“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” – Jay Z
You’re not only a music talent. You are a music brand, and that brand is a business. Using the power of Instagram, you no longer have to dream of producing music. Getting paid while producing music can be a reality! The days of going through a middle man in order to make a living with your music are long gone. Instagram is a great platform to catapult your music career.
The challenge is how do you use Instagram to be able to make a living with your music? You might be saying that you’ve tried using Instagram, but you haven’t had any luck. Look, Sally, I’m here to tell you, you’re using Instagram wrong. Don’t sweat it though because I’m here to guide you to get on the correct path! I don’t want to give you the wrong impression though. What you’ll learn in this article is not a quick fix.
You won’t get a magic bullet that instantly changes things for you. Instead, you’ll get the blueprint that gets you from nothing to making those dollars or euros with your music. With that said, I’m assuming that you’re good at creating music. If you suck, then there’s very little that can be done about making a living with your music.
The step that nearly everyone doesn’t do: Research
Doing Instagram research in the music niche will help you determine what is successful and what works. It will help you create engaging content and potential viral posts.
How do you do research?
- Look up 20 Instagram accounts in the music niche with around 100K followers
- Write down all the 20 accounts you found.
- Go to each account and study the posts that do really well.
Here is a printable worksheet for you that you can use to write down the 20 accounts. Here are some thoughts to consider when you study an account:
- Pay attention to see if the post is a video or if it’s an image.
- What type of video is it?
- What type of music work is the person doing in the post?
- Are they doing music work in the post?
- How are they writing their captions?
- Do they include a call to action in the caption?
After studying 20 accounts you should see common things that work and use them in content creation.
Giving Your Instagram Page an Upgrade
There are two key areas that you can tweak to give your page a more professional quality:
- The bio
- The feed
How to upgrade your bio
- Create a bulleted list or short sentence paragraph of what you do
- Keep the bio relevant to the music industry and avoid listing things that have nothing to do with it
- Use a music industry relevant hashtag in your bio and naturally integrate that in your bio
How to upgrade your feed
- Think of your feed as a whole when you post
- Avoid having similarly colored posts repeatedly next to each other
- Use your research to help inform you on that type of content to post
- Use a visual planner app like Planoly to plan your posts out
What do I post?
There are certain types of posts that perform better than others. You must find that out. That’s why the research step is important. The research helps you know what type of content gets the most likes and comments and what doesn’t. Develop a plan to post content based on high-performing content you saw in your research.
Grow a following with your captions
- The main purpose your captions should do is to create a connection For example – Instead of posting that you just released a new track, talk about how you have a ritual of drinking 5 cups of coffee before you start working in the studio
- Focus on telling a story For example – Instead of saying “Check out my new song” talk about the journey of creating the song, the inspiration of why you made it, the struggles of creating it, etc.
- Give your feed diversity For example – Don’t just share your work and be in sales pitch mode (aka telling people to check out your new beats), share bits of info that will make people like you, and feel more connected with you.
- Write long captions to benefit from the algorithm
Choosing the right hashtags
- Use hashtags relevant to the music industry
- What are your keywords
- What are your peers/competitors/influencers using
- Keep in mind what Instagram suggests as a related hashtag
- Use 11-30 hashtags
- Post your hashtags in a comment by using a period and return, do this five times then paste your hashtags
- Create different hashtag groups and keep them on your phone
- Avoid using the same group of hashtags for every post
- Copy your hashtags before you post, so you can quickly paste your hashtags into your post
- Avoid using hashtags over 1 million views
- If you must use a hashtag over 1 million views, then limit to a couple and paste them in your description, not your first comment
Strategies to get more organic growth
There are three strategies that will immensely help you get more awareness, organic growth, and help you become part of the community. The first one is called the 100 cent strategy and the basic idea is to go to people within the music industry niches and give your two cents. How to do the 100 Cent Strategy
- Search a music-related hashtag
- Give your positive thoughts on the top 10 posts within that hashtag
- Avoid stating generic comments like “great picture, love that photo, etc”
- You want to give a unique and specific comment like “hey, I loved the way you mixed a disco vibe with dubstep to create that hip hop beat”
After you leave comments on 10 post, you need to repeat this 5 times The second method is called the 700 Hearts Strategy How to do the 700 Hearts Strategy
- Your goal is to give 700 hearts to the music community
- Search a hashtag in the music industry
- Like 140 images
- Repeat 5 times
If done correctly, you can do both these strategies at the same time to help save you some time. With both of these strategies, you’ll be giving out so much value to the music community that people will start to become aware of your music identity and follow you. The final strategy is to do more stories and live sessions. The thing about stories and live sessions is they are not like YouTube videos where people actively search for videos. People can stumble upon your story or live session, so it’s critical to make the first moments of your story or live session stand out.
Paid Growth Strategy
Run Instagram ads of your top post against your niche.
How to make money with your Instagram
When you start growing and getting a good engagement rate is when I’d recommend starting monetizing your Instagram. There are many ways you can make money. I will focus on two ways that have worked for me: Selling Products and Working with Brands.
How to Sell Products
- Create a great product. Your product has to be researched well to ensure it provides great value to its target audience
- Create an Instagram story ad for your product. I would create two weeks worth of variations of your ad
- Then post a variation of your ad each and every day at a time your audience is most active
- You must keep promoting your ad every day (This is why you need slightly different versions of your ad, so your audience doesn’t feel bored with the ad)
- Research appropriate music industry hashtags and place them in your story (You can hide the hashtag so people don’t see it)
How to Work with Brands
- Make sure you have good engagement. I find if you’re above 4% it’s good enough.
- Your number of followers doesn’t matter as much as your engagement rate
- Know the demographics of your audience really well
- You can use the analytics from your Instagram business account
- You can sign up for a Fohr Card account which will give you deep insights on your audience, https://www.fohr.co/influencers/login
- Decide which brands you want to partner with
- Research the PR emails of those brands
- Reach out to those emails with your pitch
- Working with brands is a numbers game, so the more brands you reach out to the more you’ll work with
Even if you never used Instagram before, even if you don’t have many followers, or even if you don’t know how to use Instagram well. You can make money with your music by leveraging the power of Instagram and following this blueprint. I’m proof that you don’t need a tremendous amount of followers or that you have to be the most incredible artist. Granted I’m a visual artist but it’s quite similar. What it does take is hard work and the commitment to be all you can be. What’s your process for growing your following? Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention?