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Entrepreneur Alan Smithson and London-based DJ Felix Da Housecat. (Handout)
Entrepreneur Alan Smithson and London-based DJ Felix Da Housecat. (Handout)

Guest Column

How I used Twitter to meet and sell to DJs Add to ...

Twitter connects you to the world.

Not only are your messages public, they are available for anyone to read. You can share photos, updates, websites, and videos from your friends or followers. Twitter does not discriminate – you can’t shut people out even if you wanted to.

There are countless stories of major corporations being called to task by average people. Twitter is the voice of the masses. Some companies deal with this well – @PizzaPizzaLtd, for example, gave me a $40 gift card when I complained on Twitter – but many handle complaints poorly

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I have used Twitter for my business to set up meetings and to develop relationships with DJs and celebrities from around the world. When you send a message using someone’s handle on Twitter – “@infected how are you today?” – there’s a good chance the person you’re flagging will read it. It may not be the intended artist or celebrity, it could be one of their handlers, but many of them read and respond to their own tweets.

I know Netherlands-based DJ @arminvanbuuren spends a lot of time interacting with his fans on Twitter and Canadian performer @deadmau5 even proposed to tattoo artist @thekatvond on the network.

In 2011, when my company was starting to take off, our multi-touch software Emulator was relatively unknown by famous DJs, so I jumped on a plane to head to a place I knew most of the world’s best would be over the summer: Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain famous for its nightlife and electronic music scene.

Once there, I used Twitter to follow the DJs around the island based on their tour schedules, which are posted online. I don’t want to come across the wrong way, but I used these artists tweets – such as “I am having dinner at @MamboIbiza” – to find out what restaurants and hotels they would be at, then I got in my car and just “happened” to show up at the same restaurant or hotel.

Once I "bumped into" the DJs I would introduce myself and ask if they knew my product. Most said yes and we would start the conversation that would lead to me doing a demo for them and eventually selling to them. 

I met @tocadisco @steveaoki @EddieHalliwell and many others using this simple yet powerful tool. Since then, I have used Twitter to bypass managers and go directly to the source (I’m too busy to be given the runaround). The strategy has allowed me to form amazing friendships online with some very talented artists.

While Facebook is the world’s most-used social media tool, it is more of a closed loop. Twitter is an open communication portal between you and the entire world, and as such it yields enormous power as the voice of individuals everywhere. It’s a forum for businesses to address customer concerns, and a way for anyone to try to connect with their target audience in 140 characters or less.

Alan Smithson is the co-founder and CEO of SmithsonMartin Inc. Follow him on Twitter @SmithsonMartin.

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