Twitter has become a world of its own. The popular social networking platform, which saw early usage in 2008, is everywhere you look now. Sports video games have even included simulated Twitter accounts from writers to make the games even more authentic than they have ever been. When marketers are selling you on the next “summer blockbuster” in theaters they will use reviews from Twitter users who have seen and tweeted about the movie. We live in a Black Mirror episode and many of us don’t even know it.
I’m not here to tell you the pitfalls of using Twitter everyday. I would be wrong to do that because I use Twitter as my main tool (200K+ tweets since creating my account in 2009). I’m also not going to talk to you about why it’s a bad idea to spam people with your music on there (I talked about it with this article). For this week’s feature I want to help you use the platform in a better and more efficient way. It’s easy to get carried away with popularity when a tweet begins going viral or when you’re chiming in on that $200 date conversation that comes up once a month. Twitter is broader than these monthly topics and it can be used to better market your music to fans.
“Remember: there are actual people behind these accounts you see on a daily basis.”
Twitter Is A Tool
Twitter is a fun way to engage with the fans that you may not see on a regular basis. It’s also a tool that you can use to leverage support from these people. As I stated in “How To Build Relationships On Social Media”, Twitter is the most efficient social media tool that I use to attract people to my site or see the content I create for other brands. However, there are more ways than one to promote your music on Twitter.
While many artists get caught up in the “sell sell sell” style of promotion, you can promote yourself without directly promoting your music. One of the keys to this is building relationships with your fans. Twitter allows you to create polls and engage with fans on questions you ask them. It can be as simple as creating a poll for what your next song release should be from your album. Joining a discussion with people you follow is an excellent way of indirect promotion as well. If you’re genuine and knowledgeable of the topic then you can build a dialogue which will lead to brand awareness.
What is the next topic you want to see me discuss on Artist Advice?
— Joe Hova (@JoeHovasMF) January 28, 2017
Let’s say for example you follow some producers and one of them is discussing artists who don’t want to pay for production. As an indie artist you know how hard it is to make money off of your craft. You’ll understand where this producer is coming from and be able to empathize with their situation. This leads to a dialogue about the topic, and these conversations can be the building blocks that turn a follower into someone you establish a rapport with. Being able to associate a person with the profile in turn builds a cordial relationship, which can lead to a business relationship. Remember: there are actual people behind these accounts you see on a daily basis.
Optimizing Your Profile
As an artist it is important for you to have a uniform and clean profile. This begins by doing simple things for the “About Me” section of your profile. The first thing you should do is select a username that reflects you as an artist. Having a handle that is unrelated to you or your music doesn’t allow people to see who you are if you interact with those not following you. A new fan should see that your profile handle reflects who you are on stage and in the booth.
Next you need to have a quality profile picture. Using images unrelated to you (such as popular TV/movie characters, quotes, etc..) are not good to use. If you have a press photo you should use that; if you don’t, have a friend take some pictures with their cell phone. You can even do this with the self timer on your phone if you need one right away. After that you can run these pictures through apps like Photoshop, VSCO, or A Color Story to edit and make them stand out in quality. You’ll also want to do this for a cover photo to put on your header. When you upload these pictures, make sure they are sized appropriately (profile pictures are 400×400 pixels while header images are 1500×1500 pixels).
Now we have some minor things to tweak in your bio. For my account my username reflects my website name (I’m lucky enough that the name of my website is short enough to use as a handle). As you can see, my handle is @JoeHovasMF and my name is Joe Hova. You’ll want to do something similar to this so when people visit your profile they see your artist name a few times, helping to build brand awareness. This also helps when you submit to get your account verified (which you can see how to do that here). For your bio you can have some fun but make sure you have all of your important details listed about yourself. I used a Boobie Miles quote from Friday Night Lights but I also have the three most important things I do listed: supporting indie hip-hop for my site, writing reviews and features for HipHop-N-More, and the Artist Advice hashtag. You will also need to include your location, any working website you have for people to learn more about you, and your birthday (these all help in the verification process).
Lastly you need to pin a tweet that reflects your art. If you just released a single, video, or project and posted it to Twitter, that should be the first tweet that people see when they come to your page. Mine is always the most recent Artist Advice that I’ve done (this week it was called #Minors2Majors thanks to Dinner Land).
Choosing When To Share Posts
Sharing posts about your music is another great way to build relationships with writers and sites that you’re looking to be featured on. Most websites have a staff of writers and when a post is published it is tweeted onto every writer’s Twitter account. I always see artists retweeting every mention of them when they receive a post; I’m guilty of doing this in the past as well. What I’ve learned is it helps your song more when you stagger these retweets out instead of flooding your timeline with the same song post seven or eight times in a row. For me when I see someone retweeting every time they get mentioned it makes me want to unfollow or mute them. When someone comes to your timeline and sees nothing but retweets of the same link it looks messy. I’ve begun liking the tweets people share of my content and coming back to them hours or even days later to retweet. By me doing this I’m still able to acknowledge that person with a retweet and also keep my timeline happy. If you do wait to share the posts with this method you should still reply to the writer or blogger and thank them for sharing your music.
Topics Of Discussion
It is important to remember that your tweets are a direct representation of your brand and the topics discussed should reflect that. There’s nothing wrong with showing other sides of your personality; this is what makes Twitter such a great social media platform. People feel they can connect to you in a more relatable fashion and get an inside look to who you are. However, over sharing can be more of a detriment than an asset. A good rule of thumb would be to ask yourself this question when thinking of writing a tweet: “does this reflect my brand”? If the answer is no then it has no place on your profile.
Thank you for reading again this week! These articles will be posted every Monday so make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see when the next one appears. You can also watch Periscope chats on related topics while you wait for the next article. If you have a topic you want me to address, feel free to contact me and I’ll be more than happy to talk about it. Email questions/topics to: JoeHovasMF@gmail.com with “Indie Artist Advice” in the subject line.