Why use Twitter?

Twitter could be described as the ‘Marmite’ of micro-blogging … you either love it or hate it. I quite agree that it can be difficult and time-consuming to use well, but if you do invest some time you will reap its rewards. However, if you only occasionally use it to advertise your band’s events or recirculate your Facebook posts you might as well avoid the hassle, because you will be unlikely to gain any lasting benefit from it.

I always describe Twitter as ‘your own personal newspaper’; you follow people (or companies) who you want to hear from or know more about …some of those people may well be your friends who regularly post pictures of their cuddly cats, that’s up to you :-/ but, on the other hand, you could similarly be following some very important accounts that regularly release useful information that might help you or your band apply for funding from a specialist source for instance, or provide information that might assist your band’s governance. At the very least you ought to try to follow like-minded people, because if you want to be the best at what you do, you’ll need to be aware of what your competition is doing … a word of warning though, not everything that is said on Twitter is ‘true’ … but you will of course keep a weather-eye out for such foolishness.

So, what to Tweet? … ‘Some’, and I emphasize ‘some’, of your Tweets will be about your up-coming events, or recent successes. However, you should keep these to a minimum, prepare these ‘own’ Tweets very well, craft and tailor your text, use hyperlinks where possible and use appropriate hashtags so that they get wider recognition, and always, always, ALWAYS, include a picture…‘a picture is worth 1000 words’. Write in the 3rd person; you’re writing on behalf of your band rather than yourself. Then double-check the spelling before you post it.

If you really want to make Twitter work for you, you’ll search out information that you think will be of interest to your followers and you’ll Tweet or re-Tweet that. Also, interact (politely) with people beyond your normal sphere of contacts. I have exchanged interesting and useful information with people all over the world and I have subsequently physically met several people that I would never otherwise have come across, some of whom have become firm friends.

Anyone who’s anyone in the music business uses Twitter. Similarly, journalists make significant use of Twitter because it can be used to concisely issue and collect information, and can be quickly scanned for interesting content. So, a strong tip would be to follow relevant journalists and ‘occasionally’ tag them in to relevant Tweets [how to write a press release will be coming soon in a separate post].

The other thing about Twitter is that it is very much a ‘now’ medium, admittedly there will be advance notice Tweets, but if you are doing something interesting now, you should be Tweeting about it ‘now’… again with supporting pictures and hashtags.

The technical aspects of setting up and running a Twitter account are ‘fairly’ straightforward and aren’t something that I want to get too hung up about at the moment. The thing to do is just give it a go, all you have to do initially is sit there and follow a few people and watch what happens, and then when you’re ready, jump on and enjoy the ride.

[Editor’s post]