This guest post comes from Kevin Breuner - CD Baby podcaster, musician, and indie artist advocate. It first ran on his personal blog.
I’m in a new band called Hello Morning that is just emerging from the studio and finally ready to get serious about promoting and moving our music forward. Our situation is very similar to the average indie artist, in that we all have jobs, families, and other responsibilities, so when it comes to our music career, the time and money we put in needs to count for something. Several of us in the band have had success connecting with individuals through our personal social networking, but to be honest, when it came to the band’s social media efforts, we seemed to be floundering a bit with little sense of purpose. Since part of my job is spent giving other artists advice, I figured it was time to put my money where my mouth was and come up with a plan to put our band’s Twitter account to work. What Hello Morning has started to implement (with excellent results seemingly overnight) I will pass along to you in the following 5 steps.
1. Clean your feed - A good cleansing is in order! If you’re like the average artist, you’re following way to many people for all the wrong reasons and it’s time to un-follow most of them. You’ve got to clear out the junk and noise so you can make your Twitter feed useful and manageable. Don’t follow people just because they follow you!
2. Follow with a purpose - Stop following everyone at random (Even in your local music scene). Follow bands, clubs, and club bookers that you’d like to work with, and who in return, might want to work with you. Keep this list as small as possible.
3. Focus Locally - Give your Twitter feed the local touch so it reflects the pulse of the music scene in your town for your genre. Keep it as focused as possible. Don’t follow people across the country, or around the globe just because you can.
4. Interact - Now that you have your targeted follow list, it’s time to interact, and the more interaction the better! Social media is an excellent way to push out content, but it is far more effective if that content is coupled with sincere interaction. This step is key!
5. Take the relationships into the real world - Once you’ve started to dialogue with folks, ask to meet up in person. You’d be surprised at how many people are more than happy to grab a cup of coffee and share their insights and experiences. They’ll also be more likely think of you when they’re looking for an artist or band like you. Note: Whenever meeting people from the internet, don’t be stupid. Use good judgement and carry a big can of pepper spray!
OK, I said my band started to see results overnight, so what were they? First off, there was an immediate sense of purpose for the time we put into maintaining our Twitter account. That purpose being, to connect to our local scene, NOT necessarily build fans. This purpose will evolve as the band gains exposure, but it’s perfect for where we are now. Like I said, we’re brand new, so connecting to the local scene and getting gigs is step one. Building the fan base will easily follow once those things are in place and we are performing on a regular basis.
More: You can join the 3596 people following Hypebot on Twitter at twitter.com/hypebot.
Secondly, with the new streamlined Twitter feed, we’ve been able to hone in on useful information that was most likely being missed before. One post that we spotted was a local club booker needing to fill an opening slot for a national act that was coming through town in 2 weeks. With no album, no one sheet or EPK, no band website (Just a nice myspace page with less than 200 friends), no long history of playing in Portland and drawing a crowd, we got the gig. The club booker was in a pinch, and simply by responding to her post, she immediately gave our music a listen, and offered us the gig. We’re also making it a point to meet up with folks in the local scene (Like club bookers) that we’ve introduced ourselves to via Twitter. So far, the response has been extremely positive, and we’ve only been doing this for two weeks!
The important thing to remember, is that your social network focus will evolve as your music career evolves. Don’t assume that the first step (Or the only step), is to try to cultivate a fan base. Define your goals, focus in and target, and you’ll see far better results. Oh yeah, if you want to hear the music in progress with Hello Morning, you can find us here - http://hellomorningband.com.