Marketing your music with Twitter
What is Twitter?
You know what Twitter is. But do you really know what Twitter is for?
It's for more and more things every day - but one thing Twitter is
definitely for is building a list of fans faster than ever before. So
much faster, easier, and less time consuming than collecting emails at
a show or on a website. Faster than gathering MySpace friends. FAST.
Your body of Twitter followers will grow steadily every day: 10-20 new
followers per day is not uncommon if you Tweet correctly (more on that later). Moreover, because Twitter makes it easy for Tweets to be passed from friend to friend (called re-tweeting), you can actually reach 10- to 100-times more people than your number of Twitter fans.
How to get started in Twitter
When you sign up for a Twitter account, you can search your existing contacts lists for people you may know who are already on Twitter. Once you import these contacts (from your Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, or other contacts list), you can choose to follow them. Do it.
One great thing about Twitter is that it's no big deal to follow somebody - their Tweets just stream by: you might catch one, and you might not. People follow a LOT on Twitter And one of the big ways they choose to follow people is to follow whoever follows them. According to a recent survey of Twitter users, most people "followed back" nearly automatically. So will the people you follow.
Once you have a small following, you can gain access to their followers using Twitter tools like @replies and Re-Tweets (Google these terms to find out more). And this is how new followers start to find you on their own. Keep up the interesting Tweets (again - saving that for later), and people will seem to start following you spontaneously.
Finding your Audience
Even though most people find people to follow by passively "following back", you don't have to be that way. In fact, you've got a goal in mind: you're marketing your music on Twitter, and you can do a lot to find the right people to - you guessed it - follow so that they follow you back.
Here's how to find the music lovers - the ones you want to be your followers:
- Use #hashtags. This is a community of people who use the #hashtag symbol in their Tweets to mark that word as a keyword. You can then search the #hashtags database for people who have tagged that same word. For example, in your Tweets you should write your name as #myband'sname - so it will show up in #hashtags. You can also search for people who #hashtagged words like #music, #punkrock, or #SXSW. People who tagged these words are advanced Twitter users who might be interested in your music - and may have a lot of followers you can reach.
- Use a Tweet management application such as Tweetdeck, my personal favorite. Tweetdeck and similar applications allow you to search for words and phrases throughout the Twitterverse - whether they've been #hashtagged or not. Here's a way to find some good Twitter followers using this tool: search for the name of a big-name band with fans who you think would like your music, and who has an upcoming show in your area. Their fans will be Tweeting about the concert. Follow those people and they'll probably follow you back. Getting the hang of this yet? Tweetdeck's search is powerful, but it's intended main purpose is to organize the Tweets from people you're following, Re-tweets of your own tweets, and other types of Tweets. It can get complicated, so a tool like this is invaluable.
- Use the @reply Tweet: With this technique, you first find a powerful, respected Twitterer with a lot of music followers (using the methods described above), then @reply to one of her Tweets. Your reply will be Tweeted to all of her followers. Make sure that it's a good @reply (once again...more on that later), and you have a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun of marketing. Blam!
Good, interesting Tweets
Finally! We get to the important part: Good, interesting Tweets. Defnining a good, interesting Tweet requires we take a step back - just for a moment - and look at the type of marketing we're engaging in when we market our music on Twitter:
When we market our music on Twitter, or almost any other place on the web (website, blog, MySpace page, Reverb Nation, iMeem), we're doing what's called inbound marketing - that is - helping people find their way into our website, music store, or whatever. We do that by helping them find us on the Web - through search engines, Facebook, and Twitter, among countless others. This last part is key to understanding inbound marketing: it is not advertising. Advertising interrupts what people are doing to give them a message they do not want to hear right then. Inbound marketing helps people to find something they're looking for.
Just look at the examples in the previous section on finding your followers on Twitter: #hashtags helps you find the followers you're looking for. And those people chose to use the #hashtag so that you could find them. They were using inbound marketing, and it helped you find what you were looking for: them.
And that concept is the core of inbound marketing. Remember it and you will not go wrong.
Now back to good, interesting Tweets. These Tweets help people find things they're looking for. Here are some great things to Tweet about:
- Links to MP3s people might want to hear (yours and others). Target the right people by #hashtagging the genre and band name, then give the link to the MP3 file. Since you only have 140 characters, and links are long, use a music-specific link-shortener like the one from tra.kz.
- Links to articles about shows (yours and others)
- Links to promotions of interest to music people
- Commentary on your scene
See how all of these Tweets are useful things people might be looking for? Good.
Finally, there is just one more thing I want you to consider when marketing on Twitter (and the rest of the Web, for that matter): You are trying to drive people to your content: your music, pictures, video, interviews, even directly to you. But it can't be all about you. Here's why: the more great content you provide on the Web, the better job you're doing of helping people find what they're looking for. Helping people find what they're looking for makes you an authority on a subject - like your local scene, or a certain type of music - and causes people to look to you for guidance in the future. You're probably an autoriity on a lot of things music related, not just yourself. So don't limit yourself! Help peple find lots of cool stuff, not just you. Besides, you don't want it getting tired, right?