Using Stories to Tell Your Story

Have you been telling Stories on Facebook and Instagram? No, I don’t mean, telling your story. Every time you communicate something about yourself and your artwork on social media, you’re sharing more of the story of who you are as an artist. I want to know if you’ve been using the Stories feature that showed up on Instagram in August of 2016 and then appeared on Facebook and other apps in March of 2017. If not, maybe it’s time to consider adding Stories to your chest of social media marketing tools. They’re yet another fantastic way to connect with the people who love your work.

Before I explain why, let me go on a little tangent to provide a simple explanation of Stories for those of you who haven’t interacted with them yet. In Facebook and in Instagram, Stories are usually located at the top of your screen, either above your news feed on your mobile phone or on the upper right of your window if you’re on your computer. Although it’s possible to make a Story with a single image, that’s not really the best use of the feature. A great Story is either a slideshow of still images and or a video snippet collection. What’s really interesting about Stories is that, once posted, they’re only available to your followers for 24 hours. The short shelf-life of this content creates a sense of urgency, encouraging your followers to click on your Story before they miss it.

Whether you’re a fan of Stories or not, their popularity is definitely on the rise. In fact, recent reports have shown a nearly 900% increase in the creation and consumption of Stories on Facebook. And this feature is even more popular on Instagram, where some 250 million people interact with Stories every day. Some social media marketing experts are even predicting that Stories will soon—as in sometime this year—become more common than traditional posts.

Given that kind of growth and attention, I think it’s time we all started thinking about ways to use the Story feature on Instagram and Facebook. For one thing, Stories tend to attract more attention because they show up right at the top of your followers’ screen so they’re hard to miss. Additionally, Facebook’s current algorithms show your posts to only a small percentage of your followers, but your Stories (at least for now) will go to all of your followers, so you’re reaching more people with one post. And finally, as with other types of posts, Stories allow you to use hashtags and geotags, making it easier for people who aren’t your followers (yet!) to find you.

So, let’s brainstorm. What are some ways you could combine your photos and videos into Stories to post on social media? Of course, you could use this feature to post images from your artist’s life, which is a great way to take art enthusiasts behind the scenes where they can see the captivating magic of art-making. Stories can also be tied to specific messages you want to share. For example, you could make a Story to invite people to your new exhibition with video clips that give them a sneak-peek of the show. You could announce a workshop you’re teaching with a mini-demo of a lesson you’ll be covering. Or you could show off a commission you’ve just completed by showing them highlights of the unveiling. With this in mind, it also makes sense to finish each Story with a call-to-action. Tell viewers what you’d like them to do next after viewing the Story, as in attend your opening or sign up for your workshop, even something as simple as visit your website.

If this sounds like it might be beyond your technology skills, don’t worry. Keep in mind that Stories are supposed to have a raw, spontaneous feeling about them, so your followers will not be expecting a polished, professional look. It’s perfectly okay to be real and authentic and to show off your personality in a Story. Just don’t get too crazy with special effects (filters, stickers, and writing) which you have the option of adding to your Stories.

Although people can respond to Stories, the short-lived nature of this feature doesn’t really lend itself well to nurturing the same kind of interaction you’ll get with traditional, static posts. That’s why I don’t recommend using them as your sole form of social media posting. Mix it up a little and use both to grab your followers’ attention in fresh and exciting ways.

How Can I Help You?

Are you one of the many artists I’ve met who avoid using social media because it just seems like it’s all too much? I can help! One of the services I offer through Connect Artist Marketing is to manage your social media in collaboration with you. My monthly fees are based on the number of times you’d like me to engage each week. Then again, maybe you want to get more involved in social media, and you just need some one-on-one coaching to learn how. I’m happy to work with you on developing your skills and strategy. Let’s connect!

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