Instagram Story Tips for Artists

by Karlie Carpentier Rosin

Promoting your art on Instagram? Use their “stories” feature to take exposure and engagement to the next level.


Instagram Story Tips for Artists. Read about it at


As the social media platform that drives more art sales than any other, Instagram provides an important opportunity to capture followers interested in your artwork and keep them informed as to what you’re doing. Use that connection to build a stronger online community, drive traffic to your art website, and cultivate new collectors. Create more stories over time to stay in front of followers with announcements, new artwork and more.

A tutorial with step-by-step basics on how to make an Instagram story can be found here. But you can move beyond those basics by taking advantage of the Instagram feature that allows you to upload videos and pictures from your camera roll to your story and create content beforehand, instead of directly through the Instagram story platform. This technique allows you to plan posts in chronological order and vary content so that it appears organized and professionally made. Upload diversified media such as pictures, boomerangs, videos, time-lapses and slow-motion videos (all of which can be taken with a cell phone) to keep your audience engaged.

As a serious artist, you know that presentation is everything. It’s imperative to share quality images and write thoughtful messages that show your portfolio and abilities in the best possible light. Instagram stories is an excellent vehicle to do that.

The following tips will help you create compelling Instagram stories:

Share your inspiration and process.

Show your followers what inspires you and drives your artwork. As an artist, you have your own unique visual language and other people will want to learn what goes on in the making of your masterpieces. Share what you’re sketching or demonstrate your painting techniques through using small snippets, or even a full time-lapse video in your stories. Post work in progress to drive interest and anticipation; clients love to see “what’s new” and often get excited about the latest piece you are creating. Quite a few artists report that sales are made on Instagram before the art is even completed!

If you’re creating commissioned work, check with your client to see if you can post about it. This takes your followers with you on the journey and encourages future commissioned projects.

Make special announcements.

Are you having an open studio event? Displaying art in a gallery show? Exhibiting at an art fair or festival? Use an Instagram story to spread the news. Or, announce when those pieces “in progress” are finally for sale, and send fans to your website to close the deal, or ask them to message you about a purchase.

Show your face.

Your followers love your art already, but they will want to know who is creating it – so showing up as a “real person” helps make you memorable. It’s a perfect way for your audience to connect with you, understand you, and ultimately trust you. Try filming yourself on the camera roll first and pretend you’re chatting on FaceTime with a friend to become more comfortable. Relax and “be yourself” because that’s who your followers want to get to know. By staying true to yourself, your personality will be able to shine through.

Engage your audience.

Use story features such as polls or an Instagram emoji slider to tailor your story to your audience and encourage them to direct message you and start a conversation. Add emojis, stickers, and locations, and make your stories available to more people by using hashtags and @ mentions. Pro tip: make the hashtags really small and color pick the background to match the font color so they are invisible in order not to spam your followers (use about three per story post). Use the @ mention if there is a brand or someone you know involved in your story that may lead to more people seeing it.

Take advantage of Highlights.

Instagram stories stay on your profile for only 24 hours, but the “highlights” feature allows you to keep story content available to your audience in a catalogued way on your main Instagram profile. This lets you pin stories to your Instagram profile, which can be viewed by visitors (learn how to do that here.) You can title your highlights, and create a custom cover for added interest. Ideas for Instagram highlights are: In the Studio, Events, Work in Progress, Custom Art, New Work, Shop, Media, etc.

Want to get started? View an example of an Instagram story right here to get the full experience. Then, create your own. I encourage you to have fun with the stories and just feel it out, one post at a time. The more you post, and the more you teach your community that you are open and willing to interact with them, the more they will. And in the end, building a community is a win-win for all!


Karlie Rosin is an artist and illustrator based in Vancouver, Canada. She is also certified in Digital Marketing, and invites you to connect with her on Instagram.


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  1. These are excellent tips! Thank you for sharing these valuable insights, i will definitely be utilizing them for my Insta account ;)) beautifully written!

  2. Thanks for the tips! Just getting started selling on instagram @sfkcreate

  3. Very well done, I need ask one question what do you mean about make one post out of Four or five a hard sell and the other a soft sell?

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