Marketers who get Twitter #Music could become social media rock stars

Twitter’s new #Music app is by no means an advertising tool, but it signals a bold indication about how far the site wants to innovate its user experience and make it a better marketing platform to boot.

Lara O'Reilly

Following the HMV demise and closure of indy record stores on an almost weekly basis, it’s nice to have another opportunity to flick through the shelves and discover something completely different. While #Music doesn’t have inimitable musty smell and a cashier with frightening knowledge of the early Melvins b-sides, it’s a fantastic music discovery tool – more on how it works here.

It might seem odd to some people that Twitter – without a bunch of music rights or an ecommerce store – moved into music. But, more than half of the users on Twitter follow a music artist and eight of the top 10 most followed accounts on Twitter are musicians.. Tony Wang, managing director for Twitter UK spelled it out at the company’s Twitter4Brands conference this week: “Music is the heartbeat of Twitter”.

Twitter has long described itself as the “town square”, where people can go to share news, vent their opinions, or simply listen to the noise. But day by day Twitter is reinventing the idea of the town square and now becoming more of a media owner, platform, hub – delete as necessary . The company is investing more ways to encourage users to visit the site as one of their first points of call when they switch on their phones or computers and make them stay there for longer.

#Music is a particular draw, not least because it’s a looker. The large images, seamless play function and ease of switching between sections will encourage usage in a way that the same functionality embedded into the current newsfeed wouldn’t. We’ve already seen what Twitter can do for video discovery with the launch of Vine and its speed of innovation shows no sign of slowing down a gear.

As well as #Music being visually compelling for consumers, it puts across the impression that Twitter is leveraging usage data for users’ benefit rather than on behalf of advertisers. Ultimately this loop will reach advertisers because by providing a fun utility by compiling user data, those tweeters are likely to share more of their interests on the site as a result, meaning more granular keyword targeting possibilities for brands.

While there are no plans to launch ad products on the #Music platform for now – and it’s worth considering there could never be pure-play ads on the site because to listen to full tracks users must have paid subscriptions to Spotify or Rdio – there are still some ways marketers can tweak their Twitter strategies to make the most of the app.

When artists who feature in ads get to the top of the singles charts, clever brands should tap into the zeitgeist and reference that fact through their social media marketing.

Now brands should also keep an eye on the Twitter Music charts to tap into the tracks that are hot right now – particularly those climbing up the charts in the #NowPlaying section, which reflects the music being listened to by the consumers they follow. The app could even act as a useful insight tool for brands to source the artists that could become suitable ambassadors – or simply an idea as to the relevant tracks to tweet about to their audiences.

The biggest announcement from Twitter for an advertising point of view this week was without doubt its new keyword targeting function (which my colleague Ronan Shields has shared his thoughts on here), but marketers shouldn’t overlook #Music as another weapon to their social media arsenal – especially as the stand-alone user experience heralds more exciting product updates to come.

Are you interested in hearing more about how to make Twitter work for your brand? The digital company’s director for the UK Bruce Daisley will be speaking about it at this year’s Marketing Week Live. Click here to find out more details.

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