With over 300 million active users, Instagram has become an incredibly important tool for self-promoting artists. In this article we examine how bands and musicians can grow their presence on the popular photo sharing platform.
Guest Post by Colleen Kinsey
You can’t afford to ignore social media. It’s a free way to grow your fan base and create a bigger digital following! The latest and greatest photo-sharing app is Instagram, which now has over 300 million active users. That makes Instagram bigger than Twitter!
Sure, you can use man hours to walk around the city, putting up posters, and getting an unbecoming sunburn, but why not promote yourself, or your band from the comfort of your couch? Follow these steps to get yourself in the Instagram door for free!
Utilize your current network
Whether you fan base is as small as your immediate family, or you have 3,000 followers on Facebook, you have people that you can digitally reach. Announce your Instagram account to your fans and followers through your social channels, such as: Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine, e-mail list, website, etc. I would even recommend adding your Instagram handle on your posters and promotional products.
Post high quality photos
Instagram is the perfect example where quality is better than quantity, because it’s a completely visual platform. You will see much better results if you skip posting 25 photos from the gig last night. Instead post 5 of the best pictures you have. I recommend posting them throughout the next couple days, so you have the better chance of hitting more users.
Or, maybe you focus on photos/short videos showcasing your band. Perhaps, you just bought the most beautiful, solid-wood acoustic guitar and want to show it off!
Studies show the following statistics on Instagram photos:
- Lighter images generate 24% more likes than dark images
- Photos with background space get 29% more likes
- Images with the dominate color being the shade of blue get 24% more likes than red
- Photos with one dominant color get 17% more likes versus those with multiple colors
- High levels of texture in a photo get 79% more likes!
Start Using Hashtags
Hashtags are a way for consumers to find topics that people are talking about. And the great thing about Instagram, is the more hashtags the better! There is no character limit and it helps more future fans find you.
You can start using hashtags by using the built-in Instagram search functionality. It shows the suggested hashtags for you and how many posts on Instagram use this hashtag. Research hashtags that your community and future fans may be using. I use HashAtIt and Hashtracking to analyze the hashtags and see what’s trending.
Build your followers, but be genuine
You can’t expect to just post great Instagram photos of your band and expect to have Instagram success over night. You need to interact with the community. You can do this by following Instagram users that post similar hashtags as you. In my personal experience, following people that are using the same hashtags results in about 1 follower per 20 likes, which takes less than a minute once you get the hang of it.
Comment on other people’s photos, but mean it. When you leave a copy and pasted comment like “Great photo!” it’s not actually interacting with the community. Leaving a meaningful comment and try to engage them with a question or compliment.
If you’re playing regular gigs, or frequent different venues, find those companies on Instagram. Then look through the people that follow the venue and request to follow them. This will bring users to your Instagram page!
Instagram is the latest in social media and you can use it to market your band! Make sure to post high quality photos and post strategically. You can also test out what times of the day you’re engaging your Instagram audience the most. Start using hashtags to help people find you and interact with the community!
Sources & Further Reading
Guest Post Author Bio- Colleen has a passion for guitars and ukuleles. She enjoys jamming, teaching, and getting others involved in music. Her website, Coustii, focuses specifically on guitars and ukes. Colleen loves to travel and uses her ukulele as a conversation starter on the road.