HomeTwitter In The Aca-World: How To Use It To Your Advantage

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Twitter: you get 140 characters to charm the pants off of anyone who happens to stumble upon your (hopefully) witty and grammatically correct post, simultaneously enticing them to click the majestic “Follow” button to subscribe to your future musings. Micro-blogging is a challenge for anyone, but on behalf of an a cappella group? Even tougher.

Let’s start by touching on the basics of Twitter, starting with its unique terminology:

•    Twitter is the name for the site, located at www.twitter.com
•    A tweet is any post made on Twitter
•    A re-tweet, otherwise known as RT, is essentially a re-posting of someone else’s tweet to share on your timeline for your followers to see
•    The timeline is Twitter’s home page, where you see a chronological list of the tweets and re-tweets of all the people you follow
•    Followers are Twitter users who have decided they want to subscribe to your tweets, while people you follow are users whose tweets will show up in your timeline
•    Hash tags (#) are acronyms or word(s) that can be used to connect people talking about the same topic, event, feeling, etc.

Twitter processes 230 million tweets per day, with just over half of active users (users who have logged into Twitter within the past month) using mobile devices. Twitter can be used for frequent updates, musings, debates, critiques and promotions.

In the aca-world, we are all besieged by our friends in other groups to “Like” them on Facebook to receive their updates, opt-in to their email list for even more updates, follow them on Google+ for updates that are probably the same as on Facebook, etc. What makes Twitter different? Attention spans are on the decline. By giving just 140 characters, you actually have the potential to maintain the reader’s interest throughout the whole post. Sad? Yes, but true. The best way I’ve heard it said was that on Facebook, you’re friends with people you know in real life, but on Twitter, you follow people you wish you knew in real life.

There are plenty of ways to make your Twitter enticing to your fans. Give a free download to the first 50 people to re-tweet a post about your new single. This gets your followers involved in the promotion of your single, letting their followers know about your group, as well as giving them incentive to watch your page for more deals. If you have a local community (especially collegiate groups), you can announce spontaneous concerts a few hours in advance and offer CDs for a reduced price to those in attendance. I’ve even been to a concert where a live Twitter feed was displayed on monitors in front of the stage, allowing the audience members to interact with each other. 

Here are my final five steps to giving good tweet:

•    Give updates from the studio when recording, from the road when you’re en route to a gig or if you’re on tour, and at various stages in the manufacturing process for an upcoming album
•    Respond to fans with feedback and questions whenever possible
•    Mention groups you perform with or interact with as a group, producers and engineers you work with in the studio, and organizations (like CASA!) who love a cappella just as much as you do
•    Re-tweet mentions of your group, as well as the tweets of groups you follow, which will make them more likely to return the favor
•    Use hash tags as part of your marketing for upcoming events

Get out there and get tweeting!

Follow Nina on Twitter at @ninabeaulieu

About the author:
Nina Beaulieu is a student at James Madison University, studying Media Arts & Design with a focus on Converged Media and a Music Industry minor. She is a proud member of The BluesTones and has arranged various songs for them as well as for other groups. Nina hopes to stay very involved in the a cappella community after graduating. She likes ice hockey, peacocks, and dissonance.