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8 actionable Instagram optimization tips for musicians

Instagram is a powerful social media platform for musicians. You can share your music, connect with fans and artists alike, and interact with other people. For these reasons, you have to make sure you get the most out of the platform. In this article, we'll go through useful tips on how to set up so that you can grow an audience on Instagram!

1. Turn your account into a Business Profile

The next step is to turn your account from a personal one into a business profile. If you don't know how, this video will show you exactly how to do it:


Once you're done, you'll get new features that help brands promote themselves and connect with fans. For example:

  • Access to analytics about the people interacting with your content. It is mandatory to understand which posts resonate with them and optimize them. This data is helpful when deciding what kind of content should be prioritized, and what content needs improvement before posting again.
  • You'll also be able to create ads that will help promote your music on people's timelines. Not everyone want to wait for organic growth. If that's your case, Instagram Ads are the way to go, given your brand is strong enough. As an added bonus, business accounts come with an option to add a contact button at the top of their profile page.

2. Optimize your Instagram username

The first thing you'll want to do is optimize your username. The easiest way to do this is by choosing a name that's easy to remember, easy to spell, and easy for other people to search for.

If you're thinking about changing your username, consider these aspects before doing so:

  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it unique?
  • Is it relevant?

If not, then it's time for a change! Is your username already taken ? Try appending something relevant, like JIL. JIL is an electronic soul band from New York. Being from New York is part of their brand, so they added .nyc to their username : http://instagram.com/jil.nyc. There are many options for your username. You only have to find what fits your brand.

3. Use your portrait as your profile picture

Your profile picture is one of the first things people will see when they visit your Instagram page. It's essential that you choose an image that reflects who you are and where you're at in your music career. You want a clear image of yourself that conveys the kind of artist you are. Are your a performer ? A song writer ? A producer? Have a look at the last show or recording session that had an impact on you. Use those photos as inspiration for a strong profile picture.

Make sure it's high quality! If possible, upload a professional headshot rather than some poor-quality photo. If you don't have a professional photo for whatever reason, go ahead and post one anyway. Don't forget to use a clean and uncluttered background so your face is visible. Use natural light if shooting with your smartphone.

Oscar Anton releases music from a different country every month. It makes sense for him to picture himself with a disposable camera, with a street in the background and a very summer-like filter. Why ? Because this is the kind of image your can expect from someone travelling. This is part of his brand, and it works.

4. Optimize your bio

Use a clear and concise bio. Your Instagram bio is valuable real estate. You can use up to 150 characters in it, but it's best to keep your description short, sweet, and informative.

Make sure you're using emojis ! Emojis are an excellent way for musicians to add personality to their bio — but only if they're used right. For example, you can use them at the start of each line break. With too many emojis sitting in one line, they won't be as effective at conveying information.

After reading your bio, you'll want people to take action. To allow this, don't forget to include a call-to-action in the very last line of text. This will help convert visitors into followers or fans. For example, if you have a new song or EP available, then it might be wise to include a link to where they can listen to it!

The best way to do this is to use a smartlink tool. It is like a small website where you can add a bunch of links and other useful feature. You can try our very own smartlink made for musicians like you. Sounds interesting ? Try it for free

5. Get familiar with Instagram Insights

Know your audience

Getting familiar with Insights is a great way to get a big picture of your account performance. You'll be able to see who your audience is, what they like and what they don't like. You'll also have the ability to understand when their are most active. It makes it easier to post when your fans are online.

Optimize your next posts

You can even see which of your posts have performed better, track how much engagement you got over time. You should base your new posts on what has worked in the past.

6. Set up your Instagram Highlights

Highlights are a great way to help people learn more about you, your band and your music. You can create highlights that highlight the most popular posts on your account. This will give people an easy way to see what they've missed if they don't follow you yet.

You can also create highlights that feature content from a specific location or period of time, like a tour or festival performance. This can be helpful for fans who may have missed out on seeing you perform live but would like to catch up before the next show!

