What is Instagram?
In all likelihood, you’re at least vaguely aware of what Instagram is and how it works. It was founded in 2010 on the basis that people could use the platform to share photos and short videos. It’s name is an amalgamation of ‘Instant Camera’ and ‘Telegram’. In 2012 Instagram was bought by Facebook and by 2016 there were over 700 million active users.
Read on to find out more about how you can use Instagram to reach new and existing fans.
1. Claim that Name
The idea of using Instagram to promote your music may not sound appealing to you now, but later down the line – as you get more bookings cultivating a greater public interest in what you’re up to – you may change your mind. Make sure you have claimed the name you want to go by before someone else does, even if you’re not planning on immediately using the account.
2. Check up on the Competition
Whenever you have a spare moment, why not check on what your peers are doing? There’s no need to copy anyone, but you can see which hashtags they’re using, the image styles you like and how often they’re posting. Work out what is working and what isn’t.
3. Split your Socials Content
It is possible to sync your facebook, instagram and twitter so that identical content is posted simultaneously across the platforms. However, this overlooks the particularities of these social channels.
For example, if you have a gig coming up you may wish to tag the venue in a tweet accompanied by an image of the poster. You can tag up to ten pages in an image, so you may want to tag local what’s on pages and news outlets in the hope of retweets from those accounts. On facebook you may wish to share the event page and using Instagram you could use a filtered image of the venue accompanied with a request for users to click a link in your bio for tickets.
4. Give the People What they Want
Don’t be afraid to experiment with content as its the best way to find out what works for you. You may be surprised to find that your followers are actually interested in that slightly unusual hobby you have, your fashion sense or your amusing daily observations.
You can keep a balance of promotional posts and crowd pleasers; promotional posts may be about forthcoming gigs, EP launches or anything else relevant to your work.
There is definitely an art to the frequency of instagram posts. You’ll learn as you become more familiar with using the platform how frequently your peers are posting. You don’t want to inundate your followers with samey posts, but at the same time you don’t want to be unfollowed because you’re not posting enough.
You can download a separate instagram reposting app, which allows you to find content by another user and repost it whilst crediting them. This is a great way of supporting other musicians you know and sharing any relevant content to your followers. Reposted content can be a great way of breaking up your profile and keeping things fresh.
7. Play Fair
If you’re expecting others to interact with you its only fair to interact with them. When you’re posting something new its good practice to search hashtags you’re using and interact with other users’ content. Comment, like and follow if you want comments, likes and follows!
8. Play Fair pt.2
…and on that note…
Playing the follow / unfollow game to gain followers is not good practice as people quickly see through it. Ask yourself this: Is it better to have a low but engaged following or a high but unengaged following? The answer should be the former.
Also, if you’re commenting on posts, don’t be tempted to indiscriminately paste ‘cool pic’ or other generic terms, as people will see through this too.
9. Cultivate Quality Engagement
You should enter into conversations with people you engage with rather than just a series of comments and likes. The more active you are with your current followers the more likely you are to get new followers.
10. Business Instagram
You’ve probably noticed that many companies have Instagram profiles, which look slightly different to personal accounts. If your aim is to use instagram as part of your marketing strategy maybe its for you.
This handy flow chart from Later should help you make your decision:
Key features of Instagram Business:
- Analytics allow you to ascertain when your followers are online, so that you can post at the best times
- Contact buttons at the top of your profile (great for potential bookings)
- Ability to promote posts to reach wider audience & target relevant users (eg. people within a certain radius of your next gig)