25 Ways to Get More Fans for Your Band Using Instagram

Posted by Allison Sharpe on Jul 28, 2015 09:00 AM

instagram-contest-1-f_strat-1Image via thehouseofmarley.com

This article originally appeared on the Bandzoogle blog.


Your fans have the attention span of a goldfish (less, actually!). So every time you engage with them, you need to hit 'em with a one-two knockout punch. The best way to do that is through consistent visual content. We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and since graphics evoke emotion, this connects you to your fans more quickly (if you have the right images).

The king of images and videos right now is Instagram. In a previous post we hit you with four tips to make your band's Instagram more engaging. Since then, Instagram has exploded, so here are 25 more ways to make your Instagram (IG) account work for you:

  1. Use hashtags. Hashtags are the way to go on Instagram. Hashtags allow you to call out what your image is about. Like a vendor at the ballgame yelling, "Peanuts! Get your hot, fresh, crunchy peanuts here!" Hashtags are similar in that you want to use detailed words or phrases that describe your image or brand. Even though your followers can see the image, select hashtags that would make sense even if they couldn’t see the picture.

  2. Don't abuse the hashtag. Hashtags are a way for fans to find and connect with you. When you use popular hashtags that have nothing to do with your band or image it comes off as spammy and desperate. Definitely go for the creative and humorous, but leave out anything that doesn't relate to your band.

  3. Caption fun. Just like the hashtag, a caption can be just as important to your posted image. This is where your writing skills will shine. Don't get too bogged down in writing the perfect paragraph or the most witty text. Just make sure it pairs nicely with your image and adds a little something to the post. Being funny and clever is a great idea, but don’t make it so inside jokey that your fans don't know what the heck you're talking about! Just keep it light and fun to complement your photo.

  4. Hashtag bandwagon. I know you wanna hate 'em, but recurring weekday hashtags are here to stay (at least for a while). You know what they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Go ahead and jump on the party train with #musicmonday and #tbt (Throwback Thursday). Just start with one day of the week and go for it. C'mon, you know all your fans would love to see a baby pic of your drummer next Thursday (like our very own Dave Cool #aww).

  5. Variety is the spice of IG. Your IG page shouldn't show 10 of the same pictures of your band in different poses. Mix it up! Post tour shots, writing sessions, party nights, and whatever else makes up the life of an indie band or artist.

  6. Show your true colors. Make sure you’re posting images that makes fans want to see more. Dark, grainy pictures are depressing. Make sure you take bright, colorful pics and use the IG filters to your advantage.

  7. Everyone wants to win! Fans are crazy about winning anything, so IG contests are usually a big hit! You could give away digital downloads, T-shirts, gig tickets, heck, even a signed guitar pick. It doesn't much matter what it is, as long as it creates a buzz around your IG page.

  8. One and done. The great thing about IG is that it gives you the option to send your posted image to Facebook and Twitter. This is a nice time-saver!

  9. Link to your website. Social media is great for rallying your fans, but if you want them to focus on your music, you need to get them to your website. To do this, you'll want to add a link to your site in your IG profile.

  10. Profile basics. The highlight of IG are your images, but don't forget to write a great profile summary as well. Make sure to include your band name, genre, and where the band is from. Keep it short and simple, with just enough info to make fans want to click the link to your website to find out more.

  11. Serenade your fans. IG allows videos of up to 15 seconds, so why not give them a little taste of your music to keep them going? You can sing snippets of your songs, short clips of popular songs, custom songs for a particular fan, or anything else that highlights your sound.

  12. Turn the "recording" light on. Let your fans in the recording booth with you (virtually) by posting short videos of the recording process. Show them where you're recording, the outtakes, the chill time, the creative difference "talks," and anything else fans don't usually get to be part of.

  13. Tour bus diaries.  Most fans will never get the opportunity to tour or gig, so let them in on the magic. Take short clips of the road trips, pit stops, green rooms, hotel stays, venues, and even funny moments like when the band is sleeping (e.g., drooling or snoring).

  14. Comedy is king. Fans love to see your personal side, so keep things light and post up any pics or videos that might get them laughing. Funny videos show your fans that although you're rockstars, you're also human as well. How about filming some pranks on each other, or band hijinks on the road? This will go a long way to build relatability with your fans.

