gmail, yahoo, aol and hotmail. The “suggested users” tab also provides a few people that twitter thinks are interesting to follow and usually creates a good starting point.

Add links and “follow me” buttons on your MySpace, Facebook and other web pages.

Another great place to start is on search.twitter.com. Enter in your band’s name (you can use quotes – for example, “All That Remains” as opposed to just searching All That Remains) and you can quickly see different people talking about your band. These are your fans and this is your target audience. These are the people who want to connect with you. You can start by following these people and responding to some of the things they’re saying. If someone posted “saw Dead Confederate last night, awesome show”, there’s no reason you can’t directly respond to that person saying “thanks for coming we had an awesome time playing for you guys”. You just gained a follower, engaged with a fan and chances are, that fan will help to spread the word that you’re now on twitter.

It’s also helpful to follow people that you’re interested in. Most people get a notification that a new person is following them and they’ll usually click on the person’s profile to see who they are and they’ll decide if they want to follow that person back. If they look on your page and see that you’re posting, interacting and creating value, it’ll give them more reason to follow you back. So if there’s someone you’d like to have follow you, following them is often a good place to start.

One of the best ways to get followers is just by interacting with other users and engaging in conversation. If user A is talking with user B, people who follow user A are likely to click on user B’s profile and see who that person is talking to. “Well if Dave Grohl is following him and talking with him, maybe I want to follow him too”.

3) What tools can I use to make using twitter easier?

One of the best parts about using twitter are the tools that make it easy to use. You can post and use twitter directly from the website (www.twitter.com) or you can use your cell phone, blackberry or iPhone. Below are some popular apps:

For windows desktop: http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/

www.Digsby.com – allows you to integrate all your instant messaging platforms with twitter & facebook

For blackberry: TwitterBerry (http://www.orangatame.com/products/twitterberry/)

Cell Phone: text twitter updates to 40404 and they’ll automatically post to your profile (you have to go to your account settings first and set up your mobile info first). You won’t be able to see replies or other people’s tweets thru here but at least you can post when you’re not in front of a computer.

For iPhone: Tweetie (here’s a link to some others: http://theappleblog.com/2008/12/03/12-twitter-apps-for-the-iphone/)

Use these links to see more twitter applications (there are also widgets you can use to easily integrate twitter with your website): http://twitter.com/downloads & http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Apps

Other interesting/useful articles and links:



Artists and other music industry people on Twitter: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=phtgMLGe8aahYaH0pRs7VHg&gid=0 (use the links on top to see artist, record labels, bloggers and more)

(follow me on twitter @BurnTees)

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