Instagram Stories is a relatively new way to post on Instagram.
On your home screen, you’ll find the Stories of people you follow located in the bubbles along the top of the screen:
So what exactly are they?
Stories are a way to share content on Instagram for 24 hours. After that, your Story decays (it’s deleted).
You can post still images or video to your Story, as well as add text and graphics.
Here is how they are posted:
Why are they important?
Numerous reasons. I actually dedicated an entire podcast episode to sharing my top 10 reasons I believe artists need to be using Instagram Stories.
The full 16-minute episode is available now to stream, but let me give you a few of the highlights:
Instagram is now at 700 million monthly users and 400 million daily users – more than half of which are interacting with Stories daily.
In other words, it’s where the party is right now and it’s where you want to be.
The 2017 Hiscox Online Art Trade Report recently revealed Instagram has overtaken Facebook as the number one platform on the internet to find buyers for your art…and we agree.
Facebook is still great, but Insta is now on top.
If you can master the art of storytelling on this platform, you are setting your art business up to succeed.
From building an audience of new fans, to networking, to selling your work, there’s no better place to get it done right now than Instagram.
Which brings me back to Stories.
The reason that they are so important to add to your strategy (in addition to posting to your Instagram timeline regularly) is that they are a free trip to the top of your followers’ Instagram feeds.
That’s right, I said FREE.
Run a Google search and you’ll likely see a few search result Ads. Which Ad space do you think is the most expensive? The top one, right?
It’s above the fold, it’s top of mind, everybody sees it.
With Stories, you can catapult your art to that same spot for free.
Needless to say, this is extremely valuable screen real estate, and we want you to make the absolute most of it.
That means a bit of hard work and practice to find out what works, what you enjoy doing, and what your audience likes to see. The specifics will be up to you, but for our part, we’ll provide you with a creative sandbox of ideas to draw from.
Below you’ll find a round-up of our favorite examples of real Instagram Stories other artists are posting. Watch them, follow the artists you like, and feel free to pull inspiration from them for your own storytelling on Instagram.
Invite your audience to participate in your work with this clever use of Stories. Note that @packtography is also taking advantage of Instagram Live to livestream a photo-editing session using a piece chosen by his audience. What a powerful way to connect with your fans.
Invite your followers to join you on a photoshoot! In this example, @kpunkka has some stunning views to share, but your fans will be interested in wherever you are. Next time you’re on set, snap a few quick shots – it’s a great way to keep your Story stocked with interesting imagery.
@eric_treece documents his stormy photo shoot in this example.
Use this method to tease new content or to offer professional production tips to your followers.
Also, don’t be afraid to reveal a little bit of your personality! The key to turning your followers into true fans is allowing them into your world – showing them the person behind the camera.
We don’t need to tell you just how often photographers are asked: “What kind of camera do you use?” “What lenses do you use?”
Cut to the chase like @danrubin is doing in this example and show your followers the equipment you’re shooting with.
Dan also takes it one step further by tagging the accounts of the companies that make his equipment for easy reference.
We won’t promise you won’t be asked about what’s in your camera bag ever again, but this is a great first step to proactively give your followers information they want.
Take @chrisburkard, who in this example is using his Story to announce that he will be part of the “Under An Arctic Sky 2017 Tour.”
He lists the cities and dates the event will be held, and he directs his audience to ticketing information.
If you have a gallery show or any event your photography will be featured in, consider promoting that event on Instagram.
Just remember, no one likes an Ad – so make it engaging!
Pro-Tip: Notice the “See More” on the bottom of his photo. This feature is currently available for verified accounts or accounts that have a huge following. The feature allow the user to include direct links in their Stories.
Give your followers a glimpse into your practice and have them explore the passage of time in hyperdrive mode. @worldofartists shows a perfect example of this.
Tease your followers a little by showing them a close up preview of one of your latest pieces! @thinkspace_art pairs this technique with information about their upcoming show.
@elliepritts utilizes Instagram stories to give her followers a free digital photo. She executes this by including instructions on how to obtain this photo. People like free stuff, so give your followers free resources like this, or you can even utilize IG Stories to announce that you have free resources available elsewhere.
Show your followers your creative space, just like this example from @samanthakaplanart. The messier it is, the more creative it is right?
Do you have new products in your art prints store? If so, let your followers know they can purchase new pieces! Illustrator, @sowiesowies does this very effectively by adding limited quantity and entertaining language.
We’re going to continue bringing our best Instagram strategy tips and hacks to you on the podcast as well as here on the Blog.
For the latest and greatest from both outlets, just subscribe to our mailing list – we’ll keep you up to date with our best content.