An Instagram story can only be up for 24 hours after it is posted. But in internet time, that’s plenty. Ask any social media manager who has accidentally posted something: Every minute counts.

500 million people use Instagram stories each day. Businesses have a great opportunity to make serious cash with Instagram stories.

Stories are key to growing your Instagram audience, whether you use it for business or for fun. It’s easy to post a story. You don’t want your viewers to scroll through your stories. Instead, you want them to click the link button, answer your survey, or go to your Instagram shop to purchase your new song.

These 32 Instagram story ideas will help you create high quality, engaging content that will get more views and engagement.

Bonus Get a free checklist that shows the exact steps a fitness blogger used to grow their Instagram following from 0 to 600,000.

32 Instagram story ideas to increase engagement and views

Cute Instagram stories ideas

1. Share a feed post using a “new posts” sticker

Your stories might be getting more engagement than your Instagram feed posts. Some users only see Instagram stories and don’t scroll through their feeds.

You can share new posts (or Instagram reels) to your story to ensure that your content is still reaching these people. You can also add text or stickers to make it more engaging. There are many stickers called “New Post” that can perfectly summarize that action.

Source @happybudsbrooklyn Instagram

2. Use a sticker to hide a new post

Similar to the previous, you can also use a sticker on a photo you’ve shared to your feed. This creates a captivating image that is appealing to click on and learn more about, much like a lift-the flap book.

Source@gggraphicdesign Instagram

3. Share UGC with a sticker

Life hack: You don’t even need to create your own content to post a cute Instagram Story.

UGC, also known as user-generated content, can be a rich source for engaging content for creators and brands. A fashion blogger who takes photos in cool shoes and tags the shoe company can provide UGC. It takes only seconds for the business’s to share the post. This is a nice change from the brand-generated content that’s often found on an company’s Instagram.

This content doesn’t need to be too pretty. A user shared a photo from IKEA Canada’s cafeteria, and the brand reshared it with a sticker. Although it doesn’t have the same Scandi-cool vibe IKEA is famous for, it’s still fun and real. It acts as social proof by letting others know that Ikea’s meatballs are a favorite.

Source @ikeacanada On Instagram

4. Take a poll

It’s a great way for your followers to vote on a poll or to express their preferences using it. This is possible with Instagram’s built in poll sticker. You can link to a product in your poll if it refers to it.

Source@cocokind Instagram

5. Make a quiz about your content

Use a quiz sticker to test your loyal followers and get valuable engagement. It’s a fun way to get your audience to interact with creators. And answering correctly gives us all a boost of serotonin.

New York Magazine created a quiz about a feature story. To find the answers, you would have to read the entire story. This is a great way to encourage your followers to read the feature and hopefully other posts on the site.

Source@nymag at Instagram

6. Thank your followers for their support

Without your followers, you are just shouting into void (which does have its place but is not what we are trying to do from a social media marketing perspective). You can show your appreciation by sharing your story. On Instagram

7. Use a coupon code to share a link

Saving money is adorable, right? Share a coupon code and a link to the product on your Instagram story to give followers an easy way to get a discount. This will also make it easy for you to make some extra money.

Source@florianlondonuk Instagram

8. Share content that inspires

You can find inspiration anywhere, whether you’re a creator or a business owner.

It’s a great way to show your humanity to your followers by sharing photos or videos of things you love. Prove that you are not a bot.

This fashion brand shared photos of the founder’s visit to the fabric store. It’s fascinating to see the behind-the scenes and not just the final product.

Source: @by.ihuoma on Instagram

Cool ideas for Instagram stories

9. Share a great product image with a link

Text, stickers, and emojis all have their place. But, there is something to be said about a simple, clean, high quality photo. Consider sharing a great lifestyle photo of one of your products with a link to it. You are a model of efficiency.

Hint: To replace the hyperlink, fill in the text field in your Instagram story. The tappable sticker could say something other than your website.

Source: @knix on Instagram

10. Send an artistic photo and a small tag

Similar to the previous, sharing a single picture that isn’t so polished can be very engaging. Instagram is full of visual pollution, such as notifications, buttons, and text. This creates a moment of calm as users tap through.

It’s also possible to add a small link or tag. As a virtual Where is Waldo.

Source@savantvision Instagram

11. Post your message from out of office

You can share your vacation plans with your followers via an Instagram story. This is a great way to share your brand’s personal side and show off a cool vacation shot.

Source @mongeyceramics Instagram

12. Share a photo with another Instagram account

It doesn’t have to be all about you. You can share content from other accounts with proper credit. This will help you provide a more holistic experience for your followers and may even foster good relationships with other creators.

Make sure that you are posting content that is in line with your brand. It should be relevant to your brand. This sustainable swimwear company shared a video that educated (and uplifting!) about the Great Barrier Reef. It is in line with the brand’s values and provides positive content for their followers.

Source @ocin On Instagram

13. Use an interactive sticker for a simple solution

Different interactive stickers require different brainpower and overall effort to engage with. A question sticker, for example, is a high-effort activity that requires the user to think of an answer and then type it out. A poll is slightly easier, since the user simply needs to read the answers and tap one.

It’s even easier to interact using a simple emoji response sticker, such as the one below. Although it doesn’t give you much information as a creator, it is a fun and almost effortless way for your audience interact with you.

Source @sadmagazine Instagram

14. Make a countdown to an event

The countdown stickers on Instagram are very engaging as they are dynamic. Every second, the clock changes. The countdown creates a sense urgency that encourages your followers to get excited about it.

Source: @smashtess on Instagram

15. Contact specific customers

It is a good idea to ask permission before you do this (some people might not want to be publicly tagged), but calling out specific customers can help you build a relationship with your audience.

