The Importance of Imagery and Branding for Musicians

We have all heard it…

“You guys are definitely going to make it”

“You’ve got something special”

“Your music is so original”

So after years of lugging your instruments around the country, playing show after show for hardly any reward and a crowd which thins out when its too far for your friends to make it, its understandable to think to yourself “Why haven’t I/we made it?”.

From experience of being in bands which have been on the cusp of something really great it became quite clear that in the music industry there is something  that most musicians forget or don’t quite understand (and rightly so as music creation should be the prime focus for any up and coming artists).

Your music is a BRAND… and imagery and branding matters.

What is a Brand?

A brand is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers.

In a market where musicians and labels are fighting to be heard, you need to create content that makes your music stand out from the crowd.

To put it into perspective, your band decides its time to send that demo you’ve spent time, money and effort recording in a top notch studio over to the big industry execs. You have asked your mate Steve to craft you a logo in Microsoft Paint and have slapped it onto a low resolution image you found on google images and printed it using your Mom’s printer before you slide it into a plastic cd case you picked up from Tesco’s a week earlier (We’ve all done it).

Your EP arrives at the offices and gets put into a pile of 350 other demos that have been received over the past couple of days.

On average your music will get 20 seconds before its thrown into the rejection pile. SO FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER! 

Unfortunately, in the digital age we live in it’s not all about the music – you need to have the “Look”.

What Can You Do to Help Your Imagery and Branding?

  • Figure out your target demographic
  • Get a Logo professionally designed (either by a friend or a music centric design agency).
  • Decide on a colour palette and typographical style to use in all collateral. Consistency is Key.
  • Make sure your social media is consistent, keep the imagery the same on all platforms.
  • Don’t scrimp on getting your CD artwork created, this is one of the only things that is a physical representation of your music. So make sure you are super happy with the artwork and the print.
  • If you are ready to submit your music to agencies, labels, publishers etc then get a professionally designed press pack! You will no doubt stand out from the 100’s of CV like word documents that they receive, standing you in good stead for your music to spend a little bit more time in the cd player…
  • Buy a domain and GET A PERSONALISED EMAIL ADDRESS! There is nothing worse than receiving an email from myfirstband1234@hotmail.co.uk.
  • Get professional photos taken.
  • Finally, I know I keep banging on about it but  CONSISTENCY IS KEY!

Written by Alex and Adam from music industry design company, Archetype.

Alex and Adam are musicians themselves, having spent 10 years in a band together. They now focus on delivering high quality branding to musicians, labels, management agencies and other companies/people in the music industry. From their experience as a band, they realised just how important imagery and branding is to an artist’s success. Both of them want to pass on some wise words of advice!

You can find more information about Archetype on their website. See them featured in our opportunities newsletter where they offer an exclusive discount to our subscribers.

How To Approach A PR Company

When you run a PR company you get a lot of bands asking to check out their music and work with them. We can’t listen to them all so here is how to approach a PR company and get attention.

Methods to Approach a PR Company

If you’re going to get in touch then email is probably the simplest and most accepted way. Up until a few years ago I would have said sending a CD was a good option, but many computers don’t come with CD drives anymore. So any CDs that turn up to our office get put in a box and are left to gather dust. Email also allows you to politely follow up if you’ve not had a response with-in a week or two.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with chasing someone up once or even twice. Any more I’d just take it as a sign that they aren’t interested. Personally I’ll try and reply when I can if someone has taken the time to send a follow up email. So don’t be afraid to do it.

When you do send that email, make sure it’s actually tailored and personalised to the individual you are contacting. It’s worrying how many bands will send out a blanket email and bcc or even cc a ton of different PR companies in saying that they are wanting to work with them.

Randomly messaging someone on Facebook or tweeting a link out of the blue is probably the most irritating. There’s nothing worse than seeing a band tweet 100 different people at once asking them to ‘check out’ their track. Please don’t do it I beg of you. It doesn’t work and everyone will hate you.

Research

Make sure you do your research before you get in touch with a PR company. Discover which other artists and the sort of music they cover first of all. If you’re an indie rock band then contacting a PR company that specialises in heavy metal is a waste of time. The person who gets your email will know you’ve not bothered to do your research. When you do find the PR that you think might be right, then make sure you reference some of the artists they’ve worked with. This is especially important if your band has some things in common with them. We always like to engage with people who are fans of the artists we work with so this will usually get our attention. It also shows you’ve put some thought into things before reaching out.

