While the value of Instagram as a promotional tool among artists has, by now, long been established, the story feature of this social media platform is often overlooked. Here Hugh McIntyre offers four ways artists can get the most out of this aspect of Instagram in the coming year.
Guest post by Hugh McIntyre of TuneCore
[Editors Note: This article was written by Hugh McIntyre. This article is part two of Hugh’s Instagram Tips article earlier this month.]
By this point, everyone on social media should be aware of how important Instagram is when it comes to promoting yourself and your product, whatever it may be…but what about Instagram stories? In various conversations I’ve had about the Instagram addition, too many people seem to brush it off, and I’ve noticed that many artists don’t invest any time or effort into creating stories, even though they can be the easiest to do when it comes to social media.
For those who have never tried out Instagram stories, read below to understand why they are important and what they can do for you. For those who already do post stories (and who have already been made aware of why they’re valuable), I have some suggestions about what you can try next, as well as explanations of why it’s worth your time.
1. POST A LOT OF THEM!
When it comes to your actual Instagram page, I suggest being really smart about how often you post content. It’s tough to say exactly how often you should be uploading new pictures and videos, and there are different ways of thinking. Some would suggest you post twice a day, while others would say two or three times a week. Honestly, it depends entirely on who you are and what you can do…but when it comes to stories, there’s no reason to hold back or think too hard about spacing content out.
Feel post story upon story upon story. Chances are you won’t have to worry about volume, and, in fact, it appears that Instagram rewards those who lean in heavily to the relatively new feature. If you share often, and your audience engages regularly, Instagram might push your items to the front of the line, putting them in more people’s feeds.
While you should feel free to post between five and 10 stories every day (though you don’t always have to work that hard), don’t be that person who shares 30 things at one time–that’s just exhausting, and people won’t stick around to watch everything anyway.
Instagram has provided many, many more features to spice up your stories than the company has for regular in-feed posts, and you should go out of your way to try all of them!
When you have your photo or video ready to share, click any of the icons in the top right corner of your screen or simply swipe up from the bottom and start playing around with everything you see. At this point, the options are almost limitless, and if you haven’t had a chance yet to explore this part of Instagram, you’ll be surprised how much has been hiding from you.
Within your stories (using Instagram’s features), you can tag other users, post stickers, emojis, hundreds of GIFs, allow fans to ask you questions, take a poll, set up a countdown to something special, and even share snippets of songs from Apple Music. In a short span of time, a lot has changed when it comes to Instagram stories, and they have become a lot of fun.
3. SHARE USER GENERATED CONTENT
When I stated above that between five and 10 stories per day is a sweet spot, that might have scared some of you–but no need to be afraid of that number, as it’s not as difficult to reach as you’d imagine.
Instagram has made it extremely easy to repurpose old content or items posted by others for your own stories, and when you do it right, it will fit in perfectly with your own content.
When you see something you like, simply click the arrow right next to the fav and comment icons beneath the photo and when the menu pops up, select “add to story.” You’ll see how it works immediately, and you should feel free to add anything from the features section (which I just detailed) or perhaps just simple text to the post, mixing things up even further.
But what works here? Almost anything. A funny meme, a beautiful nature shot, an announcement from a fellow musician, your own content that you want to ensure people catch (depending on how Instagram’s algorithms favor you, it’s possible people will either see your feed or your story, but not always both, so the idea of sharing an image in both in creative ways is not crazy), and even pics or art created by fans.
As long as you’re mixing it up between your own content, real-time stories, and some user generated items, you should be in a good spot.
4. CREATE HIGHLIGHTS
Perhaps the biggest drawback when it comes to Instagram stories is that they only last for 24 hours. Sometimes that’s perfectly fine, but there will be times when you wish you could save them and let fans view them forever. Well, thankfully, the developers at the Facebook-owned company thought of that.
Instagram now has a feature called highlights, which allows you to group stories together and save them so anyone can view them at any time (even after the full day has come and gone). After you’ve shared something to your stories, simply look at it and click the heart-shaped “highlight” icon at the bottom of your phone’s screen. From there, the app will ask you which folder you want to put it in, and you can group things together however you like.
Perhaps you have a number of stories you want to make available from one very important concert, or from an entire tour. Maybe you took a lot of really fun videos that show the behind-the-scenes of a new music video. Or, it’s possible that you just really love a handful of clips so much, you can’t bear to see them go away. However you want to do it, highlights allow you to get even more out of your content, and to do so in your own way.
Hugh McIntyre writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.