Last updated on 24th February 2022
In this article we’re going to take a look at 21 Instagram Story ideas for quick inspiration.
Instagram Stories are incredibly popular, with over 70% of users watching them daily. Yet, only 36% of businesses use Instagram Stories to promote their products.
If you aren’t using Instagram Stories to their full potential, you could be missing out on interaction – and even sales – from new and existing customers.
But, we get it. Constantly coming up with new ideas for what to post can be difficult, even tedious.
Let’s take a look at 21 ideas and gather some Instagram inspiration!
1. Promote your products
One of the most straight-forward ways to use Instagram Stories to your advantage is to promote your products.
You can use Stories to announce a new product launch, or to generate buzz around your existing products.
And if you have 10,000 followers or more then you can even include a direct link to your Instagram Story so that people can immediately head to the purchase page to buy your promoted product.
More and more people now start their online shopping journey on social media, with 60% of Brits and 54% of Americans purchasing goods via social media in the past 6 months.
Using Instagram Stories to promote your products just makes this shopping experience even easier for your customers.
Here’s a recent example of Burberry using Instagram Stories to promote their products:
2. Conduct a poll
So, you probably know by now that social media isn’t just a tool you can use to boost sales. You actually need to be social.
Polls allow you to interact with your followers so you can increase engagement and keep your brand top-of-mind.
The poll sticker allows you to ask a question and offer two answers. Your followers can choose one of the answers and then you can share the results.
Here’s an example from PayPal:
You can use polls in a number of different ways: to conduct customer research, to gamify your Story by creating a quiz, or just have a bit of fun with your followers!
3. Use a question sticker
Similar to the poll sticker is the question sticker. This allows you to ask your followers a question and they can then type an answer into a free text box, or you can give them a multiple choice option like this example from Huckletree:
This is a great way to gather feedback from your customers, crowdsource new ideas, or again, just have some fun with a quiz.
4. Promote your giveaway or contest
If you really want to boost engagement on your Instagram page, then a giveaway or a contest is the way to go.
These types of posts get 3.5x more likes and 64x more comments than regular Instagram posts.
Using Instagram Stories is a great way to promote your giveaway or contest. Here’s an example from GoodLifeEatery:
Instagram is a fast-moving platform and it’s easy for your giveaway or contest post to get lost in the main feed.
Posting to your Story regularly will give you a better chance of promoting your giveaway or contest to as many people as possible.
5. Share special DMs or mentions
The great thing about social media is the back and forth you can have with your customers. If a customer has something nice to say about you, then why not share it on your Instagram Story?
Here’s an example from TaskRabbit:
Stories like this are amazing for boosting credibility because it’s highly likely that potential customers will trust each other more than they trust what you say about your business yourself.
According to a study by PowerReviews, 94% of consumers list reviews and customer ratings as their most important consideration when shopping for products, above price and even family and friend recommendations.
6. Promote your latest Instagram post
A straight-forward way to use Instagram Stories is to get more eyeballs on your latest Instagram post.
One of the key ranking factors of Instagram’s algorithm is timeliness. Instagram wants to show users posts that are recent and relevant – which gives anything you post a very short lifespan.
Promoting your latest post on your Story is a way to rejuvenate it and capture the attention of people you may have missed the first time around.
Even people with millions of followers, like Richard Branson, use this technique:
7. Share behind the scenes
Sharing footage from behind the scenes allows your followers to feel closer to your brand, creating a deeper level of trust, transparency, and authenticity.
You could show your team at work, like this example from FiveGuys:
Showing off the kitchen gives people a chance to see where their food is made (and could also make them pretty hungry!)
You could show your office, or an exciting project you’re working on; anything that lets your followers peek behind the curtain and feel that little bit closer to your brand.
8. Promote your latest blog post
We’ve already covered the many things you can promote via Instagram Stories: your products, your giveaways, positive customer messages and reviews. You can also promote your latest blog post, like Adweek have done here:
Promoting your blog posts on social media is a great way to draw more readers to your site, and more readers on your blog means you’ll perform better in search engines.
9. Use a swipe up
If you have more than 10,000 followers then you’ll be able to access a new feature in your Instagram Stories, the swipe up.
The swipe up (as the name suggests) allows your followers to simply swipe up to take an action that you’ve asked them to – usually to visit your website or purchase a product.
Here’s an example from Benefit:
10. Share a powerful quote
People love to share quotes on social media. Be they powerful, motivational, inspiring, or all of the above.
Sharing quotes to your Instagram Story can humanise your brand and also increase the amount of shares you receive. When people see a quote they connect with, they might share it to their own story – increasing your reach.
