Twitter co-founder Biz Stone offers his advice on how bands and artists can best take advantage of the Twitter explosion:
Make Your @username Your Calling Card
Attracting followers is an important part of maintaining a high profile on Twitter. One of its biggest advantages is the simplicity of its username system and the ease of following and communicating with a user once you know how he or she identifies him- or herself. So promoting your @username in an e-mail signature, in fan correspondence and anywhere you'd normally mention a Web presence is helpful. (Sean Combs walks around wearing a black T-shirt with white text that says "@iamdiddy.") Also, interacting with fans through Replies (where you reply directly to the tweets of fans and followers) displays a certain level of engagement that can be attractive to folks considering following your account.
Unlike an artist's blog or other online presence, where it makes some sense to share only the most important news or entertaining posts, on Twitter waiting for something really important isn't necessary—if folks are following you, then they want to know anything and everything. Twitter is an easy, lightweight way for artists to get involved themselves, and most artists are in fact Twittering themselves—so these anytime tweets have a very immediate and authentic voice that can be a powerful tool from a promotional perspective.
Find Music's Tweet Spot
There are ways that musicians can use Twitter that no other kind of user could take advantage of. Releasing exclusive tracks through Twitter is interesting. Twitter really shines during shared experiences like concerts because people are communicating in real time among a group. If an artist became similarly involved, that would be awesome. We've seen a few artists experiment with displaying live tweets from fans during a show, which is very cool because it makes the audience part of the show.
Establish Your Rules of Engagement
While direct back-and-forth contact with fans is easy with Twitter, the simple nature of it allows artists to invent their own boundaries. Although Replies are possible on Twitter, they're not expected. This means artists can be as engaged as they want—some are very engaged and others are more reserved. Artists can connect with their fans on a personal, meaningful level but they can also use Twitter to promote a spontaneous concert or share a new track.
Use the Platform Commitment-Free
Fans don't need to have a Twitter account to start following a band right away through mobile texting—Twitter can create new accounts over SMS on the fly. For example, anyone can text "follow biz" to 40404 in the United States and start receiving my updates. This means that a fan who wants to get an artist's updates through text but isn't using the service regularly can easily do so. Bands and musicians can simply tell this to folks during a concert or an interview.
(Interview by Evie Nagy)