VirtualPresence: Twitter

First of all, I changed the name of this series from "Social Sites for Bands" to "VirtualPresence", while the former was kind of a bland description, the latter has a better ring to it and is shorter to write.

So, today I'm gonna talk about Twitter and there's lots of stuff to say about it (probably enough for multiple posts) so let's start with the basics. Twitter is a small webapp where you can make an account for yourself and post messages. The trick, however, is that your messages (often called tweets or notices) can only be 140 characters long, similar to a text message (SMS) on a cell phone. For this reason, Twitter is often referred to as a microblogging site. Twitter also lets you follow other Twitter users. If you're logged in and you look at the profile of someone else (like mine), you'll see a button under their picture that reads "follow", press it and you are linked to them. The result is that when you log on to Twitter, you will see their messages as well in a single timeline.
Sometimes, when you see a message form someone else, you might want to reply to this. The @-character can be used for this, as follows:
  • A_Band: Touring Germany for the time next month, anyone know about a good tourbus company?
  • Dafmetal: @A_Band You should have a look at Bunny&Devil-buses.
Now my reply will show up in A_Band's feed. This works even when you aren't following each other!

What about my band?
This should give you a basic overview on how Twitter works. Now, the question remains, what's the best way to use Twitter for my band?

Keep the messages band related. For your band account, your best bet is to keep it band-related. Keep the "My cat is going to the vet."-posts for your personal account. Some good topics?
  • Gigs you're going to do or just played.
  • Recordings you're doing.
  • New merchandise that you're bringing out.
  • Post about the equipment you use.
  • ...

Decide what your following strategy will be. A Twitter account for a band will mostly be about getting info to some of your most loyal fans. Once you start being followed, there is the temptation to follow those who are following you. But when you follow someone, they'll partly expect you to be interested in what they post, and you might not be able to keep up. If this means that you no longer add people to your follow list, you are essentially breaking up your follower base into two camps. With one side feeling let down and possibly giving you a bad rep. My advice is to decide up front what your following strategy will be and choose: 
  • Follow no one.
  • Follow everyone that follows you.
Remember, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't @reply to people if they post something good. Twitter is really meant to connect with people indirectly.

The best way to get a feel for this stuff is to try it out, so head on over to Twitter and make an account. And don't forget to let your fans know about it through your website, blog or newsletter. And make a comment on this blog so we can find you.

Do you have a question about using webapps for your band? Drop me an email, and I might answer it on the blog.

1 comment:

Pascal said...

Started using Twitter two days ago and I'm already a fan. I'd want more people I know to use it though!