Coming up with cool Instagram story ideas is not always easy. Nor is coming up with creative ideas for Instagram photos or videos in general. With around 95 million photos being uploaded each day, it takes Something special to stand out from the crowd on IG. Stories are the perfect place to build meaningful connections with new and existing followers.
The key to success on Instagram lies in generating engagement – not simply getting people to view your content and walk away. Increasingly, Instagram stories are becoming a magnet for those looking for entertainment, amusement, inspiration, and even education.
Of course, the fact that stories appear for a limited time can make it all the more difficult to maximize their impact. If they don’t get the job done pretty quickly, it’s game over.
But what kinds of story ideas guarantee maximum engagement, and how should you approach them? Whether new to Instagram stories or simply looking to boost engagement, what’s a good place to start in terms of subject matter?
Instagram Story Ideas That Will Increase Your Engagement
Irrespective of the type of content you publish, there are certain types of stories that always hit home. A quick and easy way to make things happen on stories is to gradually set yourself up with a series of templates. After which, it becomes much simpler to put together engaging stories going forwards.
In the meantime, it’s a case of focusing on the most engaging Instagram story types within your niche. With this in mind, here’s a brief rundown of 30 things to post on Instagram stories if looking to generate maximum engagement:
1. Behind the Scenes
First up, it’s always interesting to be taken behind the scenes by a brand, a business, or any content creator. This gives your viewers a closer look at who you are and what you do while giving you the opportunity to showcase your personality. A great way to build trust and loyalty while boosting engagement.
2. Share Previews
You can also use Instagram stories to share previews of Something to come. A teaser of Something you intend to post on the platform, a hint at a new product or service, maybe even a clip from your next music video or tutorial. Previews can work wonders, as they both generate engagement and build hype about what’s to come next.
3. Share Memes
Even today, memes are still pure gold for generating engagement.
They also have huge viral potential on pretty much every social media platform. Though, of course, this only applies if the memes you share are current, relevant, and likely to be appreciated by your target audience. Don’t get carried away with memes – focus on quality over quantity.
The Instagram stories questions sticker gives your audience the opportunity to ask you anything they want directly. These questions (and the subsequent answers you provide) could form the basis for any number of fantastic stories. Again, giving your audience the opportunity to get to know you on a deeper and more personal level.
5. Create Polls
It’s a similar story with polls, where you essentially ask others to share their thoughts and opinions on relevant topics. Polls that are around for just 24 hours never fail to grab the attention of those coming across them. Where Something is strictly time-limited, people tend to be far more compelled to take advantage of it.
6. Create a Countdown
The countdown sticker in Instagram stories is another great way to generate hype. This can be particularly useful if you use your posts to introduce new products, new services, or new things in general. A countdown to Something instinctively gives the impression that it is Something important and worth sticking around to take a look at.
7. Share Before and After Images
Before and after images on Instagram can be anything you want them to be. They can feature you before, and after some kind of makeover, they can showcase your capabilities from one period of time to the next, or they can be used to demonstrate your talents in turning Something into Something else. They can also be used purely for fun, where the after is actually worse than the before.
The occasional shoutout to someone (or some brand) you respect on Instagram can also work wonders. Shoutouts boost engagement by generating interest in whoever it is you mention while at the same time earning their appreciation for taking the time to mention them. Shoutouts work best when used in moderation, as opposed to being overused.
9. Share Your Feed Post
Your stories can also be used to showcase and promote your regular IG content. If lacking inspiration at the time, why not share your IGTV, Reels, and other posts from your feed?
Aim to put together Something of a showreel, with snippets of your best content from the past day, week, or month. Great for putting together an engaging story while at the same time generating interest in your feed.
10. Play Fun Games
There are so many different ways you can bring games into your Instagram stories. You can make your own spot the difference content, and you can host a pop quiz, you can publish truth or lie statements about yourself, and so on. You can also simply ask your viewers to take sides on Something contentious in order to stir debate and get to know them a little better.
11. Use Various Fonts And Typefaces
One thing you’ll note about every attractive Instagram story is its use of creative fonts and typefaces. Using text in various colors, shapes, sizes, and styles will always make your Instagram stories more engaging and attractive. But at the same time, you also need to ensure that the text is clear and legible, against whatever background you choose.
12. Post an Unboxing
The classic of classics, unboxing content remains as popular as ever. Share valuable unboxing stories your viewers will genuinely appreciate, and you’re golden. While doing so, remember that disappointing and failed unboxings can be just as (if not more) entertaining than those that go to plan.
13. Share Your Mood
If struggling for inspiration, why not simply let them know how you are feeling at the time? Using cute graphics and visuals to communicate your mood can be another great way to showcase your personality. There’s no shortage of mood-based memes to explore, but it’s even more engaging if you come up with your own.
14. Promote Your Own Products
If you currently have at least 10,000 followers, you can use the Swipe Up option to channel traffic directly to your website or product pages. Stories can be a great place to promote a product or service, just as long as most of your content is non-promotional. Either way, you’ll need to increase your followers to a minimum of 10,000 in order to unlock the Swipe Up option.