Planning 

There’s a minimum period of time we usually work from on an album campaign. For example there’s normally a 2 to 3 month lead-in for a print campaign and around 6 to 8 weeks for online. So if you get in touch and say your album is out next week then your’e already way too late . In some cases we’ve had people get in touch saying their album is already out. Again theres nothing that can be done for you here.

When it comes to getting in touch try and keep these timeframes in mind. Try to outline a rough plan of when you think your potential single/EP/album is coming out, when you might tour and also any other assets you could have for the campaign and when they’ll be ready, such as a music video. The more of this you can put together the more interesting you become to the person you are approaching.

Music 

As obvious as this may sound, often bands will get in touch and not include a link to their music. Please include a link to your music and make sure it’s a good quality recording. If you’ve done the hard work and convinced someone to take a listen then you want to impress them. A low quality demo or poor quality video won’t have the same sort of impact as a decent recorded track. It’s our job to send your music to other people so if it doesn’t sound good we’re really not going to want to share it. Try and show us the final version or as close to it as you can.

Feedback

If the answer is a no then it’s always worth asking for feedback from the PR company you just approached. You won’t necessarily always get it but if you’ve caught them on a good day or maybe you were just really polite over email then they could offer some of their thoughts which you may want to take onboard. It also potentially leaves the door for you to contact them again in the near future.

I’ve had a couple of bands in the past where I suggested that hiring a PR company at this current time wasn’t right as their profile was too small and that they should try and create some initial coverage themselves. A while later the band did just that and came back showing some of the great coverage they’d secured so we’re now working with them on their next single.


Written by Simon Glacken who is the Director at I Like Press.

Since founding in 2009 as enthusiastic champions of the emergent British left-field rock scene, Leeds-based publicists I Like Press have evolved upon their ability to birth new artists into the public consciousness, to create fresh impetus for established musicians worldwide.

http://ilikepress.co.uk

www.facebook.com/ilikepress

twitter.com/ilikepress

10 Ways to Increase your Views on YouTube

Increase your views on YouTube with 10 easy steps which will increase your visibility and engagement (also see the increased viewership YouTube channel blog).

1. SEO Your Video

Your video title and tags should be optimised for the search terms you would like your video to show up in search results for.

You should have a detailed description that includes your social media links too.

2. Use a Suitable Thumbnail

Not all YouTube suggested thumbnails accurately represent your video. You can upload your own but make sure it is a suitable image and is not misleading to your audience as this will affect your Watch Time.

3. Use Facebook

Embed posts on Facebook to increase your views across multiple platforms.

You should also look at uploading the video directly to Facebook as it will then autoplay in the News Feed and Facebook prioritises native videos over other video formats.

4. Don’t Forget Twitter

Twitter is the best way to stay up-to-date with everything you care about. Use relevant #’s with your video but make sure you do so in a may that isn’t spammy or misleading.

5. Include a Call-To-Action

Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel at the end of your video. Explain to viewers how your channel will be of use to them, what type of content you will be posting and how often they can expect new videos.

6. Be Consistent

Continuity and regularity is key. Create a posting schedule that you can stick to and include consistent elements at the start or end of your video that viewers stick around to watch.

7. Create a Supporting Blog for Your Channel

This works well for cross promotion, it also creates a central location for you between your YouTube channel, social media accounts and other activity on the web. It also helps to create a sense of community and makes it easier for fans to contact you.

8. Create an Email Newsletter

Encourage people to sign up in your Call-to-action and from your blog. It creates a better relationship with you and your subscribers. It creates a sense of loyalty too and can make it easier for you to engage with your most loyal subscribers.

9. Use Google Ad-Words

These do actually work and are more cost effective than Facebook ads. You can see results for a relatively low cost and you only pay whenever someone clicks on your ad.

10. Make a Channel Trailer

Keep it short, usually under 60 seconds. Introduce yourself and let viewers know what they can expect from your channel.

