Looking for ways to promote your music on Instagram?
Don't worry – Instagram is not a hard platform to use. But you will need to put a little bit of forethought into your strategy if you want to make the most of it.
Here are 20 quick fire Instagram marketing tips for musicians.
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Instagram Marketing Tip 1. Choose A Memorable Account Name
Really think this through. Don't just put “chris_johnson_889” in there because your name is too common to be available as a username on Instagram.
Pick something that's easy to remember and easy to find. For example, “cjmusic” would be way better than “chris_johnson_889”.
2. Create A Photo Series
This is all about creating anticipation, and is entirely useless if you don't build it up. Post something weekly around a specific theme and create a custom hashtag for it too (i.e. #FridayCheatDay for when you have a “cheat” meal on your diet).
This shouldn't be your whole strategy, but it is fun to do, and people love fun.
3. Encouraging Fans To Take Photos Is Great Music Marketing On Instagram
Get your fans involved at every level. Get them to take photos (or maybe even quick video clips) at your concert, and have them add a hashtag relevant to your band, or even @mention you. You can accomplish immeasurably more with the help of your fans.
4. Take Photos With Your Fans
Did anyone special turn up at your concert? Are fans running up to you after your show to take a photo or to get a T-shirt signed?
Document these events by snapping a photo and posting it to Instagram. Give yourself a bit of a credibility boost – when you can show that your fans do indeed love you, onlookers will start to assume that you're good.
5. Remember To Complete Your Profile
Please don't be lackadaisical about this. Instagram doesn't give you the option of providing a lot of information – just a quick summary. So it's not as though it's going to be a huge time sink.
Just remember to include all relevant keywords in your description. Don't be too cute or inventive – it should be clear that you're a musician, and people should be able to get an idea of the kind of music you play too. Oh, and don't forget that web address. Build a website if you don't have one. Seriously.
6. Cross-Post And Promote Music Related Things Liberally
Unless you're posting an insane number of photos on a daily or weekly basis, I wouldn't be too worried about “offending” your followers with a large number of updates. Take advantage of Instagram's built-in functionality to cross-post to other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
7. Think Strategically
Have a plan for your Instagram marketing. Think about when you're going to post and what. Stick to your plan unless it isn't working.
8. Tweak Your Instagram Marketing Strategy
Is nobody engaging with the photos you post at 11 PM? Try 7 PM instead. Are your photos not interesting enough to catch the attention of your fans? Try something else.
9. Stay Consistent
You're not going to see any results from your efforts if you don't stay on schedule. Stick with your plan and show up regularly.
10. Work As A Team
If you're a solo musician, and you don't have anyone working with you, then more power to you. But if you're a singer/songwriter with a marketing team, or a band with a few members, then create a band-specific account and share in the posting duties.
11. Use An Instagram Widget On Your Blog Or Website
Display Instagram photos on your website using a WordPress plugin (like WP Instagram Widget), or just go to Instagram.com and use the “Embed” function to grab a photo for your blog. Don't do this if you aren't planning on posting new photos frequently.
12. Use The Right Number Of Hashtags When Promoting Your Music On Instagram
Studies show that 11 hashtags per photo is the ideal number for driving engagement.
But don't take this at face value – it's always a good idea to test things out for yourself and see what works best.
13. Tell Stories
Instagram can be used as a microblogging platform to share stories with your fans. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the words you use still matter, because they can clear up confusion, trigger laughter, provoke emotion, and so on. Think carefully about what you need to cover in your photo's description.
14. Showcase Your Personality
So you have 100 photos of your band onstage. Trust me, you need a little more variety to spice things up. People want to see you in the studio, in your rehearsal space, at the park, at the restaurant… Show your band taking a breather in front of a TV screen, or show off the new anime DVD you just bought.
15. Comment On Other People's Photos
This is an often forgotten and largely ignored part of Instagram marketing. You'll create some fast friends by leaving detailed comments on other people's photos and actually following through on their call to action.
Don't forget – it's not all about you! You need to be thinking about why others are going to follow you – what's in it for them?
16. Follow Other People
Don't forget to follow friends, family members, influencers, industry people, people that interest you, people you want to build a connection with, and so on.
17. Connect With Other Musicians
Resist the temptation to work alone. Build alliances with other bands and promote each other's content.
18. Pay Others To Promote
This is an advanced strategy and should only be done if you have the budget for it. As always, we want to warn you against spending money you don't have, going into debt, or taking unnecessary risks.
But sometimes paying for attention can work. You can approach popular Instagram account holders to see if they would be willing to share a photo of yours – usually for a little bit of money.
19. Acquire Popular Profiles
This is another way to leverage other people's accounts to build your own, but the same warning applies: be careful with your money!
If you want to, you can negotiate with popular account holders and purchase access to their account, then use these as your own. Just remember to buy an account that is already connected to music in some way.
20. Run Giveaways
You can drive more engagement to your Instagram account by giving away merch. You could, for instance, randomly choose winners from those who comment on your giveaway photo. It's up to you how you do it – just make sure not to violate Instagram's terms of service.
Make it your goal to connect with people on Instagram. It won't do you much good to put your photos out into the void hoping that others will find you and come to you. Be proactive if you're serious about making it work!
Remember to promote your Instagram account through your website, on your business cards, at concerts, and so on to let people know that you're ready and willing to interact with them.