20 Creative Instagram Story Ideas to Engage Your Followers
Your brand’s Instagram Story is the perfect place to engage followers, promote new products, and increase your brand’s awareness.
After all, more than 500 million users watch Instagram Stories daily. So if you’re not using the feature as part of your social media strategy, you’re potentially leaving a lot of money on the table.
But what exactly should you put on your Instagram Story? Luckily, we’re here to answer that question.
Below we’ve included the 20 creative Instagram Story ideas. This will help you create an endless well of content to draw from and will help you get the most bang for your buck from the platform.
Let’s jump in.
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20 Instagram Story ideas that will boost engagement
1. Promote blog posts
Your brand’s Instagram Story is a perfect place to promote your blog’s latest article.
When coupled with the “Swipe Up” feature, you’ll be able to send users straight to post instead of referring them to the link in your bio. This is perfect for generating leads with a brand new avenue of traffic to your blog posts.
Unfortunately, the Swipe Up feature is currently only available to business accounts with 10,000 or more followers.
If you’re not there yet, don’t worry. Check out our article on how to get more Instagram followers.
2. Promote Instagram posts
Instagram Stories are a great place to share your latest post to all of your followers. After all, you can’t really predict what posts your followers will see on their feed — but you can make sure that all your Story followers see that you have a new post.
Just take a screenshot of your Instagram post or feed and obscure the image. That way you tease the post for your followers.
Check out how photographer Mark Averill does it in his Story above.
3. Promote products
Launching a product you want to generate buzz for? Your Instagram Story is perfect for that.
Announce a product launch, get feedback on a product, or promote a current product you’ve already released.
In the example above, Ramit Sethi uses his Instagram Story to promote his online courses. It’s an easy and fun way to build engagement while increasing product sales. Double win!
4. Create a shoppable story
Instagram released their shoppable Story stickers in 2019. This allows businesses and entrepreneurs to sell their products directly on their Instagram Stories using a special sticker without requiring the user to “swipe up” and navigate away from the app.
There are some requirements to get the sticker.
You must be selling a physical product that complies with Instagram’s policies, and you must have a business profile on Instagram. As of 2019, the sticker is only available in 46 countries.
5. Story takeover
An Instagram takeover is when you allow someone who doesn’t typically have access to your Instagram account to post on it for a day. This can be an employee, coworker, or an influencer you’ve hired to promote your brand.
Of all the Instagram Story ideas on this list, this is a fun way to humanize your brand and provide some fun content for your audience. If you partner with an influencer, you can also promote your brand and products.
The Mighty Missouri Coffee Company did this in the example above when they partnered with travel influencer @outsidevibes.
6. Go live
Live videos are a fantastic way to directly engage your audience.
Instagram Live allows users to ask questions, comment on your live video, and provide real-time engagement.
Most users will even be notified with a push notification when you start broadcasting live.
This is great for boosting engagement.
And when you’re finished with the live video, it will appear directly on your Instagram Story. This allows those who might have missed it live to check the video out later.
As with any Instagram Story, it will be available for 24 hours before being archived.
For more information on live video best practices, check out our video on the topic below.
7. Use IGTV
Launched in June 2018, Instagram TV (IGTV) is Instagram’s standalone video app that allows creators to create long-form video channels a la YouTube.
Creators can connect their IGTV profiles to their normal Instagram profiles and give their audience a one minute preview of their channel on their Instagram Story feed.
This is a great way to share longer form video content for your audience.
As of 2019, unverified users can post videos up to 10 minutes long, while verified users can enjoy videos up to one hour long.
8. Conduct a poll
Instagram offers a poll sticker for users to put on their Stories. It’s simple: Ask your followers a question with a choice of two responses.
Polls are a great way to engage your audience and build your brand. The best part is that there are tons of ways you can approach you poll.
For example, you can gamify your Story by quizzing your readers on different topics. Or, conduct easy customer research by giving your followers an option of two products you might release soon. Or, just have some fun like in the example above.
9. Thought leadership
Have a hot take? Got some tips or tricks to share?
Your Instagram Story is a great place for your brand to present some thought leadership. Doing so will build engagement and position your brand as a trustworthy source of information.
Personal finance and development expert Ramit Sethi does this very well with his Instagram Stories. Each day, he speaks directly to his Story viewers about different money-related topics—and answering questions when they come up. Think about how you can do the same with your Story.
10. Use the question sticker
Another great way to engage followers is by using Instagram’s question sticker. This allows you to pose a question to your followers (like the poll sticker) but they can answer with anything they want.
You can then share the answer on your Story. This is great for building engagement and having a little fun with your followers.