5 Tips To Independently Kick-Start Your Music Career

Getting far in the music industry can be a hard slog. But if you make the effort to do the research, make contacts and develop your craft you will be able to define what path you need. Usually one contact can lead you to another, and one gig booking can lead to another and so on. But this only happens if you really grasp the opportunities presented to you in your music career.

1. Develop your sound!

Define what kind of artist you are. A singer/songwriter? Band? Do you only perform covers? What genre would you place yourself in? Or perhaps you believe your sound is unique and can’t be defined by a traditional genre. In that case, how would you define your music?

Come up with a description for what you do. This will help you figure out what route to take in the development of your music career e.g. what venues are suitable to perform your music in? What blogs/social media pages post about your style of music and therefore may post about you? Etc.

2. Create some content!

Now that you know who you are, you are ready to set up social media pages to promote yourself. But, how do you expect to draw interest without any content to share?

Social media gives you a chance to share your music and your interests, so get creating! You don’t have to fork out to record in a professional studio (a lot of home recording equipment and software is very affordable nowadays) – you don’t even have to create tracks at all! Just recording yourself performing your songs at home will give potential audiences an idea of what your music is, and also what you would sound like performing live at a gig.

3. Book some gigs!

You don’t need a manager to book gigs, you can do this yourself. You can find venues in your local area that may be open to showcasing your music. Your social media sites give you something to show these venues to help them decide to ask you to perform. It is useful to search for any acoustic nights or other themed music nights that are going on so that you can experience other artists performing.

These artists and venue staff may have contacts at other venues that you haven’t thought of yet and help you book yourself gigs at these places. Make sure you network! Don’t forget to utilise these opportunities by getting yourself photographed and filmed at these gigs for added content online… Just don’t upload blurry videos with awful sound quality and heads bobbing in front of the camera as this won’t be a very accurate or professional representation of your music!

4. Search for other opportunities!

Don’t just limit yourself to small venues in your local area. How about venues in cities/towns further afield to develop your fanbase? Or perhaps a small festival? Festivals are a great way to perform alongside other, sometimes more well-known / developed, artists. A lot of festivals have unsigned artists perform, and some are even programmed by the venues in their local area – which is why building up these contacts first is important to open up other opportunities like this!

For example, Simon Says festival in Leicester is programmed by the venues Firebug, The Donkey and The Musician who take artists who have performed in their venues and put them on a stage at the festival which draws around 1500 people every year! Research what is available to you and potential ways to utilise these opportunities.

5. Keep on top of things!

It’s all well and good getting yourself gigs and festival slots but these opportunities can be wasted unless you really milk it! Use the opportunities as a talking point on your social media sites, upload videos of yourself performing at home or at previous gigs as a taster of what people can expect at the gig / festival you are now promoting, use the gigs / festivals as a chance to promote your sites (e.g. using business cards with your links on them).

Amongst all these steps there is always time to get your songs recorded either professionally or through your own at home equipment and software. Get them uploaded online and also burn them to disc and hand them out for free at gigs. No, you won’t make any money from this, but you’re more likely to get them handed out if they’re free, therefore providing people with a reminder of your music after they’ve seen you perform. It can be easy for people to forget you with the plethora of talent out there!

Use these tips and move ahead in your music career.

Describing Your Music for the Media

You’ve spent the last few months polishing off your album. You’ve got an album launch date in mind, and your social media strategy finely honed. You might even have organised a launch party. Now it’s time to get your music some press. But have you considered how you should describe your music for the media?

Starting to consider how to describe your music for the media is the first hurdle. A good description of your album can net you a brilliant increase in traffic, and the recognition you deserve. We’ve compiled a list of things to think about when approaching the all-important description of your freshly-finished music.

1. Who inspired you?

It’s often a good idea to start at the very beginning; who were the artists that made you think to yourself, “I’d love to sound like that”? Listing these will provide a bridge between your music and that of your idols’ – one that fans can follow. Not only do you provide a point of musical reference, you may also find your articles benefiting from search traffic regarding the names you’ve dropped. If you’ve closely matched or mixed the sound of several artists, then describe your music as being “for fans of …”. However, make sure you’re merely mentioning them as inspirations, and not insinuating that you’re on their level – or worse, better. If your readers get a whiff of ego, their expectations will rise meteorically, often to unrealistic levels.