Eugénie on Instagram

Take Eugénie for example : she uses her higlights to promote her latest releases. In these highlights, you'll find promotional content, behind the scenes and other authentic types of content. New visitors will be able to catch with her latest music, in an engaging and meaningful way !

7. Grow an audience outside Instagram

The Internet isn't all about Instagram. You may already be active in other places such as other social media platforms, forums or groups.

  • Use your website to link back to your Instagram account. People visiting your website will see that you have an active presence on the platform and will be more likely to follow you there.
  • Promote your Instagram account on other social media channels. Share highlights of your most recent posts on Facebook and Twitter, as well as in promotional emails and newsletters.
  • Send out email newsletters with links back to new posts or highlights from previous ones that have been popular with fans.

8. Instagram is a powerful tool for musicians – make use of it!

It's time for musicians to recognize the number of benefits that come with Instagram. The more popular your music is, the better chance you have to impress both your existing fan base and others out there who have yet to hear it. And by setting up an optimized Instagram page, new music lovers can come across your work in a matter of seconds. Make sure your presence online is helping to spread the word about your songs—not holding them back.

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Favorite content of the week #3

Myra Actress, singer and composer, Myra is a complete artist. Her new track "Sur le cœur" bewitches us and gives us a glimpse of her next EP coming out in February. With her velvet voice, Myra puts forward an intriguing universe, at the border of soul and urban pop.  Anaïs & Blowsom With "Love! love! love!", Anaïs and Blowsom deliver a new track with an effortless and playful vibe. Their two voices take us into a pop universe of their own. The music video associated only supports the touch of softness that hovers through this track.  Birrd Birrd is an artist whose music oscillates between techno, melodic house and downtempo. With "Wheels", he makes us travel with both a dreamy and bewitching melody, but also a music video taking us to his origins that inspire him: Normandy. Florence Arman Well known on the international pop scene, Florence Arman delivers something very personal with her new song "Hello Florence, How Are You?”. Author, composer and interpreter, she expresses her emotions: problems of inspiration, mental load... Florence Arman immerses us in the depths of her feelings, and it works. Ambre Sls Coming from her next album released at the end of January, Ambre Sls’ new track "Je m'en irai" preaches her independence. Through this new song, she shows her determination and reflects with perfection the universe of her future project. Between french song variety and urban pop, we already know that she is full of surprises.

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How to create a press kit

What is an Electronic Press Kit and what it is all about As you begin to get organised and prepare to promote yourself, it’s important to consider everything you’ll need to put together and where it will all live online. Your electronic press kit provides a central location with all of your assets like images, music files, bio and more for members of the media (editors, bloggers, radio program directors, venue talent buyers, etc.) to quickly access. It should include the following: Redact and publish your Bio & Pitch No one needs a big paragraph, but there are some crucial elements to write a smart and effective Bio . If you're releasing a new track you'll probably need to redact a pitch to present the music it's intentions and the little story behind learn more here Include some previous Press Quotes If you’ve been featured somewhere online or in print, include any positive quotes. If not, no worries – that’s why creating a Press Kit ;) Upload a Press Pics deck Professional-looking photography doesn’t have to be unaffordable, and it goes a long way. Provide a link to hi-res photos for writers and editors to use. To do so think Google Drive, Dropbox, or even Disco. If you Worked with a photographer remember to include photo credit info. Upload a Social Assets Deck Nowadays promotion take place a lot on social medias, to maximise the possibilities of sharing dont forget to include a folder with some story or feed extract (video still the best) that micro influencers or new social press medias can share the release easily. You can learn more about How to create good social assets here. Create an external-link and data sheet Everyone has different prefered streaming platform or social media. To avoid any problems regarding the links to listen to your music the best il to create a sheet with all of your links Also Include your Y2M link to get more Intercations. Learn how to create one here Now that we're in 2022 Datas are more than a big topic in the music business so make sure you're including them into the sheet. Use bitly to keep an eye on your click and redirections Here Is an easy copy past template to create your Link sheet (Just replace the links) ___ PRESSKIT LINKS EPK: http://bit.ly/EPK-ArtistName Press pictures: http://bit.ly/PICS-ArtistName Wording/Bio: http://bit.ly/BIO-ArtistName YouTube Video: YouTube or Vimeo Unlisted link Audio (demo): Soundcloud or Disco Private link ___ SOCIAL LINKS & DATA Last release : Y2M link YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/ArtistName Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/ArtistName Instagram : https://instagram.com/ArtistName Twitter : https://twitter.com/ArtistName ___ LAST 28 DAYS PROGRESSION ● Facebook:   353.4k (+ 0.2%) ● Instagram: 135.8k (+2.1%) ● Spotify: 198.4k (+2.4%) ● YouTube: 276.4k (+1.7%) ● Deezer: 255.9k (+1.9%) ● Twitter: 223.3k (+0.1%) Organisation is the key Last but not least: Once you have everything in hand, all you need to do is create a nice, organised press kit on Google drive or Dropbox. Keep in mind that redactors and medias receive hundreds of mails a day. If you want to stand out, make sure your folder is perfectly readable and follows a clear structure: 📂 ARTIST NAME - TRACK NAME - EPK ↳ 📝 Links & Data Sheet ↳ 📂 Bio & Pitch  ↳ Bio ↳ Pitch + Press Quote ↳ 📂 Press Pics ↳ ARTISTNAME-by ©PhotographName 01 ↳ ARTISTNAME-by ©PhotographName 02 ↳ ARTISTNAME-by ©PhotographName 03 ↳ ARTISTNAME-by ©PhotographName 04 ↳ 📂 Social Assets ↳ ARTISTNAME&TRACK-STORY01 ↳ ARTISTNAME&TRACK-STORY02 ↳ ARTISTNAME&TRACK-FEED01 ↳ ARTISTNAME&TRACK-FEED02

