A Singer's Guide to Instagram

Instagram has become an extremely popular social media outlet by allowing users to easily share and view snapshots of milestones, adventures, and day-to-day life. For a performer, Instagram can be used for more than fun selfies and travel shots. Instagram’s visual emphasis is a perfect self-marketing tool for singers, especially since our engagement with audiences often relies on visual connections. Use these tips to turn your casual profile into a tool to generate fans and to connect with the world as a working singer!

1. Figure out your personal brand

Your Instagram, like any social media account, is a component of your public persona as a performer. Unlike other social media accounts or websites, Instagram has a personal feel to it. This is where your fans can go to get a glimpse into your daily life rather than just information about your resume or upcoming performances. So what is your personal brand? It is how you want to be seen as an artist, colleague, and person. Before you post on Instagram, ask yourself “Will this help the world get to know me?”

Your Instagram bio is a great place to start implementing your personal brand. An effective bio will tell followers who you are and what you do, so make sure to mention you are a working singer in this space. Think of your bio as your Instagram elevator pitch. What is the first thing followers should know about you? Your Instagram's whole look also displays your personal brand. Perhaps you have a signature filter that visually unifies all of your posts or a color scheme that runs through your feed. Maybe you use a specific font every time you post an Instagram story or include a famous quote in every caption. These elements might seem small, but they are important contributors to the overall impact of your Instagram brand.

Above all, your personal brand should be genuine. Don’t try to be anyone else on your Instagram because your fans want to see the real you! For more ideas on how to craft your personal brand, check out "Five Questions to Ask When Defining Your Brand".

2. Don’t be afraid to self-promote

Instagram is the perfect place to keep your followers updated with where you’re working and what you're doing. Don’t be shy about pushing upcoming performances or posting about career milestones. If your audience doesn’t know what you’re up to, they have no way to support your art. Promotional posts can be more than marketing materials or headshots. They can include a backstage selfie, a snapshot of a pre-performance routine, or a funny performance still. Each post can help you segue into self-promotion while giving fans a behind-the-scenes sneak peek.

Make sure to post about your artistic collaborations and to tag your fellow artists in these posts. Tagging the accounts of your colleagues gives you the opportunity to be seen by their followers and vice versa, helping both parties grow their Instagram fan bases. Whenever you post a production still, be sure to credit and tag the creative staff of the production, including the makeup designer, costume designer, scenic designer, lighting designer, and director. It's also important to tag and to give photo credits to any professional photographer whose work shows up on your feeds. These tags will connect you to other artists' profiles and give credit where credit is due.

3. Use your #hashtags

Hashtags are very useful for directing new audiences to your profile. A hashtag links your content to similar content, acting like a keyword or search term for anyone browsing the site. An opera fan might search Instagram for posts tagged #operalife (which has been used 78,203 times), #musician (which has been used 275,908,839 times), or #singersofinstagram (which has been used 624,614 times). Attaching these and other popular hashtags to your posts gives them a better chance of being seen by viewers who share your interests. The more hits the hashtag has, the better. If a hashtag only has a handful of users, it won’t do much to increase your views. You can check out the profiles of your favorite performers to get hashtag ideas or use the “Related Hashtags” suggestions to add to the hashtags you’re already using.

Keep in mind that attaching hashtags directly to your captions can make posts seem too long or too overwhelming to your followers. Instead, put your hashtags in the comments of your post. This will keep each post clean and streamlined while still allowing your content to be searched and seen.

4. Post high-quality content often

Instagram only works as an effective self-marketing tool if your followers see your content regularly. Posting at a minimum of 1-2 times a week will ensure your photos make it into their feeds and will bring consistent attention to your profile. You are welcome to post more often than that, of course, but make sure to keep a balance between quality and quantity. Your feed should consist of clear photographs and videos that represent you and your brand well. Try to stay away from blurry photos, racy captions, or anything you wouldn’t want a casting director to see. If you wouldn’t want an audition panel to hear a clip of your singing, don’t post it on your public Instagram. It is better not to post than to fill your feed with regular posts that don’t show off the best of you.

However, there is a limit to how often you should be posting. Even if you're posting beautiful photos, posting more than once a day can clog up your followers' feeds and feel desperate. If you don't feel like this is enough, use a short-term posting method such as Instagram or Facebook stories to engage your followers in your daily life without blowing up their feeds with too many posts. Keep an eye on when you post as well, as timing can affect how many people see your post in their feeds. According to Hootsuite.com, posts in the media/entertainment industry are most successful when posted between 12-3 PM, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Consider making a regular habit of posting in the afternoon to beef up your audience engagement.

5. Vary up your posts

Remember, high-quality content doesn’t have to be career-related. Did you grab brunch with your best friends? Take a hike through the mountains? Spend some quality time in the backyard with your dog? Post these pictures from your daily life to let your followers get to know you as a person rather than just a performer. If you find yourself posting a lot of solo photos, switch it up with a group picture. Include an occasional landscape or location photo, or throw in a fun selfie. If you're really feeling fancy, you can edit your everyday photos to make them pop, using phone apps such as Adobe Photoshop Express, Snapseed, VSCO or Adobe Lightroom Express. Don’t get stuck in a content rut!

Instagram is a fun way to connect online, but it is also an important tool for engaging with modern audiences. Consider your Instagram as you would consider any other marketing platform. With a bit of planning and forethought, your Instagram can tell the world who you are as an artist and put your name out in cyberspace for all to see.

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