Navigating Instagram as a Musician | Instagram Tips for Musicians
We can all agree that Instagram is a major social media platform. While some may argue that Facebook is still king, surely Instagram has surpassed Twitter and that old relic, Myspace.
Reportedly, there are one billion active users on Instagram. For the sake of perspective, that is roughly 13-14% of the world's population. This makes Instagram a fantastic social platform to grow your fanbase.
That's a lot of people. So, if you know that your audience is on instagram and spends a significant amount of time there, why wouldn't you use Instagram to benefit yourself as a Musician or Music Producer?
Sure, the market is a bit saturated, but that is why we are presenting the following 12 Instagram Tips for Musicians & Music Producers to help you stand out amongst the crowd.
Let's dive into the tips!
Table of Contents:
- Name and URL
- Make the Most of Your Bio
- Professional Profile Picture
- Use a Business Profile
- Mix-up Your Content
- Consider Video Length
- Hashtag Strategy
- Don't Ignore Your Instagram Story
- Consider Syncing with Facebook & Twitter
- Engage with Other Users and Return Engagement
- Localize Posts
- Tag Venues and Artists
1. Name and URL
This one won't matter as much in terms of getting your page in front of others; more so, this impacts how easily people will be able to find you.
This tip may feel like a given, but you may be surprised. Make sure your handle and name accurately reflect your band name, musician (stage) name, or music production company label.
Even if you're not quite sure if Instagram is right for you, make sure you jump on and secure your band name/company name. Technically, every second you wait is another second someone else could snag that handle.
If your band name is taken or a play on a very common word or phrase, try adding "band" to the end of the handle. For example, if your band name is "Fireworks," which is likely taken, try "FireworksBand." "Band" is likely the next word someone trying to find your music will add to their search to track your Instagram page down.
If you have a little free time on your hands or want to get into the nitty-gritty, you can check out Instagram's trademark policy here.
2. Make the Most of Your Bio
You have a character limit in your bio and can only utilize one link, so make the most of it. Try to explain exactly what your band or music production company is like as concisely as possible. Consider the following:
- Where are you located?
- What is your genre?
- Do you have an upcoming tour/show?
- Have you worked with any popular musicians/producers?
When it comes to your link, consider what value you will attain based on where you send them. Do you have a website? Or what about a SoundCloud or Bandcamp?
The choice of whether you'd like to gain new followers or increase your listens will dictate which link you include.
Bonus tip: Feel free to change your bio link depending on what is relevant. If you have a new single on SoundCloud, change the link to that. Are you doing a Black Friday Merch sale? Change your link to your shop page, if you have one.
Just don't forget to change the link back to your go-to main link.
3. Professional Profile Picture
If you want listeners, fans, and other musicians to take you seriously, you're going to have to do better than a bathroom selfie as your profile picture.
We aren't saying you need a high-end, fancy picture shot with a thousand dollar lens (although, if you have done a photoshoot, this would be great), but a respectable picture can go a long way.
Another option is your music production logo, band's logo, or album artwork. Human faces are easier to connect with as fans, but if you have a recognizable logo that can undoubtedly help with branding. The problem you can run into is if the circular profile photo display cuts off important text.
Also, make sure your font choice is legible, but that's stepping into marketing design, which we will save for another day.
4. Use a Business Profile
There are absolutely no drawbacks to having a business profile for your band or music production company rather than a personal profile. However, there are significant benefits to switching.
What are they, you may ask? We are talking about insights.
How many new followers have you gained this month? Which day of the week did you accumulate the most followers? Which posts have made the most impressions?
The insights, should you care to look at them, can really help you sculpt your plan as far as posting on Instagram as a musician. You can discover which posts work the best, why they work the best, which ones lead people to click on your profile, and much more.
Word of warning: Don't let the insights and statistics keep you up at night. If you have a post that absolutely flops or you lose a couple of followers, it isn't the end of the world.
Instagram's value is that it is a wonderful way to promote your music, but that doesn't mean your music's value is directly related to your "Instagram value."
