Instagram’s Sunil Singhvi on IG Stories, Video, and Instagram Music Promotion.
I recently had the opportunity to hear directly from Instagram’s Strategic Partnership Manager for Northern Europe – Sunil Singhvi. We discussed the best tips on how to promote your music on Instagram in 2021. The following interview unlocks the best ways to use insta stories, music video on IGTV, lyrics, and overall social media marketing strategy for music artists. A social media platform with over one billion active monthly listeners, Instagram music promotion is high on the list for musicians looking to grow your fanbase.
Getting Instagram Strategy Directly from the Source.
As Instagram’s Strategic Partnership Manager for Northern Europe, Sunil is essentially the point person for musicians and their teams. His expertise goes way beyond music marketing. Sunil has a rich social media marketing and entertainment background.
I’ve included both an audio stream of my interview and the written transcript below.
Meet Sunil Singhvi
Sunil started his career at the BBC as part of the team that launched 1Xtra producing radio shows aimed at teen audiences. After a successful stint at the BBC he moved to look after talent at prestigious management agency James Grant. Working with the biggest names in UK entertainment Sunil revolutionized the company’s approach to digital.
In 2012 he made the jump to tech, joining a pre IPO Twitter as Head of Entertainment in the UK. Sunil drove adoption of the platform as well as creative uses across the sector. He was promoted to Global Head of Music for Twitter in 2015 relocating to San Francisco. At Twitter he oversaw the company’s artist relations and industry strategy.
Sunil returned to London in 2017 to take up the role at Instagram of Strategic Partnerships Manager for Northern Europe. He looks after musicians, athletes, entertainers, influencers, and public figures.
How To Promote Your Music on Instagram – Interview Transcript
Todd: Sunil, thanks so much for talking with me today.
Sunil: No problem, excited to be here.
Q: Could you share more about your day to day role at Instagram?
Sunil: Yeah, so my job is sort of based in three parts.
Part one is a not particularly exciting troubleshooting job. If you get locked out of your account, or you don’t know how to use a feature – my job is to help you solve those problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Then on from there, is the part that we’re going to be talking about most today is, for people who are on the platform and use it regularly, how do I help them use it in the most effective way to meet the business objectives they’ve set out.
And then lastly, the part that I find the most enjoyment and pleasure from. How do we use Instagram as a platform to do brand new things? Whether that’s artistically or whether it’s commercially – how do we use a platform that allows you to connect with one billion monthly active users to do something that really pushes a movement forward?
Todd: I’m really excited about that too. I’ve canvased my community of artists for questions on how to promote your music on Instagram, and I just got a huge response. A flood of questions came in. Too many to go over, but it’s clear that Instagram is an essential part of their music promotion strategy, which is another reason we’re happy to be interviewing you today.
I wanted to start with some more general and basic questions and work our way up to some more advanced ones.
“I don’t think there’s one way to use Instagram”
Q: Can you think of an instance of a developing artist who stood out? Or made really great use of Instagram early on, and sort of blew you away with their approach to Instagram? What made them stand out, and what can other artists learn from them?
Sunil: I think the sort of difficult answer to this first question is – I’d like to be really clear. I don’t think there’s one way to use Instagram. I think a lot of it depends on you as an individual, and how it connects with your art. The advice I’d give to a rock group would be very different from the advice I’d give a hip hop artist or a pop star. But all of it would be anchored around the same kernel of truth. Which is, it’s very hard in a modern music environment, where streaming is always possible, where your fans expect to have access to you in a way they never have had before – to be anything less than authentic.
I think the accounts that prove to be the most successful, are the ones that tonally are closest to what the artist really is and really believes. So, a great example of that, which is a sort of an interesting one because you used the word “developing” there. And when I give the example you’re gong to be like “I don’t think that’s a developing artist anymore. But, I think Billie Eilish is to some extent the modern day 2018, 2019, 2020 vision of what an Instagram star can look like.
“I think she’s one that absolutely nailed what Instagram could be for her.”
