This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked as a marketing professional.
If you have been following any marketing expert over the last few years, they give a variety of different answers to this question, which isn’t very helpful.
The reason for this is because it can depend a lot on your specific circumstances.
As a general rule, the best content creators out there will post 2-3 times per day, just on the feed alone. However, you need to understand that there are different types of accounts, as well as different types of creators… and different types of content.
A meme account with just “surface” content can post a lot and often – because they do not require a lot of time or attention from the viewer scrolling through Instagram.
When you start posting videos/more in-depth content, it then requires more time and attention to consume. Which might mean you lose the attention of a lot of your followers.
Does that mean you only should just post basic, surface content on Instagram?
Well, that would usually result in you having tons of followers – but very few actual fans. You would also probably struggle to move your followers over to your other profiles such as Spotify or Soundcloud etc. to even listen to your music.
There is not much value to these followers if you cannot get them to make an action with your work and start engaging with you.
While meme accounts post several times per day, business accounts typically post around 3 times per week. Then there are personal accounts, this is the category in which most musicians and bands fall into.
This is because there is a personal aspect to your business and therefore you will need to post a lot more than just 3 times per week – like the business accounts.
This is because you are a person – and there is simply much more content to create than a business – and you need to cover both your business (your music) as well as your personality/identity/brand.
Instagram Values Consistency Over Frequency
The Instagram algorithm measures everything. They are interested in boosting the content creators who consistently create quality content over time.
So even if you had that one hit video that went viral and got loads of engagements, shares, etc. it won’t necessarily help you in the long run.
The way to succeed on Instagram is to be consistent.
The algorithm even tells us this, right? If you do well with one particular post, your visibility and reach will be higher the next time you post something, and then again the next time. If you continuously share quality content, you will definitely see growth on your channel.
The trouble most people have is that they may have some weeks where they have lots of ideas for content, and then share it all in that one week. Then they might go quiet for a few weeks because they’ve run out of ideas.
Although it is completely fine to take breaks from social media as an artist, having a plan as to how long your hiatus will be and preplanning/scheduling your content in advance will allow you to take a break without losing the momentum you’ve built.
I know you see musicians taking breaks from Social Media all the time (Ed Sheeran, Selena Gomez, Adele) but these people have the following, momentum, support, and privilege to be able to do so.
You, as an upcoming artist building your business, do not have that luxury. Building your fanbase is one of the biggest responsibilities and one you should focus on doing so every single week.
As we know, consistency is the key on Instagram, you need to figure out the number of posts you can commit to every week. I typically start with committing to the number of feed posts before I make a plan for story posts and going live, etc.
So your Instagram profile has a few different feeds which consist of:
The main feed (where you post images, videos under 60 seconds, IGTV & Reels previews)
The Reels feed (where all of your full Reels videos live)
The IGTV feed (where all of your full IGTV videos sit)
The posts/content that are on the feeds, I can pre-plan and it should ALL be quality content.
I would also recommend using all 3 of your feeds (main profile feed, IGTV & Reels) every week so you optimize every part of the platform on a continuous basis.
Instagram is notorious for pushing traffic from its newest features to users who utilize them. So if you’re still posting images and short videos; expecting to get the same amount of engagement and visibility as people posting Reels and going Live, you simply will not.
The good news with Reels and IGTV is that you can push a preview over to the Feed which helps you populate your home feed with content consistently.
You should always push your Reels and IGTV videos over to your feed as this will push it amongst your own followers while helping you crank up some initial engagement that is necessary to move your post over to the Explore page and trending hashtags.
When I start working with a new client, we typically start with 1 feed post per day to get started. Then we see if this feels like the right amount to be doing or if we should increase it further.
Through testing, you will begin seeing the right amount of feed posts for you per week that your audience finds valuable and not spammy.
Although, sometimes if you post too much and flood people’s feeds with your content; they can get sick of it and end up unfollowing you. Especially if the content flooding their feeds doesn’t give them a lot of value.
Striking the balance between posting frequently and consistently, and not too much that you overwhelm your audience is key here.
If you know you’ll struggle to create 7 engaging posts, with value, per week then try doing 3-4. If you can stick with this over time you will still see good, solid growth on your channel.
The reason I always recommend sharing more content per week, however, is because as a musician you have so much more than just your music to communicate to your audience.
Also, if you only post 3 times per week, it will take a long time to convert your followers into fans who will listen to your music and buy your products.
Before I give you the structure of what you should be posting weekly, there is another concept you need to have in mind other than consistency…
Quality Over Quantity
When you commit to a number per week, you immediately will start feeling the pressure. You have to deliver right? But with what?
