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Friday, September 10, 20107 unconventional ways to use twitter
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Seven Unconventional Ways to Use Twitter

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by WAMM on August 31, 2010 · View Comments

[Editor’s Note: This post is by Jonathan Ostrow (@miccontrol), the co-founder of MicControl, a music blogging network based on a social networking platform.]

Discussing Twitter, its advantages and disadvantages and how it should be properly used by musicians is obviously not a new subject.

If you want to learn more about the basics, check out the 3.24 Million Google results on the subject, or check out the above image to figure out where you fall on its continuum.

Even with all of these posts and graphs out there, musicians are still using Twitter in ways that are either incorrect, or are just horribly uninteresting. So in an attempt to open up the discussion, let’s explore a few unconventional ways that musicians can use their Twitter accounts. The idea here is for musicians to use their Twitter accounts in a way that is ultimately unique enough to rise above the static of the thousands of self-promoting musicians, increase their following, and more importantly improve their engagement with fans.

1. Real-Time Setlists

This is by far the most obvious, and most consistently overlooked use of Twitter. The real-time focus of Twitter gives musicians the perfect opportunity to let fans track the set lists of shows they are unable to attend. This unconventional use of Twitter is most suited for any musician or band who has put a strong focus on the live performance aspect of their music. However, this is really the most beneficial for bands who spend the time and create a varied setlist from show to show.

Of course, if you don’t want to clutter your tweets with setlist updates, or want to give your fans the option to either follow your setlists or just follow your regular tweets, you do as Phish did, and create a separate account that is solely for setlist updates:

2. Focus Groups

Just recorded a new demo? Finished a track but feel something is slightly off? Or maybe this demo could lead to your best work yet, and you’re just looking for a little validation from fans and friends? In any case, you can very easily and effectively use your Twitter account as a focus group to receive proper feedback.

Song.ly is a great service that allows you to post a link to an mp3 that will allow people to listen to the track but won’t allow people to download it. This should help you avoid people spreading around a track that isn’t quick finished (though if you are concerned about that, I would avoid posting the track to Twitter all together).

3. Take Requests

This one is fairly straightforward. Ask fans for cover song requests or, if you have a large catalog of original songs, simply ask for requests of your own songs a few hours or a day before an upcoming show.

This strategy can take an interesting turn if you decide to take to uStream or any other live streaming service. You could turn a simple online performance to a unique request-centric live stream, taking requests from fans over Twitter in between each song. This is a great way to empower your fans, increasing engagement and fan loyalty.

4. Tweet Coordinates/ Date/ Time to an Unannounced Show

Some may say this is a bit cliché, but if you have a dedicated fan base in a single area, this is a great way to put on a guerrilla show, especially if it’s at an unusual venue like a house party, or even outside a major venue for a larger, well-attended concert.

5. Question Of The Day

Unless you have fans that are already willing to do anything they can to interact with you, you may need to nurture the process and openly encourage your fans to respond. But don’t stop the encouragement! A question of the day is a great way to get your fans to interact with…

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