23 Instagram Story ideas to help you win engagement

There’s no better way to get into video marketing than with Instagram Stories. They take minutes to make, boost brand recognition, and their impermanent nature allows you to experiment with different marketing strategies for free.

Instagram Stories are also more popular than ever. Over 70% of Instagram users watch stories daily and mobile video consumption is doubling year on year. This means that if you’re not already making Instagram Stories, you should be.

Tried and true Instagram Story ideas

Despite their accessible nature, picking the right Instagram Story for your business can feel like a shot in the dark. We’ve compiled a list of Instagram Stories proven to boost followers so you can stop researching and start posting.

1. Answer questions

Score engagement by asking your audience questions that relate to your business. You can literally ask anything. Any easy place to start is a question sticker with the text “ask me anything”. This way, your audience can interact with your Instagram Story and you can assert yourself as an authority on whatever subject you’re talking about.

Take it one step further by creating a “master video” of answers and save it to your highlights.

NASA uses question stickers to interact and engage

2. Ask questions

If you’re looking for consumer insight into a product or service you’re marketing, asking your audience questions is an equally viable Instagram Story idea. Add an answer sticker to your stories where your audience can submit their replies.

If you’re short on ideas for your next Instagram Story, asking questions is a great way of deciding what content to publish next. Drive engagement and give people what they want. It’s a win-win.

3. Polls and quizzes

If you want to guide your viewers on the answer front, try doing a poll or a quiz instead of asking an open-ended question. Stickers can help you with this.

Engage your viewers with a multiple-choice answer like the example below. This allows people to engage with your post with the click of a button rather than typing a response. A sliding react (with a heart-eyes emoji, of course) is equally simple and effective when posting something deserving of hype. Even if that something is your restocked cookie jar.

4. Share your location

Get found on Instagram by adding a location sticker. Stories with these will be added to surrounding people’s feeds, bringing in new viewers that you wouldn’t otherwise get. Basically: any time you think it’s appropriate to share your location, do it. Fingers crossed you draw in some viewers from the Instagram feed.

5. Post quotes

Quotes are short, sharp, and most importantly shareable. Motivational, interesting, inspiring, funny, relevant to your business, or just about anything else. Scour the web for a quote that takes your fancy, make sure it fits your brand, then copy and paste it into your Instagram Story.

If you want something eye-catching, we have a slew of quote templates available for you to use for your next Story.

Instagram Stories for business

The following Story ideas are dynamite for helping you sell more and boost your business presence on Instagram.

6. Promote a product

Promoting your product or service through an Instagram Story is a surefire way to generate hype and increase brand recognition — it allows you to market to your followers without having to shell out cash for ads.

Use product stickers to take your audience through to a purchase page. It’s important to note that product stickers are only available to approved businesses on Instagram. Alternatively, you can use the more traditional “swipe up” feature to link to your Instagram Story to an external website.

7. Tease an upcoming release

Excite your followers by giving a sneak-peek at an upcoming product launch. Not only will this help generate hype before your release, but giving people early access to info is yet another reason for viewers to hit the follow button.

8. Countdowns

Everyone loves a good countdown. A launch, a sale, New Year’s Eve, a special day like Black Friday or Christmas, the latest Marvel film. Use a countdown sticker over your video to instantly dial up your audience’s anticipation. Tick tock.

NASA counting down to lift off

9. Promote a live event

If you’re streaming an Instagram Live event, take advantage of free publicity by uploading a promo to your Instagram Story. It’s a great way to keep your followers in the loop and drive views on your Instagram Live stream. You can also post follow-up questions after the stream asking your followers what they’d like to see for the next one.

10. Promote a blog or IG post

Show off your latest Instagram posts and blog articles by running a snappy promo video as a Story. You can also shell out a few dollars to run it as a targeted ad and rake in more viewers (and hopefully more followers!)

11. Feature other accounts

If you share a similar audience demographic with another brand on Instagram, try building out your community by featuring that brand. If you can organize a cross-promotion with the other brand, you and your audience are both set to win big. Your audience gets introduced to another awesome product, and another brand gets exposure, and they’ll feature your brand on their account.

12. Celebrate your wins (big and small)

Everyone loves a success story. This could be as simple as posting video testimonials from your customers, or using Instagram Stories as a platform to publish bite-sized case studies. Before and after shots, like the ones below, are also sure-fire winners. Make sure you’re showing off the big selling points of your brand, and how your viewers can benefit from them.

Proactiv UK using IG Stories for a classic before and after shot

13. Host a contest

Contests are a great way to drive engagement. Ask followers to either comment on your story, publish their own story and tag your account, or like your most recent post. Make sure you keep an eye on your notifications and pick a winner within 24 hours. There are apps out there that can pick a winner for you. You can record your screen when using these apps that determine the winner, and share the video as a story (and tag the winner!).