So Billie’s account launched a number of years ago with an incredibly small following. It was really a personal account before the music got started. But it has always been authentically run by her with very little label input. And it’s kept her creative vision throughout. It’s been silly, it’s been irreverent, it’s been consistent. Which I think is hugely important. But it’s always felt like I’m getting access directly to Billie. I think that’s the bit that’s hugely important, and we’ll probably come back to her as an example on a few occasions as we go through. I think she’s one that absolutely nailed what Instagram could be for her, at a very early point in her career, and she’s maintained that throughout.
Todd: Yeah, that’s a fair example, and we can’t take anything away from her. If we had this conversation a year or two ago, it would have been every bit the developing artist. And in some ways I think she’s still a developing artist.
Sunil: Yeah, in an age where the question is “Are there any more arena acts?”, you know, has that era past? Is it just going to be the same U2 or Coldplay style act? I think Billie is that next wave of arena shows and possibly stadium shows in her career.
Q: For budget conscious artists – what are one or two best practices to increase their reach organically on Instagram? Or perhaps what are things they should absolutely stop doing that may be hurting them?
Sunil: I think both of those questions are really important, and let’s separate them out into two bits.
So, from a positive point of view, what can you be doing to make the most of your Instagram? The most successful accounts on Instagram are ones that feel like they’re apart of the community. They feel like they’re apart of something bigger. So I would encourage you, if you’re a musician whose out on tour, to be engaging with the fans on your tour, to be engaging with the other acts that you’re on tour with. To be connecting with other acts that are in the same genre as you.
What we often find is that musicians get quite, sort of myopic. They think very much about their work – in isolation. They don’t think about how that work can fit into the spectrum of other things that people are also enjoying. So I would always encourage artists to think, if I’m in a conversation – If I can show myself with other talent – If I can show myself with the fan – I start to be a fully functioning member of the Instagram world, rather than it be just an advertising platform for your band.
Sløtface Example – How To Promote Your Music On Instagram
Now that links into the one thing that I would ask everybody to stop doing. Which is… Well first let me explain that I’m a fan of a Scandinavian act called Sløtface (@slotfaceofficial), who I love. I think their music is absolutely brilliant. And what they do really well on their Instagram account, is they mix the sales messaging with non-sales messaging. And acts that really turn me off, are the acts that constantly, when I see their posts, are always – here is the tour flyer, here is the pack art, please listen to my music on Spotify, Deezer, Pandora title.
If I’ve already agreed to follow you – there are only so many times that you should tell me the same piece of information. Now, there are ways of redressing it, ways of giving it more context, more depth, more understanding. But if your account does nothing but promotes itself, my question would be to you, why would I follow it?
I think it does vary from genre to genre. I think if you are hip hop, you get away with a little bit more self promotion than other genres. There is that sense of almost bravado, or talking about yourself almost as if you’re the greatest of all time. But I think if you’re a singer/songwriter, country artists, or rock act, I think it’s much harder, and I think the audience is less accepting of it. I think if you’re a new singer songwriter, being able to reveal the craft of what went into making your song is more important than constantly posting the tour dates.
“If your account does nothing but promotes itself. My question would be to you, why would I follow it?”
Let’s say I bought into your song. I bought into you as a musician, I am more likely to connect with you when you tell me please listen to the new EP, please listen to the new album, please come to the tour. If you’ve told me ten times in a row that you’re playing Berlin, or Capetown, there’s only so many times I can go I’m interested in this, or I’m not interested in this.
Q: This next question is geared at artists just starting out. Perhaps they haven’t even launched their social media accounts yet. Do you recommend they get started as soon as possible? Or do you think they should fully flesh out their campaigns to promote music on Instagram and social media before they get started?
Sunil: My advice would always be to get started. And the reason I say that is because I think artistic processes don’t really end. You can spend forever in design, you can spend forever in conceptualization, and never actually get to releasing it. And then as soon as you release it, you immediately want to iterate on it.
So my question would always be, to any musician, what are we waiting for? Because if we’re waiting to grow an audience because we think that the cover art is coming in two weeks time, well why would I care about the cover art? Because I don’t care about you yet. So I would encourage you to get started. Absolutely.
