How to Promote Your Music on Twitter
Twitter isn’t just for killing time and watching funny videos…it’s that and so much more. If you’re a musician, Twitter is also a great tool for connecting with current fans and finding new ones. Twitter offers a huge audience, with 68 million monthly active users in the U.S. (300 million plus worldwide!) at the end of 2017. If you’re just starting out, Twitter can help introduce you to new people who may not have found you otherwise. On Twitter, you can also communicate with current fans about news like upcoming shows and album releases. Maybe the best thing is that it gives you a chance to show a little personality and interact directly with all sorts of interesting people.
To be perfectly honest, I am not a Twitter pro. I’m just a beginner. I’ve never been a big fan of Facebook, but I actually really enjoy Twitter and have been learning a lot about it lately. As such, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned and also provide additional helpful resources I’ve found.
Start by defining your goal. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume your goal is adding to your fan base and you’ll find those new fans by gaining followers on Twitter. As such, your focus will be finding and keeping new Twitter followers. The steps you take going forward should be aligned with that goal.
Optimize Your Account
Taking time to get your Twitter account set up properly will help you gain followers more quickly. Twitter is a busy place and many users will only briefly glance at most of your tweets, so it’s vital to be effective when grabbing their attention. If you already have an account, check it over to make sure you have all the essentials covered.
- Username – Your username or handle (@username) will be seen by other users every time you tweet or they view your profile. Keep your username short and clear.
- Picture/Image – People are visual creatures. Using good images helps grab their attention. Your account has two permanent places where you can utilize images.
- Profile Image – The profile image is a small picture that appears next to all your tweets. Since the image is so small, choose an image that is easy to recognize.
- Header Image – The header image appears at the top of your profile page and is much bigger than the profile picture. Use a header image that is eye-catching and memorable.
- Description – Your description or bio section can been seen on your profile page. Other users on Twitter will read your bio when deciding if you’re an account worth following, so make it good. For bands, include your band name, where you’re located (assuming you’re not constantly touring), what type of music you play and a little personal info. If your band has a website, YouTube channel, or other social accounts, be sure to also include those links in your bio.
Using Twitter seems pretty simple, but the deeper you look, it can get pretty complex. We’ll cover a few basics below. If you’re looking for more details, Twitter has a great resource area with many specific help sections.
- Posting a Tweet – Once you click the Tweet button, you can write text or insert images, gifs and videos. Space is now not as much of an issue, since Twitter recently raised the tweet text character limit from 140 to 280. You can also post hyperlinks into the text section. Many hyperlinks, like links to articles or YouTube videos, will also include a preview photo with your tweet, which adds to the chance of catching people’s attention.
- Hashtags – Hashtags are a great way to place your content in front of new users. Popular or trending hashtags can have huge amounts of followers. Twitter lists current trending hashtags right on your homepage and you can also use the search bar to find popular hashtags. There are also many outside websites that provide data on Twitter hashtags. Three good sites with free options are tweeplers.com, hashtags.org and hashtagify.me.
- Retweets, Likes & Mentions – Retweets are great if you want to add your own comment on another user’s tweet. Likes have the added bonus that they are saved in your “Likes” section, if you want to reference them later. Mentions are a good way to start a public conversation and get you out in front of other user’s followers.
- Direct Messages – Twitter also offers direct messaging, similar to an email. Direct messages work well for communications you wish to keep private. They are also a great way to thank new followers with a personal message.
Content is King
The true key to being successful on Twitter is giving your followers what they want to see. In order to do this, it’s important to define and understand your target audience. Once you can picture your audience, it’s easier to imagine what they want. Most people on Twitter are there to be entertained, informed or just waste some time. That’s where you can help by offering them music, images and stories.
Brainstorm for Ideas
Think of specific types of things to share with your Twitter audience. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Working on a new song – Tweet about the song name or concept and keep people updated on the progress.
- Working on a new album – Updates about an album are great. Let people know how the recording process is going or that you’re busy choosing the cover art.
- Upcoming live performances – Twitter is a great place to advertise future shows. Let people know when and where you’re playing and if other bands will be performing with you.
- Out on the road – Send fun updates from the road or hotel. A tweet is also a great opportunity to send a thank you to fans after a great show.
- Fan survey – Another great option is posing questions to your followers. It creates interaction and can give you some great ideas and feedback. You can ask for responses via retweets or use the Twitter Polls function. Ask about people’s favorite songs, bands or dream concert set list.
Follow the Leaders
On Twitter, people follow other users and those follows determine most of what they see in their Twitter feed. Take your time to find and follow a lot of useful accounts. This will make your work on Twitter much easier. First, see how more experienced users utilize Twitter and borrow (steal) their ideas. Second, retweet or like their useful content which will then end up in your Twitter feed and help further increase your number of followers.
