Instagram 101: How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Music

Today you're going to learn how to optimize your Instagram for max follow-ability.

Every time I see a musician's Instagram and it's all pictures of their food and not videos of their music, I cringe. First of all, If you want people to follow your music, why wouldn't you share your music? And secondly, the first thing people do when they come across your account is check your profile to see what kind of stuff you post so they can know what to expect if they follow. Nobody wants ugly pictures on their feed.

Step One: Plan Out Your Story

In last week's video I talked about building your brand without hating yourself. If you haven't watched it, I highly suggest pausing this video and checking that one out first because the brand story you create using those steps will come into play here.

So whatever story you're trying to tell with your music should be evident in your Instagram feed. Are you down to earth and kind of folksy? Your Instagram pictures should reflect that sort of lifestyle. You can use your secret Pinterest board to spark your imagination for what kinds of images to post--but again, don't use those exact pictures because you don't have the rights to them.

Make a list of the top three topics related to your story and brainstorm a couple image ideas for each of those. Then you're ready for Step Two.

Step Two: Pick Your Color Theme

You want your Instagram feed to feel visually connected. There are two ways to pick your color theme. One, remember how the goal on your Secret Pinterest board was to get your images to feel similar enough that you could squint your eyes and everything felt cohesive? You want the same on your Insta feed. On your secret Pinterest board there are likely a few colors that pop up consistently, so make note of those and make sure every photo you post has one of those colors or at least fits in with that scheme.

The second way to pick a color theme is to simply pick a color that feels right to your music. Each color has a meaning. You can google color meanings, but you probably also instinctively know what colors mean what. Are your songs dark and moody? Go with black and white, or muted colors, or blues. If you're doing pop, bright and highly saturated colors are probably your jam. If you've checked out my own feed, lately I've been doing a lot of blues, greens, and whites-- I'm trying to make my feed look light and fresh.

Step Three: Plan Your Feed

Okay so you have a list of picture types you're going to post and a color scheme to keep them in. Those two things alone will upgrade your feed a TON, but if you really want to take it to the next level you should use a planning tool like UNUM. There are tons of tools like this out there, like Planoly and a few others. UNUM is simply the one I prefer for my own feed (not sponsored).

The way this works is you upload your pictures to your UNUM board and play around with them. It's best to space out pictures that are too similar, this will keep your feed balanced. Once you have the next post planned out, you can either use the app to open Instagram for you or just go open Instagram separately, upload your picture, and voila you're done! Note: these apps won't post directly to Instagram for you. Any app that does is actually against Instagram's terms of service, so just use these for planning a cohesive feed, otherwise Instagram might flag your account and we don't want that.

Bonus Tip: Hashtags

I'll have to do an entirely separate video on hashtags probably, but these are a great way for new people to find your posts and thus your music. You want to do a mix of the following tags: you can tag your equipment so people searching for that specific instrument or pedal, etc, will come across your feed. And you tag more lifestyle kind of tags. There are tons of what are called "curated" tags out there, like #musicislife or #livethelittlethings. I've linked a blog post from somebody else below that explains these really well. But basically these are tags that people are CONSTANTLY checking, and will definitely increase your followers and likes.

Check out the hashtags the other musicians you follow are using and explore those tags, make a list of the ones you find that pulls up similar content to your own. You can also check out my own Instagram feed @audreylecker to see what tags I'm using.

The equipment-specific tags should be used based on the subject matter of your post, but these lifestyle music tags should be on EVERY post. I highly suggest keeping a list of them in your notes app so you can easily copy and paste.

Today I taught you how to level up your Instagram game.

These simple tips will help you plan your content and create an incredible viewing experience for your community (and future customers).

So you know now how to plan your posts--but do you know WHAT to post? I've created a list of content ideas SPECIFICALLY for musicians and bands to help get you started. Download it here.

What does your Instagram feed look like? Post a link in the comments below so I can check your out!