“What I want to see when I come to this brand new artist I discovered is, what happened before I got here? What were the things that lead us to this point?”
I also think there is something fascinating when I hear your song through recommendation. Or I hear it on the radio, or my friend sent it to me, or through discovery on a streaming service. So I come to this brand new singer’s Instagram, and the first thing that I see is the pack art that I’ve already seen on Spotify. Or the tracklisting that I’ve already seen on the streaming service. I don’t know what else I get from you at that point? What I want to see when I come to this brand new artist I discovered is, what happened before I got here? What were the things that lead us to this point?
Lola Youngg Example
So, I work with a lot of major labels, and Island Records UK has a new signing. Her name is Lola Younggg. Her Instagram handle is @lolayounggg And I think one of the things they’ve done wonderfully with Lola is they’ve just been aware that there were things that happened before the music was fully formed.
So when you go to the page of this 17 year old young singer, there are photos from 2 or 3 years ago of her playing a piano. Which immediately gives me the sense that this has been a journey. This is not someone that a record company has manufactured. Or they found a girl that just looks the part, and they’ve just put her in a songwriting camp and just come out with this product. It shows the depth. And if I’m a young fan it gives me the chance to buy into something. It gives me the chance to acknowledge, and buy into the journey, which I think is hugely important.
Instagram Strategy You Should Stop Doing.
Another top one that I see from a lot of people that begin their Instagram account is they get fixated on the grid. So what they produce is this sort of nine tile mosaic. Which they spend loads of time on, and they think it’s brilliant. When you post image ten, or video ten onto your feed, it knocks out the other nine. So that perfection that you’ve quested for and the hours you’ve spent in Photoshop to line all that up – will be gone the next time you post.
“For the majority of musicians, under 5% of any view on any of your posts, comes on your profile page.”
Also for the majority of musicians, under 5% of any view on any of your posts, comes on your profile page. So the obsession with how your profile looks, how your grid looks, is a complete irrelevance to how your content actually is being discovered. If I look on my feed and you’ve posted half of an elbow – or the side of the drummers face – because on your profile it looked really neat – It’s a CRAZY use of the platform.
“You should be thinking absolutely feed first.”
You should be thinking absolutely feed first. If this picture or video is in isolation, will the audience enjoy it? Because otherwise what you’re doing is you’re teaching Instagram that your content is low performing. Because actually it’s very hard to write a comment about somebody’s elbow. It’s very hard to like something or to share it with a friend, if it’s only half of the story. So really think, will this piece stand up independently?
Q: How does your team at Instagram interact with musicians?
Well Todd, I’m sad to say this but we’re actually a very very small team globally. My role in the UK is looking after not only United Kingdom based artists, but also acts that come out of Northern Europe. And it’s just me in the market. And I also look after sports stars, influencers, creators, actors, writers and all kinds of other people.
We’re actually sort of thinly staffed. So we don’t get the chance to deal with as many up and coming artists as we like. And I think there’s always a thought from ours about how we can better scale our work and it’s something that we think about all the time.
So, I would say unlike services like Spotify or Tidal, where they have specific developing artist programs, we don’t really have the same. We don’t you know, create a list of artists that we think should be your top picks or anything like that.
What we tend to do is work through the major record labels, work through the major management firms. And then, things like today where we come and talk to you. And hopefully we get our message out a little bit further through some sort of industry touch points.
My vision for the future is that we continue to think about how we find more people on the team and how we scale to more countries. And more countries is definitely top of my list of things that we should be thinking about. But for now, the best way to think about how to get the information, is to make sure you keep checking this website (HEAT ON THE STREET). https://www.heatonthestreet.com. But also to make sure that you sort of keep abreast of industry press in general. We often do features in Music Week and publications like that, to make sure that we’re letting artists know about what’s coming up.
“And the reality is, it’s a platform which favors content that performs well.”
Q: I get a lot of questions from artists looking for shortcuts or hacks. Or they want to know the validity of an email solicitation that promises them the moon. What do you say to those that want a shortcut?
