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7 Instagram Story ideas that work for business

It’s hard to believe that Instagram Stories are less than two years old and have already surpassed 300 million daily active users. Instagram Stories are a great channel for increasing brand awareness organically, and can give your audience a more humanized view of your brand. It might seem like ephemeral content can be a wasted effort; especially when you have to do it regularly and often, but it’s pretty easy once you narrow down what works. We collected 7 Instagram Story ideas that are both simple and effective for any business.

Why should marketers use Instagram Stories? 

Ok, you know that Instagram Stories are insanely popular, but you’re still not completely convinced that you should take advantage of the feature. Well, the truth is, brands get better organic visibility with Instagram Stories. Here’s how it looks in numbers: 

Get this, posts earn the lion’s share of brand impressions, while Instagram Stories only account for 19%. You may think that 19% is insignificant, but hear me out. This makes up ⅕ of impressions earned, and that’s a huge portion of organic reach! If you’re only publishing posts, then you’re only gaining traction from posts. You could be missing out on a quarter of free impressions.

Now you’re slightly more convinced, and you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to get creative and have fun with Instagram Stories. They already come with a ton of features such as adding hashtags, multimedia content, and polls. So here are 7 simple Instagram Story ideas with some real life examples. 

1. Ask your community to contribute to your Instagram Stories 

Marketers face the constant challenge of consistently developing new content. That’s why leveraging User Generated Content (UGC) can be a great tactic, which can help to strengthen the relationship with your community and reach new ones.

What can you do?

Ask your fans to play with your images or wear your products and use their own images as slides in your Instagram Stories. You can also mention the people who have tagged or mentioned your page and thus, generate more engagement on their part.

A great example in this case comes from Lelograms, a minimalist jewelry designer that successfully uses UGC in their campaigns for Instagram Stories.

What made this Instagram Stories campaign successful and what can we learn from it? The first slide of the story comes with a Poll: “Do you want to draw together?”, with the answers ‘Yes’ and ‘Maybe’). 

The background presents us with two of Lelograms’ minimalist pieces of jewelry. Then, on the same background, the followers tapped through a series of instructions in order to contribute. By using an emoji, they could represent themselves in the first ring and their boyfriends/girlfriends in the second ring. The third slide invites their followers to create the actual design, prompting them to send it Lelograms with the chance of it being featured on their Instagram. 

Here are some of the results from their campaign:

2. Use Instagram Story polls to learn about your audience 

Polls are a fun way to engage and learn more about your audience. Simply asking an interesting question can spark a meaningful conversation and result in viral content.

They allow marketers to quickly and effectively engage with their followers and we all know how important engagement is for a social media marketing strategy. If you already have an active audience, the polls feature can prove to be quite effective for your strategy and it can get you great results. Take for instance, Airbnb.

Here’s a screenshot from one of their Instagram Stories campaigns. Notice the professional look, the simple design and the natural voice they use in order to get their audience to participate. This demonstrates an easy way to make use of polls, as well as shows a great example of an unfolding story that keeps audiences tuned in. 

3. Create Instagram Story wallpapers for your community 

There are many businesses, marketers, and even influencers, who know how to promote their brands successfully on Instagram via Stories. One of the greatest uses we’ve seen are through wallpapers because they give brands the ability to act like media companies and inform their audience of the latest news.

In short, wallpapers enable you to create content with purpose - they are easily digestible and shareable. Your followers may be apt to sharing it with their audiences. For instance, follow Socialbakers Instagram, and you’ll see how wallpapers are used to share the latest developments in social media. This is just one use of wallpapers, but this can help you repurpose other branded content. Here’s an example from my own Instagram profile:

Gary Vaynerchuk is another name that comes to mind whenever I think of someone who creates engaging, stylish and creative Stories. He manages to transform each of his slides into beautiful wallpapers for his community as you can see in the following two examples:

4. Encourage your community to ask questions and answer them with Instagram Stories 

When you share valuable content with your audiences or ask them to participate through polls, they naturally engage with them. What about giving them exactly what they want without trying to guess and brainstorm for ideas?

You can do this through asking your audience to ask questions and answer them through your stories. It can certainly prove to be beneficial for your ongoing campaign for several reasons. Firstly, you show your audience that you care about them. Secondly, you get to answer their questions - which likely might address what could be on more than one person’s mind, and thus provide valuable content. Thirdly, you get to grow as an expert or a trusted authority in your field.

Tip: For a maximum efficiency, try to find out which day drives the maximum engagement rate based on your industry and audience. To better understand how Instagram works and what works on Instagram at the same time, try following some great accounts and learn as much as you can from them. Here’s a list of 25 publishers to follow.

5. Use "Tap to Type" and finish with a "Swipe Up" story 

If you want to share texts or paragraphs from your articles, take advantage of the “Tap to Type” feature on Instagram Stories. If you want to drive people to read the full story on your website, add the Swipe to see more function. In order to be successful, it’s important that you have compelling titles or news to share with your audience. Also, you need at least 10,000 followers to share a link and let people swipe up a slide in order to access it.

Here are some examples:

6. Use "Highlights" to keep your Instagram Stories on your profile 

Most of the Stories published on Instagram are automatically deleted after 24 hours. However, if you want to keep some of your best slides on your profile and make them available to your audience for an indefinite period of time, here’s the good news: you can achieve this through Instagram Stories Highlights.

Instagram Stories Highlights are curated clips that you can group together and let them live on your profile for as long as you wish. They will appear right under your profile name, on top of your feed, and thus, be easily accessible to your audience.

7. Instagram Stories Ads 

If you want to add more chances to your campaign and make sure it is successful, you can also try the Instagram Stories Ads feature. It allows you to publish ads within other people’s stories and benefit from a much wider audience, going beyond your own pool of followers. All you need is a great banner ad and some market research in order to find out where to publish your ad, and when. You can design your ads with an online tool in just a few minutes and benefit from this option without investing too much time in it.

For instance, Bannersnack comes with many templates that can inspire your own work or allow you to design your visuals based on actual professional designs. You can design your stories with this tool and give them a true professional look. And with a single-click of a button, animate your static visuals.

You can also save them as individual files and upload them on Instagram Stories. What’s great is that everything you do on Bannersnack is automatically saved in the cloud under your profile making your work is accessible from anywhere at anytime. Thus, you can build new stories based on your own old templates or, adjust them for other social media accounts.


Instagram is a powerful marketing tool if you can utilize it to its full potential. And Instagram Stories is the feature you want to include in your campaigns, outside of traditional posts and advertising banners. Try experimenting with these 7 Instagram Stories ideas which can help you generate better conversions and increase your pool of followers exponentially.

However, implementing these ideas are just one part of the equation. You need to understand how your Instagram Story performance is contributing to your overall Instagram marketing strategy.

Robert Katai is a visual marketer, blogger and content marketing strategist at Bannersnack. 

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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