To Tweet or Not To Tweet: A Breakdown For Bands
Twitter Is Your Friend, Dipshit. Use it.
And I mean actually use it.
This has been on my mind’s back burner for a while but a recent Twitter conversation (if you can call what we have on Twitter ‘conversations’) reminded me to bring it forward.
One of my favorite tweeps tweeted, “#Follow this man, but not too close…”. Of course, she was suggesting that this guy (a musician and one I like) was a worthy follow: funny, informative, had interesting stuff to say, etc. I clicked on his profile and the first things that I noticed were his followers-to-following numbers: Followers = 10,128; Following = 68. Sixty-fucking-eight.
Me: “I will not follow this man because (according to his #’s) the odds of him following back are in Hell no-land.”
She: “oh, but you’d only be hurting yourself more by not following (musician)”
Me: “The music’s great (I’ve a GF in NYC very fond of him) but I tire of one-sided twitter relationships quickly.”
One sided. Kind of like sex with an uninterested partner; you might as well be going at it alone.
This is not the cry of the high maintenance fan who wants to be all up in your business and your BFF with a lifetime backstage pass; this is a check of reality. Believe it or not your fans (you know, those people who actually pay money to see you in the live element, find something appealing in the music you make, and buy your cra…uhh, merchandise) care about you. Care about what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, where you are, and what town you’re playing in next. Some even care about what you had for breakfast and the color socks you’re wearing. Some of those fans may require ‘special’ handling but that’s a conversation for another day, so I’m just going to speak for self and the other normal folks.
With the slow and tedious death of Myspace as the social media tool de jour for personal and/or band promotion, we’ve moved on. Facebook is great. Awesome even, but you, my band/artist friends really need to be on Twitter. This is your promotional/public relations life we’re talking about here and you need to start taking it more seriously. It‘s not rocket science, people, but it does require the ‘E’ word: Effort. So I’m going to say this to you as thoroughly as possible, and I suggest you take heed because this comes from what/who may turn out to be one of your most valuable/shameless promotional tools: me, a music fan.
Why You Should Be On Twitter:
1. Promotion: And no I don’t just mean cold, stale and REPEATED tweets begging fans to buy your shit or come to your show (emphasis on ‘stale’ and ‘cold). Yes, promote the tunes and the shows but be lively about it. Sound like you actually give a damn. If you’re on tour or about to be, chat up the shows. If you’re in the studio or about to be, stoke the anticipation for the new music. Post tracks to listen to, video of you shredding on that Fender, or that latest promo shot where you all look absolutely edible.
2. Interaction: Again with the giving a damn. A little conversation goes a long way, Einstein. Heading to Chicago for a show? Ask your followers where a good place for Chinese food is. Offer up contests like free tickets, meet and greets, autographed merch, blah, blah, blah. Give them a Twitter Treat aka something not even available on your website or on Facebook. Exclusive downloads are nice, as are secret/private shows or parties that only your followers have a chance to participate in. Advance notice of a happening before the rest of the world has a clue? That’ll work. Tweeting the random backstage photo before you take the stage, the photo that you took of the crowd mid-song, the video of you actually eating at the recommended Chinese restaurant… Well look at you; you’re a Twitter pro!
You see, just like with any relationship, conversation/communication is important. Not saying that you need to engage each follower individually and for extended periods of time but you do need to engage. If a follower asks a damned good question, answer it, silly. If a follower gives you a compliment that makes your day, say so. This is also a pretty good way to get feedback on… well, just about anything.
3. Identification: Who the hell are you? One Twitter account, multiple band members. If you tweet, how about letting your followers know who‘s doing the talking? End a tweet with your name or initials. Gee, how hard was that? Also, some of my favorite folks on Twitter are those who have a personality that I can recognize through the typed words. Part of Twitter’s charm is that we can share what we want, when we want, all from a comfortable distance. Be who you really are or be who you want to be through that screen name, but be something other than dead air on the interweb.
Oh, and if your record label, your management, your grandmother, etc., is running the Twitter account instead of you yourselves, do make that known up front, okay? Yes, a simple disclaimer will do, and at least that way people will know who’s doing the talking and if it seems less than engaging they may be less inclined to hold it against you.
4. Validation: Don’t underestimate the power of letting your fans/followers know that they actually matter. Follow somebody. No you can’t follow everyone and do choose your follows well, but for fucks sake, if all you’re following are other celebrities/musicians, music mags, and record labels, you’re a fucking lost cause. Follow actual people! The ones who share links to music and world news, or videos that make you laugh so hard that you almost pee your pants. And if you happen to pee your pants well, dammit, say so!
The point is there’s nothing quite like this Twitter thing when it comes to making our ginourmous world feel a tad smaller, and your fans/followers feel connected to you and one another. You want to turn me off, be that Twitter account with 10,128 followers while following 68. Or even better, be that Twitter-tard with zero activity. What’s the point of having a fricking Twitter account is you haven’t used it in 18 months? Either delete it or get your ass in it and on it.
Now go forth and tweet.