  15. Find your fans. You can either wait for fans to find you or you can get proactive and search for new fans on your end. In IG, click the magnifying glass icon, then you'll see the search box at the top. Try searching for keywords that fit your band or music. For example, if you're a bluegrass band you could type in bluegrass, banjo, fiddle, country, etc. You can also search for other bands/artists in your same genre and places/things in your local area. Then follow anyone who has interest in those same things.

  16. Comment, comment, comment. Now that you've searched for and found your fans, interact with them. Stardom is not a behind-the-scenes job. Get out in front of your fans, and let them know you're there. Fun examples:

    • If you find a fan who hashtagged an image with #fiddle you could comment something like "John from our band started fiddling at the age of two!"

    • If you find an image tagged with #AlisonKrauss, comment something like, "Cool! Alison's song 'Paper Airplane' was the inspiration for our latest single, 'Name of your single'"

    • Someone tags a picture with #wafflehouse, hit 'em with, "We love Waffle House! In fact, we're gonna get some waffles after our (name of venue) gig next Friday. Come with us, the syrup's on us! lol"

    • During a festival, follow the hashtag and pop in where relevant. One of your fans might post a pic saying, "First time at #telluridebluegrassfestival and lovin' it!" You can comment, "Great festival! We plan to perform there next year!"

  17. Interact with fans. The key to building superfans is to make sure they feel special. It's great to promote your band a bit with comments, but also make sure to comment on regular, everyday-type pictures your fans post as well. If they post a picture of their cute dog, comment, "Aww, too cute!" or if they post a vacation picture, say, "Hawaii's a great vaca getaway. Have a pina colada for me!" Just keep it personable and fun.

  18. Share the spotlight with your fans. Make it a point to take photos with your fans at gigs, events, and just out and about. Then post the pics to IG, and tag your fans in the photo. Make sure they get a copy of the pic so they can post on their IG feed and tag you as well. This creates the opportunity for you to get new fans from their friends.

  19. Fan love. Have fans email you photos, drawings, and videos talking about your band or music. One idea is to have fans submit videos of them rockin' out at your concert. Another might be a fan doing a cover of one of your songs. You can even post artwork that fans have drawn or painted of the band.

  20. Network with other bands. Now that you've found similar artists by searching IG, get in there and work together to get new fans. Cross-promote gigs and music. Comment on their music and videos. Collaborate where you can. Do a contest together. Be creative, because sharing fans creates more buzz for you (and them).

  21. Be present. Besides commenting on your fan pics and images by other bands, make sure to comment on other pages as well. Keep your name out there by commenting on posts about current topics, events (e.g., soccer, holidays, etc.), and the like.

  22. Something to look forward to. Recurring photo series take a little more work, but if done right, fans love it. The idea is to post a new photo in a series every week to give your fans something to come back for. Ideas:

    • Our drummer can sleep anywhere: Post a pic a week of your drummer sleeping in a suitcase, in a stairwell, in the bathtub, etc.

    • Where’s our banjo? Post a pic a week showing your banjo with a paper mustache in a new location. Think about putting it where you gig so people know where to find you.

    • Pranks: Post one pic or video a week of band shenanigans. (People love silly posts and like to tag their friends to look also.)

  23. Mix it up. If you're a band, make sure to have each band member get involved. This will help fans get to know you as a group as well as individually. From that you can even do IG polls with questions like, "Which band member has the hottest body?" "Which band member has the best hair?" "Which band member posts the best pics here on IG?"

  24. Add your IG photos to your website. Once you get a nice array of photos in IG, display them on your website. You can easily set this up on your website with Bandzoogle's built-in Instagram feature.

  25. Be consistent. Although this is 25 in number, this really is the number-one best way to get more fans. If you show up often enough with thoughtful, consistent content, your fans will remember you!

Now that you know what to do, make sure you don't mess up all your hard work by using poor quality photos, being too salesy, or forgetting to set your account to public!


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Allison Sharpe is a musician, blogger, and support technician at musician website and marketing platform Bandzoogle.

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Topics: social media, instagram, Music Business 101, Marketing & Promotion


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