Bonus Get a free checklist that shows the exact steps that a fitness influencer took to grow their Instagram following from 0 to 600,000.

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The ceramicist shared cool behind-the scenes photos of her work and tagged the person who ordered that particular piece.

Source @katpinoceramics Instagram

Creative Instagram stories ideas

16. Get a sneak peak at a sale or special occasion

People like to feel like they are part of something special. Providing pre-event content can help you get your followers excited. This story doesn’t need to be polished; give your audience a real look at the preparation that goes into your work.

This vintage store owner, for example, took a video of himself making posters for upcoming sales.

Source@almahomevintage Instagram

17. Announce the winner of a contest

A giveaway or contest on Instagram is a great way of gaining followers. But you can also create engagement by announcing the winners.

There are two reasons why posting a contest winner on your stories can be beneficial. It can notify contest winners that they have won. Second, it can prove to your followers that your contest is legitimate. How many contests have your entered and not heard back from you?

Non-winners (or people who didn’t participate in the contest) will be more likely than winners to enter future contests if they are reminded of the winner.

Source @chamberlaincoffee Instagram

18. Share a positive review

Positive reviews are the best way to hype up your business. To show your followers how great you are, share one on your Instagram Story.

Source: @michellechartrandphotography on Instagram

19. Show off your art

You can use the story sticker if you work in a creative field to show off your talents. This sticker works best if there is some spare time. (Binging on a mindless reality TV show? This is the time to get active.

This artist, for example, spent some time drawing their followers’ suggestions and created a great lineup of Instagram stories.

Source: @vaish.illustrates on Instagram

20. Photos of progress shared

They say Rome wasn’t built in one day. If Romans had Instagram, you can bet that they would have posted progress photos. It can be very compelling to share multiple photos of the same thing at different stages. This is how this Porche illustrator told his story.

Source@b.a.v.z Instagram

Instagram story question ideas

21. Ask for followers’ suggestions

Ask your followers for their suggestions and take advantage of their wealth of knowledge. This could be related to your brand ( “What scent candle should I make next?”), or personal ( “Hairdresser recommendations for Chicago?”).

This is not only a great way to gather valuable insight but it also makes your followers feel valued.

Source@yelpmsp Instagram

22. Encourage your followers to ask questions about the event

Ask your followers if there are any questions about an event you have coming up. This is a great way to gauge how well your information delivery has been. If you get a lot of questions about the time it starts, you might want check that you actually made that information public.

Source@greyscollective Instagram

23. Make a “ask me anything” section.

“Ask me Anything” or “AMA” are often used to ask creators questions on their Instagram stories.

However, a broad request may result in fewer responses. It is better to be specific with your request. This artist challenged his followers to ask him “Top 4 Anything” which encourages them think deeply about a question. (Top 4 dog breeds? Top 4 pizza toppings? Top 4 Seasons?

Source @liamdrawsdrag Instagram

24. Ask anonymous questions and get feedback

Full disclosure: The internet can be very mean and angry. Make sure you are in a good mental frame before embarking on this kind of Instagram story question adventure.

The new NGL app allows you to add a question sticker which allows anonymous submissions. This can be a great way to have fun with your followers and may result in some very honest feedback. Your audience can also ask questions without judgment.

Source @eunicechanphoto Instagram

Ideas for Instagram story layouts

25. Make an aesthetic collage with others

You don’t have to post every story that has an actionable component. In fact, it can be exhausting to post too many stories containing polls, question stickers, and links.

You can break it up by creating a beautiful collage using photos from your life or just a few pictures from your camera roll.

Source @tofinosoapco Instagram

26. To create a cool layout, you can use a photo editing program

There are many photo editing apps specifically designed for Instagram. There are many options, and they can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of the best Instagram tools in a handy blog post.

Source: @articulateproductions on Instagram

27. Regroup old posts under a new topic

This is a quick and dirty Instagram Guide. You can share some of your old content under a new theme to create a visually engaging story.

Canada’s Drag Race shared photos of past drag queens under the theme elements (Au for a golden look, etc.).

Source: @canadasdragrace on Instagram

Ideas for Instagram story design

28. Layer one photo on top and another

You can create a two-in-1 look by using a background photo and layering another image from your phone’s Album. (Find the Camera Roll sticker to do this).

This is a great way for Instagram users to share tweets. It’s more interesting than a single screenshot.

Source @thefilmscritic Instagram

29. Share an informative graphic

Hootsuite’s Instagram Stories templates are free and allow you to combine photos with text to create beautiful graphics that communicate valuable information (such as what’s for breakfast).

Source @thebeaulab Instagram

30. Multiple stories can be shared under the same theme

If you have many photos to share, it is a good idea to create separate stories and not make a collage. The user experience is similar to flipping through a book. Your followers will need to tap the screen to turn the page and see what’s next.

The vintage-inspired clothing brand showcased an outfit that can be worn in four different ways, by creating a separate story for each style. The cover was used to introduce the four stories. This is a simple way to let your followers know what you are up to and how it will be presented.

Source@shop.lovefool Instagram

31. To suggest tapping on the next slide, use an emoji

A sticker or emoji pointing to the right can be used to indicate that there is more. This is a great strategy to use when you have a lot to communicate in your stories. It is better to share information in small chunks so that your stories don’t become overwhelming.

Source@poshmarkcanada On Instagram

32. One photo and some educational text can be shared

This is a great way to share easily digestible information with your followers. It’s easy to read and is pleasing to the eyes. Choose one photo and add a few sentences.

If your message is too long, you can use multiple photos to tell a story. The viewer will have to tap through the story to read the entire thing. That’s what Patagonia did in this story.

Source@patagonia Instagram

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