21 Instagram Story Ideas + 5 Expert Tips For More Views & Engagement

Do you fancy those pintersty-story shots? We bet you also crave to make the most of the pixels and woo your Insta fam.

Your Instagram story isn’t a mere dump ground for reposting your feed or reel posts. In fact, an Instagram story is an engagement tool in itself. 

You ask us, why? Well, there’s a chance that your stories will garner more meaningful interaction than your carousel posts or that perfect snap. 

Some might argue that the reach rate of Instagram stories is lesser than that of the feed posts.  Yet it takes the crown in creating a sense of FOMO once it catches the corner of your followers’ eye. 

Enough of the talk now. Let’s get to the real thing and see how you can make it worth their tap with our ultimate story idea guide. 

Aesthetic Instagram story ideas

1. Behind-the-scenes story

Creating a behind-the-scenes story with an engaging and interactive tone can make your audience feel like they’re part of the brand’s journey. 

Glossier, a skincare brand, created an interactive story and answered their followers’ questions about their latest product. 

What you can do: Add a poll sticker and make your audience guess some ingredients. Go one step further by giving a shout-out to the followers who guessed correctly. 

2. User-generated content story

An interactive and engaging user-generated content story could involve creating a quiz or tag a friend challenge around your brand’s unique features. 

Staud, a fashion brand, shares a snap series of popular faces wearing their best-sellers. This is one of the best ways to promote your brand because it’s authentic. 

What you can do: Encourage your followers to share photos of themselves using your products with a specific hashtag. Ask them to tag your brand in stories and reshare your top picks. 

3. Product launch story

A product launch story can be interactive by including features such as polls or quizzes to gauge interest and create buzz. 

Lululemon got all creative while launching a no-stink deodorant. Not just the product, it even had a detailed review of its effectiveness from the first use.  

What you can do: Go for a problem-solution framework when going for a product launch. Address the major pain point and introduce your product as the killer solution.

Instagram story ideas for business

4. Takeover story

Allowing a guest influencer or expert to take over your story can be an engaging way to showcase both your brand and the guest. 

Adidas collaborates with different athletes for their Instagram stories to showcase their brand’s focus on fitness and performance. 

What you can do: Ask a couple of micro-influencers and let them share their stories of how they use your brand on a day-to-day basis. 

5. Teaser story

Creating a teaser story for a new product or service can build excitement and anticipation for your audience. This creates buzz around the new product or service, making it an effective way to build excitement and generate interest in what’s to come.

Samsung created a teaser story that featured a close-up of their new phone and invited their followers to pick their favorite color. 

What you can do: Post a dramatic teaser with product snaps or close-up shots and add a countdown timer for the final launch. 

6. Informative story

Sharing informative content that’s valuable to your audience can be an engaging way to build your brand’s credibility and thought leadership. These types of stories are a great way to educate and inform your audience, making them more engaged and loyal to your brand.

Canva frequently shares informative Instagram stories and reveals useful tips and tricks. In this one, they share their top tip for searching relevant images from Pixabay and Pexels. 

What you can do: Create a step-by-step guide on any how-to topic that’s relevant or trending in your niche.

Cute Instagram story ideas

7. Polls and quizzes 

Use interactive polls and quizzes in your Instagram stories to engage your audience and add a cute twist. This type of interactive story allows your audience to participate, showcases your products, and generates engagement.

Tarte Cosmetics frequently uses cute-themed polls and quizzes in their stories, asking followers to vote on their favorite lip shade with cute emojis. 

What you can do: Use a poll sticker with emojis as the options. This can be used for reviews or general vibe checks. 

8. Product unboxing

Create cute and adorable unboxing stories featuring your brand’s products. This is a great way to showcase new products or limited-edition releases. 

Hello Fresh, a meal kit delivery service, often shares unboxing stories where they showcase the meal details in a cute and visually appealing way, paired with playful captions or animations.

What you can do: Pick a light shade of your brand palette and try finding cute elements in a  similar hue. Use them to break the monotony of solid colors. 

9. Pet collaboration

Collaborating with pets can create cute and heartwarming Instagram posts that resonate with your audience. Partner with pet influencers or ask your followers to share pictures of their pets with your brand’s product using a specific hashtag. 

