How to be Successful Using Instagram

The music industry has changed. The music store is a dying breed as digital music and now streaming options such as Spotify, Pandora,, Soundcloud and others have allowed people to listen more music without ever having to step foot in a record store.

While the access to more music is great, I really miss being able to spend an hour or so walking up and down the isles flipping through bins of CDs. There was some something special about buying a CD of a band you may have never heard of and getting in the car and listening to it for the first time. I judged quite a few bands just by the cover of their albums and ended up finding some of my favorite bands that way.

But while music stores are becoming more and more scarce, effective social media use can help a business still drive people away from their computers and into their physical store or to their website. A great example this is the local Durham, NC record store Bull City Records. Chaz Martenstein, the owner, does an amazing job driving sales via Instagram. Chaz will post pictures of new releases, bands he likes and other stock throughout the week and also provide a bit of commentary about the artist and the album. He also allows people to order just by adding a comment within the Instagram comment section. Many times, if the artwork of the album looks good, I’ll be intrigued and go checkout the band on Soundcloud or Spotify. Many times I’ll head into the store and pick up the album or order it online from him.

The new PRINZHORN DANCE SCHOOL LP is out!! Limited, wine color vinyl in stock. Calculated, minimal post-punk with sharp melodies.

A photo posted by Chaz Martenstein (@bullcityrecords) on

Right behind those is a short stack of limited edition MAC MCCAUGHAN LPs!

A photo posted by Chaz Martenstein (@bullcityrecords) on

A few Instagram tips for marketers

Provide value. Don’t just push out images and expect to get followers or engagement. Bull City Records does an excellent job at providing music fans with a way to find new music. Another way is to possibly provide a screenshot of one of your apps least used, but valuable features.

Have a goal. Bull City Records has a goal of driving sales. Before you start using Instagram you need to determine yours. Is it to push sales, drive awareness or to provide insight into company culture. If your goal is “to have use Instagram because everybody else is” don’t bother using it. Be sure to track metrics to see if your use is effective.

Be active. Don’t just push out images without providing responses to customers. Customers will sometimes ask for help with your product or have a complaint about your store in an Instagram post. Be sure to respond to each complaint or question.