Trying to learn how to promote your music on Instagram?
In 2020, there were over 1 billion active users on Instagram — so there is a massive opportunity for you to reach a broad audience through Instagram if you play your cards right!
While there is no easy path to success on the platform, there are some key things that you can focus on to help ensure success.
We have done some of the heavy lifting for you and have compiled some tips that you should consider to help you stand out amongst the rest.
What Is In This Guide
Tracking Your Metrics & Growth
Staying on top of your own metrics and growth on Instagram is a tangible way of assessing your success on the platform.
Once you have compiled all of your data from Instagram directly or through a third-party application, here are some ways to leverage your data to get the most out of your Instagram account.
Focus on growing relationships and engagement
The main focus of your Instagram account should be to grow your audience and maintain engagement.
After analyzing your metrics and tracking your growth, you can increase your engagement on Instagram by posting about your daily life on your Instagram Stories, engaging with other artists on social media, and consistently communicating with your followers.
Even if an artist has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, that number does not mean anything unless they have the audience engagement to match.
Instead of focusing on how many followers you have, focus on building stronger connections and increasing the number of people that are engaging with your content.
Audience reach and shareability
Certain types of posts are more likely to be shared depending on who your target audience is and how you have branded yourself.
While comedic videos on IGTV could work for one artist, another artist may find that videos of them doing cover songs may achieve a larger reach.
Regardless of the type of content you are posting, you should always use your profile’s data from Instagram to track how many people your content is reaching and who’s sharing your content.
Finding the types of posts that work best for you and resonate the best with your audience will take some trial and error.
This is why you should aim to post a variety of different types of content!
Once you get in the rhythm of creating and posting with the different Instagram post formats — which include photos, galleries, videos, Stories, IGTV, and Reels — you can track which format is getting the most engagement and know which content to prioritize more.
The correlation between your Instagram Followers and Content Likes
Looking at the number of followers someone on Instagram has is the quickest way to gauge someone’s influence — but that first impression will only go so far.
While having a large following on Instagram does demonstrate some sort of notoriety and influence, that can all be lost if your followers are not engaging with your content.
Instead of aiming for followers alone, having a smaller number of engaged followers that like, view, and comment on most of your Instagram content is much more valuable than a bunch of ghost followers.
Be patient it's not a race
Many prioritize instant gratification instead of long-term success on social media as more musicians cultivate a successful following on Instagram.
It may seem like some musicians build a massive following overnight, but building a loyal following takes time, strategy, and consistency.
Instead of fixating on a certain number of followers to have, funnel that energy into nurturing the audience you have already and building your trust with them.
Over time, your audience will become familiar with the type of content you post, the style of music you create, and the person you are — then they will be more likely to support your music and show up to your concerts.
Just like building a relationship with a friend, this will take time and consistency.
Your relationships with other artists and people that work in the music industry are also important to your success — these relationships can be built and maintained all on your Instagram, so you can build connections around the world.
Continue to find artists that inspire you, and leverage your connections to build new ones.
Branding Your Profile
From your bio, to your profile photo, and right down to the different colors you use — you must make sure your branding is consistent throughout your profile and your other social media accounts.
To ensure your branding is clear and consistent on your Instagram profile, pick a specific theme or aesthetic to follow while keeping in mind who your target audience is.
To do this, you can draw inspiration from other artists or businesses, by creating a digital mood board to visually layout what you want your profile and content to look like, or create a branding strategy to follow across all of your social media platforms.
When someone comes across your Instagram profile, they should get an idea of who you are as a musician and what type of music you make.
Your branding should also be consistent throughout your Instagram Stories and how you choose to archive them in your Highlights.
Themes for your Instagram Story Highlights can include recurring themes like outfits of the day, snapshots of you in the studio, or links to recent press articles, or more special dates including posts related to your albums’ release or your journey while on tour.
Creating and Promoting Your Content
It will take some time to get into a consistent rhythm that works for you, but some patience paired with hard work will go a long way for your success on Instagram.
Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your content and pushing it out into the world.
Properly Using Hashtags
The hashtags you decide to use to promote your Instagram content should be tailored to you and the content you are posting.
You’ll notice some people don’t even use hashtags anymore and may argue that their relevance is dead but this isn’t exactly true.
That’s because hashtags are great at increasing the discoverability of the content you share. In fact, according to a study done by Later, influencers who post with 10+ hashtags get an average engagement rate of 6%.
Hashtags are versatile and if used correctly, that means more target eyes on your content. They can be used in your normal posts, in stories, in your bio, etc.
Try and get more strategic with your hashtags instead of just pasting the same block of hashtags under each post. Implement hashtags that are highly relevant, trending, typical buzzwords, and not too crowded so your content doesn’t get lost in the mix.
Also, make sure you are keeping an eye out for the competition — seek out the hashtags that other artists are using, and implement the hashtags that may be relevant to you!
