I have a very good business friend, Ife Ekpenuma that I met on Twitter about a year or so ago that is a mastermind and borderline genius when it comes to networking. He is the CEO of Audacrease Entertainment Group, an up-and-coming indie music label and company based in Columbia, SC that provides independent entertainers in the Carolinas and abroad. He truly has a natural knack and ability for connecting people via his social networks. Ever since I have know him he has been doing things like this to connect the people in his steadily growing business network of over 7,300 Twitter followers:
This example is just barely touching the iceberg of what Ife aka @ThatGoToGuy does for his business connections via Twitter. He has secured clothing sponsors for his indie artists via his tweets and built countless invaluable connections simply by putting others before himself and his own needs and connecting those in his social networks. Because he does it so naturally I have decided to debut his first post here about the do’s and don’ts of Twitter right he on Small Biz Diamonds because he really does know what he’s doing. Although this post is focused on helping indie artists and labels within his niche be successful on Twitter, the information is applicable to small business owners.
I have been on Twitter and actively using it since December 4th, 2010. At first, I was opposed to Twitter, a month later, it was part of my daily routine. I have gone from an artist looking to get exposure and find opportunities, to a manager/executive of artists on my own indie record label. During my close to two years on Twitter, I have built solid relationships and been able to convert followers into business partners and valued friends both inside and outside of the entertainment industry. This article sums up what I have seen and how I have approached the use of Twitter as a networking tool to build and maintain solid relationships.
1. DO come up with a twitter handle that incorporates your company and/or artist name succinctly. Make sure that it is not too over the top, too long, or of an explicit nature. Your twitter handle should be able to catch someone’s attention, draw positive attention to your brand, and be easy to remember. (My twitter handle is @ThatGoToGuy, memorable, to the point, and effective).
DO NOTcome up with a twitter handle that can possibly isolate or narrows your reach on twitter. Stay away from a twitter handle that includes expletives or has sexual connotations. (There are too many examples of this).
2. DO identify your WARM market. Your WARM market are your friends, colleagues, and people you know will have no problem receiving the information and material that if you tweet to them. READ people’s twitter bios before asking them what they do, especially when they have CLEARLY outlined what their profession is and who they work with or for. BE OBSERVANT. (I have stressed to my artists to have an ‘online street team’ who will RETWEET or TWEET out your music whether you are online or not).
DO NOTtweet ALL your followers or people you follow with the same generic tweet. Some people will consider this SPAMMING and may not be open to interacting with you again. Realize that everyone on twitter is not on twitter to hear music or view a music video.
3. DO DOUBLE your content. What is meant by DOUBLING? DOUBLING is simply posting what you tweet on Facebook. If there is an article of interest, music file, or music video tweet/retweet it and then also post it to Facebook. Some people decide to interwine their tweet with their facebook. It all depends on what you want to do. (I usually tweet or retweet music, a video, or an article of interest and then post it to my facebook profile or post material to my label’s facebook page).
DO NOT tweet/post on Facebook only your material ALL DAY. Your Facebook friends and Twitter Followers may get PROMO-fatigue, meaning that they will start to TUNE YOU OUT. Find more innovative ways to promote your material and spread the word out about what you have coming up. (Build relationships with bloggers and when they post a blog with your material, thank them, post it, and retweet it. Additionally, keep a record of blog features, this is especially useful for artists).
4. DO CONTROL the language of your promotion and label account. If you have a PROMO account use it as such. If you have a twitter account for your record label, be sure that tweets are as business-like as possible and also reflect the nature and spirit of the company. Having a Facebook page for your label is strongly suggested so you can keep up with the people who actually follow what your company is doing because everyone on Facebook is not on Twitter and vice versa.
DO NOTtweet or post intimate details about business ideas that you have or extremely personal matters. All too often people use Twitter as their ‘stream of consciousness’ and maybe in actuality hurting their brand(s) and warding off clientele. (If you feel the need to tweet personal matter, have a PERSONAL twitter that is not affiliated with your brand or business. Therefore, you can be yourself and separate personal and business).
5. DO Identify your niche and who you want to follow and get followed by and ultimately build relationships with. As a music label, it would make sense to follow and get followed by other music labels, A&Rs, producers, artists, bloggers, and anyone related to or working in your field. Artists would also want to follow and get followed by the same group of people and also their fans. BIGGEST THING- interact with your fans and have them wanting to be a part or actually BELIEVE your MOVEMENT. (It is okay to shout-out people who support and are part of your movement. There are opportunities to do so like #FF – FollowFriday)
DO NOTcome off as unapproachable on Twitter. If someone tweets you, unless you are tied up or it is offensive, try within reason to tweet back. Twitter is a tool that can be used to get you connected to people that you may not be able to find or connect with via other social media outlets.
6. DO use hash tags (#) on Twitter (also referred to as trending topics). Use hash tags for events that you have or events that you are presently attending. Simple but catchy hash tags draw people in and are a good branding tool on twitter. A unique hash tag is also beneficial for measuring analytics of who is engaging in and following your tweets. (Examples of hash-tags that I use #MotivatedMonday, #TakeOverTuesday, #ThoroughThursday, #AEGWisdom, and more).
DO NOTjust tweet a link to your music or video. CLEARLY title it and possibly use a hash tag and CAPITALIZE THE ACTION WORDS that you want people seeing your tweet to do.