Sunil: I met with a very prominent UK rapper a few weeks ago and he asked exactly that question. He came in and said “Can you just tell me the cheat codes?” like it was a Konami video game from 2004. Yeah, if you press up-down-left-right, you get 10,000 more followers. (both laughing) Sadly, it’s not true. If there was a cheat code I would have more followers than I do.
And the reality is, it’s a platform which favors content that performs well. And that is as simple as complicated as I can make it. If your content performs well – and let me be very clear about performance mean – do people like your content? Do they read the captions? How about leaving comments, sharing it with friends, or do they save it so they can come and see it again later? Do they return your profile? All of those are factors that tell our system – when I open Instagram I need to see X musician at the top of my feed.
Now, once that happens you start building a deeper relationship with them, and then that leads to you being able to move a casual fan to a more focused fan. And then to a dedicated fan, to a super fan. And that’s the journey we’re talking about.
“Instagram is not just feed anymore. If your campaign is static photos, I don’t think in 2020 you will grow as fast as you would like to.”
I think the other thing that I will be very cognizant of is, when I talk to some of the less sophisticated digital managers, they will give me their very detailed feed plan for Instagram. So this is what we are doing on our feed for the next six months, or for the album campaign. Which is great, and kudos to them for the work. But, Instagram is not just feed anymore. If your campaign is static photos, I don’t think in 2020 you will grow as fast as you would like to.
“Stories consumption will overtake feed at some point in the future.”
I think Instagram has more video content than ever before. And I think the most engaging accounts have a mixture of media. Static photos will continue to do well, but I think video will be a better driver of engagement and deeper connections. I think stories will be the key to any artists success. It will be very hard to be a successful artist, on Instagram, without really utilizing stories.
And we will find in the next couple of years, that stories consumption will overtake feed consumption. Which is quite often at odds with the way people think about how they’re rolling out their album or tour – where a lot of emphasis is on the feed. Stories consumption will overtake feed at some point in the future. And I think that there, and being really good at stories is important. So when you’re thinking about your cheat code, your cheat code is – how do I make sure I go where the audience is? And that audience is more and more in stories. Which is not to say, abandon feed, but just make sure that your stories strategy is super strong.
Todd: Great advice. In this sort of new algorithm economy that we live in my best advice for musicians has been – when you try to hack the system or fight the algorithm, you can do some real damage. It may be temporary, or perhaps even permanent damage. Well, for instance the example you gave us about those really low quality posts when people are doing collages on their profile. There’s a lot of ways you can shoot yourself in the foot.
You also brought up the video stuff, and that segues into my next level of questioning. We’re getting into some intermediate stuff here.
Q: What are some best practices for getting your video content featured on Instagram’s IGTV?
Sunil: So, we launched IGTV probably going on 15 or 16 months ago now. And it’s been a relatively slow burner for us, which was expected. So, our platform for a long period of time had no video. Then it went to 15 seconds, and then we pushed to a minute. And it stayed at a minute for quite a long period of time. And then, conversely we did two things in a relatively quick succession. We went back to 15 second segments in stories. And we launched IGTV which allows you to go up to an hour. And that can be relatively confusing for an audience member. What am I here for? Is it short content, or is it long content?
So what we’ve seen, and at the end of 2019, what I think is super interesting, is that we see more and more musicians across the spectrum (but quite often for very big musicians) using IGTV with a set of quite specific goals.
Billie Eilish Using IGTV With a Set of Specific Goals.
So, again I’m going to come back to Billie Eilish because I think she’s done it very well.
On Billie’s European tour, they really focused on using IGTV to show her unbelievable connection with the audience. And that was a real focus. Because they were at that point where her audience size was going to double in a really short space of time – because of exposure, because of touring, because of the album coming. And what they really wanted to do was say, “she’s still with her fans”. That she still has a credible relationship with her fans. Which is very hard to replicate.