15. Announce an Event
If you’re hosting an event of any kind – online or in the real world – why not announce it with an Instagram story? This can be a useful option for both boosting engagement and generating interest in the event in question. Bring a countdown into the mix and show sneak previews of what’s set to take place at the event for even greater impact.
16. Build Your Brand
Instagram stories can be used for brand development in countless ways. You can share step-by-step tutorials, and you can host Q&A sessions with the people behind the brand.
You can host polls to build a better understanding of your customers and more. You can also create stories of pure appreciation and gratitude for those who follow you and support your business.
17. Post Quizzes
As already touched upon, a simple quiz can be surprisingly effective in generating engagement. People always enjoy the opportunity to show the world how bright and switched on they on.
On Instagram, quizzes are most effective when the questions are unusual and the answers are surprising. Long story short – get creative with your quizzes and avoid anything generic.
18. Host a Contest
Contests run via Instagram stories get things done in two ways. Firstly, they bring out the competitiveness in people, which never fails to boost engagement. Secondly, they play on people’s constant desire to pick up Something for free. Not to mention, earn the kudos and brownie points that accompany being named publicly as the winner.
19. Consider a Takeover
A takeover is where you hand control of an Instagram story over to someone other than yourself. It could be a colleague, an employee, a friend, or even one of your followers – anyone you can trust to come up with Something catchy. Adding a new voice and an entirely new personality to your output really can breathe new life into your content.
20. Teach Something
Oftentimes, the most engaging and appealing content is the type that teaches you how to do Something. What’s great about tutorial content is how it also gives you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge, skills, and capabilities. If you can teach them to do Something, they’ll get some genuine use out of it; go for it.
21. Ask for Suggestions
Of course, there’s also the option of asking your audience what it wants to see. Asking for suggestions achieves two important things. Firstly, it’s a quick and easy way to stack up fantastic ideas for future stories.
Secondly, it shows you genuinely care about the thoughts, opinions, and suggestions of your target audience. Both of which can be pure gold for engagement.
22. Share Your Blog Posts
If you are able to use the Swipe Up option, it can be great for driving traffic to your external blog posts. Instagram stories can also be used to post snippets of your latest blog posts or to announce when and where your next post will drop.
Don’t forget that the same also works in reverse – why not promote your Instagram stories (and post links) in your external blog posts?
23. Share Your Location
Content on Instagram is always more engaging when you know exactly where the publisher was at the time. Simply by sharing your location, you can significantly boost the appeal of everything you publish.
It’s all about giving the viewer the information they need to put themselves in your shoes and get a better feel for who you are, what you do, and where you do it from.
24. Offer Discounts
There’s nothing quite like a special offer to drive huge engagement on social media. People, in general, are powerless against a discount – even when it is relatively remedial.
Better yet, why not make your discounts exclusive to those who follow you? A great way of building a bigger audience while generating interest in your products and/or services.
25. Go Live
After going live on Instagram, your viewers will be able to check out the broadcast for 24 hours as a story. Real-time content broadcast on Instagram is inherently more interesting and engaging than pre-recorded content. If you can bring regular live broadcasts into your publishing schedule, it’s guaranteed to work in your favor engagement-wise.
26. Share Your Follower DMs and Activity
With their permission, you can always base your Instagram stories around your follower DMs and activities. In fact, user-generated content across the board can form the basis for fantastic Instagram content. Best of all, it’s freely available and can usually be accessed in abundance – all you need to do is ask for it!
27. Share Quotes
Incorporating inspiring quotes into your stories can also be effective. Or, for that matter, finding a thought-provoking quote and basing the rest of your story around it. Share a quote that genuinely means Something to you, then explain its significance to your audience. Inspiring content is always engaging, making quotes a good go-to for story ideas.
28. Post Throwback Thursday
The throwback thursday craze isn’t going anywhere, so you may as well take full advantage of it. This is where you share one or more pictures from your past, either to show how things have changed or simply to poke fun at yourself. Find the most amusing (or embarrassing) pictures from your past and share the best of the bunch with your followers every Thursday.
29. Team Introductions
Stories can also be great for taking team introductions a step further. It is essential to give your target audience the opportunity to get to know the team members behind your brand.
With stories, you have the perfect platform to showcase the unique personalities and qualities of those who make your brand what it is. While you’re at it, why not consider handing control over to your team members for a takeover?
30. Thought Leadership
Last up, an Instagram story is the perfect place to share helpful tips, tricks, and insights with your viewers. Think about why people follow you on Instagram and give them a regular dose of Something of genuine value and relevance.
Show them how to do Something new, tell them how to do Something better, and remind them what makes you an authority in your niche.
However creative you are, continuously coming up with cool Instagram story ideas isn’t easy. From time to time, hitting the occasional creative block is inevitable. When this happens, taking things back to basics can help.
Don’t make the mistake of attempting to get too clever or creative with your Instagram stories.
Instead, consider which topics and types of stories are best for generating engagement. From contests to quizzes to countdowns to Q&As, there’s no shortage of options to explore. During this, you’ll gradually build a stack of templates to help with your future stories.