2. What was your compositional process like?

It’s wise to provide some in-depth examples of the processes you used when writing (as well as mixing/mastering) your music. Not only will this help readers establish a vivid image of your music, but also interest those who are more musically/technically minded. Avoid getting too heavy with the meaty details, as this won’t necessarily interest everyone. However, if you’re proud of a particular compositional or production-related point, then highlighting it to your readers will ensure your crowning achievements are recognised and considered by both your audience and your critics.

3. Were there any environmental factors?

Music and emotion have always been intrinsically linked. Thousands songs have been rooted in the murky mire of heartbreak or the unmatched joy of reciprocated affection. Thousands more are based on memorable personal experiences both good and bad. Others choose to convey a political message. Detailing the situations and experiences linked to the composition of your material will help your audience better understand your music, and may unlock extra meaning in your lyrical (and sometimes compositional) content for them. An audience that understands your motivation will be more receptive to the messages you are trying to convey.

4. How would you categorise your music?

One quick look at a popular SoundCloud tag will teach you how important the proper classification of your music can be. Terms such as “fusion” or “alternative” are rather meaningless on their own, but they can be effective when paired with other, more surgical terms. If you’re not sure where your music falls, try looking at the terms the artists you’ve drawn inspiration from use to describe their own music during interviews, or on a music database such as Rate Your Music. Selecting the correct tags and genres for your music is paramount; categorising your music properly is a simple way of ensuring that your material ends up in the right place on stores, and that your potential fans can stumble upon you more easily.

Things to Remember when Describing your Music for the Media

Ultimately, you are aiming to make sure that you and your music are understood. By providing your reasoning, inspirations and details of your compositional process, you are affording your fans a deeper insight into your music, which will help promote interest and loyalty. Providing a candid picture of yourself as an artist will prove that you’re more than just a name on an album.

Top Apps For Musicians

The world of smartphone apps is ever growing and it can be hard to sift through what is bad versus what is good. Fortunately, we are here to do the hard work for you! We will be highlighting useful apps for musicians, and where better to begin than with an app called Road Trip!

Road Trip

Road Trip is an app available on iOS that helps you to plan out fuel economy and costs for any journey. It is vey extensive, allowing you to see graphs with details of your MPG over the course of the trip, add in any extra expenses such as service and maintenance repairs, check how much distance you can cover until you absolutely have to refuel, and export all of the data to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for you to use. The graphs show various statistics about your trip, with the average cost per day, total distance and fuel used, total fuel cost, and average cost per mile being key figures to help economise on a journey.

While this app sounds useful for any driver, the uses of these apps for musicians are unparalleled. The more money you can save while on tour the better, as many independent artists will profess. A lot of bands that are on their first or second tour will inevitably lose money in the end because they did not economise, but for those that do, they can often come out with a profit. As this app also lets you track the cost of repairs, its also great for making sure the band split costs evenly when on the road.

Road Trip – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/road-trip-mpg-mileage-fuel/id298398207?mt=8

Songwriter’s Pad

Songwriter’s pad is an app available on iOS, Mac and PC, with the promise of release on Android and Windows phones coming soon. It allows users to write song lyrics into it like a standard notepad, but with a twist. This app helps people with writers block, by suggesting ideas for lyrics using a word generator. The artist can choose where they need a little hint of inspiration in their song and the app will make its suggestions. You can even change between different moods depending on the tone of the song to receive different suggestions.

The app will leave an annotation by that line of the track reminding you to look at the lyrics there so you can keep track of where you are in the writing process at any one time. It can also help with arranging the lyrics, allowing you to swap verses round and alter the structure.

The app also includes a voice recording feature with cloud storage so that you can record a vocal idea or melody whenever inspiration hits, chord notation for laying out the basic structure of the song, and a built in Dictionary or Thesaurus for finding alternative words to go into the lyrics. All of this, together with the ability to import backing tracks to write lyrics over, make this one of our top apps for musicians.

Songwriter’s Pad – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/songwriters-pad-songwriting/id380151611?mt=8

The Importance of Getting a Website

If you do not have a website, get one. We live in a digital world where you need to have your own online presence. A lot of people think that this is expensive, but it can be affordable and professional.