BarkBox collaborates with adorable dog influencers and encourages their followers to share photos of their dogs enjoying their BarkBox toys. These not only create an adorable and cute aesthetic but also generate user-generated content and engagement.

What you can do: Everybody loves pets. No matter your niche, a pet collab is all you need for a breath of fresh air and a dose of cuteness.

Cool Instagram story ideas

10. Takeovers by employees

Give your employees a chance to take over your Instagram stories and share their experiences working at your company. This humanizes your brand and allows your audience to see the faces and stories behind the scenes. 

Starbucks has done employee takeovers, where their baristas share their favorite coffee recipes and personal stories.

What you can do: Ask your team members to show what a typical day looks like working in your business. This will truly elevate the humane aspect, giving relatable faces to your brand. 

11. Interactive games and challenges

Create fun and interactive games or challenges that your audience can participate in via your Instagram stories. 

Gymshark, a fitness apparel brand, often shares fitness challenges and games in their stories to involve their audience in their fitness community.

What you can do: Create a “Tap to change the color” game with your brand products. With each tap, your followers will be able to turn a picture from black-and-white to a colored one. 

12. Animated stories

Use animation or GIFs in your Instagram stories to add a playful and eye-catching element. This can be used to demonstrate product features, highlight brand messaging, or simply create visually appealing content. 

Coca-Cola often incorporates animated elements into their stories, showcasing their iconic branding with dope tracks.

What you can do: Keep track of what songs are trending among your demographics. Use them in your stories to keep them hooked and engaged.

Creative Instagram story ideas

13. Before and after

Create a series of before-and-after Instagram stories that showcase your products or services in action. This format is particularly effective for beauty or fitness brands but can work for other industries too. 

Maybelline New York frequently uses this technique in their Instagram stories to demonstrate their makeup products. In this case, they are showcasing the dramatic effect that the New SS powder brings in just one application. 

What you can do: This is a great template to show how your brand is bringing a phenomenal change in your customer’s life. You can even quote stats in case you don’t have such visuals to back you.

14. Trivia contest

Engage your followers with a trivia game on your Instagram stories. Ask a question(s) related to your brand or industry, with the first few followers to answer correctly receiving a prize. 

The National Football League (NFL) often shares trivia questions on their Instagram stories, with fans having the chance to win merchandise or other prizes. 

What you can do: Interact with your audience by asking them some fun trivia questions about your brand. This will push them to watch out for more. 

15. This or that

Feature two different ideas/products from your brand and ask your followers which one they like better. Add a poll sticker or ask followers to comment their preferred choice, and then share the results or feature the winning choice in a subsequent story.

MVMT creates “This or That” stories by showcasing two different accessory styles side by side. They ask their followers to vote for their preferred option or even ask questions. 

What you can do: Place two of your best-sellers or any contradicting choices and see what triumphs. This is a fun A/B test template that you can use to gauge your audience’s preferences.

Instagram story layout ideas

16. Swipe up  

This layout is great for directing your followers to a destination beyond the app. Include a “Swipe Up” call-to-action to direct followers to a blog post, product page, your own personal website, or video.

Oreo regularly uses the swipe-up feature in their Instagram stories to share recipes featuring their cookies. They’ve provided their followers with easy, delicious recipe ideas incorporating Oreos.

What you can do: Create a “choose your favorite packaging” poll sticker to get followers excited about the upcoming launch, followed by a “swipe up to pre-order” feature. 

17. Trend alert

Share the latest trends in your industry or showcase how your products align with current trends. Don’t forget to Include visuals or examples to illustrate the trend.

Walmart often uses this layout to highlight its most in-demand products. They handpick trendy items that are in hype in a particular time period. 

What you can do: Hop into the trend with a branded twist. This will help you promote your unique take on the trend, making you an absolute stand-out. 

18. Emoji slide sticker

Make your followers rate your latest release using different emojis, such as the fire emoji or heart eyes emoji. This is yet another way to gather insights by adding a dash of excitement to an otherwise boring story. 

H&M adds emoji slider stickers to understand their audience’s preferences and tailor their offerings accordingly. 

What you can do: Add a series of images in your story and add the emoji slider sticker. This will help you access multiple choices in a row.

