Dominate Instagram as a Musician: 10 Actionable Tips (2023)
Musicians can leverage Instagram to get more fans, interact with existing ones and get more merchandise sales. If you are an aspiring musician looking for ways to get noticed on Instagram, these tips are for you!
The use of Instagram has been growing exponentially. In a matter of a couple of years, it evolved from a simple picture sharing service into a serious tool for social media marketing and audience building.
Entrepreneurs, celebrities, models, and other professionals have managed to earn a significant amount of money thanks to sponsored posts. Brands get a lot more follower interaction than they would otherwise receive with the platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Contrary to popular belief, organic growth on Instagram is not dead even in 2021.
Musicians can too leverage Instagram to get more fans, interact with existing ones and get more merchandise sales. If you are an aspiring musician looking for ways to get noticed on Instagram, these tips are for you!
This article assumes that you have a business Instagram account set up already. If not, you can follow this article: Set up a business account on Instagram
10 Actionable Tips to Get Noticed on Instagram As A Musician
Setup Your Profile Well
Setting up your profile well is crucial. People that stumble on your profile for the first time will take only 10 seconds to decide whether to follow you or not. You have to make an impact in these 10 seconds.
The hero picture (main display picture) should be something that connects with people.
Avoid using logos – you can maybe use a logo if you’re a band and a band picture of all members doesn’t fit into the picture.
This picture should define who you are, and it should match your personality and your music.
Avoid long threads of text. Be precise. Inform people about who you are, what you do and why should people follow you.
As an example. take a look at this bio. This bio tells people exactly what the artist does and there's a call to action.
Use the highlights section as a trailer for your page. Tell a story to the people. Don’t put stuff which only your existing fans would understand. Be clear and concise in your message.
Why should you be clear and concise? Because people go through 4 minutes of highlights in 5 seconds. You have to catch their attention while they are skimming through your profile.
Go step by step. Start with who you are, what kind of music you make and why you do it.
Each highlight section should have a purpose – about me, music, collaborations etc.
You can take inspiration from Anuv Jain's highlights section. He has added links to his profile on all music streaming platforms as separate highlights. This makes it easier for his first time visitors to listen to his songs in an instant.
Focus on Quality
Generally, those who follow musicians like you on Instagram are music producers, people who like your music, or people looking for mistakes to criticize. Regardless of who your follower or audience is, always put on an excellent show. If you’re sharing a video while you’re recording live, set your audio bitrate to high. If possible, aim for 128kbps bitrate. This will give your audience the eargasm that would leave them in awe.
Audio quality should always be excellent — buy a home recording setup if needed. Photo quality should be great as well — get a photographer or learn to take good pictures on your smartphone.
The engineers of Instagram said it themselves — better audio, and video quality means better post engagement. So, use this to your advantage and improve your followings.
If you want to record quality audio at home, you might want to take a look at this article: How to acoustically treat your home for audio recording
Analyze Your Audience and Shuffle Your Content
To get more followers, you need to study and understand your target audience and how you want them to interact with your social media.
The simplest way to do that is by creating a funnel and delivering content based on what your followers like and what you think might hook them in towards you.
This article provides strategies for both musicians who are new to Instagram or have started posting their content recently and musicians who have made their presence known but want to expand beyond a larger audience.
If you are a budding musician with a small fan base consisting of your friends and family, you will need to devote more of your time and effort to your music. Try to hook more and more people with your music.
For musicians with an established fanbase following their music for a while now, give your fans a little more than just your music. Try to make a deeper connection; show them who you are when you are not making music, how you spend your Sundays, what inspires you to make the music you do. These small but simple things can spark curiosity amongst your fans and would leave them asking for more.
If you use the Instagram Insights and Professional Dashboard wisely, you can get a better idea about what content works for your audience vs what doesn't.
These are tools provided by Instagram to help you analyse your content and audience. To get a better understanding of these tools, you can refer these articles:
Post at the Right Time
The next step would be to choose the right time for your posts. Check your Instagram insights to know when most of your followers are active. It is also a good idea to select the content appropriate for the time of the day.
If your followers are more active in the morning, you can brighten their day with an uplifting song right in the morning. If they are scrolling at night after work, you could share something more relaxing.
Also, consider that many people check their feed during the workday while they should be working. So, they won’t be able to turn their volumes up to listen to your musical video at that time.
Have a new single or an album coming out? Try to tease it over on Instagram a week or two ahead of the release date. This will potentially create a buzz amongst your followers and give them something to look forward to.
Playing a gig in a small pub or selling out a stadium, make sure to let your fans know where to catch you doing what you do best. A small and simple communication from your end will be responded to with love from the people who like what you have to offer.
In addition, post on Instagram regularly, but don’t rush the posts! Space them out as much as you can. If you have multiple photos and videos to share from the same event you played at, combine them into a single post.
Again, as mentioned in the previous point - you can get a better idea about what time to post if you closely follow your Instagram Insights and Professional Dashboard.
Choose a Consistent Aesthetic (for images as well as for music)
Instagram started as a platform for photos and videos, and aesthetic remains of utmost importance to get noticed on Instagram.
First, select a general aesthetic for your account and stick to it.
At least, in the beginning, don’t diverge into multiple music genres. Choose the one which suits you the best, then stick to it.
But what does aesthetic mean?
Choose a color, a font, choose whether you want your images to be fun, funky, serious or goth. Once you decide all these factors, then stick to them.
