If Instagram isn’t a platform you are already using as a music artist then you should be.
Not only is it one of the most used social media platforms in the world (300 million users log on every day – that’s a lot of music fans), but you also get a higher level of engagement on Instagram than you do on Facebook, which is crucial if you are focusing on growing your audience.
Finally, Instagram’s features lend themselves really well to music artists as you can not only photograph all the behind-the-scenes of what you do, but also share video and audio (albeit in small clips) and now that it’s launched Instagram live, it also allows you to broadcast activities and performances at any time you wish.
I want to highlight why you should be using Instagram as a music artist and how to optimise this so you’re getting the most from this incredible tool.
Treat your Instagram account as a music blog
As with any social media platform, it’s best not to think of your Instagram account as a promotional platform or a way of selling your music.
Instead, think of it as a way of building a relationship with your audience and sharing things which will be of value to them – things they’re going to be passionate about and enjoy. These are likely the same things you are passionate about and enjoy, namely music.
It follows that showing what you do as a musician – rehearsing, recording, songwriting, singing, performing – is going to be of interest to your online followers.
Instagram allows you to document your day-to-day musical journey, easily & quickly, creating a blog all about your music. However unlike a blog you don’t need to write long-form, as the emphasis is on the visual.
And because you are documenting rather than creating content with this approach, Instagram provides new and independent artists with a way of sharing value and telling your story in a sustainable way.
Why? Simply put, hashtags allow your audience to find you when searching for content via hashtag. This means they immediately give you more visibility to those already seeking out #singers and #newmusic, for example.
It is worth doing some research on which hashtags are most used within your field or genre. A tool you may find useful for choosing the relevant hashtags for you is websta.me. This allows you to search hashtags relevant to your field to find the most used ones.
In fact, if you go to websta.me/hot you can also search the top 100 hashtags being used on Instagram right now. At time of writing ‘Music’ is currently number 42 of the top 100 used hashtags on Instagram.
You can also create your own hashtags, related to any current campaigns or musical activity (for example, a song name, EP release, a catchphrase you use, or something you’re known for).
Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags per post, however this can end up looking a bit untidy (and some would say spammy) if all added into the body of the post caption. To avoid this you could use 4 or 5 hashtags in your main caption, but you may then also want to add a further 25 in a separate comment underneath to help ensure your post is ranked and seen by as many people as possible.
Make use of the features Instagram is pushing
At the moment, this means Instagram stories and Instagram live.
Don’t shy away from using these great tools, especially as engagement in the stories and live feeds tends to be higher than engagement on individual posts. They allow you to engage more directly with fans, especially in the live videos where you can address people’s comments and questions live. And how fantastic for fans to be able to open up their Instagram accounts and hear an artist they love, live from their living room! As a music lover, for me this is something that never gets old.
Instagram stories and Instagram live are also a great way of sharing several moments from your day, as opposed to feeling like you are spamming followers by posting 12 photos a day. This is particularly useful of course on a day such as an EP release day or the day of a big show, allowing you to document the day from start to finish, including all the behind-the-scenes.
1. For brand consistency, use the same profile picture that you do elsewhere online and create a relevant biog.
2. In order to space the biography as you would like, you may need to type this out elsewhere (for example in ‘notes’ on your phone) then copy and paste it into your Instagram biography as the app doesn’t allow you to do this within it.
3. Link it to your main social media platform and/or place to hear your music (Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud etc).
4. Add your location to your posts wherever possible too. This further adds to the blog-like element of your account, and helps others who’ve visited that same location find you.
5. As a time saving tip you may want to type the 30 hashtags most relevant to your posts into the notes on your phone and then simply copy and paste these into a comment on your Instagram posts each time you post.
6. Engage with people – if followers ask questions, answer them, if they like or comment something you’ve posted, acknowledge them, and get involved with others on Instagram who you like (for example, fellow music artists). In short, show your appreciation.
7. Finally, Instagram is one platform that I think is best not scheduled in advance – for a more organic and natural blog feel, simply snapshot your musical activities as you go!
For even more tips and information on how to optimise Instagram as a music artist, you can watch our AR Seminar on this topic here.