If you’re eager to get your tracks heard by more people, you need to understand how to promote music on Instagram. This social media platform is one of the most popular on the planet. In 2023, Instagram had more than 1.35 billion active users. By 2025, that number is set to rise to 1.44 billion.
Sadly, simply uploading your content isn’t going to make you Instagram’s next breakout viral star. If you’re serious about leveraging this social platform as a powerful promotional tool, you’ll need to work on a compelling profile, plan a slate of captivating content, and explore innovative features like Instagram Stories and Reels. New to Instagram? Not to worry. Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about unleashing the full might of Insta.
Setting Up Your Instagram Profile
If you’re thinking about Instagram music promotion, you’ll need to first have an active business account. If you already use the social media platform daily, simply log in to your profile, then head to the ‘Settings and privacy’ tab. Once you’ve clicked on this, go to ‘Account type and tools’ and select ‘Switch to professional account’. You’ll then need to select a category for your business account. Thankfully, ‘Musician/Band’ is one such option. Select this and you’re good to go.
Instagram Profile Names and Bios
Profile names and bios can be a powerful marketing tool for music promotion on Instagram, so don’t rush into a decision. Picking the right profile name is particularly important. Avoid generic names and go with something memorable. To give your username more authority, avoid using numbers as these tend to be associated with fan accounts and fake profiles. Although you have 30 characters to work with here, you’ll want to avoid an overlong username.
Your bio also needs careful consideration. You might only have 150 characters to work with, but this snippet is going to say a lot about you as an artist. However, you’re actively encouraged to mix your bio up over time. The bio section is one of the few places on Instagram where you’re allowed to post links. Therefore, you’ll want to use this precious real estate for linking to your website, live concert venues, or for cross-promotional activities. It’s also a good idea to include your contact details here.
Finally, you’ll need a great profile photo. Again, you’re free to switch these out over time, but you should aim to stay consistent as you establish your brand and evolve a visual identity as an artist.
As well as being on brand, your profile picture and Instagram photos should tie into the music genres your music falls into. Take Foo Fighters as an example. Their monochrome ‘FF’ is instantly identifiable, while their black and white performance snaps are typical of the rock genre. In general, a black-and-white theme is a good idea. It’s pared-back, consistent, and versatile. Of course, feel free to experiment with a different color palette if more daring shades are key to your visual identity.
Building a Strong Instagram Music Strategy
If you want to know how to promote your music on Instagram, you’ll need to do your homework. Your first port of call should be identifying your target audience. These are the people who actually listen to your music. If you’ve already invested in promotion on other social media channels, you probably have a clear idea about your target demographic. What’s more, it’s fairly easy to convert Twitter and Facebook followers into Instagram followers.
You can even look to other artists in the same genre for inspiration. Are there other active artists putting out similar music to you? Take some time to investigate their online audiences, study their Instagram music strategies, and earmark for collaborations in the future. If there’s enough crossover between the two of you, you can easily steer some of their listeners toward your content.
Instagram for Musicians: Branding and Image Assets
Even if you've been performing for some time and think you have a pretty clear-cut brand identity, it probably needs adapting for online promotion. High-quality image assets are everything when promoting your music on Instagram. Have you locked down a brand logo or artist hero shot? These are great shouts for your profile picture, so make sure they’re looking as good as they can be.
Now’s the time to consider investing in the services of a graphic designer. You’ll want a full suite of images to use for your Instagram activities as you start navigating the platform. Just remember to be consistent with your branding if you want to maintain authenticity as an artist.
While music will be high on your agenda, you’ll also need to produce all manner of compelling content for your audience. Whether it’s teases of new album artwork or candid backstage snaps, giving your followers a front row seat to exclusive content is key to engagement. To make life simpler, try and theme content so it’s easier to prepare in bulk. You can upload photos from live shows, participate in challenges, or even jump on the bandwagon with tried-and-tested trends like Throwback Thursday.
Other high-engagement options include uploading covers of popular songs. You might think that this is a low-brow move, but many established artists like Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, and Machine Gun Kelly do it.
Engaging Content Creation
Putting together a packed schedule of fresh content is straightforward enough. Even if you’re fairly new to social media in general, you have plenty of options for engaging your fans via Instagram.