7. DO FOLLOW UP with your followers. If a blogger is interested in your music or upcoming event, ask them for their email address so you can send them material and they can possibly post it on their blog or website. Turn your followers into fans and supporters of your MOVEMENT. (I have had my artists gain fans simply by tweeting their cover art and someone liking that and then checking out the music and becoming a fan).
DO NOT conduct all your business publicly via Twitter. It is okay to initialize business or attract business via Twitter. But when both parties want to engage in business, utilize DM (direct message) which is only seen by the parties involved. Share contact info (email, phone numbers, etc and handle business). Do not allow vast and wide world of Twitter to see ALL that you are doing. (There are people who twatch (twitter watch) what you do on twitter and will take what you tweet and will attempt do use your ideas. PROTECT your ideas on twitter as much as possible).
8. DO shout out (S/O) your team and thank people that support you who may not be directly tied into your company. A special thank you/appreciation tweet goes a LONG WAY.
DO NOT publicly BEEF or argue on Twitter. If you have an issue with someone who is on Twitter, BY ALL MEANS, talk to them offline and settle the issue. Twitter beef is not a good look for an artist and especially not a company. It is important that an artist or label do what’s best for their brand.
9. DO let your Facebook friends know that you are on Twitter. This is especially helpful when someone is FIRST getting on Twitter. You get your follower numbers up and it is people that know who you are.
DO NOT use Twitter as your only source of promotion and marketing, it is not enough. Go to networking events, performances, and any other events and let people know about YOU, YOUR MUSIC, YOUR BRAND, and what you have coming up. If Twitter disappears tomorrow? What will you do? (I have seen artists wear T-shirts at their performances with their twitter handle and that subconsciously has people remember the name and follow the artists).
10. DO use software that allows you to stay on top of your Twitter presence. Apps like TweetCaster allow you to tweet from multiple accounts via your smartphone. Buffer will tweet out a message based on the maximum activity of Twitter and your followers (this is important so that people SEE what your tweeting).
DO NOTlet your Twitter get stagnant. Try to tweet a few times a day if possible or let it be known you will be off Twitter for awhile. You may lose some followers if you go for days without tweeting.
11. DO have fun on Twitter and tweet about who or what you like. If you see another artist’s material that you like, retweet it. It is not ALL ABOUT YOU ALL THE TIME. If there is an AWESOME article that relates to what your company is doing or your industry RETWEET and share it.
DO NOTallow Twitter to take your time away from conducting business. Learn to balance your time tweeting with getting things done for yourself and your company.
12. DO have a promo/street team that will retweet your music or tweet music or information about your events, music, etc., when you are not on Twitter.(This is good but beyond that, artists need have a real team that will go to performances and show support, pass out material, and more).
DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS! Think of it as steriods, you may pump your numbers up but A&Rs, music executives, and people who know what is going on will see right through that and that can PERMANENTLY damage your reputation and burn bridges you have yet to build.
13. DO be open to people’s opinion and ask if it is okay to tweet or email your material to them. Everyone is NOT going to like your music but you can learn even from those that have less than positive things to say about your work. (I have had people say they did not like the music that I sent their way to review, I simply thanked them and took note of their input and kept it moving).
DO NOT tweet people while they are in the middle of a conversation just because they are in the music business and they have a great deal of followers. Would you in real life just interrupt a group of people having a conversation to push your single or music project. Would that not be awkward? So why would you do it on twitter. You risk being reported as SPAM, BLOCKED, or make a lasting impression on someone who could possibly help your music career.
Whether you are in the music industry or not be sure to connect with @ThatGoToGuy on Twitter. As I mentioned in my intro he is a mastermind when it comes to networking, he connects not only artists and label executive he also shares and retweets great business information for small business owners, because he is one himself.
Are you actively in Twitter? What tips would you add for artists, music labels, or small business owners that want to be successful on the Twitter platform? Share your Small Biz Diamonds in the comments section below.
Ife Ekpenuma is a 2007 graduate from the University of South Carolina. He is the founder/CEO of Audacrease Entertainment Group, an indie music label based in the Carolinas. Audacrease is a combination of greek words roots that, put together means ‘SOUND WITH GROWTH’. Therefore, Audacrease’s motto is SOUND, GROWTH, UNITY. You can find Audacrease on twitter @Audacrease, on Facebook, and Youtube. Ife just recently became a member of Catalyst Business Consultants as a social media consultant. To find out more about Catalyst Business Consultants follow on Twitter @CatalystBusiness, on Facebook, and visit the website www.catalystbusinessconsultants.com. Ife is also a rep for Stiletto Talk Magazine, a street team rep and writer for Hip-Hop Stardom 101 Magazine, and a rep and contributer to Mahogany Vogue Magzine. Ife believes strongly in making the most of the present and walking in your purpose.
Ashley Neal is an entrepreneur and small business advocate that enjoys writing about topics pertaining to small business. She is the owner of Small Biz Writer, where she specializes in providing quality content online for small business owners which in turn increases visibility and sales. Additionally, Ashley is the editor/writer and publisher of her own small business resource blog Small Biz Diamonds. She also writes for Examiner.com as the Atlanta Small Business Examiner, and Future Simple’s small business blog: Growth University.