So you want brands to notice you on Instagram, but you're unsure how to draw attention in a heavily saturated market and stand out among your peers? Here are some tips and tricks from the other side. Some of them you may know, some you may need to be reminded of, and some might be entirely new.
Who are we to be doling out advice on this subject, you may ask? We are Steven and Stephanie Bradley, married musicians who met at the NAMM show and own 9/9 Digital/Social Media; a digital marketing agency that has worked with a number of artists, labels and brands.
Those we've worked with include Steve Vai, Fractal Audio, Gator Cases, ESP Guitars, Dreamcatcher Events (Vai Academy, John Petrucci’s Guitar Universe, Paul Gilbert’s Great Guitar Escape) and Steve Wariner, to name just a few of our more guitar-centric clients.
We are also both musicians who have used social media to grow our own presences online, so we have experience from both sides of the spectrum.
The first thing to make sure you're doing is tagging the brands you use in your content in the photo/video itself, as well as in the caption of your posts.
If you’re sharing a story, then make sure to tag the brand and leave that tag visible – don’t hide it.
When creating content for sharing, perhaps the most important thing to think about is lighting. If you don’t already have a soft box or light of some sort, get a cheap ring light. This will be the biggest game changer and isn’t a large expense.
Using a ring light will immediately make your photos and videos more professional and appealing. Brands are much more likely to share something well lit, and you can get a ring light for as little as $25. Erligpowht's 10-inch Ring Light is an affordable option, available from Amazon for $28.
Clean up your space
This one sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised. We want the focus to be you and the product, not your funny poster and half-finished lunch from last week. Anything in the background takes focus away from the product you're actually featuring, and from you as well.
Taking a few minutes to make your space more aesthetically pleasing will go a long way for all of the content you post, whether or not it’s being shared by a brand.
Show the product!
It sounds obvious, but sometimes players don’t show the gear they're using and still tag the company. Make sure your gear is visible if you want a brand to share your content.
And on that note, don’t have a competitor's product in the shot. Why would a brand share that? If you're tagging a guitar company whose gear you are using in the post, don’t have 17 guitars from competing manufacturers clearly on display behind you.
Make sure your audio quality is good. Film an extra take if you know you can do better, and make sure the audio comes across as clearly as possible.
This doesn’t mean you need to use high-end gear in a high-end studio, but just make sure your tone sounds great on video so brands will think it represents them well.
Get the text right
The text you add to your stories/posts matters. Don’t curse or say anything offensive if you’re looking to get a brand’s attention.
Share a caption that mentions all of the reasons you love the gear, where you’ve used it, how long you’ve been a fan of the brand – anything to make it more personal.
Be genuine and have the right attitude
Don’t just use things because you want to be shared or think you’ll get free gear. Use gear that you love and tag those brands – you never know what sort of relationship this could lead to. In this day and age, many endorsements happen via social media.
And finally, never write to anyone demanding anything. Writing to a company to express your anger that they share other artists’ content and not yours is a surefire way to get you on any brand’s radar in the worst way.
Try to remember you're writing to a human on the other side of that message. Instead, write a quick note to say how much you love the brand, offer to send an asset, or ask kindly how you can be featured on their page. If a brand you love shares your content, drop them a message to say hi and ask if there's any specific content they are looking to feature.
Hopefully these tips, which cover the importance of communication, good tagging etiquette, professional aesthetics and audio quality, help you in your quest to connect with some of the guitar companies you love.