One of the fun things about Instagram is that there are so many types of posts you can share. These include in-feed posts, IGTV videos, live videos, and stories.
Out of all these types of posts, stories are probably the most unique and interesting type. As they only last for 24 hours and you are allowed to add stickers to them. This gives you a ton of opportunities to publish creative content.
Several people are already taking advantage of it. 500 million accounts use stories every day and 68% of people get interested in a brand or product after viewing it in a story.
Therefore, to help you get the most out of them too, I have created a list of the 8 best Instagram stories ideas. I have also shared examples of accounts getting it right.
Table Of Contents
1. Get your fans involved
Instagram offers a couple of stories stickers that make it easy for you to get your fans involved. These include the ‘Questions’ sticker where you can ask a question and get fans to type down answers and ‘Polls’ where people can choose one answer from a choice of 2.
You can use these 2 stickers just as a fun way to get followers involved or to research and understand your audience so that you can share content they want to see. One of the most interactive stories I have come across was this one from Netflix.
For this story series, they invited KJ Apa, an actor from a show on their platform called The Last Summer.
They got him to share a story. In it, he informed viewers that they would get a chance to vote between 2 workouts. The vote would last for 20 minutes.
After which he would do the workout that was picked.
For the first vote, they asked viewers to choose between running in place or using a jump rope.
Viewers voted for jump rope, so KJ went ahead and skipped with a jump rope.
Netflix made it even more fun by coming up with creative workout ideas. For example, in the next poll, they asked viewers if he should do curls with a dumbbell or a guitar.
As expected, people picked the guitar. So, he did curls with a guitar.
As you can see this was a very creative Instagram stories idea from Netflix. They got followers involved and created content they wanted to watch.
So, you too should think about ways in which you can use the ‘Polls’ and ‘Questions’ stickers to interact with your followers and create better Instagram posts.
Like Netflix, try to use a combination of both images and videos. Question and poll stickers work best when the background is still as it won’t be too distracting when people are choosing their answer or typing it in.
They have templates and easy to use photo editors that let you create attractive and interactive Instagram stories designs.
Did you know?
You can create stunning Facebook and Instagram ads directly in GetResponse.
2. Publish longer videos as stories
A problem with Instagram in-feed videos is that each video can only be 60 seconds long. You can publish up to 10 videos in a carousel post and extend the time to 600 seconds (10 minutes). This won’t always be sufficient and you will lose time if you make one of the slides into an image.
One way to publish longer videos is through IGTV, but you can’t be certain that you will drive the same levels of engagement on the network, as very few people use it.
A better alternative would be to publish it as a story. Stories can be only 15 seconds long, but there is no limit on the number of slides that can be added to a story. So, you can take a really long video and divide it into multiple bits and publish it as one story, An example is the below recipe video from Serious Eats.
As you can see there are several slides in one video story. I like that they used captions in the video as 83% of people will watch your video in mute. Captions will make it easy for them to follow along.
You can add these captions while uploading the video using Instagram’s stories editor, but this can take a while as typing in the text manually on a smartphone is a slow process.
To get it done quickly you can use a video editor like InVideo.
They have templates made just for Instagram stories. You can pick a template, upload your video and then use their editor to add in overlays and other text that stand out against the video background.
Another thing you will notice about the video story is that the next slide plays automatically after the previous one. While with in-feed videos you need to do it manually. People might find this more user friendly.
Serious Eats also shared a link to the blog post version of the same recipe in the story. This should drive some traffic.
3. Create a product catalogue
Your Instagram bio can be just 150 characters long. That should be enough to tell people a bit about you and to ask them to follow you or to click the link in the bio.
So, if you want to tell people more about your products and how to find them, you should create an Instagram stories highlight like this one from Kookai.
As you can see this story consists of their products in the Autumn 2020 catalogue. They included pictures of several products in the catalogue story slideshow and linked to the product landing page in each slide. There’s also a call to action.
