Sharing photos and videos on your social channels is a must these days, especially when we’re talking about platforms like Instagram which are only suited for more visual pieces of content. While great photos of you performing live, professionally shot portraits, and the cover art for your new album or single are all great things to show off, there's so much more you could be doing.
Believe it or not, I've spoken with musicians who said they weren't sure what else they could be posting, and that’s a shame, since great content can come from anywhere! Here are a few ideas of times and places where you could be taking some excellent photos and watchable videos.
1. Behind the scenes
Music videos are always fun, both for you and the fans, but they're also expensive. You should try and get the most you can out of the clip, including before it’s even completed. Share teasers, short videos, and more from the set of the video you’re filming, both as a source of content and as an exciting way to let everyone know that the project is nearing completion and will be out soon.
2. In the studio
As a band that’s recording music consistently, you might not find being in a studio terribly exciting, but you likely have many fans who have never been inside one, and that makes it a great visual. “In the studio” is just such a cool phrase, isn’t it?
Showing fans that you’re in a studio is not only good content that you may have been missing all this time, but it shows your fans that you’re actively working on new music. Try not to post a photo or video of tunes being created if you won’t be able to release them for a long time, as it's sort of like teasing at that point.
Again, you and your bandmates might grow weary of practicing the same songs over and over (and then actually playing them), but rehearsals are fun for others to watch. This might be a good time to share some video, as it doesn’t exactly give anything away.
Many of your real fans have seen you live, but hearing a stripped-down version of a tried-and-true classic being played in your garage is a totally different experience, and it’s one that you should share semi-often, especially if the location of your rehearsals changes.
You may find living on the road exhausting, but for most of us, the idea of traveling all the time is exhilarating. Touring allows for any number of great photo ops and videos, and you should be taking advantage of all of them. These posts can be anything from having dinner at a diner to standing in front of the Grand Canyon. Nothing is too mundane, and certainly nothing is “too exciting.”
Also, people love knowing that you’re actually in the place where a photo was taken (it shows you didn’t pre-plan everything, which is nice to be able to provide), so start geo-tagging your posts when you can. On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there are easy-to-find features that allow you to immediately show everyone tuning in where the photo was taken or where a short video was filmed. It might sound like a small detail, and it is, but it makes the viewing and the following experience that much more fun.
5. Writing sessions
This is where the magic happens and the art is created, and people love seeing how the music comes together. I absolutely understand why you might not want to show lyrics that aren't yet done or a video of you and your bandmates singing a song that might never be completed (or one that just doesn’t turn out to be very good), but there are ways to show everyone what your writing sessions look like without giving too much away.
Pictures of you and your fellow musicians with your instruments, your notebooks, or even in front of recording equipment all make for interesting visuals. If you share often enough, maybe some fans will begin to understand just how much you actually work on the music they love so much.
Again, sharing that songwriting sessions have commenced will put people in the mindset that new music is on the horizon, so try not to do so unless you can give the people what they want relatively soon. Otherwise, you may end up with some unhappy fans.
This might be one of the coolest places to give fans a backstage experience... literally. Very few people ever get to be backstage at a show, so why not show them what it’s like? Now, your version of “backstage” might not be the same as, say, Taylor Swift, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still make for a cool post. Whether it's literally backstage, you walking out to greet an audience, or even in whatever kind of green room you’re relaxing in before going out and playing, share a photo!
Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog Pop! Bang! Boom! which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.