How I Built a Passionate Micro-Chop Twitter Community by Sharing Other People's Work Alongside My Own

Some thoughts for artists on growing your audience by highlighting others.

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How I Built a Passionate Micro-Chop Twitter Community by Sharing Other People's Work Alongside My Own

Modern creators frequently feel significant tension between finding enough time to create more art while figuring out how to share it with people who care.

Today’s artists are also expected to churn out new material 24 hours a day, all while morphing into social media “gurus.” This can create an unhealthy cycle—artists and writers frequently DM or email me to say they feel unending pressure to make more material but can’t seem to grab people’s attention no matter how much they make. I’ve experienced the same struggle.

In the last year, however, I found more value in my time spent on social media—particularly Twitter.

Since late August of 2018 I’ve grown the Micro-Chop Twitter community from 1700 to over 6,000 people. In the last 28 days my tweets earned 1.2 million impressions. I earned 100,000 organic impressions yesterday, which is probably my most ever. This may seem insignificant to some people, but I’m only one person. Considering how sluggish my start on Twitter was it feels like a lot to me.

My audience is incredibly passionate, which helps quite a bit. The reaction I get through the Micro-Chop Twitter feed is sometimes comparable to the engagement of websites with much bigger accounts.

I’ve learned a lot in the year-plus since I started growing my Twitter presence. I want to share some of my strategies in hopes of helping others implement them in their own Twitter accounts—only if they want to of course. As always, I welcome feedback and would be happy to answer questions if you have any after reading this.

One of the first steps to getting Micro-Chop in front of more people on Twitter involved consistency. Up until about a year ago, I would just randomly drop article links into my feed. Then I started using something called Hootsuite to plan out my tweets and schedule them ahead of time.

I’m certainly not perfect. I still go through stretches where my posts are all over the place. More often than not, however, people who visit the Micro-Chop Twitter account will see tweets that I update frequently.

Right now, my personal sweet spot seems to be one new tweet every 30 minutes or so. It’s enough to keep a constant stream of new stuff without annoying the shit out of people—at least I hope so. I probably won’t keep such an ambitious schedule forever, but it’s really helping me expand my reach at the moment.

If that rate of tweeting seems exhausting and unsustainable, and it will to some people, throw it out the window. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be super prolific. I believe it doesn’t really matter what interval you tweet at as long as you establish some pattern of consistency. Even if it’s one or two tweets throughout the day, give your audience a reason to come back to you.

Another major key in building the Micro-Chop audience was my decision to regularly feature other people’s work. This started in late August of 2018 with a Daily 10-beat playlist I dubbed The Micro-Chop Daily X. My goal was to share one new 10-beat playlist every single day for a year straight. I didn’t quite hit my mark and it took closer to 15 months to complete the project, but I did make 365 playlists.

Each time I made one, I would share the playlist in my Twitter feed and tag all of the featured producers. This helped me build a ton of bridges and connect with so many new producers I was previously unfamiliar with. It also helped me develop a much better understanding of the music scene I try to write about on a regular basis. With each new playlist posted, I saw my twitter audience and engagement slowly expand bit by bit as my depth of understanding for beats/instrumental music grew.

There is great debate about playlists and the good vs. harm they do. I myself have very mixed feelings about them. That said, I believe my daily playlists helped introduce some of the featured musicians to new listeners. And that’s always one of the central goals to what I do at Micro-Chop—I want more people discussing, listening to, and reading about the neverending list of talented artists and producers out there.

Now that I have 365 playlists at my disposal I’m sharing one every single day for another year straight. With my audience much bigger now than the 1700 people I started out with in August of 2018, I hope the daily playlist idea further signal boosts as many producers as possible.

In 2020 I will also put an increased focus on sharing Bandcamp Daily articles and Bandcamp albums alongside my playlists, as Bandcamp is one of the most artist-friendly platforms out.

In addition to regularly scheduled/frequent tweets, daily playlists, and Bandcamp links, I’m also sharing more work by other people in general. This is a central part of my philosophy and it kind of runs counter to the winner takes all mentality that seems so pervasive these days. I hate the idea of hoarding power and resources. I will always share the wealth and try to signal boost as much good work as possible, no matter how big the Micro-Chop Twitter audience becomes.

Over time I’ve learned that people come to the Micro-Chop Twitter feed to see things related to the music I wrote about. They don’t necessarily visit to see my writing. In fact, it seems like my audience gets pretty burned out if that’s the only thing I share. They want to feel inspired and be part of the conversation—shoving links to my work in their face every half hour doesn’t really facilitate that.

So I share a lot of articles by other writers I enjoy reading. When I do, I make sure to have an image in the tweet along with the article link. I also tag the writer and their publication so they can retweet and share my tweet if they want to celebrate their own work. It’s also important to cite when sharing another writer’s article so the appropriate person gets credit for their work. Here’s an amazing Jean Grae oral history by Jerry L Barrow that I shared in the feed. It received quite a reaction.

I’m simultaneously figuring out how to integrate more videos into my feed. There are so many insanely good and relevant beatmaking/music production videos on YouTube that only have a few hundred or thousand views. Oftentimes, these videos are several years old. Their creators have moved on to new material and aren’t actively promoting or sharing them. That doesn’t mean my audience won’t be interested in these videos or find value in them. There are also plenty of beatmaking videos with huge view counts that my readers will also love.

Whether a video is well known or fighting to find an audience, I once again make sure that there’s a nice image in the tweet when I post a video link. I tag the video creator in case they want to share my tweet with their audience. I also tag them so my audience understands who created the video. So far this strategy seems to be working well.

Of course, in the end, I also want people to read and support my work. I’m still figuring out the right balance between how often I should share my article links along with all of the other things I share in my feed.

It’s a work in progress, but in the meantime I’ve successfully created a space where people gather to check out and discuss the music I love listening to and talking about. That certainly increases the chance that a new visitor might read one of my pieces at some point.

Okay, let’s do a quick TLDR recap if you want to try some of these Twitter strategies yourself so you can create your own community:

  1. Post consistently, even if it’s 1-2 posts a day.

  2. Share other people’s work often.

  3. Credit them in case they want to share your tweet with their audience. It is also important to credit shared work so people understand that it isn’t yours.

  4. Create and share your own work.

I know Twitter can be a toxic cesspool. I feel this way too at times, but now that I have a bit of an audience, I’m trying my best to understand how it all works and how I can use the app to inspire and inform people. I’m also realizing what a gift it is to be able to communicate so easily with people from all over the world.

I hope you use some of the strategies outlined in this article to connect with more people, expand your audience, and enrich other people’s lives. With Twitter, you never know who you might reach.

Thanks for reading, see you on Wednesday!