5 Ways to Tell Your Artists’ Stories Online

There are plenty of easy online buying decisions that you can make with the tap of a screen, such as household essentials, clothing, and even dinner. But when it comes to buying art online, consumers are looking for more than just ease of purchase.

A recent study has shown that sharing stories about your business outperforms hard-sell tactics (such as flash sales and discounts). This means that when a collector is purchasing an artwork online, they rely on stories to help them learn about artists and form connections with works of art, especially ones they might never see in person. On Artsy, the average distance between a buyer and seller is over 3,000 miles, which means that buyers may not get to see the pieces they buy until they’re hanging on the wall.

While storytelling has always been an important skill for art business owners, today, it is about being an effective online storyteller. Make sure you can engage, educate, and excite potential buyers with your gallery’s digital content. Here are five ways to tell your artists’ stories online.

1. Record a studio visit

Studio visits are a time-honored tradition in the art world. They give collectors the chance to see the artist at work, learn what goes into the production of a piece, and hear about artworks in the words of who created them. A well-executed studio visit will leave the collector with new knowledge and a better understanding of the artist. 

Since a studio visit is not always possible when purchasing online, you can bridge the gap between collectors and artists by recording a studio visit, which you can share on your gallery’s Instagram story—an ideal format for this type of content. With features like questions, tags, and highlights, Instagram stories let your audience interact with your content and share it with others.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to take some stills during the visit to post on your gallery’s Instagram feed, as well. 

2. Remember the details 

Be sure to include details about a specific piece in your artists’ stories. Great content will prompt potential buyers to wonder: Will this work fit in my space? Where else has this artist shown their work? Does this suit my budget? Therefore, it’s important to have this information on hand.

Pro tip: In your photos, it helps to have a person standing by the piece as a size reference.

On Artsy, something as simple as a work’s dimensions goes a long way for viewers making a purchase decision. With our augmented reality feature, collectors can virtually “hang” an object on their wall. Of all users who have used Artsy’s augmented reality feature, 36% are engaged on Artsy commercially, meaning they have completed at least one commercial action.

3. Share the buzz

Take advantage of what others are saying about your artists (or even what your artists are saying about themselves) by adding a press highlights section to your gallery’s website. Here, you can provide links to articles, reviews, or blog posts that can give visitors more context around your artist roster. Additionally, think about linking out to your artists’ Instagram accounts if they’ve been actively showing off their voice and story. You can also keep your gallery’s social-media feed fresh and followers up to date by reposting screenshots from a news story or sharing someone else’s post.

4. Look for inspiration

Don’t create content in a vacuum. See an example of storytelling that you think works? Use that idea and make it your own. Content trends are always shifting and evolving, so staying relevant comes with the territory. We recommend selecting a few social-media accounts, newsletters, podcasts, or publications to follow. You can start with Artsy’s Instagram account and Artsy Editorial’s news and articles. By keeping this list small, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on what’s gaining traction without overwhelming yourself.

5. Go straight to the source

Sometimes, the best way to share someone’s story is to have them tell it themselves. If your gallery represents living artists, you are in the unique position of having direct access to the roster. Consider filming a Q&A or artist talk with one of your artists while their work is being exhibited in your gallery space. Need some inspiration? Take a look at these questions from the Art Business Journal, or better yet, use Instagram’s questions feature to find out what your own audience wants to know.

Did you know that half of buyers who spend over $100,000 per year on art visit online art platforms multiple times a week, for an average of 10–30 minutes? Don’t miss the opportunity to capture a collector’s attention and make your gallery’s artists memorable. Get started today.

Image credit: Nick Gentry, Frontier, 2015. Courtesy of Absolute Art Gallery.

Register for Artsy’s Digital Storytelling Webinar

Want to become a digital storytelling expert? Register to watch our live panel discussion—airing on September 24th at 10 a.m. Eastern—on telling your gallery’s story online.