If you want to start or grow your music business, social media is great. But do you need an Instagram, or can you use other platforms?
Instagram can be a great tool for some music business owners. However, it’s not for all businesses.
Before we get into the pros and cons, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
Why You Need an Instagram
When deciding how to market your music business, social media can be essential to your success. Instagram is a popular choice for many musicians, and I’ve used it in the past.
Consider the following reasons to set up an account and work on growing it as a musician.
Connect With Other Musicians
There’s a huge community of classical musicians on Instagram. That can make it an excellent place to network and build your own community. Even if your business attracts non-musicians (like parents of students), Instagram is great.
You can meet other private teachers and learn what they’re doing. Then, you can connect and potentially refer students to each other. That way, you may be able to build your studio a bit more easily.
If you’re looking into a more traditional path, you can also follow and connect with potential employers. Then, when you apply for a job, the company may recognize you.
Instagram is an amazing place for performers to post videos. You can record yourself playing a solo or an orchestral excerpt. Then, you can post it as a Reel t your Instagram feed or in your stories.
Music listeners may come across your recordings and decide to follow you. If you ever decide to release an album or give a concert, you can announce that to your audience.
They’ve already heard your playing style, so you could get more sales. Then, you won’t have to work as hard to make money from your music.
Build an Audience
No matter what your music business is, you can use Instagram to build an audience. If you teach lessons, you could attract parents. And if you compose music, you could attract performers.
A lot of people from all walks of life use the platform. You can engage with accounts that are in your target market. Then, they may choose to engage back or even follow you.
Over time, you can continue growing your following and audience. Then, you can use your Instagram to announce new products and services.
Another reason why you may need an Instagram is that it’s free to use. You can set up a profile and start posting right away. All you need is a smartphone and an email address to create your account.
You can use your smartphone to take pictures or film yourself. Then, you can upload media right in the app. If you want to film Reels, you can record using the Instagram camera.
A lot of other marketing strategies involve some costs. But unless you want to use Instagram ads, you don’t have to put any money into it.
Why You Don’t Need an Instagram
As I’m writing this, I haven’t posted on Instagram in weeks. And I’ve barely opened the app in that time. But my business is still doing well (aside from a bit of a holiday slump).
Depending on your music business, you may find that Instagram isn’t worth it. Here are a few reasons why.
Too Much Time
You can’t just “post and ghost” and expect to grow on Instagram. After you publish content, you need to engage with your ideal audience. You have to like other posts and leave comments.
All of that requires a ton of extra time that you may not think about. And you can’t just engage for a day and expect results. It requires constant work to maintain your account.
Plus, creating content for Instagram can be time-consuming. As the platform has started to prioritize videos, content creation has become more difficult. You can’t just take a picture of your flute and upload it.
Not Much Reward
Depending on your goals, Instagram may not be the best place to achieve those goals. As a music blogger, my goal is to get people to my various websites. And Instagram doesn’t like sending people off the app.
You can only share links in your bio and stories. Even when I was super active in the app, I never got more than 100 page views from Instagram in a MONTH. There are other platforms that can give me better results for less work.
Of course, you may see more rewards. Maybe you’re looking for brand awareness, in which case, Instagram is great. But it’s not great for everyone, and it may not be ideal for you for your entire career.
Constant Algorithm Changes
Instagram always seems to be updating the algorithm. So what worked one month might not work the next month. You need to be able to adapt and change your strategy to continue to grow.
Plus, you need to consistently post on the platform. If you take a small break, it can take time to get back on Instagram’s good side.
I don’t know about you, but I like not feeling like I have to post every day or even every week. If you like taking time off, Instagram might not meet your needs.
Instagram is far from the only platform out there. You may want to experiment with other apps, like Facebook or Pinterest. I’ve found more success with those platforms, and they both take way less time than Instagram.
You don’t need to be everywhere to build a successful business. So if you think Instagram isn’t for you, don’t stress about using it.
Instead, you can put more of your efforts into growing other platforms. That way, you can get the results you want for your business. And you can avoid the stress of the Instagram algorithm.