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Social Media

YouTube : The perfect artist guide in 2022

With two billion registered monthly users, YouTube is beyond a video platform – It’s a space for community, a place to discover (second largest search engine right after Google), and one of the greatest marketing tools. Ensuring your YouTube channel is optimised in every aspect is critical to its overall growth. To make sure you have all the tools necessary, The Orchard has this year’s YouTube Best Practices so you’re equipped for success! 1. Channel branding For some peeps your channel will be the first thing they will see from you. It’s all about the visuals. Create customised, visually compelling, and relevant channel art to establish your brand. The banner is YouTube’s billboard for information. It should reflect recent release(s), upcoming tours.. make the audience feel like they’re connecting with a personality, not just a brand. The banner should be updated often and be compatible on both desktop and mobile. (here is a psd of sizes.) The profile picture should also be aligned with the banner and be clear. Links in addition to the visuals, it’s imperative to include up to five links on the channel. These links can point to an official website, social media profiles, spotify etc... Any other links should be added to the channel description. Recommended formats : *PSD LINK* Icon: JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG file (no animated GIFs); 800 x 800 px image (recommended); Banner: 2560 x 1440 px image is recommended. File size should be 6MB or smaller. 2. Channel layout Just like the branding, the overall organisation and layout aids in solidifying the channel. A channel trailer is an elevator pitch to potential subscribers. It’s featured first on the channel and auto-plays, so it needs to hook the viewer. Subscribed view is for returning and already subscribed users. A new release or playlist, or a top playlist is recommended. Unsubscribed view is for new users. An intro to the channel or the most popular video is recommended. Playlists are a great way to keep the audience within the channel. On top of organising the content, playlists increase watch-time and creates another opportunity to appear in search results and Suggested Videos. 3. Channel description SEO runs the world. As you’re navigating channel optimisation, keep in mind the power of YouTube’s search. Channel descriptions should be added in two places: the “About” tab and “Artist Center” in the creator studio. YouTube uses the “About” tab to populate SEO; adding a detailed bio and description with key terms assists. Include the artist’s most popular songs, album names, genres, labels, locations... The Artist Center tab in Creator Studio, add pictures and a biography to the About tab as well as the YouTube Music app. It’s important to keep the branding across platforms. Channel tags help surface the channel in YouTube search and in other algorithms, such as Google. For example, add the year, common misspellings of popular song titles or albums or names, genres, song titles, albums, geography. Featured channels in the “Channels” tab to promote other content and drive traffic between two channels or artists in a label for example. Custom URL allows fans to easily find and remember your channel. It should be something clear and memorable such as ArtistName, ArtistOfficial... We recommend using the same handle as other social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter... 4. Video optimization Each video has its own SEO opportunity outside of the actual channel. Through proper video titles, descriptions, and tags, you can ensure that the right audience is being targeted. Video titles give viewers a sense of what to expect from a video whether it be an Official Audio, Music Video, Lyric Video, Behind The Scenes, Live Interview, etc. For artists, be sure to include the name of the artist and the title of the track. If there are multiple or featured artists, you can also mention them with “@” symbol. Video descriptions are another way YouTube is able to utilise SEO. In short, the descriptions really help viewers find your videos. Make sure all of