Instagram has long been the go-to platform for anyone hoping to share photos and short videos of their lives with the internet, but in recent weeks the company has gone to new lengths improve brand relations and provide long-desired improvements to their platform (account toggling, video view counts). Social media tips and tricks are talked to death as is, but considering these new innovations now seems as good a time as any for a quick refresher on how artists can make the most of their IG marketing efforts. Whether you’re new to the platform (which probably means you’re also a new artist – HELLO!) or simply trying to figure out if having an IG account even matters for your musical endeavors, the followings tips offer easy to apply techniques that we guarantee will deliver results.
Strategize first, post second.
Your band or solo music account is not your personal account and it should not be treated as such. Where the former offers spontaneous insight into your life, the latter needs to offer a far more focused look at your life. Before you can begin to do that in a meaningful way you should first decide what it is you want the world to see and how you want those images to reflect the music you create. Who are you as an artist? What do you represent? Be real with your audience and those who connect will engage regularly in the content you share. More importantly, they feel as if they know you in a way simply hearing your art does not allow.
When you do post, make sure you provide fans with quality content
The basic outline for musicians on Instagram is the same everywhere you look, and that’s because it works. You want to share your journey from the bottom to the top, along with all the highs and lows that ensure in between. You want to share the place where you write, the studio where you record, life in your van (be careful on this one), life on stage, life in the green room (this one too), and the day you make your big signing announcement, as well as various newsworthy tidbits like tours and song premieres. Your brand’s Instagram should sell your music through photos and video the way your music sells people when they hear it through speakers or headphones. This is the visual representation of yourself as an artist, and as more users begin to follow each post’s impact on your overall image will grow in perpetuity.
As always, communication is key.
Did you really think you could get away with simply posting images and videos on Instagram? Fans are going to react to the things you post and you should respond whenever possible. Talk to the people who care enough to talk to you (except the haters – never engage those trolls), and be sure to @them so they know you are speaking directly to them despite being connected solely through the internet.
Use meaningful hashtags. Yes, hashtags can and should have meaning.
We’ve all had our fair share of fun with #silly and #meaningless hashtag use, but if you want to make the most of your Instagram following you would be wise to take the pound sign a bit more serious moving forward. A hashtag can make people aware of a new album, tour, single, or any other development you could hope to market.
Hashtags can also bring people together. Take defunct emo rock deities My Chemical Romance, for example. Their fans, the creatively named MCRmy, uses #MCRmy whenever posting about the band online. Fans then use this hashtag to connect with others who enjoy the group, which in turns strengthens the fan base as a whole. Black Veil Brides’ fans have used a similar technique, with followers of that group posting #BVBarmy in their tweets and IG posts. Again, fans connect with each other while also sharing fun or meaningful media related to the group. The brand is spread, as is news about new albums and tours, all while fans are connecting with one another and developing a community built upon mutual admiration for the band. Everyone wins!
Make your Instagram a unique destination
While Ingstgram does allow users to share posts on other social media platforms it’s important to remember that not everyone will be connected with your brand on every site or app. With that mind, you should make an effort to treat each online community as its own hub for your group. Do not assume the people on Facebook know about the promotion you have on your IG and do not assume people on IG will want to give you a ‘Like’ on Facebook. Some of them probably don’t even have a Facebook!
Make your IG community a unique place to engage with your music and fans will begin to view it as something special, which it is. This will aide in developing your online community, as well as increase overall engagement with your audience. It also means more work, but it’s worth it.
James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.