A website is an online platform that will allow you to collate all of your digital material into one place. If you get people interested in your music, a website is a great way to provide them with additional information. Social media is a good place to start, but it does restrict you. Some social media platforms require the user to have an account before they can see your content. Others may restrict how much content you can include, as well as the type of content (video, images, audio etc). A website bypasses all of these problems and gives you greater control over content and accessibility

Website Content

Content is the most vital part of your website as this is what everyone has come to look at! Below is a list of some content that you should consider including.

  • A bio is a good place to start; who you are and how you got where you are. This is also a good place to list previous/current venues that you have played at.
  • Good quality photos are essential. You could give the photos their own page, or simply post a link to another image hosting site (Flickr).
  • A calendar with future events enables fans/promoters to see when and where you are next playing. A link to your latest album could be included at the end of your bio.
  • If you are someone who enjoys writing, a blog is a great way to get users interacting with your site; you can tell some sort of “story”. This story allows you to give your readers an insight into your developing career.

The type of content you can have on your website is determined by the type of website you choose.

Creating the Website

There are three main options available to someone who wants to have their own website. These include building a website from nothing, using a template, and using a free website host.

Building a website from scratch:

This is the most expensive option (anything from £500+), but will give you a website that is customised to your needs. You will need a website designer, as well as a website coder – some can do both which is a bonus! You can outline the type of content you will want on your website, as well as the style of design.

When it comes to the content, look at other artists and see what they have decided to include (or exclude). With regards to the design, make sure it fits your genre as each music genre will have a certain look.

If you are thinking about going down this route, you should start finding a collection of websites (preferably other artists). Find out who their designer/coder were and start making some inquiries into prices. Some can be cheap, while others can be quite expensive.

Pros:

  • You get a customised website that is designed to your requirements
  • Professional
  • Unique

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • If you want part of it changed, you will need to hire a designer/coder to make the changes i.e. a new social media platform that you want to be integrated etc)

Building a website from a template:

With this option, you use a theme (design) of a website and use it as your own. Some of these template themes allow for more customisability than others. Customising your template can include changing colours, fonts, background images, layout of various features etc. If you customise the template quite a lot, most people will be none the wiser that you’re using a template. These type of themes can be purchased at Themeforest for a price (£10-60+).

The benefit of themes is that they run on a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress that is easy to update.

Pros:

  • Affordable to most people
  • Some really good designs that are suited to artists
  • The developer of the template will keep it up-to-date which you will be able to simply download then upload to your own website

Cons:

  • Another artist may have an identical looking website to yourself
  • Not fully customisable (dependent on theme)

Building a website for free:

A free website is a web hosting location on the internet where the company has pre-determined themed websites. This is a bit like the last option that we talked about, however this time you use their web address e.g. https://wordpress.com/mywebsite.

The CMS wordpress.com is widely used although there are many similar companies. Have a look around and check to see which one fits you best.

Pros:

  • Quick
  • Free
  • Always up to date with security updates for software (CMS) etc.

Cons:

  • You do not have your own custom URL
  • The template designs can look a bit sterile
  • Templates can limit the kind of content that you can include on the website
  • Not professional

Web Space

Next, you will likely need some web space, and a domain name.

The webspace is a space on a server somewhere where all of the data for your website is stored. All web hosting companies do pretty much the same thing, but they have different quality ratings that you should review.  There are many web hosting companies, so have a look around and find a price that suits you.

The domain name is the URL we type into the address bar in the browser e.g. helpforbands.co.uk etc. So you will want to pick something that you can relate to yourself as an artist/band. Pick something that is easy to remember, and avoid using characters other than letters in the name i.e. hyphens, dashes etc. You will be able to buy your domain at websites such as 1-2-3-reg.co.uk.

Logo

A logo is useful promotional material that you can attach to images, and include at the top of your website. You will most probably need to hire someone to design this, but once done you can use in multiple locations. The design of your logo will give a first impression for all people who see it.

Each genre of music has their own ‘style’, just as clothing can sometimes be associated with certain genres. Have a look at your peers, and take some influence from their logos. Collate information such as font style, colours etc. and send this to a designer and see what they come up with.