Here are some examples from Foundr, an entrepreneurial magazine that posts inspirational quotes regularly:
You could also create your own branded quote images (as Foundr have done here) to add authority and ensure a stronger link back to you when others share them.
11. Cover your FAQs
Typically, Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours. However, you can also save your Stories to a highlight reel that users can watch anytime they visit your profile. Here’s an example from Toni&Guy:
This is the perfect place to save any FAQs that potential or existing customers might have. With more and more customers heading to social media to find out important information about brands, a highlight reel of Stories can help to alleviate any customer doubts and also take some of the pressure off your customer service team.
12. Show before and after shots
Before and after shots are a brilliant way of showing off your talents to potential customers, especially if you offer a service that generates instant results – think dentists, interior designers, and bakers:
But they’re also great for other things. You could do a before and after Story that shows your old and new logo, an old and new office, the possibilities are endless!
13. Create a shoppable story
A shoppable story allows your followers to purchase your products directly from Instagram. No need to click a link. No need to even “swipe up”. Here’s an example from Boots:
There are some requirements to activate the sticker on your account – so you’ll need to check you fulfil those. At the moment, you need to have a business profile and also be selling a physical product that complies with Instagram’s policies.
14. Create a countdown
Adding the countdown sticker to your Story can generate buzz and get your followers excited for an upcoming event, sale, or any other important date.
You can customise your countdown sticker to suit your specific event. Here’s a fun example from Nickelodeon:
Your followers can get even more involved by sharing your countdown or tapping it to set an alert for when the countdown ends.
15. Share an interview
Instagram Stories is a great place to share your video content. One interesting idea for video content is to create and share an interview.
Here’s an example from the official Instagram account. Not only did they share an interview with actors Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, they also used stickers so that viewers could get involved and play along:
Of course, not everyone can call Zendaya up to be in their Instagram Stories. But you don’t need access to famous people to share interesting interviews.
You could interview your team members. This is an awesome way to give people a sneak look behind the scenes and can also help you to build trust in your brand.
16. Give a tutorial
A tutorial is a fantastic use case for Instagram Stories because each individual Story can be up to 15 seconds long – a great amount of time for breaking information up in a step-by-step way.
One industry that takes advantage of this more than others is the beauty industry. Here are two examples from tutorials on Benefit’s Instagram Stories:
These stories are actually saved to a Tutorials highlights reel so that users can watch and re-watch them at their leisure.
The fact that you can add text to your Instagram Stories is another reason these work so well for tutorial type content.
17. Tease something
Instagram Stories only last 24 hours. This makes them great for building anticipation and teasing something to your audience – whether that’s a new product, a new member of your team, or a brand update or reveal, like this example from Hyperquake:
You could also use this in conjunction with the countdown feature to really get people excited about what you’re promoting.
18. Reflect on something
A key benefit of using Instagram Stories is that you can share things that you don’t necessarily want to add to your main feed.
This could be something fleeting (like a limited time offer) or it could just be something fun, like a trip down memory lane.
Here’s an example from Winc:
If you want to reflect on something from the past you can also use the memories feature. There is an “On this day” feature that allows you to post memories to your Stories on the anniversary of when you first posted them.
You can also tag your Stories with popular hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT to increase traction.
19. Share the love with a shoutout
No one likes people (or brands!) that just constantly talk about themselves. So use your Instagram Stories to shine the spotlight on someone else every once in a while.
This could be a brand that you work closely with, one of your team members, or even a customer that you want to give some special attention to.
Here’s an example from the Columbia College Career Center giving a shoutout to one of their students:
20. Share a this-or-that template
This-or-that templates have been popular on Instagram for a while now. They’re a great way for you to show off your brand’s personality and give your followers the opportunity to learn more about you.
You can also encourage your followers to share their own this-or-that template so that you can find out more about them.
Here’s an example from Encircled:
This story also uses the poll feature to capture answers from followers, giving Encircled access to some useful customer data.
21. Show new ways to use your product
Social media isn’t just a way for you to find new customers, it’s also a tool you can use to communicate with your existing customers.
A fun idea for an Instagram Story could be to show your customers new ways they can use your product.
Here’s an example from Forza Pizza. They take two slices of pizza, sandwich them together, and make a delicious pizza toastie:
This video shows viewers how to eat their pizza in a new way, and it could also encourage people to share the video, or just get them in the mood for pizza!
If there are fun and interesting ways to use your product that your customers may not know about, try posting an Instagram Story to let them know.
Instagram is a GIANT in the social media world, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.
You need to constantly make sure that your Instagram game is as strong as it possibly can be.
For more on that, check out our article: What to Post on Instagram: 29 Ideas for B2B Brands.