Marketing for musicians: From 7,000 to over 200,000 Followers in just a few months - AMISTAT

How musicians can make Instagram work for them

Interview with AMISTAT - their rapid success on Instagram

Malina - 14.09.2023

AMISTAT comprised of twin brothers Jan and Josef, aren't just twins; they're also a well-coordinated musical duo. Their unique ability lies in creating harmonious melodies that captivate listeners and transport them into a world of emotions. They've been part of SofaConcerts since 2017, serving as a perfect example of the incredible talents you can find on the platform. We're delighted to have been part of Amistat's journey for years. Today, they're filling large venues, selling out tours, and experiencing incredible growth on their self-managed social media channels.

Josef, one half of Amistat, has shared their path to success and how Instagram has played a significant role in advancing their musical career.

SofaConcerts: Hi Josef, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. We know you're quite busy, so let's dive right in. You and your brother are now filling large venues – how did this come about, and did Instagram play a significant role?

Josef: Absolutely! We're actually on our way to the studio right now, but we're always happy to chat with you. It's a cool initiative you have going on. Our musical journey began on the streets of Australia, where we learned a lot. A few years ago, we moved back to Germany and started playing many SofaConcerts gigs with you. But shortly after that, the pandemic hit. We couldn't perform live, so we turned to social media as the only way to connect with our fans and share our music.

A game-changer for us was our Carpool Covers. It all started when we were on our way to a concert and thought, "Hey, let's play a cover in the car and upload it." I think it was just a brilliant yet simple idea at the time, and we had nothing to lose – and it's been working incredibly well ever since. We engaged our followers by asking them what song they'd like to hear next. Some of carpool videos as well as others went viral [Editor's Note: for example Instagram Reel - 1.2 million views], and we consistently gained new followers. This also led to a significant increase in ticket sales, larger concert venues, and even arenas. It's been a rapid growth over the past two years.

SofaConcerts: What's your strategy on Instagram?

Josef: Jan mainly handles everything related to social media for us and has gained extensive knowledge over the years by trying a lot, gaining experience, and figuring out what works and what doesn't – learning by doing is the key here.

We've always kept in mind a TED Talk on social media that resonated with us: "Sex sells, stories tell." So instead of just posting facts, we've tried to tell a story. It starts with ourselves because pure facts usually aren't that interesting. The most important thing for the posts we make is to think, "What story can we tell?" A story that isn't boring but makes the post as interesting and personal as possible.

At the end of the day, people who follow you or are fans want to know a bit about you. So, I believe it's essential to share a bit of yourself.

We've had this strategy for Instagram from the beginning, but we've intensified our focus on social media, especially since the Carpool Covers, and of course, targeting.

SofaConcerts: You mentioned targeting – have you run ads?

Josef: Yes, we've started running targeted ads, especially for concerts we have coming up or events we know are happening in two or three months. We've built our target audiences over the past three years. It works well for us, and we've noticed that regularly running ads really helps us reach more people and boost ticket sales.

SofaConcerts: Do you have someone working on Instagram with you?

Josef: Actually, we still do everything ourselves. In December of last year, we signed with a label, so now we have a social media team as well. They provide tips and advice or take over tasks when we don't have the time, like running more ads to promote a YouTube video or other content.

But most of it is still handled by Jan. He's acquired so much knowledge over the years and knows the most about it. I'd say he's a real guru (laughs). Content creation is something no one else can do for us.

SofaConcerts: Perhaps you can share some of Jan's knowledge – what other tips do you have, besides targeting and storytelling, for growing on Instagram?

Josef: First, I'd say it's important to pay attention to the basic metrics on Instagram that can positively influence the algorithm. This includes things like the best times to post and a strategy like posting a story first and then a regular post to increase reach. Sometimes, it's the little things that make a big difference.

Then it's essential to consider the type of content you share, depending on your niche or how you want to build your brand. For us, it's crucial not to post meaningless content just for the sake of posting. We've noticed that over time, people lose interest if you, for example, post eight stories about making risotto or filming nature.

So, you should have a plan for what you want to post each week and keep that content high-quality. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to film with a high-end camera; sometimes, a smartphone is enough. But overall, a simple video with good quality that tells a story within itself works well – a post with a purpose. Especially when it comes to music, it should be kept professional yet with a personal touch.

One last tip is to maintain openness and curiosity. We met a woman at an event by chance a week ago, and she works at a social media agency. We struck up a conversation and exchanged ideas. It's in moments like these that you realize there are things you can change and experiment with. We've been following the same strategy for a while now, and we've noticed a decline in reach. So, right now, we're in the process of making one or two changes to see if it positively affects our reach. In the field of social media, you always have to keep evolving and stay on top of things. And again, the keyword here is "try things out."

SofaConcerts: And which content currently generates the most engagement?

Josef: I have to say, the Carpool videos, where we're in the car making music, still work the best because it's something people don't see much, making it intriguing new content. Actually, this year, these videos were partly due to the fact that we were just on the road a lot, tired, and didn't have much time to produce something else.

In general, videos always perform well for us. When we're in nature or at home playing a cover or an original song for a short video [Editor's Note: for example Instagram Reel 951,000 views], I believe that 20 or 30-second video content of music, whether originals or covers, currently works best on Instagram. In contrast, photos don't perform as well anymore because it's now more about real and short videos to engage people.

SofaConcerts: You mentioned that you currently have limited time for content creation, but what kind of content piece would you create if you had unlimited time and could do whatever you wanted?

Josef: Honestly, our goal is to move away from social media more and more, to delegate that and simply live in the moment. Constantly posting, planning, and creating content makes you miss the essence of life, which, for us, is simply being in the here and now. So, if I had unlimited time, I wouldn't do social media at all.

I might occasionally send content, for example, to our label, but I would step back more and more. Right now, we're in a phase of our career where it's still crucial to build and maintain a presence. But eventually, the goal is for it to become self-sustaining, and we're well-represented on other platforms, so we don't have to constantly bombard social media but can instead have time to write music and live in the moment.

SofaConcerts: In closing, what will you be sharing in the future?

Josef: Until the end of the year, we'll be in the studio every month recording new songs for our EP, which will be released in March. In November, we're going on tour again in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. We'll have a break until the end of March, and in April, we'll embark on a major European tour to promote the new EP. After that, we'll have about 1.5 years of concert downtime, during which we'll focus on maybe writing an album, but also just doing nothing and having time for music. That's something that has been a bit neglected in the last two years. The focus should be on writing music and collaborating with other artists. We're looking forward to having time for family and friends, for ourselves, and the opportunity to work on ourselves and progress personally. In recent years, the focus has been on music, but also on organization, business, on a larger team, and how to cope with all the bigger changes. The focus should be back on ourselves and simply having time because time is scarce right now.

SofaConcerts: We're excited to see everything that's coming your way! Thank you for the interview – we believe that many artists can take valuable tips from this.

This is an article our blog series Connect: Sharing knowledge, finding inspiration. As a large SofaConcerts community, we can all learn from each other by sharing our knowledge, exchanging stories, and delving into challenges and successes. This provides an opportunity to gather valuable insights and inspiration. We believe in the collective power of our artists and that this will contribute to making the community even stronger and more inspiring.

You can find more inspiration here:

We are happy to have accompanied AMISTAT on their way for such a long time and to have created great cooperations together.