I spent a lot of my time… on Instagram. I choose to follow pages, and sometimes unfollow pages due to their quality and detail on posts. I put together a bit of an “Instagram 101 Guide” for you today. If your band, artist page or company does not have Instagram yet, I highly consider this multi-million user social media site. It’s fun and easy to use, but if you are wanting the most out of your page, there are a few key tips and tricks to use:
Choosing the right filter and edit on your photos may seem like a tedious task, but it can make all the difference. Catchy photos and good edits can catch people’s attention and make them want to follow your profile. Keep your photos diverse – fans and people want to see it all: live shots, sound checks, broken guitars, in the van, late-night writing sessions, recording, putting up posters, pictures of new merch, shooting a video, eating meals at a band meeting, the sunset, etc. whatever it is if it’s something exciting or eye-catching people will be drawn to it. Take the time with taking these photos, take multiple shots and “stage” your area when needed. See how much of a difference this can make?:
Adding captions to your photos keeps people in the loop – a picture does say a thousand words, but posting a photo that only a few understand will make most of those words “what?”. Keep the captions specific, but short, you don’t want to put an essay long caption on a photo or a caption that doesn’t make sense to anyone but you.
2. Interact and invite people to engage
Interacting with your current followers is a good way to keep your fans/followers engaged. Don’t just expect people to engage with you, social media is best when it’s a two-way street. Ask your fans/followers to submit photos they took at your latest show, have them take pictures of themselves at your concerts, holding your CD, or getting a drink with you after the show and make sure to ask them to tag your band. Then give “shout-outs” or share your favourites, you can even like/comment on the photos as well. This way, people feel like you are actually engaging and interacting with them and you’ve just promoted your new music or tour without it seeming like the cookie-cutter marketing. Huge stars like Taylor Swift even spend time creeping through their own tag and commenting and liking on random fans photos:
3. When to post
Don’t waste your posts! If you take a really good photo at 3am and go to post it – who’s going to be up to like it? The most common and active times that people are on Instagram, checking their feed, is in the morning and after work/evenings. So plan your posts around those times, sticking to a schedule keeps people engaged. Facebook noted their highest traffic time of day is between 3 – 6 pm, maybe stick to that. As well as scheduling your posts so they get maximum time in people’s feeds, don’t over post. Over posting is what causes people to unfollow you because they’re sick of seeing annoying posts by you. Don’t post 6 photos of your lunch…. Choose 1 – 2 TOP photos and post 4 – 5 times a week if you can, Monday – Friday is ideal.
Tag your images with hashtags, but don’t use too many on your images, balance is key and encouraged here. Some of you HATE hashtags, and that is fine, but at least try to include a few in each post. This helps to group your photos together with related photos by other Instagram users (or with other photos you’ve taken with the same hashtag) under a single category. Instagram users can then find your photos based on their own interests – which in turn can get people liking your photo who search your tags and you can see who also is using that tag.
You can create your own hashtag that your friends/fans/audience can use to share photos of your latest show, new single, etc (see interact and invite people to engage point). You can gather multiple perspectives of your next show, all shot through awesome, unique filters. You can then add all those photos to your website or Facebook to share with everyone else and get the word out. Take to Facebook/Twitter or your website before a performance and ask your fans to take snaps during the show and post them to Instagram with a certain hashtag.
Another tagging tool is “geo-tag,” this allows you to tag your photo from where you are so people can search that location and find similar photos. If you’ve just performed a gig at a venue, you can post a photo and geo-tag your location, allowing people to know where the photo was posted from. People can then click on that tag and see other photo’s from other people that have posted from that location.
5. Share and sync on all social networks
Instagram may have a lot of users, but that doesn’t mean everyone is using it yet. This means you’re going to have to spread your ‘grams around on all your social media sites. Instagram allows users to share snaps on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, etc. If you have accounts on any of these services, hit “Connect.”
Recently, Instagram added a new sharing option for Facebook: the ability to post to either your wall, or any page you are an administrator of. Basically, one of your band members takes a photo they have the choice to post it to either their personal Facebook, or the band’s Facebook.
To enable this option, simply go to Account/Edit sharing settings/Facebook, and you’ll be given the option to post to your wall (default) or any of your Pages. This is a great way for band members to share multiple points of view with their Facebook fans, rather than just snaps from the person wielding the main Instagram account.
6. Creating your Instagram bio/profile
Creating a short bio for your Instagram, which will be displayed on your main page people will visit, let’s people know who you are and what you post about. Whether you want to have a serious bio or a funny bio is up to you. Make your bio short and sweet, creative, and update it often to what’s going on and relevant to you. You can look in to other people’s Instagram bios for examples, but make sure you keep yours unique to you. Another thing to add to your bio is your other site links, try to just put one and try to make it your main site (i.e. your website or Facebook link). Make sure people know where to find you besides Instagram.
Choosing a great profile picture is another small task but sometimes makes the difference. You may not be able to see the photo very big in most cases but it still counts. If you can’t settle on a great photo, choose one that represents you – just don’t keep the blank man as your profile picture. Here is an example of a great profile photo, and creative and well laid out short bio on an artist page:
I challenge you to use a couple of these tips if you are not be doing so already for your band, personal or business page, and track the progress you get. Social media isn’t just a tool, it’s a skill and if you are branding or marketing yourself in any way, it’s something you can master with time. Good luck and happy Instagraming!