25 Effective Instagram Story Ideas

Looking for some decent Instagram story ideas to take your account to the next level? 

While traditional Instagram posts are still pretty popular and effective, more and more brands are utilizing Instagram story. Why the rather dramatic shift to Instagram stories? Quite simply, Instagram stories have proven a more personal, dynamic, and relatable way of connecting with consumers.

The more static traditional Instagram posts are certainly fine, but with an Instagram story, you have the ability to do just that…tell your story. Marketing your brand via stories sends a compelling message. Users want to know who you genuinely are. They want more insight into your brand’s values and history. They want to be able to forge an authentic connection with those companies they choose to engage with. 

Instagram stories have quickly become more popular than Snapchat as hundreds of millions of people check out Instagram stories during a single day. This means that if your brand is not posting regular stories to your Instagram account, you are probably missing out on some premium social media real estate

To get those engagement numbers up, you want to make certain that your brand is front and center and consequently doing all it can to connect with users. Even if you’ve never used Instagram stories, it’s not too late to get started. And it’s definitely not too late to employ some effective Instagram story ideas in order to increase overall engagement. 

Getting Started with Instagram Story Ideas

The great thing about incorporating Instagram stories into your brand marketing strategy is that it is super easy to get started. Not to mention, this is your chance to have a little social media fun and truly connect with your target audience.

Whether you’re looking to promote a new product or service or increase brand awareness in general, Instagram stories present the perfect place to do just that. The question is how should you go about featuring that new product for instance? What is the best way to attract attention and get people to watch your story?

The best place to start in terms of creating an Instagram story is to first get a handle on your followers. After all, you need to be creating the types of stories that will interest them. How do you captivate and entertain the people who you hope to convert to customers?

First off, you’re probably going to want to do a little social media research. An Instagram story can be fantastically engaging, or incredibly awkward depending on how you approach it. Check and see what types of things your followers tend to post. Which stories and/or posts get the most engagement? Understanding their viewing behaviors and your followers’ trends as far as how, when and with what type of content they engage will be an invaluable springboard for your own Instagram story.

Once you do understand what type of content your followers gravitate toward, now you’re ready to create your first Instagram story. Below are 25 Instagram story ideas that will help you not only make a social media splash but boost engagement with followers and also with potential followers.

Promote an Instagram Post

This is a simple strategy but a great way to get started. The odds are your followers haven’t seen all of your Instagram posts. They may have missed one that you particularly wanted people to see. Take a screenshot of that post and put it in your Instagram story. This way your Instagram story becomes more visible and therefore now has an increased chance of being seen.

Launch a New Product

Your Instagram story is an ideal place to showcase a new product. This presents a far more engaging way of featuring that product versus what you can do in just a standard Instagram post. And this way, as chances of engagement are greater, you may get some valuable feedback.

Include Location Markers

Surveys suggest that Instagram stories with location markers do have higher engagement rates. In fact, some report that using location markers nearly doubles the chances of your story being viewed.

Build Anticipation

If you are launching a new product or have a special event coming up, for example, use Instagram stories to offer a bit of a teaser. Followers like the anticipation factor; it should definitely have them checking back to see what is to come.

Do An Instagram Story Takeover

An Instagram story takeover is when someone who would not normally post on your Instagram account takes the reins for a day. It could be an influencer, someone connected with your business…get creative. Employing this strategy might prove to be a great promotional tool, especially if working with a well-known influencer.


IGTV is essentially an Instagram video app that enables users to create long-form video channels—much like they can with YouTube. As far as tying it to your Instagram stories, you might try giving followers a sneak peek of your IGTV channel through your story. Make it enticing so that they are curious enough to actually check out your channel.

Create a Poll About Something

Polls are a terrific way to promote user engagement. Instagram Story actually has poll stickers highlighting the choices and thereby making the process super easy. Ask your followers a question and watch as the responses pour in. You can also utilize a poll to gather feedback that may help your brand make some key decisions.

Share Inspirational Quotes

Especially when the world seems somewhat tough to navigate, offering uplifting quotes via your story can potentially make a difference in someone’s day. Post inspirational quotes that resonate with your company’s essence.

Highlight Testimonials and Success Stories

People love to hear about others’ experience in working with your brand. If there are a few key success stories, feel free to share. You could also ask clients for testimonials and spotlight a couple of those in your Instagram story.

Showcase Art and Photos

Stories are a great place to show off vibrant images and stunning photos. Social media after all is a highly visual place. Killer images and photos will help you capture your followers’ attention and get them thinking about your brand.

Use Instagram Stories to Promote Hashtags

Does your brand have a hashtag? Instagram stories are great for promoting your hashtag and thereby driving more traffic to your various posts, campaigns, and pages.

Drive Followers to Your Other Channels

Social media channels really are all interconnected in some ways. Using an Instagram story to drive people to your YouTube channel, Pinterest boards, or your TikTok for example, is a pretty effective way to increase your followers across a multitude of platforms. Find out what other social media platforms are popular and why by downlaoding our FREE ebook.

