How to use Instagram Stories: 10 ideas for artists


I love Instagram Stories, but I didn't at first.  Not because it was one more tech thing (because I love that), but because it was live video.  I was already working on getting comfortable with recording myself in my courses but I could edit those, right?  Well, IGS meet live video.  EEK!  

I have since warmed up to IGS and have embraced the "no need to be perfect" mentality.  Yep!  You will see me rocking face masks, no make-up, messy hair and I even did a story on the fly with my hair wrapped in a towel.  

I got to thinking about the stories I enjoy following and the ones that came to mind were the ones where I got to "see" the person behind the name and in a real and authentic way. 

Instagram Stories allow me to be extra creative with my social media and communicate with my followers in a really fun way just like if they were with me!

Think about them like this:

Yet to discover the brilliance of Instagram Stories, or hit a slump with ideas of what to post? Capture the attention of the 200 million people who use Instagram Stories daily with my 10 story ideas for artists. From time lapse video art, to a tour of your studio, tell the story of you and your business and get people flocking to your art. Get 10 ideas for your Instagram Stories and share your art and story today! #robenmariesmith #robenmarie #instagram #instragramstories #techsavvyartist

Instagram Stories allow you to express what your business is all about through the art of storytelling.

If you’re completely new to Instagram Stories, they are those small, circular images found both on Instagram feeds and profile pages. Simply put, they are a series of photos and videos up to 15 seconds long that you can customize with filters, stickers, lenses, text, polls and so much more!

There are a couple of different ways you can use Instagram Stories.

You can either create a story that is viewable by your followers for only 24 hours (after which it disappears) OR use the ‘Story Highlights’ feature, which allows you to save your story right onto your profile.  

Check out my Instagram profile for a taste of how I use Stories  - you’ll see that the highlight I’ve pulled out shine a light on the different areas of my creative business - blog posts, tutorials, art, and more.

Why should you use Instagram Stories?

The stats show that Instagram has overtaken Facebook as the number one platform on the internet to find buyers for your art.

Everyday, over 200 million people use Instagram Stories.

What’s more, Stories are ‘discoverable’ which means that people who don’t follow you can find you through those posts.

From building an audience of new followers, to networking, to selling your art, there’s no better place to get it done than Instagram - and Stories are where the party is right now.

Fun and easy to use, remember there is also no pressure to get it ‘right’ as your Stories will disappear after 24 hours (or sooner if you’re desperate to delete them!)

Convinced enough to give it a try but don’t know where to start?

Here are 10 ideas for your Instagram Stories:

Story idea #1 - Sneak Peek at New Artwork

This is a super easy one to get you started. Tease your followers a little by showing them a close up preview of one of your latest pieces.   

Story idea #2 - Studio Tour

Show your followers your creative space, whether you work from a desk, an office, a studio or a fully-fledged workshop. You might want to save this type of story to your profile so new followers can get a feel for your business too.  Tip: Show all stages of what your space looks like.  Don't wait until it is all cleaned up.  I show mine in all varying stages from organized to messy!

Story idea #3 - Time Lapse Art Video

Give your followers a glimpse into your practice and have them explore the passage of time by downloading Instagram’s Hyperlapse app. It will let you shoot polished time lapse videos that were previously impossible without bulky tripods and expensive equipment.  Tip: Have an iPhone?  Use the CutStory App to break your video into 15 second clips so you can upload them all in sequence for one seamless story!

Story idea #4 - Create a Poll

Trying to decide between two different paint colors? Can’t pick which project to work on next? Ask your followers which one they prefer. Polls are not only fun, but also a great way to gain valuable insight into the minds of your community. Tip: Show your personality by branching into other areas like: what to choose to eat? Which shirt to get it!

Story idea #5 - Teach an Art Tutorial

Create a short how-to story that is related to your art. For example, post about how to use a specific tool to create a look in your paintings, or even something as simple as pro tip about how you take care of your supplies can be engaging and useful for your audience.  


Story idea #6 - Announce a Flash Sale

Some people may not see your Instagram posts, but they will see your Stories (and vice versa), so in the case of a sale, contest or giveaway, you want to make sure you’re covering all of your bases with a Story.

Story idea #7 - Share Your Favorites

It's okay to show your personality in your stories.  From paint brands to lipstick, use stories to show your followers your own unique style.  

Story idea #8 - Artist Q&As

Do your followers have common questions about your art, the tools you choose and your art practice in general? Collect the most popular and answer them either in a picture or video format in your Stories.

Story idea #9 - Make Announcements

Have you just published a new blog post or added a new piece of artwork to your online shop? Let your followers know about it with a story.  This one seems so simple, but easily overlooked!

Story idea #10 - Before and After

A particularly good one for any upcyclers is a classic before and after story, illustrated with tips and tricks about how you transformed something old into something beautiful. This could work just as well for charting the stages of a painting, artwork or craft project.  Tip: Consider turning one project/story into several parts and post on a specific day of the week for a set number of weeks.  Get your followers to "want" to check back to see more!

Inspired to give Instagram Stories a go?  Which idea will you try today?

Have a blessed day!