And they knew that in stories format, it would be quite hard to do because they were expecting 15 second content from Billie. And in feed, they were expecting something that looked and felt more in keeping with the account. So they used IGTV to allow them to have a third person camera shot. In that context, it was okay for them to create distance between you and Billie, when they don’t normally. Normally it’s her. So actually what they allowed her to do is go, we can create space here, and we can do this.
John Mayer Using Instagram Live To Promote His Music.
Another great example I think is John Mayer (@johnmayer), who’s done an incredible job when he uses Instagram live. He connects with another musician. And they talk. Like it’s a chat show. But what his team was really conscious of, was when you come to a show, there’s more than just the songs. There’s a personality. There’s something about John that is charismatic, and dynamic, and funny.
And that doesn’t always come across in the music. So they were like, we need to establish him as someone who is just brimming with personality. And doing that in a minute is quite tough. Doing it in a format where you could go up to an hour is far more compelling.
Top Instagram Video Tips for IGTV.
My top tips for IGTV would be, I think at the moment the sweet spot is around about three to five minutes. I think if you go longer than five minutes, you have to have a real reason that the audience would stay with you.
And I think consistency is important. I think dropping one video in there and never coming back is unlikely to yield great results. So thinking about what else can I do, or how can I do something that is regular?
And as part of that we just unveiled in the last few weeks, a series tool. It allows you to create almost like mini channels within your IGTV content. So, you can have a making of the album series where you do 12 videos that talk about each of the songs on the album and how they came to be. And you can put a little tag on them. So that when the audience member finishes watching the video for song one, they immediately go into the episode for song two, and song three after that. So you can take people down into a rabbit hole of content where they’re watching things that they enjoy. And the more they’re watching your content, the more your content will appear right at the top, when they open that part of the app.
Coldplay have been using it from their album, really nicely to sort of differentiate between the sort of live music shows and the stuff about the album.
Q: Due to the 10,000 follower rule, I’m sensing a feeling of exclusion from developing artists who are in the bootstrapping phase. Will Instagram consider allowing stories to link to a URL, without having the 10,000 followers? Or will they open up more tools to artists with less than 10,000 followers?
Sunil: Instagram has always had an interesting challenge with linking off platform. For me as a fan of developing artists and emerging artists, I can absolutely understand this frustration. The challenge we have is, when you allow smaller accounts to link off platform, that’s where you find the most spammy content. That’s where you find the most sales messaging, the most scams, and the worst offenders come out of that pool.
So we have to constantly think about ways that we can do it. And I don’t think we’ve solved that yet. I don’t think we will be extending who can have access to the swipe up feature at this stage, but it is something we keep thinking about.
In addition, what I would say is that we are allowing more features in stories that can help drive you towards music content. So you can now share from Spotify and Pandora, and a number of other streaming services into stories to say, “check out this song”. So that gives you a way to get people to go to your song straight away through anything that’s in the Spotify catalog. And that’s actually quite an effective way of doing it, rather than the swipe up link where I don’t know where it goes. This way you’re telling the user to go and listen to this song, and pointing them directly to it, in a service that they know and trust.
Three Types of Instagram Accounts Musicians Should Know About.
Todd: Good points. Along these lines, should artists be on individual accounts or business accounts?
Sunil: We have three types of accounts. We have the normal account which is available to everyone. There is a creator account. And then there’s the business profile.
I think the majority of artists should be on the creator account. The difference between the normal account and the creator account is, the creator account provides you better insights than a normal account. It also provides you with a better DM (direct message) inbox.
So the DM inbox is split up into four areas. Primary, which is the people that you talk to and interact with most regularly. General, which is maybe fans that you had one or two interactions with but you probably don’t want to see all their messages all the time. And then we have an extra section which is requests that are coming in. And this splits into Top Requests and All Requests. In the top request section, you might see stuff from promoters, brands, fellow musicians, or music journalists. And in the All Requests section is sort of unsolicited fan stuff.
So, that inbox setup, dividing it out just gives you a bit more clarity, a bit more control. It gives you a chance to make sure you’re not missing anything.
“We do not differentiate in the algorithm between any of those three types of accounts.”