The most common mistake made is typically to start posting a lot of basic surface content. Not quality content that adds value – all just to get a post out ‘on time’.
Before you post, ask yourself if you would see any value in this post? If you were to see it as a complete stranger, would you get anything from it?
If it’s not really giving much value, then don’t waste the real estate.
Posting BAD content (the content that even you know is bad, but you figure maybe someone might like it and you have nothing else to post) can actually harm your account.
Remember earlier I explained that with the algorithm, the visibility and engagement results carry on to the next post? Well, what do you think will happen if you start posting bad content that no one interacts with?
Instagram will decrease your visibility because your last post didn’t perform very well, so your next post won’t be pushed onto the feeds of as many users, it won’t get seen as much and will also not perform very well. And so on and so on.
So before you post, pause and really ask yourself if the content you are about to share provides value.
If it inspires people, shares an aspect of your personality so people can relate to you, tells a story, or even just provides something informative – you’re good to go.
What Should You Post Every Week?
Let’s start with the feed posts.
Every time you post on the feed your content will only be visible to about 10% of your followers, to begin with. Depending on how the post performs, your next post will then get more or less visibility.
When you receive a new follower on your profile right now, that means you have sparked an interest in somebody and they want to learn more about you. You will then convert them from a follower to a fan using your content (this is called content marketing).
We also know it will take several interactions, anything from 7-14, to get somebody to become a fan or a customer.
So as we are doing this math you are realizing that you are definitely not going to convert loads of your followers to fans within the first week. This will take time.
That’s why you need to share some different sides of you every week. Make sure that the content is continuously converting followers into fans. Then repeat what works successfully.
The types of content you should share every week as a musician are:
Here you should show your music-making process. The decisions you make, the equipment you use, the people you work with, etc.
The format of doing this can be different (vlog, tutorials, behind the scenes, studio sessions, lyric videos) but it should all be based around the work you’re doing and the music you are making.
You may also have some other identities that are interesting to share. For example, Deadmau5 is a gamer, a producer, and a DJ. You meet these identities through his different channels.
You don’t meet him as a family man, however, some musicians choose to showcase themself from their home lives as well (see: Jay Z & Bey).
I share my role as a single mother frequently as it is a part of my identity and other people can relate – it adds more depth to me.
The format of this can be video, images, carousels, Reels… Anything.
In addition to showing yourself as a musician, you also probably have some aspect to your personality that has helped shape your music.
Creating content sharing these different sides of you is then sharing your brand. It gives people ways to connect with you – in addition to your music.
If you write lyrics for your music, your fans probably relate to your personality. Posts of you explaining the lyrics or even just a lyric video can help followers feel like they are getting to know you and your brand better.
The format of this personal content can be anything from personal pictures and videos, maybe with family or friends, maybe on vacation, or just relaxing around your house.
Appearing relatable is also very important when converting followers to fans.
A lot of people use social media to feel closer to their idols, so relatable content can make you seem much more approachable and can really help keep people interested.
You can also use humor! Look at DJ Fat Tony.
Over this year (and especially during lockdown) he has become the meme king of Instagram. Lots of people follow him now who had never even heard him DJ before.
Although it is important to remember what we said about quality here – and remember we want content that adds value as we are trying to convert our followers into fans. However, a meme or funny post every so often is absolutely fine as it’s also very shareable content too.
The same can be said about sharing quotes and inspiration. These can open another window into your personality and can be relatable for your audience.
Repurposing old content is also a great way of keeping your posts consistent at a time when you may not have as many ideas for what to post – I have written about this before here.
It’s also important to show off your personality in the caption too. Really optimize this space with stories while sharing your thoughts and feelings. Almost writing as you would speak in person is the key here.
4. Viral Content
Every week you should share some content that your audience can also share. The first 3 areas I covered will hopefully generate a lot of likes, comments, and new followers. However, this type of content may or may not generate many shares.
We also want to create some content every week that your followers will share with their followers to spread your visibility on Instagram – I wrote more about this here.
This helps spread awareness of your account/brand and is getting your followers to spread your content.
Here is where all the meme and theme pages are as they typically have ALL of this type of content and they can grow rapidly because of the shareability of their content (again, look at DJ Fat Tony for the ultimate example of this).
5. Promotional Content
You also need to allocate real estate to sell or promote your music too, obviously. As we are following the 80/20 golden rule of content marketing where 80% of your content should give value while the remaining 20% is used to sell your product: music.
When you have shared your personality, identity, and music process – it’s time to sell and move followers over to other platforms.
