50 Engaging Instagram Story Ideas for Your Brand
By: Cori Widen, Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks
Instagram Stories have become an invaluable channel for individuals & brands – half a billion people utilize them on a daily basis. As enjoyable as scrolling through Stories can be, don’t miss out on the opportunity to create Stories and make them work for your brand. With Stories, you have the capacity to create a connection with your audience, increase your IG engagement and build your following.
Here are 50 Instagram Story ideas you can use, anytime:
Utilize Instagram’s Story Features
Instagram has a ton of built-in features you can utilize to make your Stories stand out. Try out different Story styles with tools you haven’t tried out yet. Here’s a breakdown of the top IG Story features:
1. AR Filters – AR is set to skyrocket in popularity on IG in 2020. There are a ton of filters to choose from within your Stories camera, and you can tap ‘Browse Effects’ for more. If you’re watching someone else’s Story and like the filter they’re using, make sure to save it for later for easy access.
Here’s @natali.zmi, the creator of the trending ‘Which Friends Character Are You?’ AR Filter, trying it out for herself:
2. Layout – Layout is one of Stories’ newest features. Use Layout to add multiple photos to a single image in your Stories – achieving a collage-like effect. Here’s everything you need to know about the tool.
Strike a pose. And another pose. And then another. 📸— Instagram (@instagram) December 17, 2019
With Layout, you can now capture and share multiple photos in your story — a new, creative way to express yourself. Check it out! pic.twitter.com/j02aYOjsoO
3. Chat – Use the chat sticker to invite your followers to join a group chat within DMs. Some ideas: create exclusive chats for preorder customers, influencers, and VIPs, share unique deals & discount codes, or use it to discuss a specific topic with a group of relevant followers.
4. Boomerang – You can’t go wrong creating a classic Boomerang, but note that Instagram very recently expanded this tool and added new capabilities to it that will make your Stories stand out:
🐢 SlowMo— Instagram (@instagram) January 10, 2020
Boomerang has new creative twists that'll make you say yaaassssss. Try them all out today. pic.twitter.com/wp0A71RefL
5. SuperZoom – This feature allows you to add different effects to your shots as the Stories camera automatically zooms in on your subject. There are currently 10+ diverse SuperZoom effects to choose from to match the mood of your Story.
Happening now on our Instagram story: how to use new Superzoom effects. (Sound on!) pic.twitter.com/ofmjOvHRjv— Instagram (@instagram) January 25, 2018
6. Emoji Slider – According to IG, “By choosing an emoji for your question, you also add a layer of emotional context that helps those answering understand your tone and answer accordingly.” Pro Tip: you can add any emoji from your library to the slider by tapping +.
7. Donation – Raise money for a cause you’re passionate about using the donation sticker. Your donation request will be most effective if you create an emotional connection with your audience: start your Story by sharing some background to the cause, as well as your why the cause is important to you, before adding in the sticker. Note that this feature isn’t available to everyone – here are the details on how to access it.
This #GivingTuesday, @mosseri, @evachen212, @CharlesPorch and more are using the donation sticker to raise money for a good cause.— Instagram (@instagram) December 3, 2019
Support, share or start your own fundraiser if you can. 😊 pic.twitter.com/cypgsDcO3h
8. Music – Giving your Story a soundtrack adds a ton of value. Whatever mood you’re trying to set with your Story – music will enable your viewer to really *feel* it. You can either use Instagram’s music sticker or a third-party app (learn more here).
9. On this Day – OTD is a relatively new feature within Create Mode. This feature enables you to relive memories with your audience, by making it easy to share what you posted on today’s date – whether it was 1 year ago or 5.
10. Create Mode Games – Fill out a game template and share it to your Stories. Some examples:
Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram Games.
11. Quiz – Use IG’s quiz sticker to test your followers’ knowledge about your business, products, services & more (get creative!). Here’s some inspiration from @boosted_social:
12. Poll – Utilize the poll sticker to ask your audience a question or learn what their preference is on a certain topic, giving them two response options.
13. Countdown – Whether it’s an upcoming sale or promotion, or you just can’t wait ‘til Christmas, a countdown is a great way to build anticipation for a certain event with your audience. You can add a countdown to a photo or video as a sticker or access it via Create Mode.