This is an effective way to promote your products and drive traffic.
Kookai are able to share a link in their stories as they have more than 10,000 followers. If you have fewer followers you won’t be able to do this.
But if your store is set up with a builder like Shopify, just like Kookai, you should be able to take advantage of the shoppable stories integration they offer with Instagram.
If you build your store with a builder like this one and integrate it with Instagram, a product sticker will appear.
You can add this to your posts and then tag the products in the photo even if you have fewer followers. You should do this even if you have more than 10,000 followers, as you can tag several products in one photo. It will make it easy for your followers to find all of them.
4. Show people how to find your store offline
It might seem like everyone is buying their products online, but ecommerce is only a small component of total retail sales, just 16.1%. It usually grows by just 2%, but this year it jumped to 25% because of the current situation. That’s still just a quarter of sales.
The majority of people will still prefer buying your products offline at a store. This is why you should show people how to find a store quickly using Instagram stories like MVMT does here.
They first show you a screen recording of the number of stores they have all over the world. This shows that you should be able to find an MVMT store in most countries quickly.
After that, they show you how to use the store locator to find the one nearest to you. And they link to the store locator on their website in the story.
You should be able to create a screen recording like this with Loom.
5. Give people a sneak peek of your store
Another way to get people to visit your store is by sharing a short video or a stories slide show that gives people a tour of your store/workplace. If it is quite aesthetic in appearance, more people will want to check it out for themselves. Also, it can give them an idea of what to find where when they visit.
An example is this video from New York University.
In this one, they share a few pictures from their garden. This will convince potential students who like nature to hop in for a real tour.
So, think about what your potential customers want most from a video tour and give it to them. You can share photos like NYU, but a video tour would work better.
6. Share timely tutorials
As Instagram stories only last for 24 hours, you should create timely content meant for that moment only. Like in this video from Clinique.
Here Audrey shows people how to quickly put on some makeup for a virtual date. As this tutorial was created during the lockdown because of the pandemic.
At the end, Audrey also mentions the products she used in the tutorial and shares a link where you can buy them.
This is a timely tutorial that will help people out and generate sales at the same time. As 80% of Instagram users want to watch more how-to videos.
7. Let influencers take over your account
One way to make your Instagram stories more creative is by getting an influencer to take it over. They will share content from their own perspective. Their fresh ideas can boost engagement.
They did this during the New York Fashion Week.
This way you too should get influencers to take over your account and get them to publish content they think your followers will like. After the campaign ends you can check your analytics to see if the stories from the influencer worked better.
Another tactic you can try is to get influencers to publish content promoting your account or your product on their account itself, but while turning on the Branded Content option.
This will give you the option to turn the post into an ad and also view important metrics.
For influencer marketing to work, make sure you team up with the right influencers only. They should be relevant to your niche and have a well-engaged following.
To find influencers with a real following who are willing to promote you in their Instagram stories, you can use a tool like Shoutcart.
They have a huge library of influencer listing where you can filter and find influencers based on the niche and whether they are open to posting a story.
You can contact them directly on the platform and plan the post.
8. Create an FAQs page
You can also create a FAQs story page like Puravida does below
In it, they answer the frequently asked questions and link to a page on their website where you can find more answers (whenever relevant).
You can either list the same FAQs you list on your website here or list some fresh ones just for your Instagram followers. The best thing would be to run a story with a ‘Questions’ sticker first and ask people to submit their most pressing questions.
After that, you can answer these questions in a separate story like the above one.
These are some of the most creative Instagram stories ideas and examples I have come across. As you can see there are several ways to create highly engaging and interactive Instagram stories.
There are many more accounts out there, regularly experimenting with new story ideas and stickers, and coming up with unique tactics. So, make sure you follow some of the most active accounts in your niche and see what they do.
Then brainstorm your very own new ideas, too.
What are the most creative Instagram stories ideas you have come across? Have you got any tactics you would like to share with us?