About Kevin

Kevin is a Grammy nominated artist, podcaster, and indie musician advocate. He resides in Portland, OR where he is the Director of Marketing for CD Baby (cdbaby.com). Oh, yeah, he also plays guitar in Smalltown Poets.
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    5 Steps to save your new band’s Twitter account from the time wasting black hole!

    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. 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

    • Michael Johnston

      Kev – Thanks for passing this along.

    • http://www.libertygigoloz.com Matt Gio

      We are not a local band, meaning, we do not play any shows. We are trying to build our fanbase strictly through the internet. It’s strange I know, but how do you know who to follow,in fact, how do you know that the people you want to follow actually have a Twitter account? How would you approach gaining followers if you were trying to develop a fanbase in a local area? Basically how do your fans or new fans know to follow you? I know it’s a loaded question.

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

      Kevin,

      Great blog, and to the point for those seeking to perform live. Perhaps a follow-up later for those not able or interested in performing live?

      By the way, watch those adverbs.

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    • http://www.tstouring.com Jen

      Hey Kevin!

      This is Jen at Invisible Records. Martin Atkins owner of Invisible, is working on his second book entitled Band:Smart. He came across this blog post and really enjoyed it. He was wondering if we could use a portion of the article in the book. You would get a contribution as the author in the book. Please let me know if you are interested.

      Thanks!

    • http://tonyvalle.tumblr.com/ Tony Valle

      Kevin,

      Thanks for the post. I think many of the comments reflect my own initial reaction to your article. What if I’m trying to mostly sell my music through the web?! I wonder if it wouldn’t make ultimate sense to have TWO twitter accounts. One for your local efforts and one for the strictly online.

      Thanks again.

    • http://www.project321explosion.com WALSH

      Yo Yo, I play in Melbourne OZ based band PROJECT321EXPLOSION, I’m in the process of starting our twitter page. The thing i can’t seem to find on the net is, is it better to have a band page that all members pipe in on, or have just one memeber? I would prefer all members tweet but do they all members login to the same account and just sign their name on their tweets? I hope you can give me some guidence.
      Have Fun
      WALSH

    • Lisa Miller

      Thanks for the well-considered advice, Kevin. We (hubby and I and another couple are starting a band soon and this will come in very handy.