Instagram for Musicians

Social media is one of the most effective music promotion channels. With over 800 million monthly active users – 500 million of which are using the app every day – Instagram is a great way to engage with and grow your audience, and many musicians are using Instagram for music promotion.

That being said, if you’re not using Instagram correctly it can be a major waste of your time. So here is a musician’s guide to Instagram and 5 music marketing tips to get you started. 

Know if You Should Use Instagram

While Instagram is great, and there are plenty of Instagram musicians killing it, it’s not for everyone. You shouldn’t just be promoting music on Instagram just because other people are doing it. 

As a musician, you should use Instagram if the demographics of your fanbase strongly correlates with their user base.

While 32% of all social network users are on Instagram, 59% of 18-29-year-olds are using the service. So it’s clear that a majority of their activity comes from 20-somethings.  Additionally, 68% of Instagram’s daily active users are female.

So, if a segment of your audience falls into the female 18-29 year old demographic, Instagram should be part of your social media strategy.

If you’re not sure, the easiest approach is to take a look at the audience at your next concert. Who’s in the crowd? Male or female? How old do they look? Of course, a more accurate option is to glance through the analytics of any other social channels you’re using like Facebook or Twitter.

Not sure what to post to Instagram? Download this free social media ebook: How to Promote Your Music: With 3 Social Media Checklists

When to Post on Instagram

If Instagram is definitely going to be a part of your social media and music marketing strategy, you need to determine the best times to post to get the most engagement.

According to a study by CoSchedule, Instagram users are most active on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8-9am. 

That being said, any data out there is an estimate based on everyone using the platform, and your audience could very well be different. If you want a more accurate idea of when to post your best bet would be to convert your Instagram profile to a business account to get access to on-board analytics specific to your audience.

To convert to a business account go to the “settings” menu and choose “Switch to a Business Account.” You’ll have to connect to your Facebook artist page to set it up. A Business account functions exactly like a personal account plus some additional features like analytics and a direct contact button.

Another option is to experiment with posting at different times and keep track of your engagement. Does posting at 7PM lead to more likes/comments than posting at 4PM?

Determine How Often to Post

With Instagram, you’re going to have to find a bit of a balance with posting. Posting too often can spam your fans’ feeds and lead to unfollows, but generally, the more active you can be, the faster your account will grow. Instagram’s algorithm definitely rewards frequency and consistency. 

With that in mind, even if you have a bunch of photos ready to post it’s best to spread them out over a few days. Try posting once or twice per day depending on the amount of content you have available.

According to research by Buffer, the ideal frequency to post to Instagram is 1.5 times per day on average.  They noted, however, that posting more frequently didn’t seem to reduce engagement. Especially now that Instagram uses an algorithm to determine a post’s position in the feed, there’s a pretty low chance that your posts will appear bunched up.

It’s important to remember that these numbers are just guidelines. If you know there’s no way in heck you’ll be able to maintain one post per day, that’s FINE (seriously)! Figure out what you can realistically manage and stick with it – even if it’s every other day or even once a week. Putting out quality posts is always more important than meeting some number quota you read in an article.

Use the Right Hashtags

Just like Twitter, hashtags are big on Instagram. Think of them as organic discovery drivers – a way to build a fanbase and get more followers on Instagram. People will often browse through certain hashtags to find new posts and new accounts to follow. The “Explore” tab will also use your hashtags to recommend your posts to relevant audiences, which is especially important if you’re just starting out.

So what are the best hashtags for musicians to use for music marketing on Instagram?

When choosing Instagram tags for musicians, don’t simply use what’s trending. You want to choose hashtags that reach a targeted audience that’s likely to be interested in your music. Relevance is key here. Going niche is always going to be better than going broad. So instead of using #music, use #progrock. Instead of using #guitar, use #fender. Instead of using #singer, use #acapella. 

To choose the right hashtags, check out what hashtags similar artists are using, especially on posts that are reaching a large number of users and have high levels of engagement.

Another way to see if a hashtag might effectively reach your fanbase is to simply browse the posts containing that hashtag. If these posts are related to things your audience is interested in, consider adding them to your next post. You’ll also see a list of related hashtags at the top of the Explore page if you search a specific tag.

Cross-Promote Your Instagram Posts

If you’re new to promoting your music on Instagram, a great way to start is by adding followers by cross-promoting your posts to other social media accounts.

When sharing a photo on Instagram, share the post to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts inviting people to follow you.

A study by Buzzsumo found that photos posted to Facebook via Instagram receive more engagement than natively posted images, so posting your Instagram images to Facebook can improve engagement and grow your following on both social networks.

Instagram for Musicians – The Bigger Picture

Even if you’re posting incredible content on Instagram and you have a ton of fans on the platform, it’s still only one part of your promotion strategy. If you want to effectively promote your music, you need to be thinking big picture and start getting your social followers to go deeper by signing up for emails and buying your music.

We show you how to do this in the free How to Promote Your Music guide. You’ll learn how to create interesting and engaging social posts, and how to start collecting emails and emailing your fans. Plus you’ll get three social media checklists with tons of post ideas to get you started!

If you want help promoting your music, consider signing up for the Music Business Accelerator program (MBA).

The class is part of the online music business training offered at New Artist Model.