Instagram is an extremely important tool in any artist's social media arsenal, provided it's used effectively. Here we look at some solid Instagram practices to employ in order to get the best results from the platform.
By Katherine Forbes, author of Bandcamp - The E-Course
I love Instagram and recently started a new account for all things music and marketing.
PART 1: PROFILE PICTURE CONSISTENCY
This one is easy, and I will say it every day (you’ve been warned)! The goal is to create consistency across all of your platforms so your accounts are easily recognizable. You get bonus points if you pick a photo to match your website branding.
[Option 1]: Choose a photo (preferably a professional shot) with you/your band all looking at the camera.
[Option 2]: Use your most recent album cover
PART 2: LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE
Since links in Instagram captions aren’t active, the only chance you have to share a link is in your profile. You get one shot! Don’t mess it up.
A link to your homepage is good...
A link to your shop is even better...
A link to your email sign up page is smart...
A link to your email sign up page that includes a free download for signing up is gold.
PART 3: UPDATE YOUR BIO
If your username does not make it clear who you are, say it in your bio! Emojis allowed.
PART 4: CREATE COLOR, LAYOUT, AND LIGHTING CONSISTENCY
Instagram is such a visual platform and for that reason it is so important to create a consistent and cohesive look!
Bandcamp Instagram Rules:
1 Always use the same crop. Aka don’t use a mix of square images, horizontal images, images with borders, etc. Pick one and stick to it.
2 Create a color scheme. This does not mean using the same filter every time (the original photo lighting dictates how a filter looks). Either go natural, faded, sepia, saturated, etc. But again... pick one and stick to it.
3 Do not take photos within the Instagram app. Just don’t.
4 Try to use natural lighting whenever possible.
5 Do not post blurry concert photos. Or blurry photos in general. #unprofessional
6 If your photo does not fit rules 1-5, consider posting it on Facebook instead ;-)
PART 5: USE (BUT HIDE) YOUR INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS
I will start by saying that I used to be “against” using a lot of hashtags… it seemed spammy and as if people were just begging for likes. Once I learned that there are hashtags other than #music #goals #love, I started to use more specific hashtags. If you think of hashtags as a way to show your target audience "hey I'm *|FNAME|* - I'm over here doing cool stuff and I think you might like it," I promise hashtags will not be as annoying and you will see your account grow!
I am so glad that Instagram recently limited how much caption initially shows up under a photo. I am sure you agree that no one wants to click to continue reading a caption just to be overwhelmed with 30 hashtags. Here’s how to avoid being that person…
1 Get out your phone
2 Open a new note
3 Copy and paste the following pink text into your note:
#insert up to 30 hashtags here
4 Add your favorite hashtags.
5 When you’re ready to make an Instagram post, copy and paste your note as a comment. The hashtags will hide nicely (and look like [...]) but still tag your image! Just make sure to do this quickly after posting your photo.
PS. Did you know you can hashtag emojis on Instagram? Now you do.