We’re talking about Spotify, Bandcamp, your website, merch stores, etc.
If you’re not posting to promote your work every week, people will not know to check out your other channels by themselves, so you need to allocate content for this every week.
Now you have the main categories, you can start experimenting with content ideas for each one.
I basically have the same categories but I have just replaced music content with educational.
Here are my categories and the number of posts I do per week:
Content Categories – 13 posts per week
Educational content (5 posts)
Identities: digital nomad, single Mom (1 to 2 posts)
Personality: motivational, inspirational (3 posts + captions)
Promotional content (2 posts)
Viral content (2 posts)
You now know how much you are going to post per week, and you also know which categories you need to cover consistently in order to:
Grow your fanbase
Convert them over to fans
Sell them your products or move them over to your other channels
I’m sure you all now know what I mean when I say that with only 3 posts per week, it’s going to take a long time for a new follower to really get an understanding of what your brand and your music is all about.
By creating the categories you want to cover and sharing this through different formats consistently, you are not only growing your Instagram but also your business.
…And Then You Have The Story
We’ve now nailed the feed posts every week. This is all content that can really be pre-planned and pre-published. Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time to focus on the Story posts.
The Story is an important tool for you to use to convert followers into fans. I made a carousel about this that you should check out.
The people who are actually viewing your story are the followers who are closer to becoming your fans. They are the ones who are interacting with you and your content already. They are looking for daily updates from you. By using the Story and getting even more personal, you’re then connecting with them more.
The whole concept of the Story is copied from Snapchat. The idea of Snapchat was to get personal, behind the scenes, raw footage. Start getting used to talking to the camera and share your process throughout the day.
Each Story clip is 15 seconds but you can easily just continue on to the next clip if your video is longer.
I typically also use the camera app itself to do a lot of these clips, as I do several takes (sometimes) then just select the one I’m happy with and upload it onto my Story.
The more personal you can get with the Story, the better… You don’t need a studio setting and lots of editing for a Story post to be valuable. The more unpolished, the better, kinda.
Here are 10 story ideas:
Try to space your Stories throughout the day so you stay at the front of the Story newsfeed. Every time you update it, you get bumped to the front of the queue and will be seen straight away.
The longer it is since you posted, the further down the list you go.
So if you post morning, midday, afternoon, and evening you are ramping up more viewing numbers throughout the day than if you were just to post once.
Also, use the Story for user-generated content. If you see a post that your audience will get value from – but it doesn’t fit your feed content – just share it directly to the Story from the account you’ve seen it on.
It’s an easy way to populate the Story with content if you are not in the mood for filming some days.
Also, if somebody tags you or is listening to your music or is at your show – share it.
I mean Cypress Hill reshared my Story because I tagged them when I saw them in Amsterdam a few years back.
I also use the Story to share testimonials. If I get a standout comment on my YouTube or Instagram – I screenshot it and share it to my Story with a thank you note. This is showing that other people like my content.
The Story feed is also a great place to share humor, memes, inspirational quotes, etc. if you have plenty of value-adding content on your feed but still want to share a bit of your personality.
Again, this is why viral meme pages grow so quickly! It’s because people tend to share the meme page’s posts to their own Stories.
Finally: Live Streaming
As a musician, you have so many channels you can go live on. YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Instagram Live gives you the ability to go live together with other accounts. You basically tap into other people’s fanbases just by going live with a colleague, friend, or collaborator.
You see this all the time when artists do collaborations with other artists, they go on IG Live together and just have conversations for a while.
This is a nice way to prepare the audience but also to test and see if the audience found value. If the followers interacted and a lot of them swapped fans – then a collab might be a clever choice.
Once you have nailed the feed and you have a voice through your Stories – start playing around with concepts for IG Live.
The easiest method is to do nonprepared conversations, talking as you would talk with someone on the phone and let your audience tune in but you can also start thinking creatively with it.
Whether it’s once a week or once a month – whatever frequency you choose to begin with – stick to it and then grow it as you go along.
Live is one of the best ways for me to grow my following as I typically see a huge spike whenever I go live together with somebody else.
So when you are planning your Instagram strategy, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is: how much content should I post every week? Make sure you take into account the value of each post and the quality (as much as the quantity).
You also need to get to know the different avenues of Instagram, as well as the different categories of content.
IGTV, Story, Live, Reels, Feed – these are all different ways of sharing content – but different formats work differently for various types of content and different people.
Experiment with different avenues for different types of content as you go along… But, remember to make sure your posts add value and remember to stick to our 80:20 rule and don’t be afraid of trying out new content ideas!