[Editors Note: This article was written by Hugh McIntyre.]
In the decade or so since Twitter launched, exciting updates have come and gone and careers have been made and lost on the site, but the core of what makes it great and what ensures success remains essentially the same. Many of the best practices that would have worked when it first opened for business are still good to stick to now, though what is interesting is that as time has gone on and the site’s power has failed to dwindle, many ideas about what makes an artist and their content successful have popped up…though much of that chatter is without merit.
Many musicians, actors, artists, influencers, and brands have tried an infinite number of strategies, and while aspects of some of them are interesting or eye-catching, most of the time, it remains good to stick to what has always worked – tips that too many have been forgotten in all the noise.
Here are four best practices for musicians on Twitter in 2018 (and probably in another ten years as well).
1. Focus On Text
Twitter allows anyone to share almost anything on the platform, including images, GIFs, and videos (up to a certain length), and while I would suggest you play around with including all of those items in your content calendar, think about what Twitter was created for as you’re hitting “send.”
First and foremost, Twitter was founded for people to share text-only items, and those pieces of content are typically still what perform the best. A well-written, concise (more on that next) tweet has a better shot of reaching a larger audience than something with a visual, though it can be tougher to be seen in the beginning. A text update takes up less space and blends in more than an eye-catching picture…but as I stated, the content that typically ends up garnering the most attention is text.
So, a healthy mix, with more text than imagery, is your best bet.
2. Keep It Short
Twitter stirred things up when the company announced a few years back that the famous limit of 140 characters per tweet was being expanded to 280. At the time, some were unenthused, while many were excited, and there were plenty of predictions about how it would revolutionize the site.
Now, time has passed, and it turns out not much has changed.
Sure, people can use twice as many characters as they could before, but many of the most popular tweets end up being about the same length as before. Just because you have 280 characters, that doesn’t mean everything you want to say needs to be longer and more wordy. Just as is the case when it comes to songwriting, concise is still the best practice.
3. Be A Real Person
When musicians and brands collectively realized they needed to have a presence on Twitter, it became immediately clear that so many of them didn’t have a clue how to do things well. This is especially true when it came to companies (even some of the labels those who are reading this piece might want to be signed to), which spent time and money creating content, and most of the time, it never went anywhere.
Why? Because it wasn’t interesting, and it wasn’t what people wanted to consume.
Too many people with a professional reason for being on Twitter (i.e. to sell something) forget that this isn’t a traditional ad space. Writing tweets isn’t like writing copy for an ad. Just because you want someone to listen to your song or buy your album, that doesn’t mean you saying just that will keep them from scrolling right on past.
The only way you can get the masses interested in what you have to say or what you are doing is to provide them with content that is valuable to them in some way. It can be funny, informative, or simply entertaining, but younger audiences who are most active on Twitter can smell an inauthentic tweeter a mile away.
Simply put—be a real person, say real things – stop worrying about selling and start thinking about interacting. Once you do, you’ll begin reaching your goals.
4. Schedule Content
It might seem easy to look ahead and think about tweeting several times a day like it won’t be an issue; but you may soon find that even if you try to focus on bolstering your social media presence, time can slip by quickly and before you realize it, you’ve missed opportunity tweeting times, or perhaps you haven’t prepared enough content to be able to quickly shoot something out.
You should lighten your load and take your mind off the platform (at least for several-hour stints at a time) by pre-scheduling messages to go out whenever you like. There are plenty of tools and platforms that allow you to decide when you want your text, picture, GIF, or video to send, and they are all reliable. (Ed. Note: Hey! Have you tried TuneCore Social?! Sorry, had to.)
Hugh McIntyre writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.