You aren’t tweeting enough. There, I said it.
Twitter provides an incredible opportunity to keep your fans engaged and to reach new fans, but you need to be active. I’ve heard a number of artists say that they’re concerned about tweeting too much. The reality is, Twitter isn’t like Facebook: On Facebook, too many updates can be overkill, but on Twitter, the average effective active lifespan of a tweet is about one hour. So if you’re not doing it enough, you’re not going to rise above the noise floor.
On the other hand, if you are always tweeting the same thing . . . @you will be #ANNOYING. To keep things fresh with your fans, I’d like to propose you send out a mix of these three essential tweets: I Tweet, We Tweet, and You Tweet.
I Tweet The I Tweet is a personal tweet. This is an opportunity for you to give insight into your personal life: what you’re doing, what you care about, what you’re listening to, what you’re into. Fans are following you because they want access to you. Twitter provides them a little glimpse of what’s going on in your life, or your perspective on things, and that helps them feel connected to you.
We Tweet The We Tweet is how you keep your fans in the loop about “official” news about the band or you as a solo artist. Some examples:
We’re playing the Roxy next Friday; get your tickets now. Hope to see you there.
We’ve just released a new single, take a listen.
Screw the labels, we’re doing it ourselves & asking our best fans to help us fund our recording. Please give at PledgeMusic.com.
We’ve made it to the final round in the songwriting contest; please vote for us.
@Supercoolblog just said our album was the hottest thing since Rebecca Black’s “Friday”—check out the review.
Have a look at this video we shot last night, you won’t believe what Gonga did during rehearsals, etc.
You Tweet The You Tweet may be the most important. This is where Twitter stops being a broadcast, and starts getting personal. In my recent Facebook Strategies article (“Engaging Your Facebook Audience,” Electronic Musician, February 2012), I described a concept of the “Virtual High Five,” in which you reward fans by personally acknowledging them. This is the same concept. When a fan follows you, retweets you, or tweets something cool about the band or your music . . . make sure you send out an “@fansname thank you” tweet, and if appropriate, retweet what your fan said.
The “You” Tweet can also be used to engage fans in conversation. A perfect way to do that is to ask questions. For example:
We’re picking songs for Friday night’s set list; what do you want to hear?
This is a subtle way to remind your followers that you have an upcoming gig, and they’ll feel more obligated to come if they responded with a request. Especially if you reply, “Thanks @fansname, we’ll play it, see you Friday!” Bonus points—if you can remember, shout out, “@fansname requested this,” when you play it; I guarantee you’ll make a lifelong fan and also let the audience know you are active on Twitter.
Remix Yo’Self Considering the one-hour shelf life of a tweet, and the fact that different fans log on at different times, it’s perfectly acceptable to send out repeat news. That being said, Twitter won’t allow you to send out an identical tweet within too short a timeframe, so get creative and remix it.
Don’t Sweat the Grammar Tweeting is the new haiku. U only have 140 char, so don’t lose the msg. by using proper English. Abbreviate, drop non-essential words; people understand the medium and are forgiving.
Remember Your ABCs Always Be Converting. Twitter is great, but it’s a shallow experience, and people are easily distracted by the next tweet. Whenever possible, use links to take fans somewhere else that they can have a richer experience of you and your music. Capture their email with a free download on your Facebook store, or send them to your website to see an embedded video or read a blog post, etc.
Always Be Explicit If you want people to take action, say it in the tweet. And if you have spare characters, especially for “We” Tweets, ask them to “Please RT,” or better yet, “please retweet.”
Always Be Authentic Your true fans can tell if it’s you or not. So make sure that whatever you tweet is true to you, and true to your band’s image.
Carl Jacobson is VP of marketing at Nimbit(nimbit.com). He is also co-executive producer of Masters of Sound (mastersofsound.net), an online series dedicated to documenting the work of recording engineers and producers. Follow Carl on Twitter: @carljacobson.