Music Marketing: What really works on Instagram this year?

Bots, removing like counts and how to maintain high engagement: a short guide full of instagram tips for people working in the music industry

By Teresa MartiniContributing Author

Article photo - Music Marketing: What really works on Instagram this year?

On July 17th, Instagram has announced a new test to hide like counts in several countries including Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Mia Garlick, responsible of Facebook’s policy in Australia and New Zealand stated that: "We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love” and that Instagram’s main goal is to “focus less on likes and more on telling a story”.

...many artists nowadays get booked simply thanks to the amount of followers that they have on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter

If you have been using Instagram for the last couple of years, you probably already know that Zuckenberg’s social media company became a “like-centered” platform where self-esteem and success are measured with a double tap on a screen. 

This phenomenon has of course also effected the music industry: from promoters to artists, from music labels to festival organisers, everyone wants to gain as many likes as possible in order to improve image, sell more tickets and increase sales. It is undeniable, that many artists nowadays get booked simply thanks to the amount of followers that they have on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. You can see why it became completely normal to buy followers, likes and video views: the higher your numbers, the highest your chances of getting gigs and record deals. Many instagram users to use bots, which are automated services that automatically follow profiles and like pictures and videos with the aim of getting more followers and likes.

How safe is this?

Article photo - Music Marketing: What really works on Instagram this year?Let’s start by underlining one fundamental point: buying likes and using bots is illegal and you should stay away from it, otherwise you risk getting your account temporarily suspended or even deleted. In fact, Instagram itself is becoming more and more strict and it is happening more often that people’s accounts get blocked for a week or more.

Another issue to highlight is the fact that fake followers are generally fake profiles which won’t interact with your profile and what you post. So what is the point in having thousand of fake followers if no one is interested in what you do? 


So what then really works on Instagram?

1. Use captions and communicate

First of all, it is important to keep an open communication channel with your followers by engaging with them. For example, addressing your fans directly in the image caption will give you a higher chance of getting likes and comments under your picture or video. 
Engagement also increases each time you answer your fans’ questions and give them your feedback about their questions and their opinions (if they are not offensive, of course).


2. Timing and post frequency

Make sure you post your pics and videos at the right time. Generally speaking it is ideal to post in the evening when people are off work and spend more time on Instagram. 
Another tip is to keep things as “live” as possible: this is when Instagram stories are the perfect tool to use. Anything that is done “on the go” and in that exact moment will help you boost your engagement.

Regarding how regularly you should post, it is recommended to post 3 to 4 times a week but you can increase your posts if you have interesting and important content to share. For your stories, try to post something every day in order to keep your fans up to date on what you are doing. 


3. Content heterogeneity

In terms of content, try to vary what you post on your feed on a daily basis: heterogeneity is key!


Tips for artists, musicians and producers:

If you are trying to promote yourself on Instagram as an artist, try to share a good mix of content related to your life as an artist and your private life. Here some ideas:

  • Music production phase: whether you are a musician or a DJ, try to show your fans your creative process
  • Gig pictures: make sure you ask someone to take pics and videos while you play so that you can repost them later on
  • Behind the scenes: a good example is to post a picture while you are on the way to your gig
  • Private life (you and only you should decide how much you want to expose yourself)

Share emotion!

Generally speaking, people have the tendency to engage more with a post that shares emotions: if you are sharing a picture of your last performance, make sure to write a caption that express exactly how you feel in that moment. If something really amazing happened in your private life and you feel like sharing i online, let your followers know why that moment was so special to you.

Another strategy that many artists use is to post funny content: think about how many Faceapp posts you’ve seen in the last couple of days. Funny pictures always manage to have higher feedback compared to more serious ones.


Tips for promoters, clubs and event organisers:

If you are a company, try to establish an emotional connection with your followers. For example, if your company organises events, try to include the following content in your weekly media plan: 

  • Pictures and videos of people having a good time during your past events.
  • Try to involve the artists on your line up: most of the times, artists are happy to be featured on another page and to get involved with your fan-base as this helps to increase theirs. 
  • You can also improve your engagement by increasing people’s curiosity: try to include some “behind the scenes” footage, like for example production pictures, sound checks and backstage shots. Anything that is not easily accessible is usually very fascinating. 


Tips for record labels:

As your business core is to release music and to sell as many copies as possible of your singles, EPs or albums, your Insta marketing should be creative and well thought out. Here are some ideas:

  • The more unique your artwork, the better! Try to animate your artworks by transforming them into GIFs or videos and adding your music on top
  • Share what others say about you: reviews, artists interviews and features are great content and should be posted regularly
  • Artist endorsements: ask the artists you are releasing to get creative and send you a picture that represents their music on your label
  • If you are selling your music on vinyl or on CD, organise a mini photo shoot that shows your product from different angles. Vinyls and CDs are amazing especially with different lighting.


In conclusion, it is understandable that each artist is different and that each company has a different goal and different ways to communicate with its fan-base and clients. Just ensure that your communication is as genuine, authentic and varied as possible: your followers will thank you for that and you certainly won’t need to buy fake followers :)

About Teresa Martini

Terry is a marketing and event director from Italy based in Frankfurt, Germany. After completing her bachelor degree in Tourism Business between Milan and Amsterdam and her master in Events & Festivals management in Edinburgh, her career took off when she started working for Sven Väth and Cocoon Music Event GmbH in Frankfurt in 2012. After 6 years, she has decided to start her own adventure by offering her services as music marketing specialist to companies and brands which need a hand pushing their image and promotion to the right markets. Furthermore, Terry is now part of the MusicNGear team!

Contact Teresa Martini at

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