If you want to learn how you can promote your music on Instagram, I’ve put together this handy guide to help you make the most out of this social media platform.
The best way to promote your music on Instagram is by creating a recurring content strategy that balances value posts with promotional posts and then using a content calendar to map out and stay accountable to your strategy.
When creating a strategy for promoting your music on Instagram, it’s important that you create a content schedule that you can actually follow consistently without killing yourself in the process.
It can be tempting to want to have multiple posts each day, but for most artists living in the real world… this simply isn’t possible or an effective use of your time and energy.
In this guide, I will show you how to promote your music on Instagram by following the same strategy I’ve followed to grow my Spotify streams past the 4 million stream mark:
1. Learn Instagram Content Marketing (For Musicians 101)
The main challenge you will face as a musician on Instagram is that the organic reach of your posts is constantly dropping over time.
Organic reach on Instagram is constantly declining and at the time of writing this, it is estimated that less than 10% of your followers will see your content when you post it.
Instagram limits the organic reach of your posts in an effort to make its content creators pay for ads to reach their followers.
This, in hand with the fact that most Instagram posts only appear to users within the first 24 to 48 hours of it being posted, means that it is possible to spend a lot of time and effort creating posts for no one to see them.
In addition to this, it can be challenging to convert someone from someone just chilling on Instagram to an actual fan that wants to engage with you and your music.
With that said…
Instagram is great for musicians because of the fan relationships that you can develop through the content you post and from communicating with fans through comments and direct messages.
It is also possible to find new fans and listeners by using Instagram’s hashtags and having your content appear as recommended content in the feeds and discover tab.
This means that you can use Instagram to promote your music to both your current fans as well as new potential fans and listeners.
Instagram is a highly visual social media platform and is shifting its focus from simple photo content to video content all the time.
This makes Instagram great for documenting your journey as an artist and showing off your unique talents as well as promoting your music.
Instagram is also a key part of the Facebook Advertising platform, meaning you can also send ads to anyone who engages with your Instagram profile organically or use your Instagram content as an ad to find new fans and listeners.
2. Learn What To Post On Instagram As A Musician Or Music Artist
The key to succeeding on Instagram as a musician is freely and consistently release new content by crafting and deploying a recurring content strategy.
A recurring content strategy is simply a defined structure of different content types that you release on a regular schedule.
For example, this can look like posting performance videos on Mondays, unreleased songs on Wednesdays, and promotional content for new releases on Fridays, etc.
It is important to have a mix of content so that you are able to promote your music on Instagram without having your fans feel pushed or like they are being sold to.
Ultimately, there are 2 types of content you should be posting to Instagram:
- Valuable content (ie: entertaining, educational, or motivational content)
- Promotional content
Let’s take a closer look at these 2 content types.
Valuable Content From Musicians & Music Artists
When you are creating valuable content for your fanbase you will be wanting to create something that is either entertaining, educational, or motivational.
The challenge here is to provide education, entertainment, or motivational content that does well on Instagram but also isn’t too unrelated and disconnected from your actual art.
Examples can include:
- Performance videos
- Cover song videos
- Live performance videos
- Tutorials on something you know (ideally music related like an instrument or art)
The main type that I personally use are clips of DJ sets that I film at home:
What I like about this is that it is fairly easy for me to film a 30 – 60 minute set and cut it up into enough posts for 1 to 2 months.
It’s also directly related to music, allows me to show off a talent I have, and directly aligns with a goal that I have to DJ more parties and events.
Promotional Content From Musicians & Music Artists
When it comes to promotional content, I would make sure you stick to videos so that you can include audio snippets of your music.
Live or performance videos work great, your music behind meme videos work, or you can simply slightly animate your artwork like this:
In these promotional posts, you will want to point your fans to the “link in your bio” since it is not possible to post hyperlinks in the captions of Instagram posts.
If you need help figuring out what type of page to add to your “link in bio” section, I’d recommend checking out my article on free music links to get started.
Creating Your Recurring Content Strategy
Although your focus may be on promoting your music, it is important that are posting more entertaining, educational, or motivational content than you are posting promotional content.
This is how you can build a fanbase that knows, likes, and trusts you so that they are more likely to engage with your promotional content when you post it.
To create a recurring content strategy you will want to follow these steps:
- Clearly define your ultimate goal as an artist or creative
- Look at the content you are already creating
- Brainstorm content types or themes that you want to test
- Look at which content types give you the best bang for your buck
- Create your content and put it onto a calendar
To learn more about how you can build a fanbase on social media with a recurring content strategy and content calendar, check out my free guide called How To Build A Fanbase On Social Media (For Music Artists). 🙂
3. Learn When To Post On Instagram As A Musician
The ideal number of times to post on Instagram as a musician is 2 to 3 times per week with only 25% of your posts being promotional content.
You can do some research on what times and specific days to post but ultimately you will simply need to test what works best for you and your unique fanbase.
The best way to map out your content and make sure you are held accountable for actually posting is by looking at all of your content and putting it on a content calendar.
The main difference between a recurring content strategy and a content calendar is that the strategy is more high level (ie: types of things you will post) and the content calendar is more specific (ie: exactly what you will post and when).
When creating your content calendar, I would recommend following a method called the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook!” formula developed by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook! comes from a boxing metaphor where boxers will usually weaken their opponent with a series of jabs before delivering the final knockout with a right hook.