14. Question – IG’s question sticker is a great way to increase Story engagement. Ask your audience anything and then share the relevant responses. Here’s everything you need to know about the question sticker.
15. GIFs – Add personality to your Story with a GIF (or three). You can add a GIF to your Story as a sticker, or you can add one via Create Mode (learn the difference between the two methods here). Here’s what a Create Mode GIF looks like:
16. Go Live – Remember that live videos are meant to be “raw” and unpolished. Add an AR filter to make your Live stand out – they’re easily accessible from your Stories camera when you’re in Live mode.
Here’s everything you need to know about going live for your business.
17. IGTV – If you create an IGTV episode or series, make sure to share it to your Story. Pro Tip: Even if you aren’t at 10k followers, you can still swipe up directly to your IGTV vid.
18. Hashtags – Add hashtags to your Story to increase visibility. Use the hashtag sticker or simply add the hashtags as text. If you add a group of hashtags to your Story, you can always hide them behind a GIF or text box.
19. Location – When you share Stories of your store, products, or services, be sure to use the location sticker – and encourage your customers to do the same. When someone searches for your location or a similar topic (think: “Italian bistro”) on Instagram, they’ll see all of the public posts in which others have also tagged your business’s location.
20. Story Highlights – Update your Story Highlights regularly with fresh content. Sort your highlights thematically and make sure that the Highlights covers match the vibe of your profile.
Think outside of Instagram’s built-in Story features with the following content ideas.
21. Story Templates – An IG Story template is a pre-made layout you can use to create a polished, beautifully designed image or series of images that is aesthetically consistent with your brand. Learn all about Story templates here.
22. This or That – This is a trendy, engagement-inducing type of Story template. You can create your own and share or you can screenshot & fill out a template that you’ve been tagged in. Here’s a sample This or That template, created by influencer @heleneinbetween:
23. Seasonal Holidays – Whether it’s a holiday as significant as Christmas, or an out of the box microholiday like National Pancake Day, share a Story about the event. This is a great content idea year-around – there’s a holiday for essentially every calendar date of the year.
24. Top 5 List – Create a Story of the Top 5 (or 10!) things that you’re currently loving in a certain category. Some ideas: your favorite podcasts, movies or books. To increase engagement, add a question sticker at the end of your Story, requesting that your followers share their faves as well.
25. User Generated Content – Share some UGC, whether that’s a Story you were tagged in or a photo or video of someone utilizing your product or service. Photo editing app @enlightphotofox shares UGC weekly as part of their Photofox Battle competition:
26. Share Your Morning Routine – Morning routines are a hit across social media. Take your audience on a tour of your AM – from your first cup of coffee, to what you eat for breakfast, your commute etc.
27. #DeskView – Share a pic, video (or Boomerang!) of what your workspace looks like. For bonus points, add in a productivity tip or share how you stay focused.
28. Office Tour – Take your audience beyond your desk by taking them on a virtual tour of your office/workplace. This Story works best as a series of images or videos. @theskimm has an entire Story Highlight dedicated to a tour of their office space:
29. Make an Intro – Introduce your followers to a colleague or partner you work with. Share a fun fact about them, as well as any exciting projects you’re collaborating on. Remember to tag them!
30. Share the Process – Whether you’re a baker, content writer or anything in between – every position has a process. Share a behind the scenes look into yours (i.e. if you’re a baker, share a Story about how you create one of your treats, step by step).
31. Story Takeover – Share a different perspective with your audience by arranging a takeover with an employee, customer or friend. Have them take over your account for the morning or the day – answering relevant questions, sharing sneak peeks etc. It’s a great idea to plug the takeover in your feed as well, like @amdocslife did here:
32. How You Unwind – Create a Story that addresses: how do you relax at the end of a long day? What are your hobbies or self-care best practices?
33. Check in from an Industry Event or Conference – Be sure to use the location sticker and use the event’s branded hashtag. Share insights and quotes from speakers and be sure to tag them.
34. Show a Transformation – Everyone loves a good before & after. Whether you recently cleaned off your desk or you’re a pro organizer and have done impressive work with a client – share both the initial & final results to your Stories.
35. Fun Fact – You don’t need to get too personal, but you’ll create a connection with your audience by sharing something that they wouldn’t have otherwise guessed about you.
