If you’re an up and coming band using social media to get the word out there, the chances are you’re on Instagram already. If you’re not, you’re missing out: this photo and video sharing platform has become a useful tool for musicians, with many notable bands using it as an integral part of their marketing tactics. As one of the fastest growing networks ever, with over 50 million registered users, Instagram places its focus on images and video above all, capitalising on the popularity of cell-phones and Ipads and their suitability for candid documentary shots.
Do your Research
If it’s going to work for you, first make sure you understand why it’s worked for others. Check Rihanna’s profile for one: her people are using Instagram in canny ways, as well as Bon Iver, Questlove, Taylor Swift and Zooey Deschanel. All of these bands have highly personalised Instagram feeds: showing photos, backstage gossip, and quirky humorous stuff that gives their fans a unique insight into their own lives and keeps them coming back for more. As with all social media, the trick is to make your feed personal. Social media networks thrive by creating the illusion of a neighbourhood or community space which supports peoples sense of themselves, so use this to your advantage!
Build Your Following
Put aside just 3 minutes every day and follow 30-50 users. Who should you choose? Well, start by finding the ten bands most like your own, then follow every one of their followers. This is an incredibly targeted way to begin to build a network that is ideally targeted to your own product. Rinse and repeat.
Post something every day
Assuming it takes about 2 minutes to post an image on Instagram, that brings your daily total to a mere 5 minutes. Consistency is a useful asset on the social networks and, by giving your fans something every day, you’ll start to build a reputation and a reliable Instagram presence. Resist the temptation, however, to encourage your new fans to buy anything too often: once a month is about the limit for commercial offers.
What should you post?
Gigs – Have a friend or audience member taking shots at every single gig, then edit them down for the best. You want shots which reflect the vibe and which encourage others to come down to the next one so try to evoke atmosphere and a sense of fun!
Fans – As you start to get established, taking shots with fans and then sharing it on your main feed is a nice way to give the fan a sense of inclusion and a moment in the spotlight.
In the Studio – For non musicians, the studio is a near mystical place where the magic is made so don’t miss the opportunity to get yourself photographed in the creative process. For your listeners on Instagram, this is bring them as close as possible to the heart of your bands alchemy and they’ll love to see it.
Personal Stuff – You don’t have to do this but if you don’t mind sharing then give the fans a sense of what it means to be you: your house, dog, what you had for dinner. Again, this is a subtle art which can be overdone but at the right level, you’re pulling back the curtain to show your fans the person behind the music. These kind of intimate shots can really add to the idea of your Instagram feed as a private window into your band’s world, and hence keep the fans very happy!
About the author:
Jane McInness blogs about the music industry, as well as writing for the recently relaunched Imagem PM website.