010: Top 10 Reasons Artists Need to Be Using Instagram Stories
Are you using Instagram Stories yet? Here's 10 reasons why they are a powerful, essential new tool for artists looking to build an audience.
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Hey guys, welcome, Art Marketing Podcast, Patrick here. I want to start with a story.
So, a best friend of mine from college is a photographer and he has an interesting niche, which is jewelry. He basically lives in New York and he shoots really high end stones and watches all day. He came to me six months ago and wanted to launch a new jewelry site and asked me what to do in terms of marketing to help him out, so I gave him a rough plan to execute on.
This was, say, six months ago. Circumstances popped up in his life and his launch plan got delayed by, like, got delayed by six months or so, yeah, right about six months.
So he calls me again six months later, this was just a few days ago, and I sort of reviewed what I did and I realized that the change in my recommendations, even just six months later, on what he should be doing and focusing on, is actually kind of quite significant and it made me think, you know when you're around your kid or, say, your dog or, say if you're into plants or your garden, all day every day and it's growth over let's just say six months is just completely normal to you. It's an incremental amount of growth, whether it's the kid, the dog or the garden.
Each day, each day, each day. But then somebody comes over who hasn't been to your house in six months and it's like, "Whoa. Whoa. You have grown." You know, "The dog got so big.", "Your garden's so come to life." And it really ... And I think it just really hit me how quickly things change in today's marketing landscape and how fast it's moving, and one of the ways I love to rationalize it in terms of marketing is I always go back to my fishing analogy.
If you've heard this podcast for any length of time, you've heard me mention this analogy and essentially it's, you know, you have to go where the fish are, where the attention is, where the fish are biting. That's marketing today and it always has been and it always will be. You go where the fish are. So the game is about how quickly you can get to that new spot before the competition comes in and it gets fished out, because if we know anything, it's that marketers ruin everything.
That's just the nature of the game. So how quickly you, as a marketer, can spot where the fish are going to be and get there and test your vision is how quickly you can win and take advantage and, you know, I think people hear that and they panic like, "I was just getting the handle on Facebook and now we're talking about Instagram."
Don't panic. Not everything changes, mind you. To stay on the analogy, you still have your boat, your fishing rods, and your reels, your live bait, well, your gaff. You've got all that stuff, i.e. your product and the rest of your creativity and your marketing know how. You just move your boat to where the fish are, to where you're catching and it's working for you.
So I love that analogy and I think as we frame up the subject of today's podcast, which is going to be Instagram, and specifically Instagram Stories, the big why there is it's just simply where the fish are and it's a brand new spot, so in addition to that, I pay attention to the podcast stats and clearly the last episode was on Instagram and it just had a tremendous spike in the stats so I know this is a subject matter that we need to delve into in more detail, and, you know, on a personal note, I would say that the stats and the feelings aside, I'm still an extremely strong proponent of Facebook and how it important it is to be there, but it is hard to deny that, for sure, Instagram is either catching up to Facebook or, what most would argue, surpassing Facebook in it's reach and effectiveness.
As a number two, which I would argue is Facebook, still plenty powerful and plenty effective so I argue a hundred percent that you need to be on both. But today's topic de jeur is going to be Instagram and what we're going to be talking about are what's called Instagram Stories.So I am going to say story, in air quotes, with my fingers up, so what is a story?
In simple layman's terms, it's a photo/video slideshow, gifs too, which are basically animated little photos, that you can create on Instagram. It appears at the very top of the apps feed, this part's important, I'll get into that later, and it decays in a 24 hour period of time, meaning you create this show, you upload it, 24 hours later, it is gone from the interwebs, it is gone to the digital trash heap. If that sounds like Japanese to you, and you don't speak Japanese, then either hit theartmarketingpodcast.com for this episode, I'll have some screenshots, or google Instagram stories, that will give you some quick context.
I think in order to even cover this topic, the history of what an Instagram story is is too doggone good not to go over, so let me go over it quickly and give you my version, the abridged version. There's another app, popular with millennials, called Snapchat and it started blowing up.
It's essentially another photo/video sharing app, for those that don't know. Started out with millennials and it was just growing like a weed and just marching it's age bracket up, up, up, off the charts and just like he did, so Snapchat's on this crazy growth, and just like he did with Instagram, Zucks, CEO and founder of Facebook, saw that Snapchat had all the attention, it's where the fish were, and so he came to the trade wall and tried to buy them. The offer was rumored to be around $3 billion at the time.
