In the hey-day of MySpace, online band promotion was made obvious. Upload my music, take an action shot of on-stage guitar-bashing, add my friends and…done! Social networking has dramatically evolved since then, widening the influence and variety of online promotion. However it seems not a lot of bands have evolved along with it. Fans love to interact and appear ‘close’ to bands – that’s why they’re fans – so what better medium to do this than through the disciple-augmenting social networking overlord, Twitter. From those artists who have abandoned the MySpace mantra for the Tweeting future, many see the platform as merely an opportunity to test-drive left-field lyrical content, rather than engage with those that share, buy and listen to their material. There is a clear deficiency here, if rectified, it can be a great source of promotion and fun for all. So here’s a few tips to help those tweeting about broken guitar strings, and gain new fans along the way. It’s time to use Twitter to increase your fan base.
1. Choose A Good Handle
When setting up a Twitter account for your act, be sure to choose a practical and relevant handle (@yourband). It has to be memorable so usually the band name would suffice. However bands such as ‘…And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead’ or ‘Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong’, will overwhelm the character restriction and struggle for mentions. Often bands with longer names will abbreviate their actual band name to create a more memorable and catchy handle. Some examples include @ChiliPeppers (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and @bmthofficial (Bring Me the Horizon). The shorter and more catchier a handle, the easier it is to promote. This is true whether it’s on your Facebook page or on the poster of a gig you are playing.
2. Customise your Background
It’ll make you seem more legitimate when speculatively following others, setting you apart from spammers and those who fail to interact with followers. It also serves as an opportunity to increase your band image in what is a very limited profile page. Take time over making the right background to reflect your sound and persona. One option is using a third-party site such as Twitterimage to do this.
3. Attach Handle to Contact Details
When sending out demos to promote your material, whether this is by e-mail or in physical form, include your Twitter handle in the contact details. This shows demo recipients that you engage fans through social media and are interested in building a following. You could even pick up a few key industry followers this way.
4. Follow Artists Similar to Yourself
Those who you admire or have more of an online command yet similar sound can be looked to for strategy tips. Tweet at them – you have nothing to lose – and build online relationships, which may also lead to jam sessions, collaborations and gig opportunities, as well as making it easier for new fans/followers to discover your material. Feel free to comment on other artists’ new releases, let your fans know what kind of music you, as a band, like listening to. You don’t want to always be tweeting about yourself, and this also gives you and your fans a way to communicate, and to start a dialogue.
5. Use Keywords
When tweeting, keep a list of buzzwords in mind. This doesn’t mean warp your tweets into lingo-fueled nonsense. Rather, think carefully about how your tweets can arise in search engines and Twitter keyword index. Maybe regulate inclusion of local music venues, genre tropes or anything that grounds the band’s image.
6. Tweet for A Track
Some small bands with strong fan base are using Twitter to release music whilst gaining a wider following. Asking for a mention or retweet in exchange for a free track can be a great way to increase followers and appear to be very ‘fan orientated’. Be sure to do research on your followers prior to launching something like this; assess who’s likely to want your track and whether the amount of exposure gained will be worth giving away your music for nothing!
7. Interact with your Followers
Maybe the most important aspect of all. Be vigilant of opportunities to converse with those who follow you, offer opinions on their tweets and answer their problems and questions where possible. Don’t be afraid to channel your personality and treat followers like fans you just met in a bar. Again, this will make your act appear ‘fan orientated’ as many will return the favour, sharing your views and tweets with their following and increasing exposure for your material.
These are just some of the ways that you can use Twitter to increase your fan base.