Instagram has become one of the best places to share content on social media, and with more than 700 million active users, it’s especially useful for bands and musicians to get the word out about their music. The best part? Instagram is easy to use, and doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. But having a strategy in place is important to make sure you’re making the most of Instagram. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, read on for some helpful tips.

Social media moves fast. Making sure you show up in your followers’ Instagram feeds is an important part of your overall Instagram presence. In order to achieve this, you have to post many types of content and post it often. While you may want to post photos of recording in the studio or doing a sound check at a show, which are both great options, you also need to change it up sometimes. For example, take a look at some bands/musicians on Instagram and see what they use for content:

  • Andrew McMahon – of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. He posts a mix of concert photos, photos from his everyday life and family, and charitable causes. He interacts with fans and posts from the cities he is touring in, giving people a real look into his life on the road as a musician.

  • Country Musician Blake Shelton’s Instagram account is another good example of using different types of content to engage and grow your audience. He uses a mix of personal photos, videos, and concert and album photos to keep things interesting and relevant.

While it’s important to show photos of the music being made and the crowds at your shows, people also like to see the human element and to be reminded that we all do everyday things like eat, spend time with friends and family, and other daily routine tasks. Showing this everyday side of your life makes you more relatable and your content that much more likely to be shared.

By sharing the content of other musicians or bands that have a common style or interest, you’re showing your followers that you want to introduce them to other music. You’re also introducing your music to the followers and fans of that group by using an @mention and/or relevant hashtags. You can even go as far as coordinating a social “takeover” where you can temporarily take over the page of another musician and vice-versa. This way you’ll be able to promote your music to an entirely new audience and hopefully gain followers and engagement.

Having Instagram followers is a great start, but you don’t just want them liking your photos and videos. You want them spreading the word about your music and coming to shows. By encouraging your fans to share experiences on Instagram, such as video clips or photos from shows or appearances, you’ll create a base of brand advocates that help you build your fan base even. Want to grow these brand advocates even more? Take pictures with your fans. At concerts, at events, or maybe even while you’re spotted out in public. For a fan, having a photo taken with their favorite musician is definitely something to share on social media.

Create a unique hashtag such as “#johnsmithlive and let fans know to @mention you when they have something to share. This will not only show that fans users your content, but it also gives you an opportunity to interact directly with fans via social media. You can even call out fans on social media for sharing your videos and content by using an @mention of the fan’s Instagram name. Showing your fans that you appreciate their support will go a long way toward building – and keeping – a loyal fan base.

Instagram is all about hashtags. Using effective hashtags can help get your content shared and gain followers. In addition to encouraging your followers to post with unique hashtags to share photos and videos, you can also search within Instagram to look for more generic or broad hashtags that would appeal to fans of your music such as #indyrock, #hiphop or #countrymusic for example. Clicking on these hashtags will bring up posts from everyone who has ever used that hashtag. From there you can see what kinds of content those users are sharing and liking, and you can even begin to follow some of those users and comment, etc. It’s not always the fans who have to start the conversation about your music.

Instagram recently launched Instagram stories – which are very similar to Snapchat stories and disappear after 24 hours. One way to use Instagram stories to promote your music is to include exclusive music content in your story for a “limited time.” This would allow those loyal fans who watch your Instagram story to be rewarded with exclusive content before it’s released.

Social media is all about content that’s meant to be shared – both between users and also between platforms. Be sure all of your social accounts are cross-promoted and similarly named so if someone from Facebook is looking for you on Instagram, they don’t have to look too hard. Instagram has a 60-second time limit for video clips, but what if you want to share a whole music video? One way is to put a clip of the video on Instagram, and then add a link to the entire video on YouTube where people can also access all of your other video content.

Like all social media, Instagram is a constantly evolving platform and changes frequently. What works now may not produce the same results down the road. That’s why it’s important to keep track of what’s working and what’s not. There are some free tools you can use to measure specific analytics on your content, including the most popular photos, comments, and even the most successful times of day to post content.

Instagram is one of the leading ways musicians are promoting their content, and with some planning you can increase followers, boost engagement, and ultimately create more fans of your music. Getting started is easy, and by utilizing the tools above you can start to increase your Instagram presence right away!

Have you successfully promoted your music on Instagram? Tell us about it in the comments.

Kaley Hart is a San Diego based digital strategist and writes for Jumper Media social media marketing column. She loves working with small businesses, and telling their stories through social media. Kaley is very talented, but her most impressive quality is the ability to identify any dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Go Bruins! You can connect with her on Twitter @kaleyhearts


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