Note: This was published in a print edition of the Waterford News & Star in 2016.
Facebook is handy, but Twitter is easy. Let’s face it, getting a message out there is all about speed and reach. There are however many right and wrong ways to utilize social media for promotion. These days, everything is connected to everything else, and we’re personally connected to each other in ways we don’t even know. With new apps being made on a regular basis to ensure that managing multiple platforms proves easier, you’d be a fool not to even attempt to keep up. Methods of self-promotion evolve with society’s need to have everything at their fingertips.
Facebook pages have limits and the difficulty level for growing a fan base goes well past 11. If you’re a band out there trying to make a name for yourself by touring, you don’t have time to sift through insights. There’s also a good chance you don’t have the money to be spending on boosting posts or paying someone to run your social media accounts for you. How are you going to indulge in some cheeky Nandos if you’re worried about how many people saw that post about your new t-shirt design? Comments may be left, but there are usually either too little to reply to, or too many to handle. Interaction between musicians and fans has really done downhill on Facebook.
Twitter success relies heavily on interactions.
Yes it takes effort to create relationships on a social media platform that moves at such a quick pace, but it’s going to be a lot more rewarding in the long run. A quick reply to a fan on Twitter will most likely get you brownie points with their friends and increase your follower count – and all it takes is a few kind words and the click of a button.
Fans aren’t the only ones that are easier to connect with on Twitter, a quick Direct Message to someone writing reviews for a music site can get you some needed [free] promotion. With the growing number of sites out there doing reviews, you could find yourself with a fan account from Kuala Lumpur because you sent a witty gif to a stranger named bob.
As someone who has indulged in scribbling out many music reviews over the years, I have received countless DMs from unsigned bands asking me to write up something brief on a single or video. In most cases, that has been rewarding for both sides. I discover new music, attend more gigs, and make new friends. They in turn gain a few followers and get written proof that they’re doing something right with their career. The happiness I get from the realisation that I’m getting free music legally is unparalleled.
Twitter isn’t all about business.
Twitter being public is something you can sneakily use to your advantage. Chitchat between band members and/or tour crew has the potential to be the most adorable thing on the planet. I have often fallen victim to exchanges between members of my favourite band. We’re not talking amateur “I miss you terribly,” we’re talking “My life is incomplete without your snoring.”
Of course, there’s a balance you can reach between business and pleasure on social media. Hashtags are really useful when it comes to sorting this one out! Ireland’s very own #IrishMusicParty has been running every Monday for a few months now thanks to an individual known as the “Chief of Happiness” and allows both signed and unsigned bands to join in a conversation with like-minded persons. I have been in “attendance” every week since its inception and actually rush home to join in! A bit of banter never hurt anyone, and it’s well needed on a Monday evening.
There’s more than one way to win at Twitter, but one thing to keep in mind is users of all ages frequent the Twittersphere. It pays to be civil, it pays to be friendly, and it pays to maintain a decent and consistent reputation. I almost hate to admit it, but the likes of One Direction and The Janoskians are using it quite well…and are benefiting from it. Individuals are doing just as good a job though. Did you know that there are awards presented for how brilliant you are at using Twitter?? For instance, Kerrang has presented both Gerard Way and Hayley Williams with the Tweeter of the Year award. TWICE!
Maybe we should all take a page from their book and work on our #Skillz.