At Canadian Music Week 2017, I attended a moderated discussion called “An Artist’s Guide To Marketing To Fans.” One of the panelists was Ariel Hyatt, founder of Cyber PR (let me tell you she’s amazing). Anyways, one of the ideas she threw forth really stuck with me. It was about having running themes on one’s social media; five to be exact. In this article, I want to take it one step further into the Instagram platform.
Instagram is my favourite social media platform. It’s the one where I don’t have to be super professional, and the lines between music industry person and your best online friend blur. I don’t consider myself insta-famous, but I have a fun time posting pictures, and those often convert into website traffic, which is the whole point. It’s easy to get caught up in the followers, numbers and ratios game, but conversion is what really matters for businesses/musicians.
What I want to chat with you about today is optimizing your Instagram profile for maximum follows and conversion if you’re a multifaceted artist. Have you ever heard the expression “one trick pony”? It means someone who isn’t versatile. So for example, a pop artist who only sings sad breakup songs is a one trick pony. Your Instagram feed might be one as well. Unless you’re a worldwide corporation or an iconic and aloof superstar, you absolutely can share more than simply staged photoshoots and billboard announcements. In the digital age of music, fans want to feel like they know you, and can be part of your journey. So as long as you stay consistent with your brand, by all means, branch out to entertain your fans.
First of all, you’ll want a recognizable picture of yourself. A band logo doesn’t show enough behind the scenes personality to potential fans. As a professional musician, you should have added the business version of Instagram, which hands over free analytics and follower data, and gives an immediate “email” button for industry and media folk to reach you quickly. For the website option, typing down your official dot com address really puts you into the pro leagues.
I’ve seen artists and small businesses put their latest YouTube video or email list opt-in link, but in my opinion, the YouTube link makes you look like a teenaged cover musician, and the sign-up form is way too forward. People want to know what you’re all about before they hand over their email address.
Now, to the bio. This is where the running themes idea comes in. What if artists put five elements of their brand into their Instagram bio, each with a corresponding emoji? By “brand,” I’m talking about the type of content they post; what makes them them. Emojis grab attention within text and lighten the mood.
For fun, let’s look at my current bio, and dissect how I’m putting this idea into practice:
💻 Music Industry Blogger
The first thing people see with me is what I do. Every time I have a new blog post up, Instagram is going to be a place I promote it.
🎙 Folk Singer-Songwriter
My secondary career is right below. I want people to know about it so that my EP doesn’t come as a shock when it’s released.
🏆 BPD Champion
Here, added a human touch, and let my audience know about what I go through, so that others who stumble across my profile can relate.
☕️ Tea-Latte Fanatic
A slight touch of humour which also lets people see my personality.
🇨🇦 Ottawa, Canada
Last but not least, I put my city and country down. When people in Ottawa see this, they’ll immediately feel more connected to me. If you’re from a small town that doesn’t have a big music scene, you can try putting your county or even province/state instead.
Basically, what you want to do to try out my “template” is to say “I am a…” four times, and then put your approximate geographical location last.
Having five running themes lets you branch out into different picture ideas, while still staying consistent to your brand. So for example, it wouldn’t be out of place for the top three pictures on my feed to be a new article announcement, an artsy picture of tea, and something inspirational about overcoming mental health issues.
Yes, a musician’s branding should be consistent. No, they don’t have to be a one trick pony. If you try out my Instagram template and you like it, please comment your handle below, so I can check you out.