The one disadvantage of the Creator account is, it doesn’t provide the full suite of business tools that the business profile does. Now, very few musicians (especially early days), are using that suite of business tools. I’m talking about specific custom audience building and custom audience retargeting. These are quite specific and relatively complicated Facebook ad products. So unless you are in a position where you, your label, or your promoter are using one of those tools, I would advise you to be on a creator account.
Now, for the record – because this is a myth that comes up all the time – We do not differentiate in the algorithm between any of those three types of accounts. A personal account, a creator account, and a business account that produces the same content, will receive exactly the same distribution.
Q: If artists advertise on Instagram through Facebook Ad Manager, and they connect that Creator Account, are they still able to use some of the custom audiences that they have saved in Facebook Ad Manager?
Sunil: The best way to get your head around how Facebook ads work, because the reality is, there are many many different ways to use it effectively. But Facebook have a course called Blueprint https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/courses . It goes through each individual area that you can use for Instagram, Facebook, and gives you tips on how to use WhatsApp, and Messenger for business as well. And it details all of the uses, how to advertise your music on Instagram, and all the ads formats you could ever want. And how best to use budgets from $10 on your credit card right through to, you know, how do I spend a huge budget.
Learn more about Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Spotify advertising from Todd at Heat On The Street or on Band Builder Academy https://bandbuilderacademy.com Step by step music promotion & Spotify strategies, fan building techniques, and an active and supportive community of smart musicians.
Todd: Okay. And the things mentioned in the Blueprint course can be used on a Creator Account?
Sunil: Yeah, absolutely.
Todd: And can artists change between the different accounts if they wish? Or do they have to start with one type of account?
Sunil: I think when you open your account, it’s a Personal account. And then you change to either a Creator or Business account. I would probably encourage people to not change backwards and forwards too often, because I think there’s a chance that you could end up getting yourself confused, and getting the getting Instagram confused as to what you’re trying to achieve. And that’s the sort of thing that starts to look like spammy behavior. So I would opt for one. I would definitely encourage you to go down the lines of Creator, unless you’re using custom audience targeting.
Q: How can I ensure my lyrics show up on Instagram Stories? Can any artist with digital distribution get this? Or is it a selective process?
Sunil: It’s not a selective process. It’s a rights and management process. We are out in the market, doing deals with rights holders and music publishers across the world. Which opens up the ability to do a number of things. So for one, it allows us to put the music sticker in stories, so people can add music or lip synch to music. It also unlocks the lyrics feature as well. So, if your music is not available in there at the moment, then it’s worth talking to whoever looks after your publishing, or looks after you from a label perspective. And they will have the process, or they’ll be able to tell you where we are in the process of having your music added.
We don’t at this stage have a scaled way for upcoming musicians to be able to add their own music. It’s a pretty complicated process, and I think where we will probably end up is, we have a lot of countries where the music products are available. But there are still countries where it’s not available. And that’s where the team’s focus is right now.
How do we get as many countries in the world to enjoy those music features, before going back to work out how do we allow user upload. Because as you can imagine, not everyone is completely savvy on music rights and the complexities of publishing deals. So what we want to avoid is somebody, you know, uploading content that is not their own, and trying to pass it off as their own. Or uploading something that they shouldn’t have uploaded in this particular region.
Q: For touring musicians, what should they know about geo-location and any advantages of being in different cities frequently?
Sunil: So, I’ve got two tips for touring musicians.
The number one tip is keep posting. What actually happens quite often, is the realities of everyone that’s listening to this or reading this, will know touring is not glamorous, in any way. Although perceived to be by the audience, it is genuinely an absolute slog. So, what happens is we see some musicians just stop posting regularly. Because they’re tired, and they’re focused. When actually it’s a rich opportunity to gain more followers, and to connect with your audience.
Number two, make use of the locations you’re in. So, if you touch down in Seoul for the first time. Ask people where you should go. Ask people where the best places to eat are. Where’s the best place to get coffee? Where are the best places to shop? Because the audience love to tell you that stuff, and they feel like they’re part of your experience in a town that they love. The town that they live in. And the more you can do, the more it’s going to ingratiate you to a localized fan base.