Leveraging editing skills
On Instagram, it’s not just the kind of content you post but the unique way you edit your content that will hold your audience’s attention.
As social media has become more popular, people’s attention spans have got smaller, so you have to find a way to edit your photos, videos, and Instagram stories to grab the attention of your audience and retain their interest.
When strategizing how you want your profile to look, think of ways you can develop a familiar editing style that is unique to you, and that matches your aesthetic.
You can start this process by experimenting with the many photo and video editing apps available or outsource these tasks to a freelance graphic designer if you don’t have the time yourself.
Controlling Your Image
When it comes to your public persona, there is very little that you are in control of. However, you do have control over anything you post on Instagram.
Whether the outcome of your post is good or bad, your Instagram is a digital representation of your life and career — therefore you can control how you are seen on the platform, for the most part.
To begin cleaning up your profile, hide all posts you have been tagged in from being displayed on your profile until the posts are approved by you.
You can choose to display tagged content that you want to display and hide content that does not fit with how you want to be perceived online.
How often should you post?
Deciding the frequency of your Instagram posts ties into how you choose to brand yourself.
Many factors go into determining how often you should post on Instagram, including how much time you have to devote to your social media and even what kind of musician you are (or want to be).
For optimal growth, aim to post a minimum of 3 Instagram posts per week, which can be either IGTV posts, videos, or photos.
To ensure that your stories or reels are getting picked up by Instagram’s algorithm, aim to post a minimum of 8-10 of them per-week — make sure you post more frequently if you have an upcoming announcement or release — and of course, make adjustments when needed.
Although consistency is key, you should never feel forced to post something — if you would rather post whenever you want to, you must ensure there is some strategy involved so you are always reaching your audience when they are online.
Posting in the right dimensions
Dimensions on Instagram relate to the size of the content that you are posting — whether it be a photo, video, or a story.
Instagram currently supports both portrait and landscape photos, so you are no longer limited to a square photo!
According to Instagram, the optimal Instagram image size is 1080 x 1080 for square posts, 1080 x 1350 for portrait posts, and 1080 x 608 for landscape posts.
You can plug these dimensions into your photo editing platform of choice to make sure your photos are cropped to perfection!
Although there is no optimal video length for Instagram stories, just know that your video will be split into 15-second increments.
IGTV clips on the other hand must be at least one minute long. The maximum length your video can be is 15 minutes when uploading from a mobile device and 60 minutes when uploading from the web, all with a 4:5 aspect ratio.
These dimensions are also known as a vertical video format and are used best when trying to optimize a YouTube video for Instagram.
Your Instagram Reels and Instagram stories must be uploaded with an aspect ratio of 9:16. This is also known as vertically full screen, which is the same format used by the video-sharing app TikTok.
Always stay current and engaged
Posting entertaining content about your life and the process behind creating your music is a way for you to build intrigue, but that won’t help you build a relationship with your audience.
Whether you have 1000 followers or 1 million followers, you should always take the time to engage with your audience on Instagram.
After you post any sort of content, take 10-15 minutes after posting to like and reply to comments on your posts to build a relationship with your followers.
You can even repost screenshots of the supportive messages you are getting on the platform. You should also begin to like and comment on the recent posts of your fans and fellow artists as well.
Another secret to optimal growth on Instagram is leveraging current events that people are searching for — even if it is not related to music.
Tailoring your post to something that is currently trending could help you ride the trend and increase your engagement.
Learning From The Best
In 2021, pop superstar Ariana Grande is the 3rd most followed person on Instagram and the most-followed musician on the platform.
So what tips and tricks can we learn from the reigning queen of Instagram?
Ariana and her team have used Instagram in strategic ways to promote her albums over the last few years, which has allowed her to reach success on both the platform and the music world.
Regardless of the content, everything Ariana posts on her main feed sticks to a very unique color palette — all videos and photos on her main feed is filtered to stick to the same theme. Any posts that do not match her strong aesthetic is posted on her Instagram stories, which are usually updated daily.
Regardless of how busy her schedule is, Ariana always finds time to engage with her fans — she often responds to comments using specific emojis and seems to always lurk online to see what her fans are posting about her.
Doing this shows her supporters that she cares about them, which can encourage other budding fans to post about her and support her on social media and in real life.
Ariana and her team have found a way to present herself on social media that attracted the attention of millions of the users of the platform and stayed consistent with that aesthetic.
Ariana Grande’s Instagram is the prime example of why optimizing your profile, and building a strong strategy is so important for the success of your Instagram and how it directly relates to your music career.
Final Thoughts On How To Promote Your Music On Instagram
Now that you know all of the secrets to Instagram, it’s time to put this knowledge to work!
Some of these tips and tricks may require some tweaks to ensure you are getting the most out of your Instagram account — so don’t be afraid to think even more outside of the box.