Follow Friday: How Much Self-Promotion on Twitter Is Too Much For Bands?

Posted October 14

Welcome to the O Music Awards guest writer series, a place where we hand the proverbial reins over to qualified writers/musicians/etc and let them share their thoughts about music and technology. Today’s guest blogger is BJ Mendelson, author of the upcoming book Social Media Is Bullsh*t.

As the author of Social Media Is Bullsh*t (in stores next year!), I’m the last guy you’d expect to give advice about how to use a “social media” platform. So, what gives?

The book is actually about how we’ve allowed marketers to create a myth around “social media” platforms, and less about the platforms themselves. That myth being these platforms are necessary for you to use, can be managed all in the same way, and can help you bypass that major record label on the road to riches. These platforms aren’t good or bad on their own. It depends on how you use them. Unfortunately, we’re letting marketers sell us bad advice about how to do so.

As any band will tell you, there’s nothing better than performing in front of a full house, but getting that house full is a pain. Especially now when you have to fight for every second of attention from someone who would rather be dicking around with Angry Birds. And if there’s anyone out there with any programming skill, you should totally make a version of Angry Birds that requires participants to use their dick (or an acceptable stand-in) to play. Trust me. That thing is going to be a hit on the subway.

Since I’m not a marketer, I thought I’d give it to you straight about what does and doesn’t work when it comes to these platforms. So, if you have a question, I’m here to answer it. I don’t know everything, but I’ll tell you what I think based on what I’ve learned using the web to promote stuff since 2001.

That brings us to today’s question: “How many times should I update Twitter to let people know about my new show/album?”

- According to Jack Dorsey, the man who invented Twitter, New York City has “the most Twitter users of any city in the world”. So if you’re in NYC, you should have a Twitter account. If not, you don’t need one. But. It doesn’t hurt depending on the age of your audience. If they’re under fifty? There’s no harm in having one. Over fifty? Don’t bother.

- If you don’t live in any of the cities listed here, you definitely don’t need Twitter to plug your shows. You should stick to using your website for that.

- Most people have 130 followers or less. That means unless you’re doing things to draw people to your Twitter account, you run the risk of annoying those who already follow you. They know you have a show coming up. You probably know most of your followers in person. So if there’s a steady flow of new people who are following you? Plug away. If not? Limit your plugs.

- Prime time on the web, according to the blogging guide every media outlet gives their writers, is between 10am and 2pm EST. Depending on the age of your audience, it’ll be either 10am to 2pm EST or 8pm to 11pm EST that you should do your updates and plugs. For your album, it doesn’t matter when, but for shows, you want to do it early so people can make plans to go.

So, twice a day during the week for at least two weeks for your new album should be fine. And for live events? You want to be plugging those things at least a month in advance, every day. And again, no more than twice.

Wasn’t that nice to get some honest, fact-based advice without hearing stuff said like “The Virtual Water Cooler is happening in Real Time”?

You’re welcome.

If you have a question, you can email them to or ask me on Tumblr.

By Brandon Mendelson

Image courtesy of Flickr, Naomi Ibuki