So when you come back for the next tour, people already sort of bought into you as someone that cares about that town rather than someone that’s just blowing through on their way to, you know, get to Tokyo or wherever. So I think it’s a really smart way to think about how do I galvanize a local fanbase.
Using Instagram Location Tags.
The other thing that I think is really important is using location tags. My advice on location tags is to go quite specific. So, if you’re in a major city, try to find the location tag for the suburb, rather than just writing the entire city. Try and find a specific venue, or as specific a location as you can. Because what happens for Instagram when people are searching for location, you will appear in all the variations.
If you’re playing at The 02 in London. If you tag The 02, not only will you appear in searches for The 02, but the location will also pick you up for people that are searching for Greenwich as an area, and Central London as an area after that, London, Greater London, then England, than the UK. So you’ve just amplify the chances you have of being found in search by going more specific. It gives you more and more opportunities to be found.
Q: Also related to shows, some artists have resorted to using Instagram as an alternative to getting an email list signup. Sometimes it’s just more convenient to connect with a fan on Instagram. Are there any creative uses you’ve seen artists do on stage or at the merch table?
Sunil: It’s not one that I have seen that frequently. I think it eventually becomes quite hard to scale. But I think what is hugely important for emerging artists and people that are perhaps on the support roster, is to make your handle very visible during the tour. So, if you’ve got a space on the drum riser or on the stage, I would get your handle up front, as quickly as you can.
Because if I’m someone in the crowd who has not perhaps bought into your music, I’ve got the chance while I’m on my cell phone to look you up, and to gain more knowledge about you. And I think that can help the sale of converting someone into being a fan. And they can come and see you again in the future.
Cool Use of Instagram Close Friends Feature.
We also have a close friends feature on Instagram, where you can add certain accounts to this list that you curate. It’s close friends who might get content, specifically for them. So you could set up all the people that we think are close friends in Singapore. And you could send them content that says like “we’re coming to Singapore”. And this doesn’t go out to the rest of the world. It’s only one group. You can’t have multiple groups. But I think there’s something sort of fun about it.
Idea for Instagram Chat Sticker
Something I’ve never seen done, but I think if I was an upcoming musician I would think about. We have a feature called a chat sticker in stories. So you create a story, you add this chat sticker. I used it for the Women’s World Cup. And I posted a story. “Hey guys who’s watching England versus America tonight? Who wants to come and watch the game with me?”
So what I ended up with was, 25 people in this group. Ten of which were from the UK, ten of which were from America. And we just DM’d each other throughout the game. And I didn’t know any of them. But we just had this really electric conversation. It went backwards and forwards through the whole game. And at the end of it, as the owner of the account I had the ability to leave the group, and let them carry on talking amongst themselves. Or I could choose to close the group down. But it was just a one night thing.
So Miley Cyrus did this for the release of her recent single. She had 32 fans in a group with her. And she was dropping images and asking them questions, and every single fan was going wild. Also every single fan was screenshotting every single bit of it, and posting it to their accounts. So she had a wild viral effect with all this content just leaking out everywhere. And fans being super envious of this great opportunity. But it was just a touch point for Miley with her real fans, and allowed them to get incredible mileage out of it.
Todd: Sunil, this has been really awesome. I really appreciate everything you’ve told us. The advice and tips are pure gold. You’ve done a great service for the musicians community. I know they’re really going to appreciate this. And I just I just want to say thanks again so much. I really appreciate it.
Sunil: Cool. No worries, thanks Todd!
So that wraps up my interview with Instagram. Sunil certainly gave us a much better grasp on how to promote your music on Instagram in 2021. Sunil’s years of experience in social media, music marketing, and working with talent really came through. It’s no surprise they’ve got him in such an important role for Instagram.
Thank you for reading. I’m sorry if I did not get your question answered. Please leave further questions about Instagram music promotion in the comments below. And perhaps we’ll get to them on the next interview.
P.S. special thanks to Bruce Lander for his assistance with this interview.
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