Twitter For Musicians and Bands: A How-To Guide

Part of the beauty of Twitter is that it can be many things to many people. As part of my effort to recruit as many people to Twitter as possible, I decided that I should write posts about how Twitter can be used in different situations. For example, of course you can just use Twitter to make plans with your friends, but the interactivity of Twitter can be very useful for people in all sorts of different professions. I’m going to attempt to come up with as many different uses for it as I can and I’m going to start with the one I feel (for better or worse) qualified the most to talk about: using Twitter to promote your band or music.

Your Fans Really Do Care What You’re Doing

Believe it or not, if you’ve been making music for a while, you’ve probably accumulated a not-insignificant group of fans who are interested in what you do on a daily basis. These are the fans that download all your songs (whether you want them to or not), go to all your shows and buy all your t-shirts. Every band has these, no matter how long you’ve been around or how bad your music is. These are the people that you can cater to with Twitter.

I suggest updating at least twice a day. Once when you get up you should post what you’re going to be doing that day, whether or not it’s related to your music, and once when your day is done to let them know how it went. Believe me, if Cedric and Omar from The Mars Volta or Daft Punk were on Twitter, you better believe I would be following them and would get super excited whenever they updated, even if it was just to let me know that they were eating a bowl of Cheerios.

Promoting Your Shows

Twitter can be an extremely effective promotional tool because you can ask people to come to your shows on several different occasions. If you are booking a tour, I suggest updating on Twitter when the dates are finalized and linking to the posted dates on your web site. Also, the day before the show, as well as the day of, you can update reminding everyone to come out to see you.

If you have enough fans and followers, you could make them feel extra special by having exclusive shows or afterparties that you only mention on Twitter. Once your fans find out that you are having these secret events, they will start following you on Twitter, thereby increasing your reach.

Take Requests

Since Twitter makes it so easy to interact with your fans, why not ask them what they want to hear when they come to your show? Maybe you’ve been neglecting to play an old fan favorite. Twitter is an easy way to find out what your fans want to hear, straight from the source. All they have to do is either direct message you or reply to you using the @ symbol.

Twitter-Exclusive Downloads

Say thank you to your biggest fans by giving your Twitter followers the heads up on exclusive new songs and videos. Posting a link on Twitter and NOT your web site says that you really value your fans enough to give them something special. Of course, once word gets out that you have a new song available for download, your non-Twittering fans will download it, but your Twitter followers will feel special because you gave them the heads up first.

Get Instant Feedback

Not sure if that hook you’re writing is trash or gold? Post a clip on Twitter and if you have enough followers, you’ll get instant feedback in minutes! Jason Calacanis, founder of Weblogs Inc. and Mahalo, uses it to get feedback on new designs for Mahalo. Sure, you could say that the fans should have no impact on the music you make, but if you want, you have an instant focus group that has your best interests at heart, wants you to succeed and would love to have you take their feedback into consideration.

Twitter-Exclusive Contests

This falls along the same lines as taking requests via Twitter, except it’s more fun. You could create a contest in which they plug your new song or upcoming show in one of their updates and that enters them into a drawing where the winner gets free tickets to an upcoming show in their area. You get free promotion, they get to come to your show for free and their followers check out your new song. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

This is really just scratching the surface of how musicians can leverage Twitter to build their brand, increase their audience and get more people to hear their music. I’m sure as time goes on and more and more bands adopt Twitter the way they did MySpace, we’ll see some really innovative ways to use Twitter, but these ideas should be enough to get you started. Good luck and follow me on Twitter!

Posted under Twitter

Published on 10/01/2010

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