When looking for accounts to follow, be sure to check out:
- Music Labels – There are all sorts of music labels active on Twitter. From the major labels to smaller specialized ones of all genres, you can interact with them all.
- Local Venues – Follow local clubs and concert venues. Connect with them and see if you can set up a show. Let your followers know when other cool bands are performing.
- Magazines – Check out the many music magazines on Twitter. Share their content and maybe you can even score an interview.
- Bands – Follow bands and other performers you like. Get to know musicians you haven’t heard before. You never know which connection will help take you to the next level.
Rules for Tweets
Twitter is its own animal and has its own unspoken rules. Below are some general rules to start with, but they’re by no means comprehensive or unbreakable. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Sharing is Fun
On Twitter, sharing other people’s content has a number of great benefits. Your followers benefit because they’re seeing something new and cool they might not have seen otherwise. You’re also helping whoever created the original tweet by sharing their content with an even larger audience.
Because there’s so much activity on Twitter, if you have something really important to share, like a concert date or new album launch, don’t be afraid to tweet it multiple times. If possible, mix it up by varying the way you word or deliver the tweet. If you have a show coming up, hopefully the venue is also tweeting about it. Try to retweet any posts they make about the show.
If you post a tweet and no one sees it, does it make a sound? While there is no perfect answer, people do seem to be more active on Twitter during certain times. Activity increases around lunch time and again once most people get off work around 5:00 PM. Weekends also typically have more activity. The slow time is from 9:00 PM to 9:00 AM, no big surprise here. Target your tweets for times when more people are likely to be on Twitter to help your tweets get seen.
Spread the Love Around
Even though there are some ideal times to post, it’s also important to spread your tweets throughout the day. If you send five successive tweets, you’re missing a huge portion of your audience that may not be watching at that time. Some users may look back in their timeline far enough to see your tweets, buy many will not. By spreading your tweets out over the day, you give them a much greater chance of being noticed.
If you want people to retweet your posts, it’s fine to ask them to retweet your content. The obvious caveat is that this may get annoying, if you constantly do this in all your tweets. Having said that, asking followers to retweet your important content, like an upcoming show, can have a big impact. Your followers are there because they like you and many will be happy to retweet, if you just ask.
The 80/20 rule is that you should only spend 20% of your tweets on directly selling stuff to your followers. No one will enjoy following you if every tweet is a link to buy your new album. Set a goal that at least 80% of your tweets will just be fun free stuff you’re sharing with your followers, no strings attached. If you give people a lot of good free stuff, they’ll be happy to pay for your real product (music, albums and shows), when they’re ready.
Visualize Your Destiny
Not surprisingly, visual posts, such as pictures and videos, have been shown to grab much more attention. People want more than just text, so capture their attention and reward them with great visual content. It can be something as simple as a candid band photo or footage from a recent live show. Fans love feeling like they’re getting a sneak peek into the lives of the band.
The Goldilocks Rule
Twitter is a crowded place. You need to tweet frequently if you want to be noticed. However, tweeting too often can become annoying to your followers and eat up your time. The key is finding the right balance. Set a goal of how often you want to tweet each day or week and stick to your plan. You can even utilize a paid service, such as Hootsuite.com, which can help you automate your tweets and other social media.
Consistency is Key
If you want to gain new followers, tweeting on a regular schedule is super important. There’s a snowball effect where a few followers can turn into many, if you stick with it and keep engaging with the Twitterverse. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you’re not going to get thousands of followers overnight. Take your time and tweet effectively, odds are your hard work will pay off.
Interaction is Good
People love to interact on Twitter. There really isn’t anything else quite like it. It’s incredibly easy to contact anyone. Send them a direct message. Mention them using their Twitter handle. Get the conversation started and who knows where it may go.
Back in the Real World
If you have thousands of followers, but the only ten people showing up to your live shows, it may be time to step away from Twitter and focus on other things, like more band practice time. While Twitter is a great tool, it’s not a good substitute for the real world, so use your time wisely. That means using your time on Twitter as efficiently as possible.
Choose Your Words Wisely
A good general rule is: “Don’t say something you can’t take back.” It’s great to have a strong voice. You should be your true self and say what you think. But keep in mind, everyone else has opinions too and can choose to follow you or not. Remember to focus on the goal you’re trying to achieve.
Measure the Results
From the dropdown at the top of your Twitter profile, you can access the Analytics page. From here you can view all sorts of useful information, such as the number of tweet impressions, mentions, followers and profile visits. Note which tweets are getting the most engagement and try to replicate them in future tweets. Make sure that your trends, such as followers, are improving over time. If not, it may be time to tweak your posting strategy.
Time to Get Started
Twitter can be the big boost you’ve been waiting for to take your music career to the next level. With a solid plan and some hard work, the goal of finding new fans is well within your reach. It may take some effort, but it should be fun too, so enjoy it!
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