How to ACTUALLY grow your Instagram following (without being annoying)

by | Oct 7, 2020 | Artists to Watch

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If you’ve ever posted your music on Instagram chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of spam comments like those pictured above. Maybe you’ve even been the spam commenter – trying desperately to grow your Instagram following. Unfortunately these comments work poorly, if at all, because they are super annoying, shady and so clearly disingenuous.
 
“But what else can I do to grow my fanbase?!” I hear you say… “PR and ads are expensive!” 
 
Here’s the key to building a following on social media: 
BE SOCIAL! (crazy right?!) 
There is no secret sauce. There are no shortcuts. In order to grow your following you need to work to establish genuine and meaningful artist-fan connections! I’ve been doing just that by using this strategy for years. It’s helped me grow my fanbase by the thousands! You can easily do this too on your own by following the steps below.

IDENTIFY YOUR BRAND & FIND YOUR HASHTAGS

The first step is to identify your brand. Your brand is informed by your genre, interests, aesthetic, vibe and other artists who have corresponding tastes. Your instagram profile should clearly showcase this with your bio, stories and posts.
Now that you’ve established your brand you need to find fans who will resonate with it! Do this by identifying hashtags relevant to you and your brand (like Gary Vaynerchuck details here). For example, if you write classic rock and you’re heavily influenced by The Beatles maybe you’d choose:
 #TheBeatles
#JohnLennon
#PaulMCcartney
#ClassicRock
#AbbeyRoad
along with a few similar artists like:
#TheRollingStones 
#TheBeachBoys. 
Once you’ve got your hashtags set, search them up on Instagram. You’ll be led to a page with posts that have used that hashtag. Find 10 or so posts per hashtag that you gravitate towards. Like the post and leave a comment. Remember to be genuine. 
Talk about why you enjoyed the post or why you love the band that the post is highlighting. Maybe leave an opinion about the band or song the post highlights. If it reminds you of a fellow creator tag that person! Above all else BE SOCIAL! Treat this like a conversation among fellow fans.
 
DEVELOP A CONNECTION

Now… you wait for a response! Not every comment will get a response, but for the ones that do you should respond back if applicable! Once you’ve got your foot in the door through this conversation you can start developing this connection further. 
DM the creator and mention why you loved their post. Respond to their stories. Ask if you can collaborate! Follow them! 
Not all of these accounts will follow you back, but MANY will. They’ll do this because you made a genuine connection with them. You didn’t spam them. You didn’t annoy them. You found a common interest and you were social about it!
Not only has employing this strategy gotten me thousands of new fans, it’s helped me make genuine connections and even friendships with like-minded music lovers, artists and collaborators.
 
NURTURE THE ARTIST-FAN RELATIONSHIP

Once you’ve established this connection it’s important to keep it alive by regularly interacting with the account’s posts (which should be easy since we already know they post content with hashtags that are relevant to you and your brand!). Many people make the mistake of overdoing this step and come off a bit annoying and desperate. Once again the key is to be genuine! Your goal is to foster an authentic connection, not smooth talk them into buying your newest album on vinyl. 
 
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DO IT?

Once you get the hang of practicing this engagement outreach you should try employing it regularly. I personally schedule 15-20 minutes every other day to do so!
Since this strategy works very well it’s also extremely easy to get addicted to (I’ve been there)! However, It’s important to use this strategy sparingly since you don’t want to overwhelm any potential new fans. You also don’t want to get so wrapped up in Instagram that you ignore other important tasks… LIKE MAKING CONTENT AND MUSIC (I’ve been there too)! That being said, if you’re ready to meet your new fans, give this strategy a shot!
 
What tactics have you tried using to make new fans on Instagram?

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