Workshop: Instagram for live music
Hosts: Karim Fanous & Elisabeth (Lil) Patuck, Music Ally (UK)
Lil Patuck from training and insight company Music Ally provided a workshop on why the live industry will benefit greatly from using Instagram in its marketing – across venues, tours and festivals – and why they should be looking to the fashion industry for tips and best practice as they have quickly mastered the medium.
She provided a potted history of the platform, noting how it had limited functionality to begin with; but after it was acquired by Facebook in 2012, it pushed heavily into video and this is shaping its evolution and where it will develop next. With 600m+ monthly users, 400m+ daily active users and 500m+ active advertisers, it’s a platform that is exploding and creating huge opportunities for users.
“It used to be a throwaway medium but now has amazing commercial viability,” she said. “You should look at it like a mini Facebook. Plus they have optimised discovery so they will be giving you what you are looking for.”
She gave tips on setting up an account, noting that it is not as streamlined (yet) to become verified as it is on Twitter and Facebook, but that is slowly changing. On the biography section is where users need to think carefully and strategically about what information they provide – as it is only here that you can post active weblinks (rather than along with images in your feed). Tools like Linkfire and dropping in Facebook pixels are useful for seeing where your audience is coming from and putting in place means to segment and re-target them.
“It makes it look more professional,” she said. “And you can track how many people went to the link from Instagram.” For those setting up a business profile, they can tap into a range of analytics (age, gender, location, frequency of use) that are useful in understanding who your audience is.
She then worked through the key features within the app and suggested how the live business can be using them. Boomerang (to make looping GIFs) and Hyperlapse (to produce 10-second timelapse videos) were highlighted in particular. “They make it very easy to make quick content,” she said. “It’s important to remember that Instagram is mobile-first and people want short 10-second bursts of content.”
Stories were also presented as a powerful tool that allow users to be creative and have fun with content. Users can also direct message to individuals or groups of followers. The USP of this is that the content will disappear after 24 hours – and this works as a hook to get users to return.
“Everything will disappear in 24 hours, which is great as it’s exclusive content and fans will come back for more.”
She said that everyone should look to the fashion industry as it is using the platform best and suggested people follow at least one fashion account for inspiration. Parlaying this into the live industry, she stressed making good videos is the basic building block of what you do. “The first rule of videos from festivals in Instagram is that it has to be really good content,” she said. “Where else are you going to be sharing what you are doing live? You should be live-streaming at festivals and planning that in advance.”
She suggested that touring is where Instagram can come alive for users, giving fans insights into what life on the road is like. “A really important thing is to show people what you are doing,” she said, adding that being humorous and self-effacing works really well.
Other tips including keeping an eye on trending topics online and using hashtags on posts (after the image posted, not along with the image as it’s cleaner that way) to slipstream them. “If you have a great video that fits into a trend, you should be on Instagram.”
For now, Instagram should be seen as a promotional platform and a way to link to external sites to drive ticket sales or streams. There may be options to monetise within videos in the future but, as they are so short form, this is unlikely to work like it does on YouTube.
She suggested not using it for the hard sell but occasional promotional pushes are welcome as the audience will trust you. “There is a fine line between what is content and what is advertising,” recommending that users need to know how to stay on the right side of this.