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Social media is more important than ever, and whether you like using it or not, it is crucial to being a successful career musician these days.

There is simply no way around it, and the sooner you realize and accept this, the better. Being on social media isn’t enough though—you need to make sure you’re posting regularly, and you’re uploading the right type of content to different platforms. Certain sites are better-suited for short missives, while others lend themselves naturally to photos.

Instagram is obviously a photo-focused website and app, and you need to work with that if you want to do it right.

One of the best uses of social media is to promote your live shows, where you will most likely be making the majority of your money as a performer in today’s new musical economy. You’ll want to promote every show intensely, and intelligently, and on all of your channels. Instagram’s importance is growing all the time, and you shouldn’t ignore its role as a vital source of free promotion.

But, what to post? A great live shot is, of course, a fantastic option, but those uploads typically come after the show is over, which doesn’t help sell tickets on the night of, now does it? If you’re not sure what you should be ‘gramming before you take to the stage, here are ten ideas you can keep with you throughout a tour and throughout your career.

Mix them up, try each and every one of these and see what works best, always switching up how you interpret them to keep your page fresh and interesting.

1. Heading To The Venue

This is the first thing you have to do, so why not make some social content out of it? Whether it’s in a van, on a bus, in the subway, or perhaps even at the airport or on a plane, show the world you’re on your way to the show.

While this may seem like an extremely mundane part of performing at a concert (and it is, there’s no way around it), a photo of you and your bandmates traveling shows your fans that in many ways, you are just like them. You have to deal with traffic just the same as they do, and if you’re willing to do it, shouldn’t they do the same?

Also, this is a fun, subtle reminder to any fan who might have forgotten you’re playing in their city tonight that the show is going to start soon. You will definitely want to post several reminders for every show on social media, but in order to keep things fresh and interesting, you’ll want to mix it up. A picture speaks louder than words…though don’t feel too bad about mentioning in the caption where you’re headed to and what time you go on.

2. The Sign

Everybody wants to see their name up in lights, right? Many people never get to realize this dream, so allow them to live vicariously through you. Okay, okay, this might not be Madison Square Garden just yet, but seeing your name or your band’s moniker posted outside a concert hall is still kind of cool. When you arrive at the venue, take a quick shot of the sign (or signs) advertising which acts are slated to perform and post away.

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3. An Empty Room

We’ve all see photos of empty stages, vacant rooms before they’re filled, and the solo, standalone microphone. It’s been done before, but it’s still a cool shot. Put your own spin on showing the world what it’s like to arrive at the venue before everyone else. This will really help get people excited for the performance to come.

4. The Set Times

This post isn’t necessarily the most fun, but of the ten ideas listed, it’s the most practical. The set times are important for fans to know because a lot of them only want to show up to see one specific band—let’s hope it’s yours. Sharing what time everybody goes on and leaves the stage is a good idea because it gives the power to the people to decide when they can arrive and when they can leave.

Sure, we would all love if everyone would make the time to see every band, but not everyone wants that, and it’s better to treat your fans like the paying customers they are and give them what they want.

5. Setting Up

It might not be the sexiest task, and most bands really hate having to lug their gear around and plug everything in, but for those not in musical groups, getting to see this is cool. Well, maybe “cool” isn’t the right word, but it’s certainly Instagram-worthy. You probably don’t want to make this your only post of the night, but it is perfectly alright to remind your fans being a musician doesn’t just take creative work, but actual physical labor as well.

6. The “Green Room”

Now this is where it starts to get actually cool. Most venues have a backstage area where the artists can hang out and get ready to perform, and while it might not actually be a “green room” per se, let’s just call it that for now and assume you’re already a Rock Star.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in that space—practicing, writing new material, or trashing the place (but please don’t do that)—it’s the fact that you’re there at all that makes for a neat photo. Also, not many people ever get to see what life backstage is like, so this insider’s view of the life of a musician is always neat to check out, no matter how far from glamorous the reality may be.

Not many people ever get to see what life backstage is like, so this insider’s view of the life of a musician is always neat to check out, no matter how far from glamorous the reality may be.

7. Rehearsing

Again, this probably isn’t your favorite thing to do as a professional musician, but you can still make the best of the situation (and of something you have to do anyways) and show everyone what is going on. Keep in mind social media doesn’t need to always be something of great importance, and in fact, it often is not.

So much of what people share via their social channels is only barely interesting, and possibly only to those who know them well. The people who follow you are your fans, and they want to see everything and anything you’re doing. Remember just because it’s not terribly interesting to you, doesn’t mean it’s not something others don’t want to see.

8. Openers And Closers

Your Instagram is meant to help promote your band and your music, but it doesn’t have to be about you and only you 24/7. Talking about just yourself can come off as pretty lame because nobody likes selfishness. Whether you’re the first band on or the closing set, snap some photos or video of the other musicians that take to the stage.

Show your followers the other awesome acts playing with you, as there is sure to be something that strikes your fancy. Don’t feel pressure to do this with every show, and absolutely don’t promote any band whose music you don’t actually care for, as that would be disingenuous. Stick to what you like, and the content will come naturally.

Social media is serious business for anybody who is trying to sell themselves for a living, and while your music definitely comes first, you better believe that at the end of the day, you are a brand, and social channels are how the masses see.

9. Fans Lining Up

Okay, you might not have lines going down and around the block at this point in your career, but if you have even a few people waiting to get into the venue, it’s a fantastic opportunity to have some fun and get an awesome Instagram photo. Head outside before the doors open (or even afterward, as there might still be some people hanging out before heading inside) and chat people up.

If they don’t know you, introduce yourself as one of the bands playing. If they are already familiar with who you are, ask for a picture. They’ll appreciate you paying them the attention either way, and you can show the world that while your career may still be growing, you already have a fanbase that’s willing to queue and wait for you—even if you don’t really.

10. Something Silly

Social media is serious business for anybody who is trying to sell themselves for a living, and while your music definitely comes first, you better believe that at the end of the day, you are a brand, and social channels are how the masses see you these days.

While you should take placing content seriously, also keep in mind if it’s not fun, nobody is going to want to follow you. Your posts should, for the most part, be lighthearted and entertaining, and people should look forward to seeing your name pop up in their feeds.

Go crazy at the show and post anything funny, silly, and that makes people around the world want to head to your next performance. Pose with fans, do something crazy with your bandmates, take a shot, make a silly face…it doesn’t really matter what this is, and don’t overthink it.

Just have fun and remind everyone while you’re a serious musician crafting memorable, important art, you’re also a fun human being with a personality. You’re relatable, and someone everyone would love to know.

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