36. Blog – Share a relevant or new blog post you’ve created. Make sure to swipe up to the blog or add it as your link in your bio. Start your Story by teasing what the post is about – hook your audience so that they’ll want to visit your blog to learn more.
37. Promote Your Content from Other Social Platforms – If you’re a YouTuber who also excels at Instagram, plug your latest YouTube video in your Stories. Try not to cross-promote too often (to avoid being considered ‘spammy’), and try to reserve this type of Story for your best social content. Some inspiration from social media expert @_socialsam_:
38. Share Your Feed Post – Head over to the feed post you’d like to share, tap the paper airplane icon (share button) and select ‘Add post to your Story.’ It’s a good practice to do this regularly with your newest feed posts – it encourages engagement, as your followers might have just scrolled past your post otherwise, or missed it entirely.
Some inspiration from @marketingbymonrae:
39. Share Feed Posts from Accounts You Follow– Whether it’s a quote that inspired you or a photo with a message that will resonate with your audience, sharing feed posts from others is a great way to support their content, boost their engagement and help spread their message.
40. Share Customer Testimonials/Reviews – Share positive reviews to your Story – doing so enhances social proof and creates trust with your audience. This can be a screenshot of a review from a different social platform, a share of a Story you were tagged in or a DM. Before sharing a DM, ask the follower for permission to do so.
41. Story Contest – When you run an Instagram contest or giveaway, incorporate Stories into the entry requirements. Here’s a recent contest from @stationery_island which included ‘Share this post on your story’ as an entry requirement:
View this post on Instagram
GIVEAWAY CLOSED!!! Hi everyone 😉 we are collaborating with @estherpeck to GIVEAWAY 1 set of 24 essential colours brushpens 1 set of 24 colours fineliners 1 A5 dotted notebook Do you want to win this?🙋🏻♀🙋🏻♂ To join this giveaway, 1. Like this post. 2. Follow @stationery_island and @estherpeck and tell us why you like to have these:) 3. Share this post on your story. 4. For additional entry, repost this in your IG account sharing why you want to win these brushpens, fineliners and notebook and use the tag #stationeryislandxestherpeck 5. Please make your profile public during the giveaway so we can verify your repost and account. The last date to enter this giveaway is 14th Dec 2019. Winners' name will be announced on 16th Dec 2019 Per Instagram rules, this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram. All the best to each one of you! 😊 #InstagramGiveaway #InstagramContest #contest #giveaway #watercolor #watercolour #brushpenswatch
42. Reintroduce Yourself – As your audience grows, reintroduce yourself on your Stories every once in a while – who you are, where you’re from and what your IG has to offer.
43. Share Wallpapers – Create branded wallpapers that your audience can screenshot and use. You can do so with a third-party app or you can share a wallpaper-worthy photo you snapped (make sure it’s the proper orientation for Stories). Here’s some inspiration from @mr.pokee:
44. Coffee – Feel like half of the Stories you swipe through are about coffee? It’s because they probably are. Share your afternoon cup, but be sure to get creative and find a way to make your Story stand out.
45. Weather – Sharing the daily forecast to your Stories may seem mundane, but if you utilize the weather sticker and make your Story engaging, your followers will find your content interesting – especially if they live in a climate that’s entirely different from yours.
Two perks of creating a weekly Story Series: 1) consistency 2) if you create compelling content, your audience will continually look forward to the next weekly installment .
46. #MotivationMonday – Share a quote that inspires you or tag someone who inspires you.
47. Monday Plans – Share your plans for the week or goals you’d like to accomplish.
48. #TuesdayTip – Whether it’s a productivity tip or a piece of social media marketing advice, share a different insight weekly within the same theme.
49. #FridayFeeling – Share a video or series of photos reflecting on the week: did you meet your goals? Did the week that just passed meet your expectations? You can also share your upcoming weekend plans.
50. Additional Weekly Series Ideas – On the same day each week, you can: host a Q&A, share a weekly special deal or promotion, or showcase a product/service. Additional weekly hashtags you can utilize: #WednesdayWisdom, #ThursdayThoughts, #SaturdayVibes, #SundayFunday.
Cori Widen is the Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks. She has been leading product marketing campaigns and doing qualitative market research in the tech industry for 10 years.