I am not a social media guru. But, I do understand the importance and effectiveness of using the many social media platforms. I am often asked what is the single most important social media site for musicians and recording artists? Well, they all are extremely important and very useful for building and engaging a fan base. I always say that social media is kind of like a store front for your music career. It is where you can meet, connect, and monetize your consumers..i.e. your fan base. But, if I had to pick one that I felt had a bit more importance than the many others, I would say it is Twitter. Why? Because with Twitter, once you know HOW to use it, it can be one of the most effective ways to develop a dedicated fan base that you can directly engage with. Engaging directly with your fans, and building personal relationships with them is the essence of building and sustaining a music career in today’s new music paradigm. I truly feel that no other social media platform can be as effective as twitter. The main issue I find out time and time again when discussing twitter is that so many musicians just can’t figure out what the hell it is, and how to use it!
For starters, it is important to know what Twitter is. Twitter is a social networking and microblogging site that enables its users to send and read “tweets.” What is a tweet? Tweets are short text messages limited to only 140 characters. Registered twitter users can read and post tweets, links, pictures, and videos as often as they want. Unregistered users can only read tweets. Twitter can be accessed through its website interface, SMS, or through a mobile device app on a smart phone. Based out of San Francisco, Twitter was created in March 2006 by developers Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. It was officially launched in July 2006. Twitter quickly gained popularity all over the world, and had reached over 500 million registered users over by 2012. In 2012, it was documented that over 340 million tweets were sent per day. As of 2013, Twitter is one of the ten most visited sites online.
When I spent some time learning how to use twitter, I realized that there were 3 key factors that are essential to effectively using this platform. Doing it religiously, knowing how to use the platform, and understanding twitter language.
1. Doing it Religiously
Twitter is something that should be used much like you would use your email (if you are checking your email frequently and daily like you should!). Using twitter daily is important. You don’t necessarily need to tweet 100 times a day, but log in and take a look at what’s going on. Tweet what is on your mind. Share what you are doing. Tweet something interesting you saw online, or share an article you came across that is interesting and has some valuable contact. The key is to tweet often! In my early days of twitter, one of the biggest issues I realized that prevented me from accruing a significant amount of followers and engagement on the platform is that I was very inconsistent with my tweeting habits. I would tweet a few times over a few days, see no results or movement in my followers on twitter activity, then become demoralized and stop for a period of time. Later on did I realized that it takes commitment and consistency. I know this might seem overwhelming, but with anything in life just like the dedication and time you spent learning your instrument, twitter must be treated a very similar way. I promise you that if you commit to tweeting often, you will see incredibly rewarding results. Plus, it becomes very fun and addicting.
2. Knowing how to Use Twitter
One of the biggest issues users come across with social media, and especially twitter, is that they do not actually know how to use the platform. Users who struggle with twitter usually are not tweeting right. Just tweeting plain text with no #hastags or including people in your tweet by using @theirTwitterHandle is what is often forgotten or simply just not known. When tweeting, use the proper language in your tweets. When you don’t use the proper language, it is sort of like tweeting to yourself and just your existing followers. It will make it basically impossible for you to get new followers, and engage in meaningful conversations with twitter users who do not follow you if you tweet incorrectly.
In addition to tweeting correctly, get involved with other people on the platform. Especially your followers. Go to your twitter feed daily and check out what all your followers have been saying. Reply to their tweets. Retweet something you see that is a clever or funny tweet. Favorite peoples tweets. Retweeting and replying to what your followers say is extremely important. Why? Because you are engaging with people. Communicating with them by making conversation. Building relationships with people. It is just like being at a party. If you stand in the corner talking to your self all night and not getting involved in some conversations, do you think you will meet anyone? Do you think you develop any meaningful relationships…translate this to twitter and developing a fan base. If you NEVER communicate with your fans, or just tweet your music but never comment on anything else, will you ever develop some real fans?
3. Understanding Twitter Language
This really ties into what I wrote above. Understanding twitter language is a major portion of learning how to properly use twitter. To make your tweets effective, using your tweets to assist you in meeting new tweeps, and getting your tweets to stand out among everyone else’s, learning twitter language is vital! As I said before, tweeting just plain text is useless. It will do very little in helping you build a fan base and gaining new followers. Here is an example of a tweet I always use when I train people on twitter.
Wrong way to Tweet:
I just saw the new Superman Movie, “Man of Steel.” It was great. MUST SEE!
I just saw the new #Superman #Movie, #ManofSteel. It was great. MUST see for all #comic and #superhero fans. #SummerMovies #DCComics
Just saw the new #Superman #movies @ManofSteelMovie directed by @ZackSnyder Love it! @wbpictures and @DCComics good work! #comics #superhero
The key to this last tweet that makes it the most effective tweet of all is that I use hashtags (which is this #) to tag my tweet with relevant topics and trends, and that I incorporate four different entities that I am speaking to. I didn’t JUST hashtag. Instead of just tweeting to myself about the new superman movie and what I thought about it, I used the official twitter handle of the Man of Steel movie, the director of the movie, the film company, and the comic book company that Superman has always been with in my tweet. That is really the essence of using twitter. It is also the most commonly misunderstood or forgotten concept with twitter…talking to other people in your tweets by including a specific twitter handle! If you are tweeting something, tweet to people who are relevant to that tweet! If you are playing a show at the House of Blues, don’t just say House of Blues. Find House of Blue’s twitter handle and use that in place of just saying “House of Blues.” Make sure to find the verified account for any known person, place, or thing. Here is the logo you will see near their twitter handle to know if it is verified or not.
Many twitter users get hung up on the number of followers they have. Ya, we all want to have tons of people following us, but don’t get hung up on the number. Buying twitter followers is foolish. Doing that is really just ego driven and will lead you nowhere. Not only will you quickly lose them (because they are fake are twitter will delete them), but it defeats the whole purpose of using twitter. Work on building solid connections with your followers. Develop relationships with the one’s you have. Doing that will actually help you out more than just trying to accrue tons of followers you will never engage with and will not give a crap about your music or what you have to say.
If you are interested in learning more about how to use twitter to build and engage a fan base, speak to your coach about scheduling a personalized one-on-one twitter training with me.