In the new issue of Music Week, Instagram’s head of music partnerships Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood took time out of her busy schedule for an in-depth talk to fill us in on how the social media platform is revolutionising how artists interact with fans — and helping them boost revenues. In particular, she pointed to some key artists who have been using the platform a little differently to maximum effect.
“Stormzy has gone Live a lot on Instagram, thanking fans for making his album No.1.,” said Wirtzer-Seawood. “On the day he was counting down to being announced as No.1, his account crossed the one million mark, and he became the most followed grime act in the world. He’s also used Instagram to thank artists that have supported him; he’s reposted content from Coldplay’s account, Katy Perry shouted him out on her Story. The way he uses Instagram to maintain the momentum he’s had from his record has been huge and really important. He’s using that direct connection without it feeling like he’s constantly promoting and marketing something to his fans.”
Drawing attention to the variety of ways Instagram can be used, Wirtzer-Seawood also singled out some other key acts who are making most of the platform in 2017.
“Someone like The Weeknd also uses it really well,” continued Wirtzer-Seawood. “When he’s on tour he shares these super polished photos but also videos of him singing in a hotel room or of his friends backstage. Then there are people like Ellie Goulding who, even when she’s not working a record, is active. She’s connecting with fans, she posts really fun workout content and things that she just does every day, but she’s maintaining that connection, which I guarantee you will just grow and grow until her next record comes out. Then, when it does come out, she’ll have more people to plug into.”
Central to these acts’ success on Instagram, insists Wirtzer-Seawood, is the direct nature of the interaction between fan and artist – rather than it being filtered through management, label or PR representatives.
“I believe there are some general tips that we can share that can really impact the way new artists use the platform,” concluded Wirtzer-Seawood. "I often talk about best practices, such as authenticity, and why it’s so important to post content that is actually coming from you. Music fans and social media users these days are very smart and they can tell when content is being posted by somebody else.”