[This article was written by guest contributor Dave Kusek, founder of the New Artist Model.]
Like every social media platform, there are techniques to getting more followers on Instagram, and in this article I’m going to break them down so you can create more exposure for your music.
This probably goes without saying, but the number one best way to get more followers on Instagram is to post quality content. You want your photos to look good and your captions to provide value and be engaging.
The photo itself is the first thing that new potential followers will see, so take this opportunity to make a good impression! Honestly, learning how to take great photos will just take practice, but definitely try to take your shots with good lighting whenever possible. Good lighting will make even a boring picture look better!
As far as the caption goes, just remember to be as engaging as possible. Instagram isn’t an advertisement broadcasting platform. It’s a chance for you to talk with your audience, so ask questions and be yourself.
(Bonus tip: don’t put links in your caption – they don’t work! Instead, replace your bio link and say “link in bio” in your photo caption.)
[Check out Why you should be using Instagram as a musician (and all its dirty secrets)]
Some people will specifically search certain hashtags, while others will use the Explore tab to find photos that align with their interests. Either way, hashtags help people find your photos!
So pick a few hashtags that relate to your music and photos. Obvious choices would be your genre or band name. If you’re looking for hashtag ideas, Instagram’s explore tab is a great place to get started – just type in some ideas to get a big list of suggestions ranked by popularity. Another great option is to look at the hashtags other musicians are using.
[Check out How to save your Instagram pictures without posting them]
Instagram is definitely a platform that rewards frequency. If you post a photo everyday your followers will grow much faster and you will get much more engagement than if you were posting once a week. In fact, there’s been a lot of research that points to the positive outcome of frequent posting, so the more you post, the better!
Now, as with anything, there is a limit – if you’re posting multiple times in one hour it will probably come across as annoying – no one likes to get their feeds spammed! Plus, you want to make sure you’re actually posting good content. If you’re posting junk just to meet some frequency quota, you’re not going to get very far. Like I said earlier, quality is key!
[Check out Fourteen kinds of band photos you can share with your fans]
On Instagram, consistency is extremely important. This really ties in directly with frequency – if you’re posting every single day and then suddenly drop off and miss a week, people will actually unfollow you. Basically, if you get lazy you’ll be throwing all the hard work you’ve put into Instagram down the drain – not fun.
So however often you choose to post, make sure it’s something you can stick with in the long run. Start off with something really manageable, keep it up for a few weeks, and if you think you can handle posting more, go for it! It’s better to up your posting game than to drop off all of a sudden.
As much as Instagram is a tool to post content for your fans, it’s also a community that thrives on reciprocity, especially when you have a smaller follower base or are just starting out.
A lot of times, people will follow you if you follow them, or they’ll like your photo if you like theirs. So keep that in mind when you start getting some engagement going on Instagram. Just take a few seconds to give back. More likely than not, that person will give more love to other photos your post in the future. And if that person happens to be a fan, a simple like or comment on their photos will mean the world to them.
With Instagram, there is definitely a tipping point. Meaning, the more followers you have, the more quickly you’ll get more followers. With more people liking and engaging with your posts, your photos will start showing up in the Explore tab for more and more people. That means more exposure, more engagement, and more followers!
When you’re just starting out on Instagram, growth will feel painfully slow. Those first couple hundred followers may take you a while, but once you establish a routine and get some momentum going it will pick up, so stick with it!
Of course, Instagram is only one piece of the big puzzle of promoting your music. Ultimately you want to be able to grow an email list to contact your fans directly. To help you out, I’m giving you 10 free email templates that you can literally plug into whatever email provider you’re using and send to your fans! You can download your free templates here.
[Check out Instagram for bands: 10 quick tips to promoting your music with hip images]
Author bio: Dave Kusek is the founder of the New Artist Model, an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers, and songwriters. He is also the founder of Berklee Online, co-author of The Future of Music book, and a member of the team who brought midi to the market.
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