the important information is showcased in the first two sentences of the description. Description, include links to subscribe, point to all social platforms, link to other videos or playlists, any purchase links (merch/song/album) and lyrics. This comes into play when users can’t remember the title of the song so they search by lyric. Ending hashtags without spaces : At the end of the video the first three hashtags appear below the video and above the video title. Use hashtags that are a part of a larger searches, such as “#NewMusic, #Artist, #Album, #Genre, #Event” Video tags help in targeting the right audience. In this case, the more the merrier. Add more tags to videos as long as they remain relevant to the video (500 character limit). You can include a mix of general and specific tags to accurately describe each video. This can be : Artist name or different variations of it, title of the song, easily misspelled words that people may be searching for, lyrics of the song, the year, albums, genre, geography, new music tags, the type of video, and more. 5. Video features Beyond the SEO optimisations, there are also features within the video that generate more engagement within the channel. The additional features available are cards, end screens, watermarks, subtitles, and merch shelf. Cards allow you to link up to five different card types – this can include other videos, merch, streaming, donation sites, tour tickets, playlists, and more. The card button appears as the “i” in the top right hand corner throughout the video. Adding end-screens to videos helps curate and lengthen a viewer’s watch session. Here you can add a subscribe link or link to other videos and playlists. Make sure to keep these updated to push to relevant and/or priority content. Branding watermarks button sits on the lower right hand corner of each video and when scrolled over, allows the user to subscribe to the channel without leaving the video. Enabling subtitles/(CC) translations opens the content to a larger audience – including those who don’t speak the language or would prefer to have the lyrics on the screen. Translations contribute to the overall metadata of the video. The merch shelf. Now eligible channels can promote their merch right below the description of videos and on the “Store” tab of the main channel. Thumbnails, you want to make the BEST first impression the moment they see your video, so make them count! Thumbnails should be bright and easy to see (not dark or blurry), with a clear picture of the artist or a striking image that’s on-brand to grab the attention of potential fans. Always optimise for mobile — more than 70% of views come from mobile. 6. Video engagement Beyond its abilities to host content, YouTube has become a space for community and engaging with the audience. Like other social platforms, artists and labels alike can communicate directly with the fans in chats, the community tab, and more.. Community is YouTube’s social feed. With the ability to post photos, GIFs, polls and text updates, it’s a great way to directly engage with fans by giving them unique content and general updates. To foster a more connected fanbase, we recommend liking/replying to comments. Posting keeps the channel active in YouTube’s algorithm, especially when the artist goes a length of time without posting, or before uploading new content. YouTube Premiere gives fans the opportunity to virtually gather together for a watch party at the time of launch. You can schedule a video upload and create a shareable watch page; stirring up buzz around the release with a countdown. You can also add some teaser before the launch, get creative. YouTube Live gives you a way to connect with new and old fans, creating a real time experience to engage with viewers directly (+ you can monetise your stream.) YouTube Stories, give fans a day-to-day updates, same as other stories the segment can be 15 seconds but expires after 7 days. YouTube Short, The 2021 new features, becoming the leading video format on the internet. Create short vertical videos from 30 seconds to 1 minute and be creative, share your improvisations, life moments, best recipes or the latest choreography of your music.