It’s A Digital Jungle Out There – Pt. 2

It’s time to dive a little deeper into social media and how you can help yourself in the digital jungle. Just make sure you read part one first before you go any further.

Bands Are a Brand

Brand reputation management is key. PR is about reputation management through relationships, it is also the filter that bloggers need. A good team of PR and artist managers helps the artist to work on a long-term plan.

Your online profile is key to building relationships with your audience. As a new band, you should secure your name on different social media platforms while they’re still available. However don’t try to use the platform if you don’t know how to. Secure your name while you still can and come back to it later date when your team is bigger.

Social Posts in the Digital Jungle

Look at the pages you like and follow and look at what they post and why you like it. If you know what you like as a fan then you can apply that as an artist. If you aren’t doing it then another artist will be and will potentially steal your artist away from you. Everyone on social media is fighting for a share of voice.

On Twitter, you can even pay to promote your tweets to target specific audiences. You don’t have to empty your bank account to do it either! I recently can across a case where Allan Blair Beaton paid less than £3 to promote one of his tweets and sold 2 tickets to his show for £90 each.

Build a relationship with your fans, having your header image set as a photo of you with your fans at a show is a good way to start. Work on your fan relationships; just people someone likes a song doesn’t mean that will link the artist, this is a relationship that you have to build upon.

Photos and videos always go down well online and cross-pollination is a great way to increase your reach. When starting out, share songs and playlists that include people that you like or that are similar to you. This will help to get people interested, but don’t forget to include a couple of your own songs too!

Don’t forget YouTube

YouTube is free to use and easily accessible and yet it is still ignored by too many artists. These are the same artists who then wonder why they aren’t getting the exposure they need.

Have fun with your channel, be proactive and share your opinion. Creating a small amount of controversy is better than being dull and getting ignored.

Your subscribers will let you know if they like what you are doing and then you can easily adapt. YouTube has an extensive amount of analytics on offer so be sure to make use of them. Learn to understand them and use them to your advantage.

I hope that has cleared a few things up and helps you improve your social strategy. Once you have an engaged audience, it is much easier to transfer your likes into sales and streams.

So stop monkeying around and make yourself the king of the swingers in the digital jungle.

It’s A Digital Jungle Out There – Pt. 1

It can be difficult to make sense of everything when it comes to analysing data. Let’s make sense of some it and cover how to get your music heard, it’s a digital jungle after all.

Before choosing a platform such as Hootsuite, it really helps if you have already completed some of the work yourself. It is not always worthwhile starting to use such a tool before you have a decent following. Build your social presence to a point where you feel you can no longer manage it without help. Shop around and discover the best tool for you.

The most important thing is that large amounts of followers or likes doesn’t matter if your audience isn’t engaged. But how do you know whether or not they are engaged?

Navigate the Digital Jungle with Analytics

Analytics help you to discover information about your audience so you can target them, or specific groups of them. You can then market your music to them more effectively. By doing this you can know what your audience responds to and what they like to hear from you.

You can also discover how engaged your audience is and what types of songs they prefer to hear from you. You could even specific content to help you engage with them. Start by asking your fans for song requests and add your own spin to them.

If you are posting links to your main website or other content, using a URL shortener like bitly can help. It provides you with valuable information as well as saving you characters on social media. If you add a ‘+’ sign at the end of the address in your search bar, you can see the analytics for that link. For example, you can see the number of times that the link was clicked and much more. Data doesn’t lie, so you should make the most of it and know how to understand it.

Get your artwork and your music right first and everything should follow in time.

Geo-target your posts where necessary and remember that everyone is on Google+ even if they aren’t using it effectively – this really improves your rank in search results.

Twitter and Its Uses in Music

Twitter describes itself as an “interest network” and “the shortest distance between you and what interests you the most.”

People come to Twitter to see things that they care about, whether that is people or topics etc.

Why Should You Be On Twitter?

Twitter has 241+ million active users worldwide, 60% of which access twitter through their mobile phones and 1 billion tweets happen every 2 days.

It is a global conversation that you really need to be a part of in order to get your music heard. You can think of twitter as free promotion of your music to the masses.

Music is the heartbeat of twitter and 4 out of the top 5 most followed people on Twitter are musicians; 1 in 2 users follow at least one musician.

