No matter how many conversations I have with fellow artists, they always say Twitter is their least favorite, and least used social media tool. Some artists admit that they don’t get it, while others think 140 characters just isn’t enough to make a point.
Whatever the reason, it’s pretty safe to say that artists who do use Twitter can use it more effectively. In this post we’re going to give you a full start-to-finish breakdown on how to create a Twitter account, post effective tweets, and maximize your content and engagement.
Setting up a Twitter Profile for your Music
Select a Consistent Username
Your Twitter username should be consistent with your other online profiles like your Website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, etc. If your website is Bandname.com and your Facebook page is Facebook.com/Bandname, then your Twitter handle should be @bandname.
Individual band members can also have personal Twitter profiles, but there should be a dedicated Twitter account for your band/project. For solo artists, one account is really all you need.
Upload a Profile Image (No eggs!)
The default profile image when you create a Twitter account is the infamous egg. People generally don’t follow accounts with an egg as the profile image. You likely won’t be taken seriously, or people will think your account is spam. So upload your own profile image immediately before starting to use Twitter.
You can also upload a header image and background image to your profile. Here’s a great cheat sheet with all the info you need about image sizes: Twitter Cheat Sheet
Add Your Bio
Twitter gives you 160 characters for your profile’s “bio”. It might not seem like a lot of space, but you can make someone curious about your music and give them a real sense of your personality within those 160 characters. Take advantage of it, because leaving it blank could cause someone to lose interest and move on to another profile.
Include a Link to Your Website
Twitter allows you to enter a website that will appear under your bio. Many artists link to other social media profiles like their Facebook page. There is only one link you should have - a link to your own website. Send people to your website where they can read more about you, watch your videos, read your blog, and shop at your online store. Give yourself the traffic. Give visitors a chance to know the person/people behind the twitter account.
Twitter Basics for Musicians
Twitter allows up to 140 characters per tweet, which includes your @username, although this will be changing soon. When possible, keep your tweets under 125 characters to allow users the option of easily retweeting your posts. This will accommodate your tweet, your username, and the additional username of the person tweeting your post.
The @ sign: Twitter has two primary symbols – the "at sign " (@) and the hashtag (#). The @ sign allows you to tag other individuals, businesses, organizations, and accounts on Twitter so that they are made aware of the fact that you’ve mentioned them or are trying to correspond with them.
The # sign: # is followed by a word or group of words. The hashtag is automatically hyperlinked and creates a new stream if you click on it, which will include all tweets that have used that same hashtag. It’s a great way to be found on Twitter, start conversations, and join in other conversations with users you don’t follow or who don’t follow you.
Twitter Actions: Reply, Retweet, Like, Tag, and more...
Reply: If you hit “Reply”, you’ll be responding directly to someone on Twitter. The tweet will start with their Twitter username, and only people who follow both you and that other person will be able to see that tweet in their stream. Use this to answer fan questions, say thanks, or respond to people you follow to start a conversation.
Retweet (RT): To “Retweet” someone is similar to forwarding an email. You’re sharing their tweet with your followers. You can simply hit Retweet so that a person’s original tweet appears to your followers.
On the mobile Twitter app, they give you the option to “Quote Tweet”, which puts the original tweet in quotations and you can add your own comment afterwards. On other Twitter applications like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Echofon, you can Retweet (RT) and add your own comment before the original tweet.
Liking a Post: If you like what someone else has tweeted, you have the option to “like it” in the same way you would like a Facebook post. The like button is a heart symbol on Twitter.
Mentions & Tagging: As mentioned earlier in this post, the @ symbol allows you to tag other people in your post. When you tag their Twitter account, they also see your tweet. And it increases the likelihood that they will share your tweet with others (retweeting), which means you will get more exposure.
Tagging other bands who are playing the same show, and tagging the venue you are playing at, means (in a best case scenario), more people will know about your upcoming event.
Using Images and Media: Tweets with images (and videos) get more engagement. Just like with Facebook and Instagram, images draw people in and commit them to your post before they even read one word. Fan engagement has gone up ever since Twitter converted from a text-only platform to a multi-media platform.
Uploading Images: It’s important to know that Instagram photos no longer preview automatically to Twitter. In other words, if you have both accounts connected, the image will not translate over. Only a link to the image. So you should upload Twitter content directly through Twitter if you want your photo to appear.
Sharing Videos: Twitter also previews videos. After uploading new video content on YouTube videos, copy the share link and tweet it. Twitter will show that video in your followers’ Twitter feeds.
Sharing Music: Bandzoogle now has a Twitter music player. Just like with images and videos, fans can stream your music directly through Twitter. It’s just one more way of pulling your fans in and enticing them to learn more by visiting your website.
Direct Messages: Sending a direct message (DM) is like sending an email through Twitter. Unlike with tweets, there is no character limit for direct messages. DMs are great for asking simple, short questions that don’t require an official email.
What to Tweet
How Often to Post
Unlike Facebook, Twitter is setup for posting more regularly. Because tweets are only 140 characters, and very fleeting in their shelf-life, posting up to 6 tweets in a day, believe it or not, isn’t overdoing it.
Promotional vs. Non-Promotional
Make sure to space your posts out – both in content and in timing. Not every post should be about next Friday’s show. Not every post should be about your cat. Not every post should be squeezed into a 1-hour time frame simply b/c that’s the only time you can get to your laptop (we’ll talk about scheduled posts later).