I Quit Instagram
Yes, I admit it. I still have my Instagram account, and I don’t plan on deleting it. But at this time, I’m not really active on the app.
If you’re considering quitting, consider some of the benefits I’ve experienced in just a few weeks of giving it up.
Not having to create content or engage on Instagram has significantly freed up my schedule. I have more time to spend on my own blogs. (In other words, I can focus on growing the platforms I actually own.)
In November, I hit one of my highest-grossing months for my own content, excluding client work. Part of that is probably because I was able to spend more time working on other projects aside from Instagram.
If you’re already busy with gigs or teaching lessons, you might want to take a break from Instagram. Then, you can see how much time you have each week for other things, work-related or not.
For a while, I found that Instagram was really stressing me out. I dreaded the thought of opening the app, posting a video, and engaging with people. It felt like a huge chore and sometimes, a waste of time.
Of course, you’re not going to enjoy everything in your music business. There are some things that you have to do. But if you find that you can get away without using a platform that you dislike, go for it.
Your mental health is just as important as your financial health. No amount of money is worth stressing yourself out unnecessarily. The nice thing about the internet is there are so many other ways to promote your business.
As I mentioned, I hardly got any website traffic from Instagram even when I was taking it super seriously. I would have to spend hours on the platform for maybe a few views per day.
However, I shared a blog post link in a relevant Facebook group earlier in November. On that day alone, I got 23 visits, just from Facebook. That group post took a minute to write, and I got way more views.
In business, you need to focus on what’s bringing you the best return on investment, especially as it relates to your goals. That way, you can make the most of your time.
Other Social Media Platforms for Musicians
If you find yourself getting annoyed by Instagram, you’re not alone. But you may not want to give up on social media entirely.
Consider some of the following platforms that might suit your business better.
It may be old, but Facebook is still a great place to connect with other musicians and market your business. You can use a Facebook page or your personal profile to share links to your website or offers.
My favorite way to market myself on Facebook is with groups. I’ve joined tons of groups that relate to blogging and music. Every so often, I can go into a particular group and share a link to a blog post.
I’ll also answer questions people have in those groups. If I have a relevant blog post, I’ll include the link so that they can learn more. Facebook pages are also useful, but I prefer groups for connecting with others.
As a blogger, I also love using Pinterest to promote my content. Every time I write a blog post, I create a graphic to go with it. That way, after the post goes live, I can copy and paste the link in Pinterest.
The platform will then publish the graphic and link back to the blog post. As someone scrolls their feed, they can see the graphic come up. They can visit the blog post right away or save it for another time.
I love how Pinterest can show pins to people months after you create them. As I write this, my top-performing post is one I shared over a year ago. And above that is a pin that I didn’t even share; someone else shared a link to my blog.
If you post a lot of videos, you may want to give YouTube a try. Yes, it’s like a search engine, but it can also be very social. After you post a video, be sure to respond to any comments that you get.
That can help you build a community on there. But unlike on Instagram, you don’t have to use a ton of hashtags. And you can link directly to your website or an event page from the video description box.
Like Pinterest, YouTube videos can continue to get views long after you post them. My top-performing video is from 2020, and I’ve done basically nothing to promote it.
Maybe you enjoy the Reels part of Instagram but not the other stuff. TikTok could be a good alternative for you to use. I haven’t given it much of a try, but I’ve heard that TikTok is pretty easy to grow on.
So if you’re struggling to get more Instagram followers, you might want to test out TikTok. Of course, this platform still requires you to engage with others. And it’s not ideal if you don’t want to deal with video.
But it’s growing fast, and it’s probably not going away soon. You can always try it out and quit using it if you don’t like it.
Do You Need an Instagram for Your Music Business?
You may wonder, do you need an Instagram to be a musician? Many musicians have built good followings on the platform, but it’s not for everyone.
Be sure to consider the pros and cons to decide if it’s for you. And if it is for you, I highly suggest you take the Instagram Marketing & Sales Academy to help build a good strategy for the platform.