What Brings A Music Fan To Twitter?

The 3 main factors that bring a music fan to Twitter include:

  1. Discovery – new music
  2. Intimacy – feeling close to your favourite musicians
  3. Collective identity – being part of one big group of fans e.g. Beliebers, Directioners etc.

There is a duty of care once someone decides to follow you. It is also important to remember that a tweet can be more than 140 characters long. Think about what visuals you can bring along to help you tell the story visually too. Twitter’s media-forward timelines mean that photos, YouTube videos and Soundcloud links all expand in the news feed. This makes your tweets more interactive and more appealing to audiences.

Consider does whether or not what you are tweeting will stand out on a mobile device.

What Makes A Good Tweet?

Ideally, a great tweet would include all 3 aspects of the triangle below, however, it is only ever possible to include 2 of the 3 in a single tweet.

“My single is out Monday” contains nothing special and can be easily overlooked in a busy news feed. What else can you add that would entice your current or potential fans? Think about including a photo of your artwork or a link to where fans can purchase your single.

Getting your fans excited about a release leads to purchase.

Good things to tweet include:

  • Updates from the studio when recording
  • Updates on the manufacturing process such as when the artwork has been finished, when the master has been approved, or when the finished copies are ready to be delivered etc.
  • Reminders about release dates, upcoming gigs etc.
  • Updates from the road when you are on tour.
  • News about certain deals e.g. “just arranged digital distribution with Horus Music!”
  • Day-to-day work news e.g. “just approved some photos for a magazine article”

How To Join In

A good way to join in with conversations is the use of hashtags ‘#’. Try looking at the current trending topics to see if any of them are relevant to you or if you can use them to spark up a conversation of your own. #NowPlaying and #music are useful tools for enabling your music to reach new audiences.

You should also be active on your account and talk to others. People are more likely to follow you if they can see that there is life in the account.

Taking questions from your fans is great way to improve fan engagement, especially with Q & A sessions. For the perfect Q & A session you should announce that it is going to happen in advance, encourage other very important twitterers (VIT’s) to join in. You should broadcast selectively, for example if it is a question that is relevant to everyone then you can reply publicly, otherwise you can reply to that one person. Including a hashtag for your Q&A will mean that others will be able to see that it is going on and will help you to become a trending topic. Finally, you should try to reveal something at the end of the session such as the artwork for an upcoming release or simple announce that something is going to happen.

Being honest and open with your tweets will also mean that your fans are better able to connect with and relate to you.

A verified twitter account lets users know that you are who you say you are. Among others, one of the main requirements that you need in order to become verified is to have at least one album available on iTunes.

Twitter Design Update April 2014

Twitter first unveiled its design update by releasing it to celebrities and after no major bugs or flaws were revealed, they then released the update to every one else yesterday (23rd April). Many of you have noticed that this design looks a lot like Facebook, however this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and means Twitter is now more of a social network. It seems all of the top social sites are coming together with an agreed layout, which will make personalisation easier for individuals and companies that have a presence on more than one site.

Lists and favourites are also more prominent on the profile and therefore can be utilised more effectively. Users also have the ability to pin a tweet to the top of the profile, so that followers can immediately see what you are all about.

The new design is geared towards more interaction, images appear larger in the timeline and also your tweets that have more engagement are larger than others. There are still some improvements that need to be made to the Twitter app to reflect these changes but I’m sure they will arrive soon.

The background images are being phased out so users will need to approach the designs and call-to-actions differently; text positioning will be key for this. The introduction of the header means users can ensure visitors see key information as soon as they arrive. The optimum size for this image is 1500 x 1500px. Try a few designs to see what works best and consider how images may be resized for different screen sizes..

Conclusion

Twitter and social media in general is a fantastic way of communicating with fans.

It is important that you aren’t constantly promoting yourself; you should always have a balance between general communication and promotion. A good rule to use is the 80/20 approach (i.e. 80% of your posts should be more general and 20% of your posts should be promotional). As well as your own posts, you retweet another tweet and share pieces of content written by others.

I would say the new profile design is a positive step, but only time will prove its effectiveness. If you do doing Twitter, make sure you go through the previous written blog about 7 ways Twitter can increase your fanbase!