5 Mistakes Musicians Are Making on Instagram

digital music distributors

With so many artists using social media platforms and easy access to tools like never before; the internet is bubbling over with creative talent trying to be seen. There are five main things I see musicians lacking when looking around planet Instagram. It’s easy to get lost in the noise, so you need to stand out and be heard.

  1. Being Too General

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again! Musicians must stop being so general in their bio – it’s a representation of you – make it worth looking at. I see countless bio where you identify as a musician, DJ or producer… Yes, that is what you are but it’s also what several million other people are too. This is where you need to start getting specific. And the more specific, the better. What is it that makes you unique and what makes your music original?

The goal with building a fanbase is to create a community around your music. To do this you need to give fans a reason to become obsessed with you. To present yourself in a specific way you must give visitors to your profile a glimpse of what you are, what interests you and what fans might be able to relate to. Carry this through to your content and you’ll find your ‘weirdos’ that’ll form an emotional connection with what you communicate.


By triggering an emotional response in a fan’s brain, this drives the action of clicking on bio links, investigating you further, sparking an interest in your work and gives them a reason to follow you. Profile visitors need a reason to hit that bio link and it’s your job to appeal to their personal interests to make that action.

2. Ignoring Story Highlights

Think of Instagram as real estate. And your profile is limited as you cannot put much static content there as most of the content is dynamic. Remember it is a social media and the goal is to communicate and share value consistently. However, some parts of the platform are more static like the story highlight. Even though the story highlight is exactly what it is, it is a highlight of the stories you have shared, you can use this real estate strategically. Check out Martin Garrix’s:


This is starting to look more like a website right? He has devoted one highlight per song where he then puts relevant content to promote the song. Like for example, a preview of him playing it live, behind the scenes, the art work, etc. This is a great way to present your work, and when people click on it they get to know the music on a different level. 

Of course you have to plan your story highlighting and then start sharing the content on your stories in order to put them there. But with some planning and organizing this can work well. As you can see you can do many story highlights and why not use as many as possible? 


Another way of doing this can be to divide it into different sections e.g. “Music”, “Tour”, “Video” and others… Similar to what Major Lazer are doing. Either way you set it up optimizes this real estate. Once you’ve hit 10k+ followers you can also EXIT from the stories and move over to your other channels. Then your story highlight will be MORE valuable. Start creating some artwork and make this section look nice. When fans visit you, read your bio and then move over to the story highlight you want them to click this part as it’s a great introduction to your music too.

3. Not Creating Value & Content

If you are getting new followers but you are not publishing content and using the platform to communicate regularly, you’re letting your followers down. The guys who are currently following you have opted in for a reason. They want to hear from you! If you don’t use the platform to push content and communicate every day, you are missing out and your followers will become inactive with your account. 

Followers are not necessarily fans. They’ve hit the follow button as they’re intrigued and want regular updates from you. Now it’s your job to welcome them to your world and work on making them real fans. Fan that’ll buy from you. This is done through sharing content consistently and communicating with the followers you already have.

4. Not Engaging With MVPs

If you look at 50 Cent’s profile you’ll see Snoop Dogg all over the comments section. You’ll frequently see other celebs interacting with one another’s content. This is the best strategy right now to attract more followers. 

When Snoop Dogg comments on 50’s content, it’s opening up a dialog between them. By doing this they’re displaying their personalities in their replies, it gives us a sense of behind the scenes access. Not only this, the comments are visible for the world to see, which means 50s followers will want to go check out Snoops at the tap of a screen.


For you to achieve this you’ll need to find some strategic people with fanbases similar to your own. It doesn’t have to be musicians, it could be other industries such as athletics. Begin to regularly engage with their content. You’ll find that traffic from their account will make its way to yours… We’re curious creatures and the drive to find out more is insatiable. This strategy shows both your personality and grows your following organically. You’re essentially headhunting your fans from other people’s pools of followers.

Take a look through Diplo’s account and you’ll see his comment section is packed with celebrities wanting to muscle in on his followers. They’re claiming their real estate!

5. Not Engaging With Your Fans

Take time to actually reply to comments and open up conversations that people can join in with. For example, Diplo shared a video of his son and a fan asked why he had an English accent… Diplo took the opportunity to engage back and forth where it somehow ended in how many jobs the bus driver on Peppa Pig has (it’s 7 by the way).

By engaging properly with your fans rather than using uninspiring emoji replies, you’ll have more opportunities to share even more about you and get everybody looking at the comments more involved in your identity.

The value of a piece of content can sometimes come solely from the captions and comments. This is where the magic happens, sometimes. Do not underestimate it. You can add so much value in the comments section of an already valuable piece of content. That’s optimizing real estate on Instagram.

So get to work on communicating your interests to attract your audience and really put effort into creating good content around it too. Make good use of the story highlights to keep your content easily organised and viewable. Then start engaging with others that have the fans you want and communicate with the guys already following you. Keep it consistent and you’ll see fantastic results.

Check out my Instagram masterclass for musicians to learn how to use Instagram as a tool to generate streams and downloads!

Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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