Snapchat guys essentially said no, they felt like they had an edge, they didn't need to sell. Zucks said, "Okay, we're going to have to crush them then." Told his team, "Hey team, the Snapchat guys said no, go crush them." So what did his team do? His team figured out how.In this case, stole their best feature and copied it [inaudible 00:05:20] verbatim. The feature was, and is, Instagram Stories. I believe Snapchat calls them stories too, and, you know what's crazy about this is that, so Instagram copies this feature pretty much verbatim, and this was in August 2016, I believe, when they released Stories and since then Snapchat's gone public, so we've learned that Snapchat's growth rate has declined 82% since the loss of Instagram Stories, so that's the craziest thing in all of this. Zuckerberg Facebook went and stole this feature, added it to Instagram, completely took the wind out of Snapchat's crazy, out of control growth, so bottom line of all this, and by the way, Snapchat's now public and they have a market cap of 24.87 billion, so I'm not sure who really actually won in this scenario, but the bottom line is, Snapchat was on the rise, Facebook stole their best feature and copied it and now Insta looks to reign supreme. We'll see where the whole thing shakes out.
So, why Stories, right?
And first, if you've made it to this part of the podcast and still have not played with the Stories feature, by which I mean viewed a few of them, you know, gotten a taste, experimented on your phone or your tablet or whatever, I recommend you stop the tape, go play with them for a little bit and then come back. It's a podcast, you don't get the visual aids with it, so I think you should have a taste before it goes, but if you're in the know, let's roll, let's get into it.What I figured I would do to make this fun is I'm going to give you my top 10 reasons to get into the game with Instagram Stories right now, this moment. I'll give you a listicle, if you will.
So why Stories, number 1, and, as always, let's start with the most important reason. It's where the fish are. It's where attention is right now, it's where eyeballs are.
Number 2. It gives you a free tip to the top of the fold, the VIP room, if you will. The front row seat of the Instagram experience. What do I mean by that? When you have the app on and you're looking at the very top of the app, that's where the Instagram Stories live.
So if you have any experience with Google Ad Words or if you ever google search something, hammer that thing into google, the results page comes up and the next thing you know, the top two results are ads. Guess which ones are most experience? The one at the top. Why? It gets the most attention, the most eyeballs, at least it did. Google Ad Words aren't what they used to be, that's why we're talking about Instagram. So it gets you to the top and the best thing about is by creating these Stories, it gets you to the top for free. For free. All the attention's on Instagram, this is how you get to the top for free. Yes, I advocate you do that.Number 3.
They're new, they're going to take some practice to make and, as such, they're not being utilized by most users. Back to the fishing example, this is a fishing spot that is not crowded out yet, emphasis on the yet, marketers ruin everything.
Number 4. Digital storytelling, I would say, and this is honestly one of the most fascinating and enjoyable parts of this experience to me, but digital storytelling is really going through an evolution of sorts. In this new, call it photo/video slideshow medium, I mean, it's not entirely new, right? It's been around for a while. It's borrowed from a whole bunch of other things, a slideshow going all the way back and then you would say Vine is a precursor to this type of storytelling. Vine was this app that Twitter bought and then, you know, deprecated or whatever, got rid of.
And I really believe that this medium is being invented and reinvented right before our eyes. I now see amazing ways it's been utilized almost daily and it's really almost turning into, what I feel like, a TV channel of sorts, it's just amazing, so you want to be there, you want to be experiencing this creativity, you want to be understanding it, you want to be understanding how you can story tell in this fashion.
That's number four. Number 5.
The ad product that they have is in the complete wild, wild west days. What do I mean? There are very few people even using it, let alone that have figured out a system how to dominate it. It's always evolving new features all the time. They just changed up some of the ad objectives, like this last week, more on that features part in a second.
So, I highly recommend getting into it but before you even contemplate advertising in it, you need to understand it, which, you know, start playing it.Number 6. This one's just kind of fun. They decay and disappear after 24 hours, so if you're going to screw up making one, it will be gone in 24 hours and you can delete them too, but it's not permanent, so get in there and start experimenting.Number 7.
They give you in depth analytics about who is watching them. You can then check out the users in your feed who might need to be followed up with. There's a whole other technique there, but, yep, you are able to look on a slide by slide basis and see exactly which users checked out your story and that can be really powerful. #vanity, #becarefulwithvanity.
Seriously though, the data's amazing, just don't spend too much time on it.Okay, number 8. I feel strongly that if you invest your time and energy and effort into this type of storytelling, it will pay dividends. Moreover, which I plan on showing you how to actually do, these stories, if they're good, need not decay and go away in 24 hours. They don't need to be sent to the digital graveyard, right? No way.
You worked hard on creating this thing, so they can, and should be, posted to Facebook and your website and included in email newsletter content and we'll get into more on how you do that tactically in a future episode but I've seen some people that create these things on Instagram. It's supposed to go away in 24 hours, instead, what do they do? They record them, they get them out of Instagram, again, we'll talk about how to do that, and then you have this content for your various other different vehicles, so you can get more ROI out of the creativity that you've put into this, so I think that's a great reason, that's number 8.Number 9. Let's talk about the updates, and the pace of updates is just ... I mean, it's just scary.
