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Why every band should use Twitter

by Ben Davis on 17 November, 2008 | 8 comments

WM Twitter
Screenshot of the WM Twitter page

This article by Martin Bryant was originally published at 14sandwiches.

Back in 2005 Myspace became the most important tool for bands to get themselves noticed online. The huge mainstream uptake of the service meant there was a ready audience of potential fans for eager unsigned acts to tap into.

The good times didn’t last though. It didn’t take long for fatigue to set in amongst Myspace’s non-musical userbase. Constant friend requests from (mostly awful) bands meant that many people who weren’t big music fans abandoned Myspace entirely.

Facebook arrived just at the right time to suck up those disaffected people. Myspace was left largely as a network of musicians and other creative people ‘befriending’ each other but not building strong active fanbases. Myspace remains a well-used social network but certainly in the UK I don’t know many people who have checked their Myspace profile in the past year. While it remains a useful act-finding resource for the music industry’s A&R departments, bands are having to look elsewhere to engage with existing fans and court new ones.

Facebook offers opportunities for bands to promote themselves. Anyone can set up a band’s presence using a Facebook Group or the more advanced Pages service. The difference with Facebook is that general users aren’t so keen to engage with people they don’t know in real life. In fact, Facebook actively discourage interaction with people you don’t know offline. That makes fanbase building difficult as only people who are already aware of a band are likely to find their Facebook presence.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways for bands to build a following online. The growing popularity of Twitter this year means there’s an ever-increasing audience of people who will happily ‘Follow’ anyone who posts interesting content using the service.

Twitter

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service, that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates.

So, how should a band use Twitter to promote themselves? Let’s take a look at some examples…

Twittering the wrong way: The Hussys
Scottish band The Hussys started following me on Twitter a few months ago but I declined to follow them back because of the way they tweet. They repeatedly post the same information over and over. Gig dates and links to their website are continually reposted every couple of weeks with very little other interaction with the service. If they personalised their approach they’d become a lot more appealing.

Twitter is great for having conversations with fans and talking about what a band is getting up to. The great thing about the service is that it’s both intimate in tone and public in nature. How great would it be for your favourite band to post updates about how rehearsals are going, what beer’s on the rider for tonight’s gig or teasers about new song titles?

If you’re going to have a presence on Twitter make sure you update at least once a day wherever possible. It shows that you’re interested in sharing with your followers and will make sure that you stay in their consciousness every day. If they feel like they know you they’re likely to want to spend money on your music.

Twittering the right way: Choo Choo

Swiss act Choo Choo (not to be confused with similarly-pronounced Californians, Xiu Xiu) use Twitter very effectively. They don’t spam their followers with gig listings, they converse with them using @username replies, they give insights into what the band are doing and talk about other bands that they like. Earlier today they were using it to crowdsource some help in securing gigs in the UK. By using Twitter in the same way a ‘normal user’ does but by keeping focused on the band, Choo Choo are providing value for, and interaction with, their fans.

So are we close to newspapers proclaiming someone to be “the first band discovered through Twitter”? It’s not likely – you’ll always need good tunes, a strong image and heaps of dedication to achieve musical success. That said, Twitter is a great, cost-effective way of giving fans something extra. If your band has a social networking fiend in its midst why not get them to set up and run a Twitter account today?

Good twittering:

  • Offer insights into life in the band. Something extra beyond the music.
  • Reply to fans’ messages using @username replies. It shows you value their input.
  • Post regularly. People may ‘un-follow’ you if you don’t post for a while. Being active attracts more followers.
  • Don’t spam fans with gig listings and links to your merch shop. People can find those things via the link on your profile page, or a simple Google search.

So, sign up and go and find some fans! You can follow the wrexhammusic.co.uk Twitter updates via this link: www.twitter.com/wrexhammusic

Links

Twitter
wrexhammusic.co.uk Twitter page
14sandwiches.com

Author
Posted by:

Ben Davis

Email: ben@wrexhammusic.co.uk

Ben is the founder and main writer for wrexhammusic.co.uk.
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8 Comments

  1. Hi Ben – good idea. I’ve given up on Myspace as it takes so long to load a band’s page. Here in the BBC Wrexham office we use Twitter to post all sorts of things from links to the things we’re reading and think others will find of interest to sending tweets via mobile phone from a live event – reporting from the scene, if you like.

  2. Twitter is fun!

  3. Cheers Ben!

    http://twitter.com/rosevilleband

  4. if every band uses twitter, won’t it just go myspace all over again

  5. you could say the same about facebook. You could say the same about anything.

  6. I get the feeling that all social networking sites are making a lot of people a heck of a lot more lazy about music, nobody’s arsed about going to see bands because every song on their myspace isn’t fuckin life-changing and people slowly get irritated by the bombardment of promotion from Facebook/Twitter. Though if we could rely on people to take an active interest in seeking out gigs, checking out new bands, seeing a gig as a ‘night out’ rather than a gig then promoters wouldn’t have to use social networking anywhere near as much and people could get back to just using it for stalking old school mates…

    The stuff you need to get your name out is free handouts at gigs, lots of stamps to post CD’s to the magazines and radio presenters that you’d actually want to feature you (rather than just everyone which just leaves presenters/promoters feeling essentially ‘used’ rather than thought about so they’ll just ignore you) and fucking ace t-shirts!

    There’s also the Gallops! method where you basically just making fuckin incredible music and everyone will just come flocking to you and you don’t have to do anything but be ace and record it

  7. Nice Gallops brown nosing there Matty!
    You could easily argue that the internet is never going away and the current generation spend most of their waking day procrastinating on the web and using services such as twitter/facebook gets a band’s message straight into the fans’ inboxes.

  8. Ha, well I didn’t want to lump Gallops! in with the methods of promoting that I was talking about, I know they they’ve done very little self-promotion and it’s nice to know that the industry still does some work for itself in the search for new bands rather than waiting for people to come to them.

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