5. Mix-up Your Content
Humans are creatures of habit, so it is no surprise that you may find yourself questioning what you should post and sticking to a regular routine of posts.
Routine posts can be a good thing so that your followers know what to expect, such as "music Monday," or "Solo Saturday." But your options for posting on Instagram are limitless!
Here are a few suggestions we have to so you can mix your content up:
- Practice videos
- Clips of interviews
- Clips of music videos
- New merchandise
- New gear
- Live show clips
- Behind the scenes clips
- Lyric notebooks
- Graphics you create displaying lyrics and imagery
- TABS, if you're covering a new song
- Your practice space
- Venues you like to perform at
- Show/gig flyers
- Comments/feedback from fans and listeners
As you can see, you can have a lot of fun with what you choose to post on Instagram. If you are a musician, band member, or music producer, you are creative-minded, put that noggin to good use.
When it comes to posting content, consider quality over quantity. Posting often isn't a bad thing, but it is better to post a little less often with genuine, creative content rather than every single day or multiple times a day with generic, un-engaging content.
Consistently Posting bland content that doesn't speak to your audience and isn't relevant to you as a musician could actually have an adverse impact and lead to users unfollowing you, and no one wants that!
6. Consider Video Length
Believe it or not, too much content can be a real thing.
Instagram is an image/graphics platform. It's all about visuals. You don't want to bog it down with too much text or lengthy videos.
When it comes to posting videos on Instagram, consider 60 seconds the absolute maximum, with a goal of keeping your clips around 30 seconds or so.
Want to make videos more engaging? Try an app like boomerang. It's quick and fun for your viewers.
7. Hashtag Strategy
If you have a competitive side or enjoy trial-and-error, hashtags can be a fun component to Instagram for you. The purpose of a hashtag is to expand the reach of your post. Hashtags allow Instagram users who are not following you to see your posts and engage with them.
Naturally, you can see why this is beneficial for a musician, band, or music producer to increase their fanbase. Let's talk about some Instagram Hashtag best practices.
Load up: Don't be stingy with your hashtags. The maximum amount of hashtags you can use per post is 30, which doesn't mean you have to swing for the fences every post, but try to keep at minimum around 11-15 hashtags.
Stay Relevant: The more specific, the better. Don't use terms and lingo all across the music industry spectrum. Try to narrow your hashtags to reach and engage a specific target audience based on your post.
For instance, if you post a video of your drummer performing an awesome fill, don't include hashtags like #band, #guitar, or #bestmusicvideo. Rather, try #drummer, #drummerscene(your city), #drumfills, #bestdrumfills.
Vary the Follower Numbers: When you use the hashtag symbol and start typing, Instagram will suggest options and include how many users follow each hashtag.
You may be tempted only to include the hashtags that have millions of followers because you want to reach the maximum amount of users, but this is not a good idea. Think about each follower using the hashtag as your competition. The more saturated each hashtag is the harder you'll have to fight to catch the user's eyes and ears.
That is why it is smart to mix it up. Let's say you follow our suggestion and include 12 hashtags.
Include a few relevant hashtags that have a million or more followers, than choose a couple with multiple thousand followers, than a few hashtags that include 9,999 followers or less, than a hashtag or two that are 1,000 or less.
Prepare: This may be a little time consuming, but if you have a post you know is fantastic and high-quality content and want to raise your opportunities of it being seen, do some research.
Search which hashtags are high-value in that specific category. Type in a few hashtags and before you click on them, find the ones you want to use based on how many people follow each hashtag.
Once you've done your research, compile all of your hashtag options on a piece of paper. That way, when you finally post your image or video, you don't have to scramble to quickly find the hashtags you intended to use. You'll have them all written down in front of you.
Time-consuming? Yes. Worth it? That's up to you.
Use the Comment Section: Studies have shown that your post is likely to receive higher engagement if your hashtag list is in the first comment rather than the post's actual caption.
Whether it is just a aesthetic component regarding users not liking the appearance of hashtags in the caption (it may look a little spammy) or if it has to do with Instagram's algorithm, it isn't quite clear.
