A Guitarist’s Guide to Using Twitter

As a guitarist it often pays to be in the loop, and what better way to keep abreast of news than through the mighty Twitter?  Twitter has a bit of a bad rep, but when used correctly it can become an excellent personalised news feed. Whether you’re interested in finding out info on the latest left handed guitars or discovering what your favorite band is up to, Twitter has you covered.

Twitter has a bad reputation of being full of millions of utterly tedious people who feel some strange urge to tell the world what they had for breakfast – and this is true! I have to admit I do it on occasion, but only when it’s interesting!  But what most people don’t realise is that it can be a powerful tool when used correctly to stay on top when it comes to the latest news about your favorite brands and bands.

Why Should Guitarists Be On Twitter?

Secret Foo Fighter Gig Announced on TwitterGet the latest News
You want to know the latest news from your favorite guitar brand?  Follow them!  You want exclusive photos or secret gig locations from your favorite bands?  Follow them!  It’s as simple as clicking a button.

Did you ever wonder why last month thousands of iPads began to appear on eBay?  Quite simply, it’s because these people who were in the know, understood that the iPad2 was just around the corner and wanted to offload theirs before the price dropped.  Wouldn’t you be a little miffed if you bought an Axe-FX when the guys who follow them on Twitter knew that a new, improved and cheaper model would be out in the next couple of weeks?

As a left handed guitarist, being up to date on the latest gossip can be even more critical.  For example, last year Ibanez produced a limited run of left handed RG1550MLs which sold out before the majority of people would have even heard about them.  Following Ibanez on Twitter could have resulted in you snagging one of those rare beasts before they dried up.

Avoid Time Wasting
The most appealing feature of Twitter has got to be its efficiency!  Each ‘tweet’ is allowed a maximum of 140 characters (generally) which means that each one is very concise and to the point.  This allows you to scan through tens or even hundreds of tweets very quickly, as opposed to potentially hours of reading individual websites, trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Be Alerted to Competitions on TwitterWin Stuff!
Many companies will announce competitions on Twitter, with plenty of them being exclusive to their Twitter followers.  Often you will also get private discount codes or links to exclusive product deals, saving you potentially hundreds of dollars.  The savvy companies want to keep their followers, so it more often than not pays to be in the loop!

Many modern competitions will often have retweeting a message/link as the condition for entry in order to spread the word.  So having a Twitter account may be a necessity in some cases!

Contribute Your Opinions and Questions
Give the Brands Your Opinions - make a difference!Although many big companies haven’t fully grasped the potential of using Twitter, many have and will actively respond to messages and even retweet your ideas if you have something worthwhile to say.  For example, in my opinion one of the brands with the best Twitter presence is Ibanez USA (@Ibanez_USA) who have really understood what the platform is all about.  Unlike other companies they don’t just talk exclusively about their own products, they have frequent competitions, are always asking for opinions and actually reply to questions.  They even go as far as to search for people talking about their products to let them know they appreciate them using their gear.  Twitter is a social platform – something many of the big players need to comprehend.

Come on Twitter and help us persuade the big companies to produce more left handed guitars! ;)

Promote Your Music
If you have music or an event to promote, Twitter is a great place to do this because of the potential for retweets to virally spread the word far and wide.  For those who don’t know, a retweet is simply someone who likes your message passing it on to all of their followers.  If one of your followers retweets the message, then one of their followers might do the same, and so on and so forth.

If you’re clever you can also leverage the power of bigger companies with huge followings to help spread the word.  For example, say you recorded an album with your Taylor 414ce and you sent out a tweet “Check out my new album on iTunes http://link.com“.  A message like this isn’t likely to be spread very far, but if you were to change it to “Recorded my new CD on my @TaylorGuitars 414ce, check it out on iTunes http://link.com” then it is very likely to be retweeted by Taylor – who currently have nearly 10’000 followers. That’s a lot of potential new fans!  In the case of Twitter promotion it can be worthwhile using products from brands that actively take part and communicate with their fans.

What Do You Need?

Essentially all you need to do is sign up for a Twitter account and have access to the internet.  Although you can use the official website, most people choose to use one of the much more user friendly and expansive software clients or applications.  TweetDeck works well for me on my computer, but try a few and see what you like – plenty of different options exist, both computer and mobile phone based.

Once you’re signed up all you need to do is find the people and companies you are interested in and hit ‘follow’ – simple! ;)

Remember to follow @Leftyfretz on Twitter! Take a look at the companies we follow and you’ll find a few you will probably want to follow as well.