Jabs = value you freely provide – content, advice, entertainment, information, etc.
Right Hook = asking for something – a sale, a listen/stream, watching a video, etc.
With this metaphor, a jab would be your recurring content and a right hook would be your promotional content.
It’s important that you make sure there are always 2 or 3 valuable posts (ie: entertaining, educational, or motivational content) in between every promotional post.
In terms of what calendar app to use, I would recommend simply using whatever you are actually going to check and see regularly.
4. Learn Instagram Hashtags For Musicians
Adding hashtags to your Instagram captions is a great way to increase engagement and help your posts reach more people.
All you need to do to take advantage of Instagram hashtags is spend some time researching potential hashtags and then experimenting with using them in your posts.
Take some time typing in potential hashtag ideas into the search bar on Instagram and then navigating to the “Tags” tab.
Here you will see a bunch of hashtags that are related to your search and how many posts there are using that hashtag.
Aim to have a variety of hashtags that have differing numbers of posts – the higher the number doesn’t necessarily mean better here.
For example, your post will likely get drowned out by much more popular posts whenever you use a hashtag with millions of posts.
At the same time, if you use hashtags with very few posts then that means not a lot of people are searching for that or your content may show up too much for that search and start to annoy people.
Your goal is to have a mix here and experiment over time to see what hashtags work best for you and your fanbase.
5. Learn How To Use Instagram Stories For Musicians
Instagram stories are a great way for musicians to deepen artist-to-fan relationships in addition to promoting their music.
Although it is okay to post many more stories than actual posts, you will want to make sure that you continue to make sure that only 25% of your stories are promoting your music.
Instagram stories are great for sharing behind-the-scenes content, documenting your journey as an artist, and even getting your fans involved with questions and polls.
It’s very common for people to respond to stories making this a great way to really increase the engagement that you have with your fanbase.
6. Learn The Keys To Relaxing & Stress-Free Social Media Management For Musicians
At first, I would recommend focusing on experimenting with a select few different types of content so that you can find out the perfect balance between what you enjoy making and what your audience enjoys seeing.
You’ll be able to tell this after a few weeks by comparing how you feel about creating specific content pieces with how many views, likes, and comments that a type of content piece gets.
This will take a lot of direct work and manual labor on your part, but it is important to make sure that you know your content works for you and your audience before attempting to automate things.
After you know what content works you can batch your content in advance and then schedule your posts in advance so you aren’t worried about posting anything on an actual day in your calendar.
Social media scheduling is the act of taking a batch of content and scheduling it to automatically post throughout the week so that you do not have to manually post each piece of content.
Social media batching is the act of creating 5 or 6 pieces of content whenever you sit down to create content, instead of just creating 1 piece of content.
These techniques are incredibly important because it makes social media management very relaxing and stress-free, allowing you the time and energy to focus on more important things like making or marketing your music.
To learn more about experimenting, scheduling, and batching for social media, check out my guide on Social Media For Musicians That HATE Posting To Social Media. 🙂
7. Learn How To Take Your Instagram Promotion To The Next Level With Facebook Ads For Musicians
Unless you have a massive and engaged following on your social media profiles, you will find that organic social media posts are not an effective method for driving meaningful traffic to your Spotify profile.
Although it can bring some listeners over to your new releases, it is most effective as a way to help build a sense of momentum around your project while you are building real connections with your fans.
In the earlier stages, you will find it to be most useful as a way to get valuable feedback on your music, content, and branding.
Although it does suck that Instagram limits the organic reach of your posts in an effort to make its content creators pay for ads to reach their followers…
Facebook Ads are extremely powerful and can be used to reach people that are likely to enjoy your art far beyond your current followers count.
Facebook provides in-depth targeting options, flexible budgeting, and has an algorithm that can optimize itself to get the most results possible for the lowest cost possible.
In-depth targeting options allow for a very wide variety of interests in addition to basic demographics with interests ranging from brands to genres to artists to products and beyond.
You can “scale” the ads and control your budget with Facebook Ads allowing to spend as little as $1 per day if you want to.
In addition to this, Facebook’s learning algorithm can optimize all by itself to get you the most results possible for the lowest cost possible.
This learning algorithm can even create “Lookalike Audiences” which are 1+ million people that are similar to the fans engaging with your ads and social posts.
All this means that:
- You have the power to send highly targeted listeners over to your Spotify profile
- Leverage Facebook’s tools and algorithms to find you more of those fans for less
- Increase your chances of tripping the Spotify algorithm to find you even more of your fans for free
To learn more about how you can use ads to grow your music career, check out my free Facebook Ads for musicians course. 🙂
8. Learn The 6 Steps To Developing An Online Presence For Independent Musicians
Both social media and digital ads are key components that can make up your online presence as an artist.
A musician’s online presence is made up of 3 parts: website, social media, and digital ads.
Being active with all 3 helps develop your brand and grow your fanbase by giving potential fans a reason to follow you.
Here is an overview of the 6 steps you will need to go through to develop your online presence:
- Define your ultimate goal as a creative
- Choose your main social media platform
- Commit to a recurring content strategy
- Create a website to future-proof your online presence
- Experiment with digital advertising
- Test and iterate on your strategy
To learn more about these 6 steps in more detail so that you can start seriously developing your online presence as a musician, take a look at my free guide on Online Presence For Musicians. 🙂