14. Behind the scenes

Everyone loves a peek behind the curtain. How do you make your product? What’s your office space like? What is your creative process? Put the “social” in social media and post videos of the people behind the scenes. If you run a diner, restaurant, or bar, this is a particularly smart idea: step-by-step recipes are dynamite on social media.

Gucci taking their followers BTS of Fashion Week

15. Staff takeover

Let a member of your staff run the Instagram Stories for the day. It’s great to give your brand a more human angle, making you even more relatable to your audience — after all, businesses are made up of people. Try giving a tour of your office or show a day in the life, cut up into short, sharp video blocks.

16. Customer spotlight

Highlight your customers to bring more viewers on board with your brand. This can include testimonials (as mentioned above), or insights from your customers about how your business, product, or service has changed their life. Options include showcasing your products “in the wild”, doing shout-outs to customers with a big order, or saying thanks to customers who have supported your business for a long time.

17. Customer takeover

Giving your most loyal customers control of your Instagram Stories is an excellent way to build trust with your audience. Aside from showing viewers your strong relationship with your customer base, it’s an excellent sales tool. Customers will usually listen more to fellow customers than to a brand.

18. Offer deals and discounts

You can also use the 24-hour lifespan of Instagram Stories to your advantage by offering exclusive, limited-time deals on your Instagram Story. This will drive views and increase your follower count, as people won’t want to miss out on offers they can’t get anywhere else. Scarcity sells.

Creative Instagram Stories

Equally effective for both businesses and individuals, here are a few ways you can think outside the box and do something different to engage your audience and supercharge your follower count.

19. Start a series

If you’ve got an idea for a content series, Instagram Stories is the perfect outlet. This could be anything from a recipe series, to a step-by-step tutorial relating to your business, or just about anything else. Think about what you’d want to see from channels like your own, and break it down into bite-sized Story chunks.

Whatever your content, making it episodic will help you get more engagement over time. For prosperity, add your content series as a permanent highlight to your Instagram page so all that hard work can be seen beyond the 24-hour window.

20. Get your own hashtag going

Hashtags can cause businesses to explode with popularity on social media. One of the best examples, to date, was what entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk once offered with his #60secondclub hashtag. He made it a competition and would give away prizes to people who liked and commented within the first 60 seconds of a post. Gary’s engagement rates went through the roof.

Use a hashtag that’s short, catchy, and memorable. And use an Instagram Story to spread the word.

21. Go live

This is engagement gold for a number of reasons. Firstly, Instagram gives live broadcasts preferential treatment and pushes them to the front of your audience’s feeds. Secondly, you can engage with your audience immediately and directly. Any likes and comments from your audience are displayed in real-time for you to respond to.

An added bonus is that any live stream you do will appear later as an Instagram Story for those who missed it. If you’re stuck, most of the Story ideas we’ve outlined above could easily double as a live video.

22. Re-purpose old content

It’s not just Instagram videos that can work as Instagram videos. This could be anything statistics that can be brought to life with an infographic (we have plenty in our template gallery, or event footage, or even a tweaked version of a previous Instagram Story that your audience loved.

Anything you create elsewhere can be repackaged into an engaging video for your Instagram audience, and it only takes seconds to make.

23. Show off Your skills

Chances are you’re pretty good at what you do, so make Instagram Stories that assert you as an authority in your field. Whether that’s making killer sandwiches, unblocking the most stubborn pipes, or any other problem that your business solves. Make it known to your audience and they’ll be more likely to engage with you, follow your page, and buy from you.

Zoe Sugg shares her skills in the kitchen

General tips for your Instagram Stories

Make use of highlights

There’s no reason why your best stories should disappear forever. If it’ll be useful to your audience in six months’ time, remember to tap the “highlight” button before it disappears.

Stay on top of new features

Instagram is always trying new things. New stickers, new features, new technology. This means whenever they launch something, they want as many people to try it as possible. This is achieved by giving extra engagement to whoever uses a new feature.

Live is a prime example (putting Live videos before all Instagram Stories). But there will always be other new engagement boosting features to come, so keep an eye out.

Stay authentic

If you’re ever concerned that your video isn’t polished enough, don’t be. Instagram stories are only around for 24 hours, so viewers expect to see authentic, personal content that feels off the cuff. Save your crafted videos for your main Instagram feed and just focus on being real.

Use hashtags

Hashtags are key to getting your Instagram Stories seen by folks who aren’t already following you. If there’s a hashtag out there for your potential audience to engage with, make sure you add it in as a sticker. Also use hashtags that indirectly relate to your business — you can hide these behind stickers and GIFs. This will keep your Instagram Stories looking clean while maximizing reach.

Each and every one of these Instagram Story ideas can be brought to life in minutes with theBiteable video maker. Supercharge your Instagram Story game in minutes and engage your followers with a ready-to-edit template.

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