Behind-the-scenes content will also land well with existing fans and can make you more accessible to new listeners. Are you currently playing the live circuit? Even short snippets of backstage content captured on a smartphone can be uploaded.
If you’d rather invest in high-quality content, think about uploading videos from your latest live performances. You can even use this for promotional efforts. If you’re still looking to shift tickets for your next gig, sharing rehearsal footage with your Instagram followers is a great idea.
Remember, Instagram is visual-centric. If you have a new album in the pipeline, spend a bit more time producing captivating album artwork that’s really going to shine on a laptop or smartphone screen.
Need some help putting together a killer video for your next Instagram post? With IndieFlow’s, you have the tools you need to create eye-catching short-form visuals.
How To Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is another nifty feature that can be used to your advantage. This in-app feature lets users upload images and videos that will automatically delete after 24 hours online. Around 70% of platform users watch Instagram Stories every day, with even more posting them. In total, there are around 500 million potential followers to engage.
For musicians, Instagram Stories can be an effective tool for releasing on-brand content to a dedicated audience. However, as this content only remains live for a brief time, you need to actively market it. If you’re releasing something important to a new show or album release, make sure you’re giving your followers a fair warning about its impending arrival.
You can also use Instagram Stories to forge stronger connections with your existing fans. Use it to launch polls or hold Q&A sessions. Although Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, you can still use the Story Highlights feature to pin your content to your profile indefinitely.
As with any Instagram post, hashtags are important here. For regular posts, it’s tempting to overdo it with barely relevant hashtags. However, with Instagram Stories, you’re limited to just ten hashtags. Keep things on point by tying them to your band or artist name, single or album title, and a few key terms that directly relate to audience interests.
Leveraging Instagram’s Music Features
TikTok isn’t the only place you can capitalize on the potential of short-term videos. Over at Instagram, the Reels feature lets you upload videos lasting as long as 90 seconds. However, you’re limited to 60 seconds if you’re attaching a video to an Instagram Stories post. Generally speaking, a video length of between 15 and 30 seconds is considered ideal.
Along with being able to record and upload videos, you have a few handy editing tools at your disposal. You can make quick cuts and stitch scenes together or brighten things up with interactive stickers. Instagram Reels has a lot of scope for up-and-coming musicians. You can use the feature to tease snippets of new tracks or upload a quick engagement post for fans.
Use Instagram To Collaborate
Collaborating with other artists is a surefire way of extending your reach and tapping into new audiences. With Instagram’s music features, you can easily connect with like-minded artists and get your music into the ears of new listeners.
You can start small by collaborating with artists you’ve met on the live circuit. If both of you are active on Instagram, there are some serious follower gains to be had.
Even the pros understand the power of collaboration. British artist Sam Ryder might have made a name for himself by releasing covers on Instagram, but it’s his collaborations with other musicians that helped catapult him into the mainstream.
Engage Your Audience
If you want to keep hold of your Instagram followers, you need to engage them. Investing in an Instagram profile is only worth it if you’re prepared to spend time connecting with your fans. While it’s not possible to respond to every single comment, you still need to look as though you’re reading what your followers have to say. Setting aside some time twice a week to respond to a handful of comments will go a long way in striking the right note with a growing audience.
Another option is running regular contests and giveaways. This is a great promotional tool that’s perfect for marketing a new release or growing your follower count organically. Keep things simple with ‘comment to win’ contests or make things more interesting with photo caption contests.
If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to content creation, you can turn to your fans for support. Think about asking them to record a cover of one of your songs or set them the challenge of rewriting the chorus to a famous track. As well as engaging your fans, you’re securing fresh content for your own social channels.
To remain accessible to your audience, it’s also worth hosting regular live streams. You can fold these into your rehearsal time if you want to maintain an aura of authenticity. Q&As are also useful for connecting with followers. Spanish singer Rosalia is a prime example of a major artist leveraging intimate Q&As to their advantage.
Utilizing Instagram Ads for Music Promotion
Even with the best material, you might need to turn to sponsored posts and Instagram music ads to introduce your tracks to new audiences. Thankfully, Instagram’s ad manager tool is incredibly user-friendly.