I want to talk about two of them and feel free to revisit my earlier comments about Zucks and the, "Let's crush Snapchat" line. You know, he's out to kill Snapchat and he wants them by the throat and it's a cut throat game, so he's going to continue to iterate and come up with the features that are going to keep every single solitary one of us on Instagram all the time which, if you're actively working it to grow your art sales, it's a good thing for you.
You want him in there doing that. So, update number one is the greatest power of Instagram stories, and this is as soon as you've played with them and understand them, is the ability to link from them. What do I mean? You've probably seen some people that have this ability and as you go through the Stories, you can put a message on ... Let's just say you've got a 40 by 60 canvas of one of your works and you can say, "Brand new work, it's called Zephyr. Link in ..." And most people would say, "Link in a bio."
With stories, you can actually link from the slide itself to the artwork. So you could be talking about your process and showing your studio, showing your newest piece and then saying, "Link to the painting in my story."Now, originally, that ability was only available to verified people, read people that Instagram has verified, which is really just celebrities of whatever kind, they're celebrities. They have huge follower counts.
But just this last week, again, the pace of updates, they've given this ability to people with high follower counts and even as low as, like, 30,000, which, I know, to most of us that still sounds like a lot, it is. We certainly don't have it at Art Storefronts. But guess who's next? Next is probably going to be to everybody and the power to be able to do that, when you can link out of it, is just absolutely amazing and we're definitely going to get more into that but it's a powerful lesson, powerful thing to be aware of.
Number 10. And this is the number two update, and it's in what they call DM, so it's your direct messages, and this is the ability to send messages back and forth on Instagram, start a conversation with people, i.e. buyers and potential buyers, and this thing just got a powerful update. So, in order to explain the true power of it in this context, in the Stories is, when you make a normal update on Instagram or a normal update on Facebook, what happens?
People can like, they can comment, they can share, right? Instagram stories works a little differently. There's no liking. What it has is it has a send message button on the slides itself and so what people do when they want to send you a comment, "Hey, that's a great piece.", "Hey I want to come attend your show.", "Hey, I love what you're doing." They send you a message.So before what would happen is, first of all, that could be it's own number in the list but, you know, who wants a list of 11 things? But before what would happen is they would not allow any links in the messages, so I would message you and I would say, let's just say your name is Steve, I'd say, "Hey, Steve. Great story, I really love the piece. Where's the link to buy it?" And then you would come back and say, "Hey, Steve.
Sorry, Instagram DMs don't allow links." And you'd say, "Oh, that sucks, just tell me where it is and I'll find it." And then I would get busy and I'd forget about it. Now you can send them a link and they can click on the link right out of the direct message and that sounds like a small thing but it actually ... Just being a marketer, I know it's a big thing, so that's reason number 10 why it's just absolutely amazing, and I think we're gong to have to devote a tremendous amount of content on this podcast and going forward just based on how powerful these stories and Instagram has become just recently.
So, let's talk about some quick take aways on this and I think I want to sum up, give you some take aways and potentially some next steps and it's ... If you're not aware of Instagram stories, I want you to check them out. I mean, take a look, start understanding what they are. I'll have, well, I'll talk about the resources in a second. The second is, if you're aware but you haven't started experimenting with the stories, I want you to start doing so. I think you'll ... You just need to get in there and start experimenting, right?
If you're rocking the stories, either keep doing it and getting better at it, well, keep doing that regardless, and/or start considering to advertise with them because, again, all the attention is there.What I can tell you right now, as of this podcast date, which is this, the year of our Lord, June 1st 2017, is that Instagram stories is just a great place to be fishing. Move your boat over, put a line in the water and get there before everyone else does.Show notes. Let's talk about those. This is a good one to check out.
Why? I'm going to include screenshots and videos of the Instagram Story process and pieces. I'm going to give you a couple of links that detail this new direct message as well as the new advertising update for those of you that want to read it, and then, bonus, I'll include a link of a post that we have buried on the podcast site that has five stories, five sample stories, that we recorded from artists that we really like and some context on why, so it should give you a good way to kick things into gear.
So, for all of that jazz, you can visit theartmarketingpodcast.com, again, that's theartmarketingpodcast.com, and then I also recommend you give Art Storefronts a follow on Instagram and see how we're using Instagram stories because we practice what we preach around here, we've started firing them off this week and learning and doing all the things that we advocate, so love for you to come take a look.
We're at art_storefronts on Instagram, so you can search Instagram for that, somebody squatting on our name so we don't have the whole name, punk. But anyway, art_storefronts and thanks for listening and good luck fishing.
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We help artists & photographers open and run their own art gallery business online.