Using Twitter to promote your bands gigs

There is an old saying that the best form of advertising is free advertising. Like many things this is only half true. There are a few things to consider before embarking on a frenzied twitter advertising campaign for your band. Using Twitter to promote your band can be effective, but how do you get the most out of it? With all advertisng campaigns, the two main considerations are

a) What do you want to say
b) who do you want to say it to
So lets consider two extremes. Lets consider a brand new college band, never gigged before, don’t have any recordings, don’t have a website and have had a few rehearsals and are doing a gig at a  friends birthday party in the college bar. Lets call them “Pug Ugly and the Bugglies” (apologies to 2000AD). One of the band says “We should promote the gig through twitter”. Lets assume that they simply want to make sure all their friends at college know they are playing, so they get a decent crowd. In this case, a sensible way to start would be to do the following
1. Set up a twitter account for the band.
2. Get all of the band members to follow it.
3. Post a message about the gig
4. Get the band members to retweet the message to all of their followers.
This is a simple way to get the message around. The next question is this. Have they made the most of Twitter? Well many people follow hundreds of people and it is easy for a message to get lost. If the band have a gig in two weeks time, a daily reminder for two weeks “Only 5 days to go till Pug Ugly and the Bugllies gig at the college bar – 730pm Saturday”. By setting constant reminders, you have more chance of connecting with all of the target audience. If you really want to do well, maybe you would want to try and get a few extra people down. Every band should have something unique or special. Lets suppose that “Pug Ugly and the Bugglies” unique feature were that they were the ugliest and worst dressed band in history and they used this as their selling point. Maybe a few pictures at rehearsal, posted with a suitable message. SO long as the uglyness and bad dressing was deliberate and part of the show, it could get peoples interest. People tend to retweet messages they find especially interesting, cool or funny. If Pug & the boys and girls had some hysterically funny pictures, then this would capture peoples imagination. Of course most bands won’t be selling themselves on the comedic value of their pictures, but if you have something which catches the imaginattion, it does help.
Another thing they should do is follow the college bar twitter and if any of the college clubs and societies have twitter accounts, follow these as well.
As I said above the main thing is to identify what you want to say and who you want to say it to. In this case the band are saying “We are Pug Ugly and the Buglies and we’re hilarious, so come and see us at the college bar on Saturday” and they are saying it to their college mates and other people who use the college bar. In the case of Pug Ugly and the Bugglies, they are a band with no track record and no fans, so they have to start with a limited audience.
As I said, we’d go to the other end of the spectrum, I don’t mean Lady Gaga or Florence and the machine, they have record labels who do all this. Lets take a well established band working the circuit. For the sake of the example, lets say they are called “The Rock Blues Collective”. They’ve been going for 40 years and have a hard core of fans. They play the same pubs and are a well established pub band. They have recently decided to come into the modern era and set up a Twitter account. They want to use it to get people along to gigs and to get people to buy the CD’s they sell at gigs. How would they do this?
As they have an established presence, what they want to say is “We are gigging at the Dog & Duck on Saturday and we’ve CD’s on sale”. Who do they want to say it to? The locals who frequent the pubs and clubs they play and other Rock Blues fans in the area. They should consider also setting up a Facebook page and a Youtube account and maybe a website for ordering the CD’s and listing the gigs. Assuming they do this as well, it is vital that they detail these in the Twitter Profile.
Once the twitter account is set up, then the first step is for the band to become followers and to retweet a few messages. This will get the account known to the immediate circle of friends. The next set of accounts to follow are all of the local pubs on the circuit. These will hopefully follow the band and will retweet any tweets about forthcoming gigs.
A few hints about Twitter. If you set up a band account and someone follows you, make sure you reciprocate and follow them. Some people spend hours following everyone they possibly can. This can be counter productive for a band as most people won’t come and see you, try and concentrate on following people who are likely to come to gigs and appreciate your music. If the Rock Blues collective  see a tweet for the Dog and Duck saying “Really enjoyed the lovely lunch on our trip from the USA” there isn’t much point following the sender. They won’t come to the next gig there. If however a Dog and Duck follower says “I thought the Rock Blues Colllective were awesome last saturday” then they should be followed and the message retweeted. Clearly there are many different types of artist and band and each type and genre will need a slightly different approach. I hope these examples give you a few ideas on how best to promote your band using Twitter. I once attended an advertising seminar and someone explained to me “You could have the best poster designed posterin the world. You could put it up at the Worlds busiest railway station, but if that station is in Japan and you are advertising a Coffee shop in Birmingham, you won’t get a single customer and youw ill have wasted all of your time, effort and money”. Whilst Twitter costs nothing, if you spend ages building a twitter following that will  do your band no good, when a bit more thought could have helped pack  your gigs out.
To sum up, the most effective way to use twitter to promote your band is to concentrate on building followers amongst people who re likely to enjoy your music and come to your show. We will post another blog soon on using twitter to sell your music on line.
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