50 Genius Ideas: Instagram Stories & Reels for Artists
Sharing your work as a creator has never been easier, but it often doesn’t feel that way! In many cases it takes the same amount of time and effort to promote your art as it does to create it in the first place.
In order to get the most out of your Instagram account, you’ll need to incorporate a healthy mix of grid posts, Stories, Reels, Live and Instagram Video.
Below I’ve included 50 Story/Reel ideas to help get you started! They were written with Instagram in mind but many can be used across other social/content channels (e.g. TikTok, YouTube, used for blog articles, etc.)
Workspace Tour: Pull back the curtain and show viewers a behind the scenes of where you create your work.
Sketchbook Tour: Simply flip through or focus on a specific design.
Progress: Show the different stages of a piece of your work (e.g. initial sketch, outline, adding colour, etc.)
The Detail: Film a closeup of you working on a detailed part of your art before zooming out to reveal the big picture.
Finished Artwork: Show it from different angles, zoom in and zoom out, explain the inspiration behind the piece.
In-Person Experience: Share your experience at a specific place or event (e.g. art gallery, exhibition, market, shop, art class, etc.) Share your favourite parts and explain why. Be sure to tag anyone relevant!
Tutorials: Pick something you’re good at and show people how to do it. Provide value while establishing credibility.
Unpacking: Unpack an art purchase, give your initial thoughts, test it, give a review, and/or compare to other similar items.
Pack an Order: Show viewers a behind the scenes of what happens after an order is placed.
Tips for Other Creators: Share your wisdom! This could be an art tip, marketing or business tip, etc.
Repost Other Artists Work: Share art from artists who inspire you, or who you like. Don’t forget to mention them so they are notified.
Art Supplies: Show the tools and materials that you use in your work. Give recommendations, tips, do comparisons, etc.
Tips for Customers: Best places to print art, how to choose a frame, how to hang up art, what makes the best gifts, how to choose art for your home, etc. Solve their problems.
Ask Me Anything: Use the ‘ask me anything’ feature to encourage your followers to ask you questions. When you reply, get creative and use a combination of photos, text and video.
Helpful Resources: If you come across a helpful article, video or website, share it with others!
Ask Questions: Questions can be related to your art, or not! It’s totally up to you. Just be sure the question is easy enough to answer to maximize engagement.
Polls: Get your followers involved while conducting your own market research! You can ask them which finished pieces they prefer (e.g. this or that), get input on a work in progress (e.g. what colour background do you prefer), receive feedback on what you should create next (e.g. dangly earrings or studs), etc.
Quizzes: You do not have to do a quiz with a specific correct answer, you can use this like a poll, but with four answer choices. E.g. how old do you think I am? What content of mine do you enjoy the most?
Progression in your Art: Show where you started and how far you’ve come.
Your Story: Tell your story. Why did you become an artist, what inspires you, what have you learned along the way, etc.
FAQs: Answer your most frequently asked questions.
Sliders: Boost engagement with this easy to use built-in tool. E.g. How happy are you that it’s the weekend? Sliders can also be used to select different options (e.g. Which design do you like best?)
Promotions: Share any upcoming promotions, free giveaways, etc.
Apps/Tools: Share your favourite programs/apps/services for your art and/or business.
Art History: Share some information about the history of your craft. Where did it originate? How did it become popular?
Memes: Share a funny and relatable meme, or better yet, make your own.
Quotes: There’s a reason quotes are so popular on social media! They can be inspirational, cheeky, or downright hilarious. Choose quotes that align with your brand.
Ask for Suggestions: Ask what people want to see from you next.
Let Them Into Your World: What are your daily/weekly tasks? What are your short and long-term goals?
Testimonials: Include reviews from customers, the more specific the better. This could be a screen shot or better yet, a video testimonial!
In the Wild: Show your art displayed wherever it’s final destination may be (e.g. in a home, office, on a person wearing it, etc.)
Provide Reviews: Share your thoughts on courses that you have taken, books that you have read, podcasts you’ve listened to, etc.
Share Past Posts: Share relevant past posts. E.g. On national donut day, I shared all of my past donut designs.
Blog Content: If you have a blog or offer other online resources or downloadables, promote them!
DTIYS or Other Art Challenges: There are no shortage of ‘Draw This in Your Style’ challenges, art prompts, or contests. Join one that speaks to you or create your own.
Where Else Can People Find You: Do you have a website, a sweet YouTube or Discord channel, Pinterest or Facebook page? Just be sure to tell people why they should check it out.
Media Features: Share media links that feature you (e.g. articles, interviews, artist profiles, videos, etc.)
Sneak Peeks: Include a teaser/inside scoop of what’s to come.
Most Popular Posts: Re-share your most popular posts, or better yet, change it up slightly to make it new.
Promote Local Brands: Spread joy and give shout outs to your favourite local businesses.
Time-Lapse: Share a sped up video of you creating your art.
Get Personal: Share personal photos or videos from your life so your followers can get to know you better.
Spread Awareness: Choose a cause close to your heart and help educate others. Include what the issue is and what viewers can do to help.
Features/Benefits: Let followers know what the features of your product/services are and how these features will benefit them. For example, I sell digital downloads of my illustrations (which is the feature). Benefits include not having to wait for delivery, there are no shipping fees, artwork is inexpensive, and it's eco-friendly.
Buyer’s Process: Explain the process of buying your product/service. What can the buyer/client expect?
Trends: Keep your eyes open for online trends and jump on them while they’re still hot.
Something Satisfying: Guaranteed there’s something you do when making your art that others would deem ‘satisfying’. E.g. Icing a cake, cleaning paint off of a dirty brush, anything to do with making pottery, etc.
Have Fun With Transitions: Create a video and experiment with transitions. Maybe your art progresses at the ‘snap’ of your fingers, maybe you’re a makeup artist and go from natural to glam in a flash, perhaps art supplies appear like magic to the beat of the music, etc.
Show Your Face: I know this isn’t for everyone but the fact of the matter is that people connect with faces! Show yours and allow your followers to connect with you.
Thought-leadership: What’s going on in your industry and what are your specific opinions on it? E.g. Should you start selling NFT’s, what are your thoughts on the latest art controversy, how has the pandemic changed the lives of artists, etc.
*BONUS* Dogs: Everyone loves dogs.
I hope this list helped get the creative juices flowing! Here are a few additional tips when creating content:
Set realistic content marketing objectives so you know what you’re working towards.
Use a combination of text, photos and videos for your posts.
Repurpose your content! E.g. If you have an amazing blog post that your followers love, repurpose that blog into something else (video series, social posts, webinar, info graphic, etc.)
Having a plan for what you want to post and when you want to post it is a game changer.
Experiment to see what works and what doesn’t.
Have fun, obviously.
If you received value from this post, I’d love your support! First, subscribe to my blog (at the top of this page) to receive content designed to help you lead a more creative life by going against the norm. Because no one wants to be boring. Second, I encourage you to share this article with your fellow artists.
Thank you and happy creating!
About the Author
My name is Michelle Alexander and I'm a Canadian artist with a sweet tooth. I started MishiMoooDesigns in 2020 and specialize in combining my love for junk food with everyday objects in unusual and often 'punny' ways. If this sounds interesting to you, I'd love for you to check out my Gallery and/or follow me on Instagram @MishiMoooDesigns.
I'm proud to be included in Feedspot's Top 30 Digital Art Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2021.