Talking about different things shows you are a 3-dimensional person and artist. Fans will be more likely to engage with you if you share tweets they can also relate to. They may have found you through your music, but they may connect with you through other things.
Twitter is a Conversation
It’s a conversation, not a dictatorship. Use it wisely and remember that you are communicating with your fans. When they tweet you directly, tweet them back. When they share one of your YouTube videos, thank them. When they post about something that matters to them, join the conversation. The more 2-way your communication is, the more success you will have on Twitter.
Promoting Other Musicians & Bands
Don’t be afraid to talk about other people. Share other bands’ music, share videos you like that aren’t yours. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter in the same way that your fans use it. You are not a machine!
How to Use Hashtags to Find New Fans
A hashtag is a way to categorize something – most often a statement, but often an image or video. It allows readers to find tons of content all related to a specific topic, category, event, or idea. It also allows you to find new fans.
Connecting with a Niche audience
One of the great perks of hashtags is finding fans who connect with stuff you already love. For example, when Prince died earlier this year, people posted YouTube covers of their favorite Prince song and used the hashtags #prince #ripprince #purplerain (and tons of others). These posts gots tons of traffic because they were timely and because they reached a huge demographic. You can use this method with anything else.
Getting Involved in Conversations & Topics
You can also search hashtags as a way to start conversations with people who have similar interests. For example, if you want to start using a looping pedal in your live performance, search #loopingpedal on Twitter and find other users who talk about new technology, best-practices, and tweet videos of their looping pedal songs. There are also Twitter meetups that happen on specific nights for people of different interests.
Twitter is incredibly popular for its live-tweet events. These are centered around public events – like meetups, galas, tech conventions, and more.
For example, say you have an event at South by Southwest. You’ve probably encountered the #SXSW hashtag in past years that connects everyone to the. You can find out what’s happening at any given moment by following the hashtag to see what people all throughout the event are posting. In the case of bigger events like SXSW, you may even want to use a more specific hashtag like #SXSW2017, or one of the many others.
How to use Search to Find New Fans
Whether you realize it or not, people are talking about you on Twitter, even when they’re not tagging you. Use Twitter’s search to look up your band name. You may find a number of people who have mentioned you and your music. If your Twitter account is @bandname, do a search for “bandname” in quotation marks to make the search more precise.
Using Twitter search to engage in conversations
Just like with hashtags, you can use Twitter’s search option to find people with certain interests. Look up terms or phrases (in quotations) to find other Twitter users who are tweeting about things you care about. The search tool is just one more way to find and engage with new people online.
How to Use Twitter Ads to Get More Fans
Set a Goal
Ask yourself: who do you want to reach? How much do you want to spend? What do you want to promote? How do you want to measure your success: with more followers, more retweets, more conversation exchange on a topic, or an uptick in traffic to the link that might have been in your advertised tweet? The ins and outs of Twitter Advertising are broken down in this excellent post by Social Media Examiner. Check it out.
Set a Budget
Set a budget that is reasonable. There are many variables involved in setting a budget, such as:
How much are you willing to pay for a campaign?
How much would you like to pay per day?
How much would you want to pay when a reader tweets your post as a result of the campaign?
Word to the wise: for your first campaign, consider starting with a smaller budget so you can get a gain an understanding of how Twitter Ads work. Then, once you’ve got the hang of it and are getting good results, you can spend more on your future campaigns.
Just like with Facebook, advertising success can be hard to gauge. Compare the success of your advertised post with a non-advertised post. Was it worth the money you spent? Do you need to tweak some parameters in order to increase the effectiveness of your advertising?
Scheduling and Monitoring Tweets
Why Schedule Your Tweets
You don’t always need to schedule your tweets, but scheduling can be advantageous especially when you’ll be away from your laptop and still want information to go out. Scheduling also allows you to plan your promo for the week and space out information at an even pace. I’ve personally found that when I schedule my marketing posts, that leaves room for my spontaneous posts to be more personal and less marketing-driven.
The Importance of Monitoring Tweets
Even when you are scheduling posts, it’s still important to visit your account when possible to check fan engagement. Respond to anyone who has replied or retweeted a scheduled post. Answer any questions asked about that post, and make sure you still maintain a presence on Twitter. Don’t let the machine run the show.
Tools for Scheduling and Monitoring Tweets
TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and Buffer all allow you to schedule your posts for a later time and date. Each of them are simple, clean, and intuitive platforms that are easy to use. And each allow you to monitor and schedule posts for multiple accounts.
Bit.ly is an excellent way to track the success of your posts. For posts that include links to third-party content, convert those links through Bit.ly’s site. Bit.ly tracks how many people click on the link to give you an accurate idea of fan-engagement. It’s one thing for people to read your post. It’s another thing for them to take the next step and learn more, which is why link trackers are useful in helping you gauge where your fans are commitment-wise.
Twitter is one of the longest-standing social media platforms on the internet. If used correctly, it can help you step up your media game. Facebook and Instagram may seem more user-friendly, but Twitter is a powerful tool in its own right and can lead to major exposure, fan-building, and fan engagement. Have fun and good luck!
Want more social media marketing advice? Check out the other posts in this series:
Social Media Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Fans with Facebook
Social Media Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Fans on Instagram
Social Media Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Fans on YouTube
Joy Ike is a full-time singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. She is also the founder and primary writer for Grassrootsy, one of the most-read music business blogs on the internet. She believes the greatest tragedy in the world is having a talent and keeping it to yourself.
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