The conversation about how everyone with something to promote (including bands, companies, and beyond) should use social media platforms like Instagram typically centers around: what to post, when, and how to attract the most attention.
But not nearly enough is said about interacting with others.
Social media is meant to be social, which means you need to engage and let those who like and comment on your posts know you’re not just throwing things out into the void! You’re listening too, right?
Here are half a dozen very, very easy ways you can be more interactive with your fans on Instagram.
1. Comment Back
If someone has taken their time to write a comment on one of your posts, you should absolutely also take the time to respond in-kind, at least in the beginning. When you first start out, this will be easy, as you’re not likely going to get a lot of comments, and it may take a while before you even have to give any thought to how much time all this typing is taking.
You should see this not as a task, but as a great way to forge friendships with people who genuinely like you and your music. At first, you may only be responding to your actual friends, but after a while, you’ll be doing the same to people you’ve only met once or twice at shows, or perhaps not at all. Spend a little bit of time on these, and don’t half-ass your responses! If you’re smart about how you go about this, you can create superfans who will follow for the rest of your career in no time.
2. Like Every Comment
While we’re on the topic of the comments that appear under your photos and videos on Instagram, you should also be liking pretty much everything people write. If it’s negative, feel free to stay away (unless it’s funny, in which case you have to acknowledge it for kicks), but otherwise, hit that little heart! It takes fractions of a second, and like I said above, you probably won’t be inundated until your career really begins to pick up.
When your Instagram page does begin attracting a lot of attention from fans (which is a sign you’ve really “made it”), liking comments can be a fast way to make sure everyone who spent even a fraction of a minute posting an emoji under your latest picture is recognized. Not every comment (for example, if they only share a smiley face) requires a full sentence, but why not like it?
3. Proactively Comment
When your career is still just taking off, you should know the names and faces of those who support you and your craft. In fact, you should be following many of them and liking and commenting on the content they share as well.
Later on, you may only choose to proactively go to someone’s page and interact with their posts when they share items that relate to you and your music, but before you blow up, you can strengthen your friendship with these supporters by, well, acting like a regular person on the internet and commenting nice things on their photos and videos.
It almost seems silly to write this, but I’ve known many musicians who think they’re above acting like people because they one day want to be famous. That’s a ridiculous notion, and one that won’t get anyone anywhere.
4. Share Their Content
Sharing content posted by your fans—probably mostly in your stories, but perhaps also in your main feed, depending on what the item actually is—will please them, and it benefits you as well. It’s really a win-win. You can choose to only reshare those pieces of content that concern you—photos and videos from your latest show and the like—or you can become even more invested, giving your fans a taste of what others who like your tunes are uploading to the world’s most popular photo app.
When it comes to your stories, feel free to go nuts. Any image can work, and since they get a notification that you’ve posted it to your Instagram stories, they’ll feel wonderful…and you’ve upped your content sharing game as well.
5. Answer Messages–A Lot Of Them
Like comments, you’ll see the number of messages you receive climb steadily as your music picks up steam, and that’s great! Eventually it will get to a point where you don’t really have time to reply to everything, or perhaps where it doesn’t even make sense to do so, but until then, you should answer the questions people have! This is just another way to solidify a friendship with a fan, and perhaps even help some solve any woes they may have getting tickets to your show or buying a new piece of merch.
When, and if, things do get a little out of hand and you start receiving too many messages, you can always like what people send, as there is a little heart option inside your messages, (just like in your comments). I’d reserve this for when people simply say something nice about your work…and for when you actually are too busy, which is not the same thing as lazy.
6. Start Conversations
Just like I mentioned above with comments, you can also slide into the direct messages (or ‘DMs’, as the kids say) of anyone you want to forge a relationship with, from fans to booking people, other bands, and so on.
DMs are the new email, don’t you know?
Hugh McIntyre writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.