9 Twitter Tips for Artists

You’ve heard me mention Twitter in the last few posts and it’s been lovely to see a good few artists joining the micro-blogging revolution and following me accordingly. Recently I’ve had a couple of artists ask what they can do to increase followers and therefore push traffic to their sites/Myspaces. So as ever, I looked into those puppy dog eyes and I just couldn’t bring myself to deny you my mediocre-at-best advice. Here are some tips…

(Please note that for hardened Twitter users some of these points may seem a tad obvious so if they do then just shut up and move on to the next point. I love you.)

1) Choose a short name

There is no point having a massive Twitter name as straight away that restricts what people can say to you in replies and therefore may put them off conversing with you which is what Twitter is all about (for me anyway). Remember that your followers have to put their concise witticisms into an already restricting 140 characters so there is no need to confine them further by having a username along the lines of @genericindiebandnameunitedkindgomonlineROFL. Take Sentric Music artist ‘The Second Hand Marching Band’ – they rather sensibly went for @shmb or Tim and Sam’s The Tim and Sam Band with Tim and Sam (which is 39 characters by itself); they’re known on Twitter as @timandsam. Short is sweet.

2) Tell people

Sounds like quite a simple one but it’s quite surprising the amount of artists that are on Twitter but don’t tell their fans. Anywhere you have web presence; MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, mailouts, blogs, email signatures etc put a cheeky link to your Twitter page to encourage people to follow you.

3) Don’t be too self indulgent

I won’t follow you if every tweet is about your music, even if I’m a massive fan of what you do. It’s quite boring. Set yourself a nice little ratio; I’d suggest around 4:1, so for every tweet about your music you tweet four other things unrelated to your artistic endeavours that could be about anything whatsoever. The joy of Twitter is so people can get to know you and your many, many foibles and twittering constantly about how you “just can’t get that middle 8th right” on the new song you’re writing isn’t really going to interest anyone.

4) Talk to people

Someone who just tweets self indulgent sentences thinking they’re some form of 21st century Western haiku making machine is going to struggle to raise followers. Talking to people encourages them to follow you and to retweet you which is one of the best ways to increase followers. Try it now, start something with @sentricmusic and lets have a chat eh?

5) Retweet often

If you read a tweet that either makes you go “Ha!” or “Hm!” (which is the ‘I just learnt something new me’ noise that I’ve mentioned before in previous posts) then retweet it so a) the people who follow you who don’t follow the original tweeter get to make the same noise and b) the original tweeter sees you’ve retweeted him/her and may follow you in return or engage in conversation.

6) Utilise the free Twitter widgets and platforms

Get yourself to Twitter’s download page and go giddy. Get the widget and put it on your MySpace/website so the whole world knows what you’re up to. Also, don’t bother with the Twitter web interface; it’s slow and not very pretty. There are many Twitter platforms available and I’d personally recommend Tweetdeck. It’s quick, easy to use and great for setting up various filters so you can put all of your followers into various categories i.e. ‘Industry’, ‘Friends’, ‘Fans’ etc thus to keep the OCD side of your personality happy.

7) Know what you’re doing

Remember the following:

- If you write a standard Tweet then all of your followers see it.
– If you start a tweet with someone’s username (I.E. @sentricmusic) then the person you replied to will see it, regardless of if they follow you or not, and also everyone who follows both you and the person you’ve replied to will see it.
– If you want to talk to someone without anyone else seeing it then use the Direct Message function.

Learn that and you’ll be fine.

8 ) People unfollowing you isn’t a band thing

Ever hit that refresh button and your followers have gone from 75 to 74?! Don’t panic my good friend, this isn’t a bad thing. People regularly cull followers if their tweet streams get too messy or quite simply you may have just offended someone with that tweet you made about Iraq and Palestine needing to ‘just chill out and relax a bit’. People will come and go so don’t take it personally. Saying that, if your followers drop by about 50% and the other 50% are still only there because they missed the tweet then you probably have done something pretty bad.

9) Aim high now and again

Sentric Music artist Alex Highton (@alexhighton) recently got ‘props’ from Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk – rather suspect American actor who is pretty much now only famous thanks to being married to Demi Moore) who has over a million followers and humble Mr Highton’s MySpace received a lovely surge in traffic. Granted this may be a bit of a one off but why not chuck the odd celebrity a reply in hopes they pick up on your music.
The day Stephen Fry tweets me (@stephenfry) I just may delete my Twitter account as that is the no doubt unreachable zenith I’m aiming for.

Right then, I reckon those nine points should help you on your way to a healthy Tweet life.

I’ll just finish on a few people that you should be following:

@Pursehouse – that’d be me then
@CMU – brilliant daily music industry news bulletin that you simply must sign up to
@jonathandeamer – Clever bloke who is quite funny when he puts his mind to it
@mr_trick – Regularly tweets about music industry news
@seaninsound – Main guy behind ‘Drowned In Sound’
@dubber – Clever bloke who runs this very useful website
@popjustice – Good source of LOL’s
@MakeItInMusic – Great tips for musicians
@Buzzsonic – Regularly tweets our interesting music industry bits and bobs
@sentricmusic – Obviously

Thoughts?

What I’m listening to this week: Stay With Me (Baby) by Lorraine Ellison, the EPIC ‘Dance Like A White Boy’ by Master Shortie and Drowned In Sounds first quarter playlist on Spotify (Click here to listen).

What I’m reading this week: Not really ‘reading’ per se but more looking at See Mike Draw

Stay tuned

sP

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~ by Sentric on April 17, 2009.

9 Responses to “9 Twitter Tips for Artists”

  1. Thanks for the shout out! I’d add to point 3: tweets about “struggling with this middle eight” aren’t all bad; a bit of insight into your life as a working musician can be great – it’s cool hearing what @skinnermike is up to in the studio – but as SP says, it’s all about balance.

  2. Cheers for the mention! I’ll add a wee tip which I’ve been using recently – if you post a link on Twitter (e.g. to your new track/blog post, whatever), use a URL shortening site which allows you to see how much traffic your tweet gets you. I use http://tr.im/, which tracks how many hits your links get and also where readers are located, what browser they use, etc.

  3. Awesome tips. I’ll like to second ‘retweeting’. It’s a cool way to get someone’s attention, especially when you don’t have anything to say. Good way to get started on networking with other Twitter users. :)

  4. Nice – like the tips Pursehouse – there are some useful tools here as well: http://www.birdsallsocialmedia.com/2009/04/04/birdsall%E2%80%99s-massive-twitter-sites-tools-directory/

    my favs are tweetburner and

    http://www.themattinator.com/

    Much love xx

  5. There’s some more tips in the presentation I gave recently at AIM’s Music Connected Event. The slides are up at http://bit.ly/myslides

    And I’m @haynes_dave on Twitter

  6. [...] of handy succinct points to therefore make them easier to drink in and follow. Remember the ‘9 Twitter Tips for Artists’ or the ‘8 Tips On How To Make The Most Of Your Mailing List’? Or who could forget the [...]

  7. [...] be telling you how Twitter works (if you are a beginner, you might be interested in checking out 9 Twitter Tips for Artists first). Below you will find a dead simple, up-to-date collection of advises from experts all around [...]

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  9. Thanks for that – and subsequent comments. A lot to get through! One thing i’ve been wondering is – is it possible to re-tweet your own tweet? Or do you just have to rewrite it every time??…does anybody know?

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