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Instagram is usually thought of as the “visual” social media platform. It’s the reason so many music store owners don’t consider using it to promote their businesses.

The truth: It’s a popular platform that millions of musicians interact with each and every day to stay connected with their fans, students, teachers, music venues, and other musicians.

Music stores need to be a part of these interactions to be valid today.

In this article, we’ll explain the basics of Instagram marketing and how music stores can use the platform to connect with the musicians in their area.

1. Get your profile right.

Your Instagram profile must clearly explain your business and what makes it unique so people are compelled to check out your content, follow you, and visit your website. When someone sees your profile they should immediately understand:

  • What your business is
  • What it does
  • Why they should follow you and take time to learn about your shop
  • Why they should do business with your music store.

View your Instagram profile through the eyes of a prospective customer who knows nothing about your operation. Would they “get it” on an initial visit? Here are steps you can take to ensure they do:

  • Name: The name field should present your business name exactly as you normally would. Getting it right is critical because it’s how it will show up in Instagram’s search results.
  • Up your name game: Your business name and username are the only two fields that are searchable on Instagram. Think about whether it might make sense to enhance your Instagram business name. Is your music store uniquely good at something, such as working with children? Add it to your name! For example, Ajax Music could become Ajax Music, The Child Music Experts. It will allow your name field to communicate more in Instagram.
  • Bio. The bio field provides you with 150 characters to explain your business to visitors and why they should follow you. It should also make them want to visit your website. Get creative. Work with your team to come up with a unique way to tell your music store story. Test out your bio with people who don’t know your business to make sure it’s clear and compelling. Consider using emojis to convey more with fewer characters.
  • Link. Include a link to your website in your profile. Be thoughtful about which page you choose. It should be one that delivers a good user experience and encourages visitors to check out more pages. Most people scroll Instagram on mobile devices, so make sure you send people to a mobile-optimized web page.

Take these simple steps to optimize your Instagram profile. They’ll help you make the most of your Instagram marketing efforts.

2. Use everything Instagram has to offer.

Instagram is so much more than the image feed. Make sure your business takes advantage of everything it has to offer, including:

  • Feed. This is the part of Instagram everyone is familiar with. Are you maxing out its use? Take a look at your Instagram page (often referred to as the quilt). Does it present a clear and coherent picture of your music store? Or does it seem more like a random collection of things or a scrapbook? When you post to your feed, make sure everything reflects your brand and adds to the story you want to tell.
  • Stories. Stories are the temporary posts that show up in your Instagram feed. They’re great for sharing timely or particularly compelling information. People interact with them more than typical posts because of their limited time availability and unique content. People look out for Stories, which is different from typical posts. If you have something cool, compelling, and timely to share in Instagram, Stories could be right for you. Just don’t use them for everything. Disappoint people once with a Stories post and they’ll never come back to check out another one.
  • IGTV. Instagram videos are great for music stores. This format has been around for a while and has delivered some real value to those that use it correctly. The real IGTV pros are creating compelling music-related content for this vertical video (9:16) format. The other IGTV key to success is being thoughtful about the first 15 seconds that shows as a preview in the feed. Music stores that are able to use it to capture attention and create a reason to watch more are excelling with IGTV. If you’re not using video in your Insta feed, it could be a great time to try it out.
  • Reels. Reels is Instagram’s attempt to take on TikTok. It’s the newest entry to the Instagram platform. These 15 second video clips are generated by users and feel a bit raw and unpolished. Much like TikTok, Reels are all about music and collaboration, making it a great medium for music stores. It can show off some of the music made by employees and customers, and the collaborative aspect of it makes it great for building relationships with customers and other music establishments. Unlike TikTok, Instagram will share Reels with people who aren’t your followers, which could be a great way to expand your reach and bring in new followers and potential customers.
  • Live video. Instagram’s live video capabilities can bring more spontaneity and realness to your feed. It could be used to share everyday experiences from your music operation to bring it to life and make it seem more accessible to followers and others. It’s also great for sharing live performances.

In the end, using all the tools in the Instagram toolbox will extend your reach on the platform and allow you to tell your story in richer and deeper ways.

3. Leverage Instagram Ads

Don’t just rely on organic Instagram to generate business results. Because of the limitations of Instagram’s algorithm, it will only get you so far.

If you want to extend your reach to more people in your target audience — and increase your visibility while at it — you’ll need to advertise on the platform. Like most things, you have to pay to play. Here are our top tips for making the most of IG’s advertising capabilities.

  • It’s Instagram, not an ad. Even though you’re advertising on Instagram, it’s still Instagram and your ads should feel like posts on the platform. Users don’t like their Instagram buzz killed by a blatant product pitch or ad. Plus, it will cost you a lot more to distribute an ad Instagram doesn’t think its users will like.
  • Know who you want to reach. IG lets you target by things like age, location, income, interests, and more. Take time to figure out who you want to reach before beginning an advertising effort. Of course, you want to target musicians in your area. However, if your business focuses on kids, you’ll want to find and target parents with an interest in music education. If you primarily sell band instruments, you’ll want to reach ones who care about things like marching and school bands.
  • To boost or not to boost. Boosting is when you spend money to broaden the reach of one of your posts. An ad is more focused on something you want to actively promote. If you have a post that performs well in organic Instagram, it might be smart to boost it to extend its reach. It could be a smart brand play. If not, create an ad specifically designed to promote an aspect of your operation.
  • Respect the format. You can run ads on the platform in the feed, through Stories as videos and more. Make certain your creative is formatted appropriately. You can pay for added distribution in Instagram, but if the ad doesn’t look attractive and perform effectively, people won’t respond to it.

If you don’t feel 100 percent confident about Instagram advertising, contact us to find out how we could help you out.

4. Take advantage of Facebook Business and Creator Studio.

IG was made for mobile. This has made it challenging for some music businesses to use it. That’s why more and more leverage Facebook Business to manage their Instagram accounts. (Facebook owns Instagram.) You can use it, along with the Creator Studio, to promote posts and handle advertising. They are also valuable for creating and scheduling posts. You owe it to the success of your music business to use the best tools possible to optimize your Instagram marketing.

Got questions about using Instagram to promote your music store? Contact us to get the advice you need to get it right.