If you’re an Indie music artist and you’re not already on Twitter, I really suggest you join…like, now.
Why? Because rising tides lift all boats. Twitter is a rising tide. Actually, it’s more like a tidal wave. According to the State of the Twittersphere Report, each day, 5000-10,000 new people join. It’s growing like gangbusters.
So why should you care? First of all, let me say, when it comes to understanding Twitter, people generally fall into 3 different groups.
The first group is people asking “What’s Twitter and how do I use it?” The second group is people who are already using Twitter with varying degrees of effectiveness. The third group is saying, “Wait, WTF is Twitter!?”
I’ll address the first two groups.
To those who don’t know what Twitter is, it’s basically a microblogging site that allows you to tell other people what you’re doing in short blurbs of no more than 140 characters. You follow what others are saying and they follow you. That’s it.
To those of you already on Twitter, congrats. I hope you’re using it well. Unfortunately, I know many of you aren’t. Because I want everyone to be the best that they can be, there’s a few points I want to address to help you make sense of what Twitter can really do for you whether you’re an indie music artist, music entrepreneur or just all around superstar.
I spoke with a [girl] the other day who’s an indie artist and she mentioned that she doesn’t get Twitter. Too many useless postings from other people, she said. She’s right. It’s one of the reasons it’s hard to make sense of Twitter when you’re new to it. Some of the postings make me laugh. Like the guy who Tweets that he is, “now officially enjoying a chocolate chip cookie and feeling relaxed…”
Hey, cookie monster! If you’re reading this, I’m ecstatic that you enjoy chocolate chip cookies and all. Next time add a glass of milk to go with it too. But please spare me the details of your horribly boring life by not feeling the need to post something every time you blink.
Look, I know many of you reading this like to post trivial stuff too. And it’s fine, as long as that’s not all you post. The thing about Twitter is that for it to be effective for you, you need to be clear about what you want to accomplish; not just in the immediate, but with your career.
The fact is this: The only way you will ever be successful at Twittering is by realizing that for it to work, it must be used for two things. The first is networking with the right people. You’ll be amazed at who you’ll find on Twitter. If you want to network with people who’s most interesting quality is that they like chocolate chip cookies, that’s cool and all, but my guess is that most of you want to network with people you respect and look up to. Second thing that Twitter should be used for is spreading your ideas. Your good ideas. Not ramblings about how your roommate’s shoes are going clickety clack.
But you have to be strategic about how you do all of this. Don’t spam people. I’m always shocked at how so many people think that just because you’re on the Internet, normal rules of human decency do not apply. Social networks are about nothing but human nature. If you forget that, you will fail.
With that said, here are several hardcore principles you need to respect in order to succeed at networking and spreading your ideas on Twitter. The technical aspects of using Twitter you can pick up easily, but it’s an understanding of the more general rules of dealing with people that will bring you success. Here are my four important things to remember for success on Twitter:
STRANGERS DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU
Sounds harsh and cynical. I know. But if you’re an adult and haven’t realized this, give up now. But I’m assuming that since you’re reading my article, you’re of above average intelligence(haha). If you want to be like the cookie monster and lurk around, anonymously Tweeting about shit nobody cares about, fine.
But I’m not going to pay attention to you. Why? Because I don’t know you yet and I don’t care about what you’re doing. Give me interesting information. Then I’ll consider you. And the more you do that, the higher profile you’ll start to have in my mind. People who just Tweet about their boring lives don’t attract quality eyeballs. Be strategic. Know what you want to accomplish. Then you’ll know what to Tweet, what to Retweet and who to target.
GIVE AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
Have you noticed how when you do something nice for someone, they usually feel obligated to return the favor? The same principle works online. Lots of people in Twitter will post links to promote themselves. Many people never click on those links because they view these people as shameless promoters. People hate shameless salesmanship.
The best strategy to promote yourself is to get other people to post and repost your links. Why? Because people trust things recommended by other people more than just cold promotions. Recommendations provide social proof that other people also like what you’re offering.
So how do you get people to promote you? By promoting them. That’s when people begin Retweeting your links. That’s what you want. Twitter doesn’t work well for boring people and shameless promoters. The successful people on Twitter are the ones who engage. Just like in the real world. If you want to get the attention of important people you would like to network with, that’s how you start.
There are many high profile people on Twitter. Many in the music business. If you want to get their attention, produce quality ideas. Not crappy ones. Don’t be a cookie monster.
What more can I say.
Push marketing is on its way out. Pull marketing is in. As an Independent music artist, do things, produce ideas and make things that attract the best people. The labels don’t matter much anymore. You have all the power now. Use it. Be strategic. The sky’s the limit.
Mika Schiller is a writer for the Indie music website MADE and he writes about the direction of the music industry and how it relates to the Independent Music artist. He gives irreverent career and personal development advice to the Indie music artist. For more great writing and irresistible advice, along with a free report on effective MySpace music marketing, please visit http://www.letsgetmade.com