With the question sticker, you can crowdsource new ideas for content, quiz your readers on different topics, or take requests for your impromptu piano concert.
11. Show off the office
Another Instagram Story idea is to show off your office—no matter where it is. This gives your followers a cool, behind-the-scenes look at how your brand operates, creating a higher level of transparency and trust.
The best part: You don’t even need an actual office to show something off. It can be the coffeeshop you’re working from, the view from your couch, or—if you want to make followers really jealous—somewhere scenic like the beach.
12. Share follower DMs
You don’t need to use the question sticker to share responses from followers. You can simply take a screenshot of their DMs to you and share that on your Instagram Story.
This is great when you get a good testimonial for your product, service, or business in general.
For example, whenever Ramit Sethi receives a great testimonial from his readers on Instagram, he’s quick to take a screenshot of it and share it on his Instagram Story. This gives his brand the social proof and helps encourage other followers to do the same.
13. Contests and Giveaways
If you really want to turbocharge engagement numbers, you can hold a giveaway or contest for your readers.
The prize can be anything from a free trial of your service, some samples of your product, or an hour long consultation call from you. It just depends on what your products are!
With giveaways and contests, you can require your followers to do something to take part. Some common ones are requiring participants to:
- Share your Instagram Story and / or post
- Tag someone in the comment section of the post
- DM someone your Instagram Story or post
- Use a branded hashtag
- Like your post
For more on this, check out our article on winning Instagram contest ideas.
14. Tutorials and how tos
Great marketing is all about providing valuable and informative content for your followers.
What better way to inform your followers than by teaching them something new via a tutorial? Your Instagram Story is the perfect platform for quick tips and actionable advice.
Great examples of this are the popular makeup tutorials led by beauty bloggers and influencers (see above). It’s a great way to engage with followers and give them great advice they can use in their day-to-day lives.
And when coupled with a before and after Instagram post, you can create a really cool Story—which brings us to …
15. Before and after
A before and after Instagram post shows something before a change and then what it looks like after.
This can cover a wide range reveals, such as the way your logo has changed since finding your business, the number of employees you have had over the years, or how your products have changed.
If you perform a service for clients, you can showcase how your service changed your client over time. In the post above, cosmetic dermatologist Morgan Naylor showcases how her client looked before and after lip filler.
16. Share a quote
This one is simple: Share a quote you like to your Instagram Story. It can be motivational, thought-provoking, funny, or some combination of all those things!
As long as it fits your brand and you think your followers will appreciate it, any quote can be fair game for your Story.
Pro tip: Post a motivational quote in the morning with hashtag #morningmotivation.
This is an incredibly popular hashtag that many people follow. Using it will increase your discoverability and help you draw in new followers — double win!
17. Countdown to an event
Another great sticker you can use is the countdown sticker.
Set the sticker to countdown to an event (right down to the second). Customize it with a title to let your followers know what you’re counting down to.
Some ideas on what to count down to:
- The release of a new product
- An upcoming sale
- Your brand’s anniversary
- A reminder about holidays like Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day (i.e., holidays where customers should remember to buy gifts)
- New store openings
- Contest close dates
- New employees starting
One great feature of this sticker is the fact that your followers can tap the sticker on your Story and set an alert for when the countdown is finished. They can even share the countdown with their followers.
#TBT, or #ThrowbackThursday is the incredibly popular hashtag all about nostalgia and “throwing back” to past memories. That makes it perfect Instagram Story fodder for your followers.
It’s simple. Take a photo from your brand’s past and share it on your Instagram Story with the hashtag #TBT or #ThrowbackThursday. This can be a fun way to showcase where your brand came from and see how much it has grown over the years.
- Physical location
- Number of employees
- Your logo
- Your products
For more on this, be sure to check out our article all about #ThrowbackThursday.
19. Ask for donations
Instagram’s donation sticker allows followers to donate to a charity directly from your Instagram Story.
Choose the donation sticker in the sticker drawer, then search through a catalog of different nonprofits to choose one they want their followers to donate to. Users can also be able to customize the name of their fundraiser.
This is an easy way to both support your favorite nonprofit and build engagement with your followers.
20. Interview an employee
Giving your readers a peek behind the scenes of your business is a great way to build trust and transparency. Take it a step further by interviewing different employees about their role, what they do, and what they think about working with your brand.
Mailchimp does this very well with their “Day in the Life” series on Instagram, where they showcase different employees’ days via their Instagram Story. This gives their followers a fun opportunity to view the inner workings of Mailchimp, while showcasing the strong personalities in the office.
These Instagram Story ideas should give you enough to get started with if you’re staring at your content calendar and drawing a blank. If you’re looking for more inspiration, try our guide to social media brainstorming.
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