Quick – what’s the most important thing for a band to focus on, assuming they already sound terrific? If you said ‘growing their fanbase’, you’d be correct. Venues book bands that draw, and the more you draw, the better bookings you’ll get, so nurturing your fanbase is important. Facebook (FB) used to be a good place to do this since you could directly interact with your fans, but now that Facebook’s algorithms have become so complicated, only about 2 to 6% of your fans are seeing your posts – and if you post more than two or three times a day on your band’s Facebook page, even fewer people are seeing your posts since Facebook penalizes pages for posting too frequently.
Enter Instagram (IG). It’s meant to be used in the moment, it’s visual, it’s easy, and there’s no penalty for posting frequently, all things that have contributed to making Instagram the fastest growing social media platform in the world. Take a picture or video less than one minute long, apply a filter (or not), add a meaningful caption, and post. And because of it’s tight integration with Facebook (Facebook owns both platforms), you can opt to share posts on your Facebook page, as well as check Instagram’s DMs and comments from within Facebook.
Now that we’ve gotten the why out of the way, let’s get down to the how. Because most bands have only one or two people doing all of the work, we’re going to suggest some shortcuts. Obviously, first you’ll need to sign up for Instagram, and that means you’ll need to download the app to your phone. Once that’s done, and you’ve registered your user name (remember to keep it consistent with your other social media user names), you’re ready to make your first post. (IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE, DO SIGN UP FOR AN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT SO OTHERS CAN AT LEAST TAG YOU.)
Go ahead and create your content now. It can be either photo(s), video(s), or a combination of both. We suggest that you format your photos & videos as square (1:1), since Instagram allows you to simultaneously post on Facebook and Twitter, and the square format translates well to both platforms. Choosing to post to all 3 platforms is a real timesaver, too, since you just potentially tripled your reach without tripling your work. (Remember to only post the most important to FB, more than 2 or 3 posts there will get your page pushed down in the ratings.)
If you’re stuck for ideas on what your fans want to see, remember to keep it authentic. To most of us regular folk, you are local celebrities, and we appreciate being taken behind the scenes with you. Shoot some video or take some photos of your latest practice, or in the green room, or from the road. Be sure to add a caption that explains what’s going on – even if it’s a video!
Once you’ve posted, be sure to monitor your comments so you can respond back in a timely manner. (Remember that you can monitor comments from within your Facebook page’s Inbox, but you can’t reply. You’ll need to use the app for that.) Done right, Instagram can help you forge a genuine connection with your fans.
Some addition information on using Instagram can be found here, or if there’s anything HTB can help with, let us know. We’re here to be a resource to you!