Offer Helpful Tips and Ideas

Users like content that provides them some sort of value. What could your business present via an Instagram story that offers followers important takeaways or tips? Feel free to be unique in how you present/post these helpful tips.

Give Followers a Behind the Scenes Look

You can use stories to spotlight different areas and facets of your office space for example. Or how about a series of snippets featuring people who work for the company. 

Utilize the Question Sticker

Much like the poll sticker, the question sticker compels people to actually respond. Because you are directly asking them something versus merely showing, this strategy can help boost engagement across the board. And unlike with the poll sticker, with this one, your followers can respond with anything they want. Makes it more fun! 

Hold a Contest

What’s one of the best ways to get people’s attention…Offer prizes and giveaways. Instagram stories are a terrific means of promoting any contest you may be holding. Prizes can range from a free product to a discount on future purchases. Make the giveaway relevant to your brand.

Make a Tutorial

Beyond just offering tips and tricks, you might actually go ahead and create story content that is more involved as far as demonstrating how to do something. Granted, because of the nature of Instagram stories, you have to keep it relatively brief, but you’d be surprised at how much you can demonstrate to your followers in the time allotted.

Jump on the Throwback Bandwagon

Just about everyone has seen the hashtag #TBT and the corresponding photos and posts that generally accompany it. Why not use your story to highlight your own throwback memory? This way too, you give followers a little taste of what your brand was like in the early days.

Share Before and Afters

Depending on the nature of your business, spotlighting before and after results through your story could be a highly effective way to get users’ attention. Especially with skincare and haircare businesses, this has proven to be a powerful content strategy.

Create a Cohesive Story Series

In other words, rather than have a bunch of fragmented posts and stories, develop a series of Instagram stories that work with one another and relate to each other. This will keep people watching for that next installment.

Host a Live Session

Users love to tune in and catch people doing what they do live. If you haven’t already experimented with a live session, now is definitely the time to start. This is a great way to show that “human” side and thus more effectively engage users.

Do a Countdown

Many brands will use insta stories to do countdowns to some big event, launch or promo. This helps build momentum for the occasion in question and also helps make your story more intriguing to your followers.

Tap Users for Content

Your followers will love seeing their own images, photos and videos within the context of your Instagram stories. This type of user-generated content is also thought to be more trustworthy versus what your brand may put out on its own.

Promote Your Blog Using Your Instagram Story

Odds are if you have a blog you’ve spent some time and energy creating engaging and insightful posts. Maybe it’s not getting the traction you want. Here is where your Instagram story can be used to highlight some of the more innovative posts and hopefully generate more user interest in the blog.

Be True to You

Above all, you want your Instagram story to reflect the true essence of your brand and/or company. Being too gimmicky or trying to oversell defeats the purpose of what these stories are all about. Keep it real and your followers will appreciate it that much more.

Some General Instagram Story Tips

Beyond just the above Instagram story ideas, there are a few rules of thumb when it comes to mastering the Instagram story and increasing engagement.

Be Aware of What’s New

As with any social media platform, Instagram does evolve and change from time to time. You need to stay on top of new features, understand what’s happening with IGTV for example; just be sure that if there is something new introduced, you familiarize yourself with it.

Be Consistent in Terms of Schedule

Randomly posting to Instagram or Instagram stories isn’t going to help you engage people. You want a relatively consistent schedule that takes advantage of optimal story viewing times. Know your audience and when they’re most active, this way you can plan your content better and schedule Instagram Stories to the best time to post. 

Take Advantage of Hashtags

As already mentioned, Insta stories are great for launching your own hashtags and also for leveraging what’s trending in order to gain new followers. So be aware of some of the more relevant and popular hashtags that could be associated with your brand.

Change Up Your Content

Yes, you want to be consistent especially as far as schedule, but when it comes to content, that’s a different story. People like to be surprised, they like variety. Offering the same stale story ideas over and over isn’t going to win you any points—or followers.

Pay Attention to the Analytics

Instagram does offer tools so that you can gain access to key metrics. This shows you what appears to be working, what prompts users to engage, and which stories might be falling flat. Analytics are most definitely your friend here.

Stay on Brand

Instagram stories can certainly be a great way to promote your brand. That said, you want to make sure that what you post aligns with that brand. Be it the message you’re conveying, the visuals you choose, or the overall style and tone of a post or story, they all in some way need to reflect your brand identity.

It’s Time to Integrate Instagram Story Ideas

If you haven’t started promoting your brand with Instagram stories, there’s no time like the present. Stories give you the chance to be ultra-creative while engaging your followers. They enable you to present a more human and real side to your brand, which truly is what audiences crave. When done well, Instagram stories can help you increase your engagement and more meaningfully connect with followers.

anne carson

anne carson

Anne is a former English professor turned content writer. Holding a PhD in Literature, she spent almost a decade in academia putting that degree to use, until finally realizing it wasn't exactly the best fit. A full-time writer, she's learned a great deal about the numerous subjects. She knows a lot about design trends and design templates. A mom of five (two teenagers and three dogs).