A Simple Automation Hack That Will Double Your Twitter Engagement…

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One of the most common mistakes musicians make when it comes to social media is that they focus their attention on the wrong metrics: Facebook Likes, Twitter followers, posts per day, etc. These are vanity metrics – you can brag with your friends at a pub about having 10,000 Facebook likes, but that would not do any good to your business if you don’t leverage your connection with the people behind these “likes”.

What is really important on social media is engaging with other users, building relationships, joining conversations. You hear that all the time, but you don’t always know how to do it, don’t you? Well, today you are going to start doing better than an average Joe who posts everyday on Twitter about himself and his new album, but never takes part in an interesting discussion.

Today you are going to focus on other users, and not only join, but to START conversations.

I will explain a method which is ridiculously easy, will not take a lot of time to set up, and which you can customize for your needs. In fact, you can “set it, and forget it.”

The Idea.

I’m a big fan of automation when it feels “human”. We don’t want to spend time on something that drains a lot of energy and time, while can be easily outsourced. And at the same time we don’t want to look like robots.

What we are going to do is create an automatic tweet to welcome each new follower on our Twitter account. In my tests, I found that it looked too spammy and unprofessional if each new follower was getting the same message. So I came up with a tactic, which allows you to diversify your message for different audiences.

We only want to welcome users that have a large twitter following to increase our chance of acquiring more followers: if users with a large following reply or retweet our welcome message, we have a higher chance that their followers will see our conversation and hopefully follow us.

In fact, I created several tiers based on our new followers’ following. Remember: the more tiers you create, the more personal and less spammy you will sound. I recommend studying your Twitter following before creating tiers to understand how many followers with a large following vs. followers with a small following already follow your account, and then plan accordingly.

In this example, we welcome users who have from 1000 to 3000 followers.

Setup Instructions.

Zapier, along with IFTTT, are my tools of choice when it comes to Internet automation. You can sign up for a free Zapier account at www.zapier.com. A free account allows you to create up to 5 automation processes (called Zaps). Do this now and come back.

Ok, welcome back! Log in to your Zapier account. And then press the orange “Make a New Zap” button.

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Now, choose “Twitter” as the Trigger App and “New Follower” as the trigger.

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After that, choose “Twitter” as the Action App and “Create Tweet” as the action.

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Press continue. Well done so far!

Now let’s connect a Twitter account (or if you already have one, choose it from the list). This will be our Trigger Twitter Account.

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Press continue and do the same for the Action Twitter Account.

Important: the Trigger and the Action Twitter accounts must be the same.

You can even test the functionality of your account along the process pressing the “Test this Account” button.

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Now, you should be on step 4 in Zapier. Define the username which Zapier will watch for new followers (this should be the username of the Twitter account you used earlier).

Then hit the “Add a custom filter” button.

You should see a form with these boxes: field, condition, value.

● Choose “Follower Followers Count” as Field;

● Choose “(Number) Greater Than” as Condition;

● Type “999” in the Value box;

Click on “Add AND filter”; you should see another form with the same boxes as on the previous step:

● Choose “Follower Followers Count” as Field;

● Choose “(Number) Less Than” as Condition;

● Type “3001” in the Value box;

Click Continue.


Ok, we‘ve reached the part where we create our message for that particular segment.

The key here is to:

1. Create a message addressed to your follower.

2. Provide value.

3. Write a message that reflects your personality.

To make sure the message is personal, insert fields such as “Follower Name” (the actual name of the Twitter follower) and of course “Follower Screen Name” (follower’s twitter handle) clicking on the button in the top right corner of the box.

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Example of good messages would be:

Hey @{{follower__screen_name}}, thank you for following us! How are you today? 🙂

Hey @{{follower__screen_name}}, thank you for following us! It’s a beautiful sunny day outside.

How’s the weather in {{follower__location}}?

Good morning @{{follower_name}}, just wanted to say thank you and let music speak for itself 🙂 [shortened link to your song on Soundcloud] @{{follower__screen_name}

Hey @{{follower__screen_name}, thank you for following! We deliver tips on growth hacking, social media and digital marketing weekly. Interested? [link to your lead generation card]

Get creative with this ok?

Remember: messages should be under 140 characters, but since we don’t know how long the name or the Twitter handle of our new follower will be, we will have to keep our message even shorter (100 to 110 characters would do fine).

Please also note that if you don’t want your welcoming tweets to be seen by all your followers in their feeds, start your messages with a Twitter handle (which is @{{follower__screen_name} in Zapier).


