Setting up your Twitter account to work for your band

Earlier this month, I posted a blog explaining how to use Twitter to promote your bands gigs ( I’ve been chatting to a few of the bands who use the studios and a fewhave asked for some more ideas on how to set up your account. This blog discusses what you should consider when you are setting up your twitter account. This blog is aimed at bands who are in the process of setting up there Twitter account and bands that have a twitter account which isn’t working as well as it could.

So you’ve got a band and you want to let people know about the brilliant music you make or the fantastic live shows you’ve got coming up. The easiest and cheapest way to connect with a lot of people quickly is probably to use twitter. Wheras with Facebook, there is a certain amount of having to know about you first, twitter is ideal for viral marketing of your band. Tens of thousands of bands have twitter accounts and what would make your band stand out from all of the others. Like anything to do with marketing, you have to have a plan and you have to put some thought into it. Whilst there are any number of things you could do to let the world know about you, some are more tried and tested than others. Here are a few pointers.

1. Choose a name for your Twitter account that works. Hopefully this will be the name of your band. If you call yourself “Pug Ugly and the Bugglies” you will be fine, this can be your handle. If you decide to call your band Chaos, you’ll find hundreds of other users with that. Most of the obvious variants have gone, so you’ll have to be creative. If you are from Dunstable, you could call yourself @DunstableChaos, but it isn’t really very sexy, is it. Something like @ChaosThrash is a bit more rock and roll isn’t it. Also hopefully does what it says on the tin.

2. Make sure your profile is attractive to people and sells you as the type of band that your ideal target audience would want to follow. You have 140 words to describe yourself and a location. You also have a picture as well as a profile picture. Lets start with the profile picture. What sort of picture should you use? That can be answered by what sort of audience you are trying to attract and what is your strongest feature.  If the band is a vehicle for an exceptionally good looking singer, then you need to feature them in the picture looking as good as possible. If you are a Speed metal band that are riff heaven, then you need pictures of the band that show this, with classic guitar solo poses etc. If you are an indie rock band then you want pictures that capture the mood and character of the individuals and give an essence of what the band is all about. Many bands put up live pictures or posed pictures which have nothing to do with the style of music they play. I spend my life looking at band tweets and websites, for a living, and you’d be amazed how wrong so many bands get it. One band (I won’t name names) sounded like Slayer yet had a Twitter profile picture which looked like the cover of “With the Beatles”. They asked my opinion. I explained that if you are a fan of the sort of music they play, their picture would totally put you off. Another band, who had a very attractive female vocalist didn’t even have her on the Twitter profile picture at all. They had a badly hand drawn logo. I asked them why and they replied “we’re a band and we didn’t want anyone to stand out”. I asked them whether they thought anyone would come to see them just because they had a logo on the twitter profile. I then asked whether they wanted it to bring people along to the gigs or not. The hardest thing is actually getting people to watch the band. You have to use every tool at your disposal.

Having selected a suitable picture, you then have to consider what you say in your 140 words. I’d suggest you describe your musical genre and have the date/venu of your next gig as a minimum. Sure you’ll have to regularly update it, but it gets the information over (which is the purpose of having the account). Also ave a link to your website and your location. I’d advise the location to be the realistic catchment area for your fans.  If you are in London say London, not Burnt Oak. Someone in Peckham may not have a clue where Burnt Oak is, whereas they will associate with London.

2. Getting followers. How do you connect with your potential audience? Again have a plan. The quickest way to build followers on Twitter is to follow other people. The secret is to try and connect with your potential audience. Start by getting all of the band to follow, and retweet. Then get your mates to. This hopefully should get you up to 30-100 followers fairly quickly. Once you’ve got all of the low hanging fruit in terms of followers, the job is to start attracting new people. It is important to have a few followers before you start following strangers, as this makes you look a bit more credible. I’d try and follow places where there may be a potential audience. Follow the Venues you want to play. As an example, if you want to play at the Monarch in Camden, they would be a good venue to follow – – although you may pick up a few followers, it isn’t really worth following venues on the other side of the country or the world, unless you are selling music globally. Target the places where people will be interested in your music. Another good place to start is recording and rehearsal studios. These are frequented and followed by musos. The third group which may prove to be a good source of interest is to follow other local bands. I believe all bands should always follow as many other local bands as possible. It helps build a local music scene. If you are following them, it will also alert you as to where there are good places to play.

3. What to tweet. I would start tweeting from day one. Don’t expect miracles and don’t expect millions of followers from nowhere. It can take a while to build up a rapport with your twitter audience. Keep an eye on trending topics and set your area to as local as possible. If a musician or genre of music you like is trending, post a few tweets with the trending keyword in. Try and tweet things that are interesting. Just tweeting “We’ve just set up our facebook page, check it out its awesome” won’t generate interest. If you tweet “Just set up our facebook page, checkout the mad photos of gig at 12 Bar -Awesome”, you are far more likely to get people looking. If your band are like Slayer, then post on Slayer related topics, when you’ve nothing to say about your own band. If you find a great Slayer video, Tweet a  link to it. People will see it and if they like the stuff you tweet, they will keep an eye out for it. As a rule of thumb, people have to tweet at least six or seven time with something of interest before people start taking note. Bearing in mind that often people will miss your tweets as they will have lots of other stuff, that means trying to post a few tweets every day. If someone else tweets something interesting, relpy to it. That also gets peoples attention. If you think they’ve tweeted something interesting, so will other people. It is a quick way to make a connection. If someone retweets your tweet, tweet back saying thanks. There is little point playing in a band if you don’t have an audience. Twitter is a tool that can help you to build an audience. Try and make sure you get the most out of it

None of this is rocket science, but you’d be amazed at how many bands ask me to follow their twitter and do none of these things.

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