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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

"Close Looking" Instagram Story Series

Finalist in Instagram Stories


During our Museum's period of on-and-off closure throughout the pandemic, our high level objective has been to maintain public engagement with our art colection. 

We quickly sought to reinvision our in-gallery guided close looking and sketching group lessons that our School and Family Programs department provides. These educational programs are a core tactic for executing our Mission to connect our visitors with local and global art in order to promote their knowledge and curiosity about the past, deepen their engagement with the art and ideas of today, and stimulate their creative agency in their own futures.

Our secondary objective was to grow engagement with our social channels and as measured by engagement rate and 1:1 feedback. 


Strategy and Execution

We took into consideration long-term engagement trends across digital, cultural trends seeded by the Pandemic, and platform-specific audience behavioral insights to align on a focused campaign housed exclusively on our Instagram Story. We had already invested in growing awareness for a Friday art making activity series hosted on IGTV and promoted on Instagram Stories, so decided to test alternating between the two activities weekly.

We felt that the Instagram Story platform included all of the key elements we needed to reach our audience where they were, with content they could easily understand. We gravitated toward its native storytelling capabilities where bite-size factoids would be welcomed naturally alongside images, as well as its low-lift method for our viewers to engage with the content via the question feature. 

The series is titled "Close Looking," which is easily understandable by all. The stories are 6-11 slides total and focus on a single object from our Collection. Some slides provide historical context, some prompt viewers to share thoughts about what they're viewing, and a final slide encourages sketcing based on the artwork. All tacticts within the Story aim to drive deeper engagement with the material in a way that's accessible and understandable to all who see it.


With three Close Lookings under our belt, the series has outperformed any other Instagram Story series by a large margin, using question sticker reply numbers as well as anecdotal feedback as our metrics of success.

Our benchmark for Instagram Story Direct Message responses is 1-2 DMs, and when a question sticker is used it typically receives around 5 responses. Our Close Looking Stories see an average of 3-4 DMs and 20 responses per question. While we do not consider Story Impressions to be a KPI, reach and impressions were in-line with our average. 

Anecdotal feedback provided both externally via DM and through other public feedback channels, as well as feedback internally from our Leadership Team, has been highly encouraging.

We feel that through metrics both quantitative and qualitative, our Close Looking Instagram Series is delivering our goal of continuing to engage the public with our art collection while our Museum is closed. 

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco


Entry Credits