In the next step Zapier will ask you to test your Zap. Fell free to do this to make sure everything’s set up correctly, or skip this step. Then give your Zap a title and click “Turn Zap On”.

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Boom! Zapier will automatically check for new followers every 15 minutes. If a new follower has from 1000 to 3000 followers, it will automatically welcome them from your account using the message you defined.

Now, you have to repeat the process for different tiers. With a Zapier’s free account you can repeat this process four more times. For example, you can target new followers having 3000-5000 followers and welcome them with another message, and followers with over 5000 – with yet another message.

I’ve been pretty successful at starting conversations with this trick. It’s great because you don’t have to be at a computer doing this, but remember that you should be online replying to the followers who showed interest in your message.


Further Customizations.

Further customizations include targeting by language and creating an image tweet. Targeting by language is useful because you can craft messages in different languages depending on the language used by your new follower.

Also, I’ve been using image tweets for our customers at FieldWork, and it worked great for visual businesses like restaurants, magazines, etc. Just make sure to use different images for different messages.


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The post is written by Mike Rubini, guest instructor at We Spin and a founder of the FieldWork marketing agency.

Image by Danny PiG, licensed and adapted under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

If you want more tips on social media marketing for musicians, sign up for free at We Spin, a music marketing education platform.

22 Responses

  1. UGH...

    automation hacks on twitter… yeah, that’s what music is all about… tweeting, not rocking… UGH… no wonder we are so screwed…

    • FarePlay

      There is an element of truth in what you say, UGH. Good to see you’re hanging out here, your opinion has value.

    • Nina Ulloa

      this comment is like the equivalent of yelling at a computer

      • FarePlay

        0 and 1s lady. Your black and white linear thinking is limiting, but you don’t see it that way do you?

      • FarePlay

        The musician is simply saying, he wants to achieve mastery as a musician and is not interested in being an expert in social media. And your answer Nina? That’s limiting.

        • There is something...

          Yeah, musicians never cared to understand how business or marketing works. That’s why major labels could screw so many of them.

          Sure, marketing with social media sounds less appealing to musicians than playing a live show probably… But in any kind of business (= making some money) you need to understand how to attract people and make them care enough to buy your product (=songs, live tickets, goodies…).

          • There is something...

            I’m just pointing out your stupidity. If you don’t like it, don’t post. Nobody will miss you. Calling someone “racist” because he’s pointing the fact you’re disconnected with the reality just shows how week is your argument.

          • lolercoaster

            Weak – learn to spell before calling someone stupid.

          • There is something...

            Tell that to my iPad… Yeah, I should check it before posting, I know…

    • Justin Mayer

      Rocking in music these days? Is creating tech platforms for musicians to use and making a killing off their property and the information, that’s 2014 rockin!

      Tech is the big thing right now and for the forseeable future, it’s part of possibly the greatest human explosion of knowledge and advancement man has possibly ever seen, and we are blessed to be a part of it, or at least unwilling compromised spectators anyways.

      Music is the sideshow for the tech and thats just the way it is.

      This idea is great for those who follow you based on tweet content, you can tweet back asking them bots to bigger off! 😀

      It just simply has to be accepted that these times are about each lowly person being able to make themselves feel famous and special by sharing everything, and as a business entity and brand a musician simply has little choice but to try and find the people so they can get their product in front of their faces, and so many people’s faces are glued to their tech devices.. so that’s the way it is… That’s why I don’t play that social media game.

    • Andy

      There are x awesome bands out there and x is a massive number. They’re all competing with each other for the gig slots, the record contracts, and the ears of potential fans. There are y awesome bands out there who have a clue how to effectively market themselves.

      x > y

      If you just want to rock out, fine. But don’t moan when nobody comes to your gigs, or you have to pay through the nose for an agency to do all of the legwork for you, while the bands who took a bit of time to try and learn how the industry works seem to be getting a leg up on you.

  2. JTVDigital

    Very interesting and detailed.
    Will definitely use it.
    Thanks Mike.

  3. jw

    omg. Is this serious? Is this a serious post?

    Mike, I glanced at your feed. I can’t believe you’re recommending this method to people. It looks like you spammed 50 people during the month of September. And got like 2 retweets out of it. Lol. And there’s no way to say any of that lead to any meaningful engagement (i.e. new followers). But since you didn’t begin your tweet with @{{follower__screen_name}}, that means every single one of your followers got spammed 50 times during the month of September. You probably lost a few followers for that. (This is social media 101.)

    If I was interested in really boring music & I went to your Twitter feed wanting to follow & saw that you spam people 50x per month, the chances of me following you are exactly 0%. So you probably deterred people from following you, also.