Fun Instagram story ideas 

19. Seasonal content

Tap tap into the excitement and festivities surrounding major holidays or events. One effective way to do this is by creating Instagram stories that are specifically tailored to the season or occasion.

Wendy’s got creative and posted an Ouija board with an AMA sticker. This interactive approach not only engages followers but also encourages them to come forward and seek a brand’s personalized response. 

What you can do: Leverage stories to highlight the season’s top picks. This is the best time to promote your best deals. 

20. Giveaway

Run a giveaway where followers can win an exclusive gift from your brand. Use Instagram stories to announce the rules, dates, and other relevant information. 

Genexa partners with multiple nano and micro-influencers to run their giveaway contests. The influencers often share the rules and even announce winners by tagging them in stories. 

What you can do: Everybody loves free things. A small giveaway is a small price to pay if you want to raise your brand awareness. Make sure to promote your giveaway rules multiple times so they don’t mess up their final entry. 

21. Brand collaboration

Join forces with another brand to create a special edition product or service that combines the strengths of both brands. Create a viral buzz and appeal to a wider audience at large.

Here’s an interesting collaboration between Ray-Ban and Meta. They teamed up to create a line of smart glasses that combine Ray-Ban’s iconic eyewear design with Meta’s advanced augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities. 

What you can do: Reach out to a brand that’s not directly competing with you for such collaboration. Mix your offerings and go for such a tempting offer that both of your followers can’t resist. 

Bonus: 5 Tips to make your Instagram story jaw-dropping

Crave some more export tips still? Here are 5 expert tips that will help you stand out from the rest.  

1. Engage with interactive designs

Use lesser-known interactive layouts for games like bingo, fill in the blanks, take a guess, etc. Encourage your audience to participate and interact by adding quizzes, polls, interactive digital flipbooks, or question stickers to your stories.

2. Create sequential stories

Instead of cramming all your content into a single story, create sequential stories that follow a narrative or an unfolding story arc. This keeps your audience hooked and encourages them to watch the entire series, increasing your story’s impact and engagement.

3. Weave stories to connect

Adding stories and context to Instagram stories creates a certain momentum. A strong narrative often captivates and connects with the audience, encouraging them to follow along and interact. The additional layers of storytelling help users relate to the content, sparking curiosity, and ultimately increasing engagement.

4. Use AR filters to spice up your stories

AR filters are a fun way to add personality and humor to your Instagram strategy. You can use them to highlight emotions, reactions, or to express a particular mood. Use the AR filter to search for relevant options and choose the one that best suits your story.

5. Get inspiration from influencers and other brands

Keep tabs on popular influencers or brands in your industry and get inspired by their creative use of Instagram stories. Borrow ideas, themes, and creative concepts to incorporate into your stories. Additionally, check out Instagram’s “Explore” feature to discover new and exciting content.

Wrapping up

With their tap-friendly and time-sensitive nature, Instagram Stories have become a preferred medium for influencer marketing, making them equally appealing to a regular Instagrammer. 

Indeed, Instagram Stories are a powerful tool to engage with followers, promote products or services, and raise awareness about your brand. 

The above-mentioned Instagram story ideas are just a starting point to get your creative gears turning. By experimenting with different formats, trying out new features, and posting regularly, you can create a thriving brand on Instagram.

To ensure that your Instagram strategy is working, it’s crucial to track your performance. Keyhole’s Instagram Analytics tool helps you measure engagement, track hashtags and keywords, and monitor your competitors. 

Try Keyhole’s free trial today to start optimizing your Instagram marketing strategy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I post Instagram stories, and do I need to vary the content?

It's recommended to post Instagram stories every day or at least every other day to remain top of mind with your followers. It's also important to vary the content to maintain audience interest and avoid being repetitive.

2. How can I come up with creative Instagram story ideas when I lack inspiration?

Consider re-purposing older content, polling your followers for inspiration, or checking out other Instagram accounts or websites for ideas. Additionally, taking a break from social media can sometimes spark creativity.

3. How can I use Instagram Stories to increase conversions or revenue?

Use Instagram stories to showcase your products or services, offer discounts and promo codes, or show testimonials from satisfied customers. Additionally, utilizing sponsored Instagram Stories and Instagram Story Ads can help you reach a broader audience and drive sales.