You also need to make sure that your aesthetic matches your music. Bright and fun pictures might not look good if you are a heavy metal band!
Think about it: if you are following somebody on Instagram, you do so because they have interesting images and high-quality photography.
Make sure to take professional photos and keep the colours and ideas uniform. Don’t change up your photo editing filters from post to post. Create a single theme for people to follow.
If you keep following the same aesthetic, people would be able to recognise you/your band with just a glance at an image.
Take a look at Divine's instagram. Even without knowing him, you can figure out that he's a hip-hop artist. His aethetic matches his songs and remains consistent throughout.
Use Reels to Showcase Your Music
Reels are the next hot trend on Instagram. Make short videos to connect with your fans.
Much of the records produced by huge music labels are products of computers and sound applications. Though this method made flawless music, it somewhat removed the human element in the performance. This explains why people often complain about how a famous artist sounds way too different when performing live. To give your followers an in-person performance, opt to record yourself while performing live for them.
There is a vast difference between hearing someone from CDs and witnessing them perform live. Connect better with your followers by treating them to an intimate live performance through your IG channel.
You can find Instagram Reels at the forefront of Instagram — taking center stage of the main navigation bar. This is a huge change on the app, and a significant push to have users browse and share Reels more often.
On the Reels tab, instead of only seeing Reels from accounts you follow as you scroll, you will see Reels from popular and trending accounts on Instagram. As a musician you can take advantage of this to spread your music to more and more people.
A few tips to make better Instagram Reels:
- Be entertaining and fun - make sure to grab people's attention, make them laugh or have a fun surprise or twist.
- Use creative tools like text, filter, or camera effects.
- Use vertical video.
- Be experimental! Try something new, be yourself, and see what works for you
For inspiration, you should browse through Lisa Mishra's Instagram profile. She does everything from making fun videos, to posting home recordings of her original songs.
Her fun reels might not be related to music, but they help her get closer to her fans.
Think About Your Captions
Keep your followers engaged with sharp, witty captions. However, make sure they are clear enough to explain what the post is about.
Captions are a great way to show your own personality, as they make followers feel more connected to you.
Keep your captions short and informative. Try not to use generic overused phrases that make you sound like another face in the crowd. Your goal is to stand out and be noticed by the masses, so keep your captions personal or relevant to the content you are posting. Furthermore, people don’t like to read wordy descriptions on social media, so make sure your captions reflect that.
Choose the Right Instagram Hashtags
To increase views, likes, and shares of your posts, relevant hashtags are the best way to go.
When choosing hashtags, remember that the most popular and generic ones are also the most competitive to rank for.
Instead, choose hashtags that are relevant to the music industry. It is also a great idea to create your own hashtag to make your brand recognizable.
It’s a well-enshrined principle in SEO optimization that when you want your content to land in the lap of your target market, you need to use the right and specific keywords. The same principle follows for your IG hashtags.
Instead of aiming for generic hashtags, use longtail ones. So, if you’re into music, instead of adding the #musician #music hashtags, go for something more specific like #90smusic, #poprock, or #retropunk. These hashtags will be more beneficial to your followers.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories allow you to post videos and photos for your followers to see, allowing them to send a response through direct messages.
You can use the stories feature to share more spontaneous, unpolished content. Here are a few ways to utilize Instagram stories:
- Share the link to your website: Sharing a link to your website, portfolio, or YouTube channel would look less bulky in stories than if you were to share it in a post.
- Share your new posts: By adding a new post into a story, you attract more viewers who may have missed the post in the feed.
- Go live: Instagram Live allows followers to comment in real-time. If you are performing live on Instagram, you can see the followers’ reactions and interact with them. The requests they put in during a live show can also help you recognize the songs and type of music your followers connect to the most. It is a great way to put yourself out there on Instagram.
- Get the followers’ input: You can ask questions to your followers to determine what type of content they would like to see. For example, you could ask whether there is a specific song they would like you to cover or what type of posts they are more interested in.
- Share photos that don’t go with your aesthetic: Sometimes, we just love a specific photo or video, but it doesn’t fall in line with the overall aesthetic of the timeline. You can share these photos in your stories without ruining the look and feel of your Instagram profile.
- Promote your events: If you are going to perform at an event, let your followers know! Stories are a great way to promote your upcoming events and share a link to purchase the tickets.
Make the most of out Instagram stories by following the tips in this article: How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Audience
For a musician, it is crucial to build a social network and remain connected to the audience.
Your followers will be more excited to visit your profile and leave their comments if they know you read and respond to them.
Reply to comments on your posts, engage in conversations through direct messaging, and interact with people commenting on your live streams.
Whenever you make a post, tag people and places that you are visiting.
You should also interact with other profiles that share similar content by reacting to their stories or commenting on their posts. This could build a relationship and create a productive partnership or exchange of ideas.
The best definition of being interactive on Instagram is by replying to every comment you receive. Your goal is engagement, right? How can you be engaging if you refuse to notice your commenters? Plus, commenting sends an impression that you’re easygoing and approachable — qualities that should shine when you want to get noticed on social media.
Today, Instagram is no longer a simple photo-sharing platform. Instead, it is an effective content marketing tool to increase your audience and promote yourself and your art.
Try out our tips in your social strategies, and you will get noticed on Instagram and turn it into a personal digital marketing platform to share your art and attract more listeners.