    This type of bullshit is almost ALWAYS a bad idea, especially as flippantly as it’s executed here. Unless you have a SPECIFIC marketing message & you’re using it ONLY for the duration of the campaign, & unless you TARGET the specific user to avoid spamming your whole following, this method should be avoided at all cost.

    Who takes social media advice from someone with 3,632 followers, anyhow?

  4. Willis

    Long gone are the days when “engagement” meant meeting your fans at a gig. Being “social” actually meant face-to-face interaction. Today’s world is a lot less personal which takes away from the enjoyment (listening, creation, performing, sharing, discussion, etc.) of music, as it is a very people-oriented experience.

  5. jw

    Double your twitter engagement? lmao.

    I checked your twitter page, Mike Rubini. Looks like you spammed 50x this month, & got **2** retweets. Obviously there’s no way to tell if that lead to any new followers, but I’m going out on a limb to say it didn’t. Futhermore, unless you begin your message with @UserName, each spam goes out to your entire following. (This is social marketing 101.) So that’s 1 & 2/3 spam tweets per day. That’s the kind of stuff that will LOSE you followers. Furthermore, the evidence is permanently displayed on your feed. If I check out your feed & see 50 spam tweets over the last month, the chance of me following you is precisely 0%.

    This is horrible advice from an amateur “social media guru” with less than 4,000 followers, which is chump change, as far as these things go.

    Unless you’ve got a specific marketing message, & unless you’re running this type of thing only during the duration of the campaign & unless you can specifically target individual twitter users, this type of marketing should be avoided like the plague… it only turns people away.

    Autotweets that might be acceptable…

    @UserName Thanks for the follow! Don’t miss our Kickstarter campaign, only 20 days left to contribute! [url]
    @UserName Thanks for following us! FYI, if you pre-order our new record, you’ll get 2 digital downloads! [url]
    @UserName Thanks for the follow! We’re coming to your zipcode soon. Georgia Theatre, 10/09. Come hang!
    @UserName Thanks for following us! Just a reminder, set your DVR for our Letterman appearance on 10/09! 10pm est!


    • Mike Rubini

      Hey jw,
      thank you for reading.

      Did you actually experiment with this? I’m just saying because imho it’s too easy to criticize someone else’s work as you did. I do respect your opinion, but I think this is a method worth sharing and we can assure we had incredible results in terms of engagement. People appreciate brands taking the time to thank them, introducing them to their world or simply connecting with them. We automated only the initial part, and it is a brand’s job to continue the conversation.

      People have to come up with custom messages, like the ones you wrote: there’s no one-size-fits-all. As I mentioned in the article, you want to study your audience and see how you can take advantage of this hack. For example: How many new followers follow you per day? How many of these have a following of 1000 to 3000 people? How many new followers have a greater following? You want to use this method accordingly.

      This could be time saver for those who do not have time to be on Twitter and start a conversation, for different reasons. Of course, if you do have the time it’s best to do it the traditional way, but that’s not the point of the article.

      P.S. As for my twitter account, that is not the point of the article, too. Let’s just say I don’t spam to people (I do know how to tweet properly, thanks) and I believe having a million followers or two or three would not make me more of a social guru (that is social media marketing 101). We don’t focus on vanity metrics. We focus on connecting with people, building communities around music and doing awesome work! 😉


      • jw

        Do you not realize that all of these tweets went out to **all** of your followers in the month of September?

        Hey @ldygggga. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @musicslyricz. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @BobbyUllman. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @JerryDanielsen. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Ciao @indierockfans, grazie per seguirmi su Twitter! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @MarsdenJazz. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @AdmgOnlinePromo. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @EspreeDevora. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @FlyingDreamsLV. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Hey @n_chalmers. Thank you for following me! =) http://bit.ly/1sdj3nr

        Aaaaaand **40 more** just like those.

        I’d say that’s spam.

        So no, I didn’t experiment with spamming my Twitter followers.

        I mean it’s easy for you to say “we’ve had incredible results with engagement,” but it’s easy for me to see that you only had 2 retweets out of 50 spam tweets in the month of September. Where is the engagement? I just don’t feel very “assured” after viewing your spam in action. I’m not going to just take your word for it when the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

        I mean, all together this is a terrible approach to social marketing. I think it’s hilarious that you’re claiming to focus on connecting with people by sending them automated Twitter spam.

        At the very least, just begin with your automated message with the User Name & it will relegate the tweet to your replies feed, & only show up on feeds where someone follows both you & the recipient.