Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Musician's Introduction to Twitter

Follow freepressmusic on Twitter



By Bobby Shiflett



I've been actively using twitter for the past several weeks and have started getting my groove for it. I thought I'd share what I've learned. 

There are a whole lot of music enthusiasts, promoters, bands etc using twitter and they're eager to meet new artists and hear new music. One of the first things I recommend is to not use Twitter to merely hawk your material which soon becomes nothing more than spam. Rather, use Twitter to engage others and to create relationships based on mutual interests.

Initially, I began by looking at bands that I like and by looking at their follows and followers. Often I'd simply follow them and wait to see if they followed back. Well over half the time, they do. The best way to begin getting acquainted with another twitter user is by promoting via shoutouts and retweets things that they are engaged in. I found that by simply doing that and not even initially mentioning my cd or music ...which is already on my Twitter profile, after all,... that people's natural curiousity will lead them to what you're doing, and if its the sort of thing that they're into, they'll not only check it out, but tell others. Every so often, plug your work, but try to be creative and tasteful in how you do it. Here is an example of one that I have used with some success ..success being measured in retweets and hits to the page:

FREE★mp3@ ♫ http://bit.ly/FreeBread ☮Dwnld "Bread" by @alamantra 4 FREE. Like it? Share it! Thanks!! #indie #music #RT
Sometimes I tweet a straight-up call to action and ask people to check out my CD page: http://alamantra.org/wmb

Other times I send shoutouts to the people who have been retweeting and giving me shoutouts. At the end of the tweet, I may put something to the effect of "Brought2U by: http://bit.ly/AlamantraMusic"

Ex: #ThunderRoad #Thursday #ShoutOut #Follow @freepressmuic @SouthboundRadio @royaltoulouse Brought2U by: http://bit.ly/AlamantraMusic

The hashtag (#) is an important part of twitter. It categories tweets aggregated from across the Twitter-verse. Those following a particular hashtag will see any tweets using it. So I often use hastags like #indie #music #indiemusic etc. They also compose a sort of shorthand and many of the more common hastags are:

#Follow #FB (Follow Back)  #RT (Retweet) #FF (Follow Friday) and so on.
These indicate to other twitter users if you're looking for follows and are willing to follow back. #FollowFriday: Friday is sort of the unofficial "follow" day. Many, many people look to follow and be followed on Fridays. There is even a free site called http://followfridayhelper.com that greatly simplifies the task of putting together follow lists. It collects those who have mentioned or retweeted your tweets for a given week as well as those you've retweeted or mentioned. You can create a message and then just click through the list and it will add their names to the tweet. I use this to cross-promote those who regularly promote my tweets. It is amazingly effective.

Other very useful tools for Twitter include: http://tweepi.com This free site shows you those you are following but who are not following back, as well as those who are following you, but you haven't followed back. Initially, Twitter only allows you to follow 2000 people. In order to go beyond that, you have to have nearly that many following you back. Beyond 2000 follows the number of people you can follow is based on percentages of follow backs. So Tweepi is important for grooming your twitter follow lists.

There is also Tweet Deck http://tweetdeck.com This allows you to create lists based on hashtags, who is mentioning or direct messaging you etc. It is very useful.

Most recently, I have discovered another promising application called Bottlenose: http://bottlenose.com/ Like Tweet Deck, Bottlenose helps arrange a broad platform of social media: Twitter and Facebook etc. Further, it has a sort of sonar type screen that shows your relationships to hashtags, other social media users, and trending topics. This has a broad range of potential uses, such as finding people who are into very specific bands that may be similar to what you're doing.

Finally, I'd say to use twitter to find musicians, artists and others who may be interested in you, locally, and use it to develop relationships. These are the people who will support you in the area where you live. They are looking for people to support and acknowledge their interests as well. Do it. This is how scenes are built.

This little article is meant only as a general introduction to twitter. I hope that it helps and if you have specific issues you'd like to see addressed in a follow up, please leave a comment. Also feel free to follow me @alamantra. I follow back ;-)

Also, if you really liked this article and found it useful, make sure to follow @freepressmusic and tweet: #Follow #MustFollow >>> @freepressmusic <<< for #BirminghamMusic #news and #updates. #RT #music @alamantra

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