Disclaimer: please note that IXiiV Records, LLC now goes by IXiiV Artist Consulting. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twitter is a powerful marketing tool for independent artists. With it you can connect with your fans, share news, promote your music, and network with industry professionals. Over the past two years I’ve been actively using Twitter, I’ve noticed that while many artists use the platform to build a loyal following and get their music heard, others misuse the site by either being too passive or overly aggressive. Some artists are jumping into Twitter headfirst without understanding how to navigate the waters.
Unlike Facebook or YouTube which focus on posted content and sharing, Twitter relies on real-time conversations to connect people instantly across a global network. Effectively using Twitter to foster valuable relationships not only requires a time commitment, but also awareness of the image you are projecting. With only a limited profile and 140 characters per tweet (unless you use a long update program like Deck.ly, which we generally don’t recommend), you need to make every word count. How you present yourself on Twitter reflects you as an artist and can greatly affect your reputation both online and offline. When used properly, Twitter can help you gain more than just a following. It can lead to album sales, performance opportunities, publicity, and even a record deal.
At IXiiV, we know Twitter can seem overwhelming and confusing to new users. To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve put together our list of the top 5 biggest mistakes artist make on the site. However you choose to use it, remember; what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet.
#5 Incomplete Profile
Before you even start tweeting, make sure your profile is completely filled out. This is a simple step that is often overlooked and can make a big difference in how you are perceived. Your profile consists of your avatar, name, username, location, website, and bio. Anytime someone clicks on your username, they will see this information. (***Please note we are now @IXiiVConsulting***)
Tips on making the most of your profile:
- First, no one wants to follow an egg, so make sure you choose an avatar that represents you. This picture will be displayed next to your tweets in your followers’ timelines. 9 times out of 10 you will want to use a picture of yourself unless you are tweeting on behalf of a company (in which case it may make more sense to use a logo). Not only does this help you to build recognition, but it also makes you seem more personable. Your picture should never contain anything offensive, vulgar, or unprofessional.
- Though only 160 characters, your bio is prime real estate for establishing who you are as an artist. Users will often look at this information to decide whether or not to follow you, so choose your words wisely. Make yourself stand apart from the crowd by describing your sound and mission. You can even include news or promotional information.
- Never leave the website section blank. You can only list one address, so choose the one that is the most up-to-date and content rich. This may be your website, Facebook Page, Reverbnation page, or even your blog. Only list your blog if you either don’t have another website or you are constantly updating it with new posts. Generally, you want to list a site where fans can learn more about you and access your music.
#4 Twitter Beefs
We’ve all seen artists like 50 Cent and Ja Rule or Rihanna and Ciara go at each other via Twitter. Very entertaining, but not the best move for independent artists. While Twitter beefs may get these artists more followers or a spot on the Trending Topics list, it is only because they are celebrities with huge followings of diehard fans. You, on the other hand, are still trying to establish an online fan base. If you are constantly picking fights with other artists, not only do you come off as a lame bully, but you also end up wasting time that could have otherwise been spent connecting with people or promoting yourself.
#3 Tweeting Too Little or Too Much
There is no set rule on how often you should tweet. Twitter is an extremely fast-paced environment where tweets come and go every minute. You need to make sure you are active enough to join in on the conversations without dominating timelines. Tweeting only once a week or even once a day makes it very difficult to develop a following. While tweeting every minute will lead to unfollows and can even land in your Twitter jail. The best practice is to use Twitter several times a day and only tweet when you have something valuable to say. Also, make sure that you respond to mentions and retweets in a timely manner. Most people expect a response immediately, so even if you are done tweeting for the day continue to check your page. The more you use Twitter and engage with others, the easier it will become for you to recognize when you should tweet.
# 2 Self Promotion Overload
Now that we’ve covered when to tweet, let’s talk about what to tweet…or better yet what not to tweet. Obviously, you signed up for an account to promote yourself and your music. This does not mean that every single tweet should be about you. This one-way type of communication is a turn off for many users. Even the biggest celebrities and brands do not use Twitter to talk about themselves all day. Your Twitter arsenal should include a variety of different tweets such as promotional, informative, humorous, and inquisitive. Followers are not going to just magically appear. Think from another user’s perspective. What can you say that will capture their attention and get them to click that follow button? Sometimes this means starting discussions about things they are interested in. Writing #TeamFollowBack in your bio or expecting users to follow you just because you follow them are not effective strategies. Most users will not follow you back unless you engage with them first. You need to make an effort to reach out to others and establish relationships with them.
# 1 Spamming
We’ve all seen it. The overly aggressive promoter who sends the same ridiculous tweet about their music to hundreds of users or the artist who desperately seeks followers and publicity. Stop the madness! Spamming never works. This is why Twitter has a Block and Report Spam feature. Recently, I’ve been at the receiving end of several of these spam messages. Instead of just automatically reporting the offenders, I decided to actually ask them why they were choosing this method. All of them told me “I was just trying to get my music heard”. Terrible answer. Every artist is on Twitter to get their music heard. As I explained above, you need to establish relationships. Assaulting people with caps locked and hashtagged tweets is the quickest way to get banned from Twitter. Twitter, like any other social environment, has inherent rules. Follow them and be followed.
If you need help crafting your Twitter strategy, please reach out to us at email@example.com.