However, the stats say they work better in the first comment, so we will include it as a best practice!
8. Don't Ignore Your Instagram Story
Posting is great, but don't ignore those Instagram Stories. Stories are short, temporary posts rather than the permanent editions on your wall.
Stories are great for posts that show behind the scene videos, pictures, or posts that you want to get "out there" that may not quite be relevant enough to permanently live on your wall.
You can even hashtag in your stories now so they are discoverable by folks that aren't currently following you. Another great feature is you don't have to stress about "the best time to post."
A lot of people ask, "How often should musicians post on Instagram?" Instagram stories can alleviate a lot of this stress. They are visible for 24 hours, so if you make at least two posts in a single day about 10 - 12 hours apart, you are covered for the entire 24 hours and don't necessarily have to worry about when you're posting.
9. Consider Syncing with Facebook & Twitter
If you don't vary your posts between Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and still want to hit up every social media platform, you should set up your Instagram to sync with them.
This could save you a ton of time when you consider logging into each account, posting the text, finding the image, uploading the image, and so on.
Now, is this a feature we inherently recommend? Not necessarily.
This all comes down to understanding yourself as a musician or music producer and what your fanbase looks like, so to speak, on each platform. Do you have a younger crowd on Instagram compared to Facebook? Do they engage and respond to the same types of posts?
If there is consistency, by all means, sync those accounts! But, if you treat each platform a little differently or want to make each platform unique (and increase each platforms value), it may be better to vary it up. This tip comes down to your free time and understanding of your audience.
10. Engage with other Users & Return Engagement
Here is where a lot of musicians, bands, and producers set themselves up to fail. You can't just create an Instagram, post content, and expect everyone to come rushing to you.
Unfortunately, that isn't how it works. Here is a great quote by author Dale Carnegie that is incredibly applicable to social media, "you can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
So what does this mean? Unless you have already made a name for yourself and are essentially famous when you hop on Instagram, you can't post and be un-engaged. Add friends, add other bands, add bands that those bands are following, and engage!
Comment on their posts, but be genuine and thoughtful. Don't type generic responses like "cool pic" or "nice!" Take the time to really listen to their videos and look at their pictures. Ask questions, tell them specifically what you like about the post. Engagement can go a long way.
Also, if someone takes the time to comment on one of your posts, be sure to respond back. It will make the exchange feel more personable for the user that commented and it could strike a fantastic chord (no pun intended....well, maybe) inside the user and make them a bigger fan of your music and work.
11. Localize Posts
There are a ton of intricacies involved with why people post and what their overarching goal is, but let's break it down to make this simple: posting will help you increase your brand and presence.
So, why wouldn't you want to let the community you are reaching out to let you know where you are?
Whether you are a music producer trying to establish yourself in a particular city or you're in a band on tour in an out-of-state town and you want to entice fans to attend, including the location tag on your posts could prove to be very helpful.
12. Tag Venues & Artists
Remember when we were talking about how important it is to utilize engagement? This is similar to that, but we are talking about tagging.
Let's say you are in a band who just played the best show of your career. The venue was packed, the people were fun, and the location was perfect. Naturally, you probably would like to play there again.
When you inevitably post your great action shot of jumping on stage with the guitar over your head, why not take the venue's instagram handle in that post? Then create a story and include a hashtag targeting that venue?
Did you open for a bigger band you'd like to play with again? Post a video of a song from their set, tell your fans to follow them, and why you enjoyed sharing the stage with them. This is a simple, yet powerful, way to build positive relationships within your music community.
Important tip: Make sure to do your due diligence and check that you are tagging the correct artist or venue. Taking the a minute to visit their page and gather the correct Instagram handle could save you a lot of headaches later.
Start Rapidly Growing Your Instagram Following Today
There you have it. Our 12 Tips for Musicians and Music Producers on Instagram. If this article interested you, check out our blog discussing marketing strategies for audio engineers.
While these tips aren't necessarily exclusive to the music industry, we wanted to frame them in a particular way to help you understand how you could gather the most use of this great and growing social media platform.
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