How to grow your fanbase using Instagram

Digital music agency Burstimo gives us their top tips for artists looking to find their audience...


Instagram is well-established as one of the most popular social media platforms and, with over 2.3 billion active users, is a fantastic music promotion tool.

However, far too often we’re seeing artists either not using Instagram to its full potential or using it to try to secure sales, neither of which will translate into fans.

So, what sort of content can musicians be creating for Instagram and how can they use it grow their fanbase?

Best posts to create

Instagram is a platform for the visual consumer. It was originally designed for images but has more recently transitioned into a more versatile app with videos and text also increasing engagement.

There are three different types of content you can create for Instagram: images, videos or blog posts. Images are pretty self-explanatory, you simply upload pictures of yourself, what you’re doing, graphics or artwork. Videos are where you can start capturing an audience’s attention further, portraying personality but don’t forget to subtitle the video if there’s sound, as the sound is off by default. Finally, a blog post on Instagram can have major impact. You actually have a 2,200 character limit for your captions, meaning you can fully tell a story through written content.

The Instagram content you create should be surrounding a theme, ensuring you stick to a style and subject. So if someone begins to follow you, it means they know what they’ve signed up for."

There are three content styles you can follow. Each require different skills and suit each individual for different reasons.

  • Documenting: People love to follow a story so as an artist you can begin to document your journey and let your audience watch your process. Documenting content usually consists of short videos, raw images and vlog style Instagram Stories. It means your audience feels they’re on the journey with you and can build a personal relationship.
  • Educating: If you have the ability to educate an audience, do it, as it is a fantastic way to secure fan loyalty. Educational content can be video tutorials or graphics showing how something can be done.
  • Entertaining: If you or a band member has a strong personality, then you should definitely consider following an entertainment style content strategy. You can create funny videos, images with a humourous caption or fast paced Instagram Stories talking to the camera. 


Using hashtags

Instagram is not only a platform for visual consumption but is also used as a discovery platform, with hashtags acting as a simple tool for an audience to discover you.

To secure maximum reach, you need to be using at least 20 hashtags relevant to your theme and content. You can find these relevant hashtags by using a tool such as Display Purposes or looking at a similar artist who is receiving organic engagement and the hashtags they use.

Interact with your audience

If you’re using hashtags and have an ongoing theme for your daily content, you will secure an audience who will engage with you. Of course you want to keep repeating and grow further but firstly you need to make sure you keep that original audience. To keep your audience engaged and growing, you need to be interacting with your fans daily.

The best way to engage with your audience is via Direct Message (DM). Right now on Instagram you can DM anyone you want, so every time you gain a new follower, you need to immediately message thanking them for following and then engage in conversation. By doing this you will secure a personal relationship with each follower, build trust and guarantee engagement from that follower in the future. It means when you do release music, they will be more than happy to support you.

You can also interact with your audience via Instagram Stories. Try uploading to your story at least three times per day as 400 million users are viewing stories daily, making this feature as engaging as your actual feed." 

Try using polls, Q&As and opinion sliders to make the story more interactive for your followers and once the results come through, share those also so you can create a sense of community.

With the hashtags, you’ll find you occasionally have comments which are spam but still reply to every comment as this helps the Instagram algorithm. You need to be replying to any comment you receive to increase engagement, trigger the algorithm but most importantly, show your audience that you see them as people and not as numbers.


Use Instagram ads

Our final tip for musicians and the one that will have the most impact on your follower count, engagement and overall fanbase growth, is using Instagram ads.

Once you’ve converted your account into a business account, Instagram will allow you to boost posts to a targeted audience to secure more fans.

You need to make sure you’re creating content which will stop people scrolling, rather than appearing as an ad, which will just be scrolled past." 

To do this with a video, the first three seconds have to be the most engaging, forcing someone to stop. You could add subtitles, add a clickbait title or perhaps make the first frame something really shocking, so people immediately stop and start to engage.

Avoid promoting anything that looks like an ad. For example, promoting music videos, Spotify pages or press you’ve received will be a waste of your money as it’s not engaging enough for an audience to interact with and will appear as if it’s an ad. Create something personal so people will consume it, check out your profile and then be converted to a fan. This won’t happen immediately so use a funnelling method which retargets people that engaged with your ad and do this repeatedly until they feel they have to follow.

Using Instagram ads isn’t buying followers or likes, it’s in fact the complete opposite and is a fantastic way to secure an organic, loyal audience.

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by Burstimo
January 23, 2019
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