Stories in social media is a relatively new feature and one that has skyrocketed in popularity with users. Instagram reported Stories is now used by 500 million users. WOW! If your gallery is on Instagram and Facebook, the Stories feature is an essential place for your gallery’s dialogue with followers.
Instagram and Snapchat’s tremendous success with the feature is motivating other platforms to develop their own. LinkedIn is even said to be working on a similar feature. Twitter has Moments as their answer to Stories. Facebook has made Stories a more significant part of the platform’s experience for users. Predictions for 2020 include Stories and video will be the predominate content type on social media, outpacing images and text posts.
Given Facebook’s announcement, this feature will soon play a significant role in how social media evolves in the future. This is because Stories are a powerful visual micro-content, intended to be viewed on the fly with a mobile device. Their ephemeral quality encourages businesses creating Stories to be more personable and creative, which boosts interest from followers.
What does this mean for you?
If your art gallery is not experimenting with creating Stories on your Instagram and Facebook pages, it’s time to give this feature a place in your social media marketing strategy. Here I want to provide some recommendations for creating attention-grabbing stories and how you can use them to improve engagement with your gallery.
Tips for Creating Great Social Media Gallery Stories
If you are new to Stories, try to share at least one story weekly on Instagram and Facebook. Integrating video, text, and images into a single Story makes a more exciting experience for viewers and enables you to be more creative. Studies show that Stories do not need to be professionally filmed and edited, so don’t put pressure on yourself to invest in expensive software or to get overly fancy with the creative. Raw, authentic, simple Stories perform well and live videos does the best.
I recommend you plan Story-specific content. Remember this tool is for telling a short story about your artists, gallery, and shows, not just a string of images that may be loosely related. Create Stories with a beginning, middle, and end. Doing this helps increase interest in what you’re saying and makes followers more likely to view the entire story and engage. That is your goal with this strategy.
Your story should begin by setting expectations for what the story is about and why it is of interest to the viewer. The middle should hold their attention by being educational, inspiring, or entertaining. In the end, be clear about what you want viewers to do next. That might be to visit an exhibition page on your website, RSVP for an event, DM you with questions, respond to a question you ask them, etc.
Experiment creating Stories with a variety of messages and formats. Keep them fresh for your viewers. Stories are fast and easy to build. Explore different app tools and effects that can be used to make your Stories more dynamic and eye-catching. Have fun with it. While there is a lot you can do visually, don’t go so crazy that you stray from your core brand. It’s best to develop a specific look and feel to your Stories that reflects and reinforces your gallery’s brand, while also showing your personality.
If you include video, shoot it vertically as that’s how people watch them on their phones.
For your gallery’s core messages that you want to stick around longer than 24 hours, use the Instagram Stories Highlight feature. You can do this to promote your gallery’s mission and values, a current exhibit, gallery services, etc. For these Stories, you can take more time to plan and create.
How to Improve Engagement with Stories
Engagement is critical for anything you do on social media, but it can be the most difficult to generate. An active following is significant because the social media algorithms measure engagement to determine what posts get seen in followers’ newsfeeds via the coveted organic reach. Instagram has the highest user engagement rates among all the social platforms. The more people engage with your gallery’s posts, the more likely they are to see future posts.
As stories are now being viewed more often by users, they are an excellent mechanism for engagement. Here are a few of my favorites ways to boost activity.
- Add a graphic prompt to tap to see more of your story such as an arrow emoji or text overlay “tap for more.” Why do this when the story will automatically move forward after 15 seconds? Adding the prompt encourages your viewers to be more active and engaged with your Story. It also helps pique their curiosity, and perhaps most importantly, it encourages them to tap swipe which exits them from your Story. No one wants that.
- Use the Instagram question sticker to ask your followers questions or encourage followers to ask you a question. This could be fun to do with artists or technical experts, such as with your gallery installer. Your story introduces a theme, for example, art insurance or collection maintenance, and the question sticker ends the story with a call to action and improves engagement.
- Simply posting stories is going to drive more engagement because both Instagram and Facebook show them at the top of a viewer’s feed. This strengthens the chance that your Story will receive organic exposure over your regular posts and events. That alone should get you inspired.
To the Point
The Story feature is a very hot topic in the social media world right now. There is even discussion about Stories potentially replacing the newsfeed altogether one day, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Facebook is working on developing private sharing options for its Stories tools and will continue to make changes to how Stories is used on the platform. Instagram is working on adding new commerce and shopping features.
As we have seen with other evolutions of social media platforms, when Facebook puts time and money into a particular function, you can bet they will create an incentive for users to adopt those features. Now is the time to experiment and incorporate Stories into your gallery’s social media marketing.
Does your art gallery use Stories in social media? Share what types of Stories work best for your gallery.