First, decide your goals. Are you looking for more video views or are you aiming to raise brand awareness instead? Next, decide how much money you have to play with. Many artists choose a cost-per-click model, but you can also pay for every thousand page impressions you receive. Of course, you’ll need to actually create your ad. This can be a short-form video, an image carousel, or Instagram Stories content.
With Instagram ads, you can target users in specific locations. This is ideal for those playing the gig circuit looking to draw in bigger crowds. You can target by country, state, or even city. You can also use demographics-based targeting. This is only really effective if you already have a clear idea of who your target audience is. For musicians, interest-based targeting is probably the best approach.
Tracking Ad Success
Ultimately, you’ll need to determine how effective your ad campaign has been. You’ll need to focus on a few key performance indicators here. First, there’s the overall number of impressions. By looking at his metric, you’ll find out how many people actually saw your ad and how many of those actually engaged with it. With Instagram insights, you’ll also be able to determine the reach of your ad, click-through rate, custom conversions, and more.
Cross-Promoting Your Music on Instagram
Ideally, you should be using more than one social media platform to promote your music. Thankfully, integrating your Instagram with other social media channels is surprisingly simple.
Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram. As such, sharing your Instagram posts on Facebook takes moments. If you’re using the Instagram app, you can also link to other social media accounts like Twitter by heading to your ‘Sharing to other apps’ settings.
Now’s also the time to network. Even if you’ve started collaborating with other artists on Instagram, there are other industry avenues to explore. Music blogs and websites are always worth reaching out to. Making early connections will make life easier when it comes to promoting an EP or new album. If you have an EPK already prepared, use this to make your introductions.
Measuring Success and Adjusting Strategies
If you’ve previously used TikTok to promote your music, getting to grips with Instagram insights and analytics shouldn’t be a problem. As with other social media platforms, you’ll want to see if your efforts have led to an actual increase in followers. An overall upswing isn’t enough. You need to have a look at follower growth rate as well.
However, getting your content seen is only half the battle. If followers aren’t actually engaging with it, you’re wasting your time. As Instagram’s algorithm continues to change, engagement has never been more crucial. If you’re collaborating with influencers, this is particularly important as it lets you see whether that investment is paying off.
Are you using Instagram Stories? Although this content disappears after 24 hours, the insights they provide can be delved into whenever you want. You can check to see how many replies and profile visits your story generated. If the numbers don’t bode well, consider whether your content needs reworking.
Adapting your Instagram campaign can be time-consuming if you’re making full use of the platform’s features. An overall downturn in the number of comments you’re getting is a clear sign your Instagram efforts need an overall. However, if it’s just your Reels and Stories content that’s struggling to engage your followers, it’s easier to adjust your editorial slate.
Start Promoting Your Music on Instagram Today
With more than a billion active users ready to connect with, Instagram’s the perfect platform for broadening your reach and securing new listeners across the globe. To get started, you’ll need to make sure you’re using a business account. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to work on creating a compelling bio and eye-catching profile name. First impressions count, so you’ll also need to source your best image assets to make your profile really stand out. Undecided on which Insta theme to go with? When in doubt, keep things simple with a timeless black-and-white theme.
However, you don’t want to rush the profile creation stage. If you’re going to be leaning on Instagram heavily, it could end up being your most visible branding tool. Make sure the content you’re putting out there is authentic and in line with the kind of visual identity you want to create as an artist.
When uploading content, your main focus is of course going to be music. However, with an image-first platform like Insta, you’ll need to diversify your content slate. Mix things up with lyric videos or image carousels packed with behind-the-scenes photos. You can also experiment with Instagram Stories if you want to bring a touch of exclusivity to your content.
Instagram’s also the perfect platform for collaborating. Reach out to similar artists and music influencers to broaden your reach. If you’re having trouble engaging your followers, turn to online Q&As and prize giveaways.
For maximum impact, it might be worth allocating some budget for sponsored posts and ads. However, these need to be targeted if you want a return on your investment. What’s more, you’ll need to actually track and monitor your ad campaigns to see if they’re worth your time and money.
Mastering music promotion on Instagram doesn’t happen overnight. However, with careful planning and plenty of innovative content ideas, you can stand out from the crowd and connect with legions of new fans.