1) Starting Tweets With @Someonesname
People, if you start a tweet with @someonesname ONLY your followers WHO ALSO follow @someonesname will see it. This is Twitter 101, but so many people (especially musicians) tweet stuff like “@spoontheband’s show was great last night. Who was there?” and wonder why they don’t get any favorites, RTs or replies. If you can’t come up with anything more clever to start your tweet with, then start the tweet with a period. Like “. @spoontheband’s show was great last night!”
Twitter does this so you can have semi-private conversations. This is how you reply to someone. I’ve had these semi-private conversations with friends on Twitter where we’ve had 20 back and forths. This would be awfully annoying if every one of my followers saw every one of my tweets directed at only that one person. BUT it’s fun for my followers who also follow the person I’m interacting with. It’s as if they are eavesdropping on the conversation. Who doesn’t love a little inside gossip?
2) Replying To Hate
Haters gonna hate. Those who succeed the furthest (in life) are those who have impulse control. Engaging with haters diminishes your status. Take a breath, realize that they have a small penis, and let it go.
Look at it through your fans’ eyes: they don’t want to see their favorite musician get in a cat fight with a d-bag. You’re better than that! Remember what happened when John Mayer and Perez Hilton battled it out? Sure, it was hilarious and amusing for their mutual followers to witness, but it brought on a sleuth of negative press and mocking bloggers. It diminished Mayer’s status (because Perez is just a hater). That was the beginning of Mayer’s social media free fall which lead to him eventually quitting Twitter.
Prepare The Screen Shots, John Mayer Is BACK On Twitter
3) Paying For Followers
Twitter and Facebook have begun to crack down on fake followers. One of the most affordable and popular sites to buy Twitter followers is Fiverr. A quick search leads to sellers who will get you up to 20,000 Twitter followers for $5. (You can also get a hipster logo designed or a child voiceover recording for $5. Pretty nifty).
Going this route will absolutely increase your (initial) clout (and Klout score). But, people know that followers can be bought and it looks a little foolish if you have 30,000 followers with virtually no interaction (and low Instagram/Facebook numbers). And beware, Twitter has done a fantastic job at deleting fake accounts. These newly acquired followers are very short lived and will disappear within weeks.
A better way to obtain large numbers of legit followers is by actively following the followers of musicians similar to you. Make sure you put a link to your music in your bio. People you follow will inevitably check out who followed them (out of burning curiosity) and if they like what they see (and hear) may follow back.
This practice is against Twitter’s terms of service, but you can get away with it if you’re careful.
This route takes a bit longer, but will bring you many more high quality followers over the long run.
4) Not Replying To Fans
Gone are the days of the rock star mystique. We have arrived at an age where anyone in the world can send a message to their favorite star’s pocket. Pretty crazy.
If you’re a baby to mid-level band, you absolutely should be replying to every one who tweets you. People expect it! And they get seriously snubbed if you don’t.
Once you are receiving more tweets than you can handle, then you can pick and choose who to reply to. You’ve reached the next level of status! Congrats! But, you should still be replying to as many as you can. This will make their day and it will increase their loyalty. If you have less than 50,000 followers and you don’t respond to a fan giving you a complement, you’re just a dick.
5) Syncing It With Facebook
You must learn to use the social media sites the way they are intended to be used and understand the proper etiquette on each site. Believe it or not, each site is a “community.” If you act like an impostor, you will be ousted (unfollowed and unliked). DO NOT automatically send your Facebook posts to Twitter. This is a surefire way to be flagged an impostor.
For some reason, musicians take time to learn Facebook and many can navigate it quite well and know how to appropriately tag, Like, comment and post, but when it comes to Twitter they are lost. Most bands’ Twitter profiles look like a disjointed stream of half tweets with links to 3rd party sites where the content originated.
Current 2014 Twitter etiquette dictates that syncing your BandsInTown and Instagram is totally acceptable. Syncing your Facebook is not. No one likes to see the fb.com link (that is included at the end of every tweet sent from Facebook). It means that the post originated on Facebook and I have to click through to see it. Most often it is way more than 140 characters so to get the full content I must click through. However, most people use Twitter on their phone. Clicking the fb.com link from a phone does not take us to the Facebook app we are signed into, it takes us to Facebook.com in our browser (which we are not signed into – ever). It’s super annoying and makes me hate you for forcing me to take all of these steps just to read your extended rant on US Airways.
Senator Gets Involved After US Airways Kicks Musicians Off A Flight
6) Only Tweeting Band Updates
LEARN TO TWEET (not just send content from your ReverbNation, Facebook, ArtistData, BandsInTown, Vine, Instagram, Four Square).
Twitter is not meant to be your band’s news stream. It is meant to give your followers an intimate glimpse into the inner workings of everything “behind the scenes.” It is meant to get much more personal (and frequent) than Facebook.
7) Not Pinning Important Content
This past April, Twitter rolled out the pinned tweets feature for the desktop version. It has yet to hit the mobile app. The pinned tweet is so you can showcase your best work at the top of your profile. You want to pin something memorable. Something that defines your feed in 140 characters. OR, better yet, pin a SoundCloud, BandCamp, iTunes, Spotify or YouTube song (which will beautifully displayed with a play button at the top of your profile).
8) Not Creating A Header Photo
Twitter also recently revamped their header and profile photos (to look more like Facebook). If you haven’t updated your header photo to the new standards (1500 x 500) and double checked the formatting once embedded, it looks like you are out of touch. It looks like you don’t have your shit together. It looks like you don’t care about your music career. It looks like you’re lazy. It looks like you don’t put in any effort to anything you do. This may sound harsh, but that’s what having an incomplete Twitter profile in 2014 screams. Get it together!
9) Having a Bland Bio
Don’t write “Heavy metal band from Milwaukee.” That’s boring. Are you boring? Then why would I follow you? Along with your pinned tweet, this is an opportunity to show off your personality (and explain what you do). Why not write “We play rock music. It gets loud. linktowebsite.com” That’s better. Or even better: “We fight about whiskey, chicks, sesame chicken and music. In that order. linktowebsite.com” Give a glimpse into your personality with this bio. Yes, make sure you have a link to your website and your new video, song, album or anything else you’re currently promoting.
Above all you should have fun on Twitter. If it’s not fun for you, no one is going to have fun following you. Find a way to make Twitter enjoyable. Don’t be like everyone else. Be you. If you love poetry, tweet 140 character poems. If you love politics, go on political rants. If you are hilarious, well, then, that’s easy. Tweet your daily thoughts. If all you care is about guitar tones, then by all means, tweet photos of pedal configurations and amp reviews. Twitter is for everyone, and is becoming the most important social network for musicians.
Ari Herstand is a Los Angles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake