12 Instagram Story Ideas to Drive Maximum Engagement

12 Instagram Story Ideas to Drive Maximum Engagement

Do you want to create more Instagram stories? Would you like some creative Instagram story ideas to fill your calendar?

Instagram is one of the top networks to market your business. There are over a billion monthly active users on it. But the competition on the network is getting immense. There are over 25 million business accounts.

On top of that Instagram’s reach is on the decline. This can make it hard for you to get the same amount of engagement you got a few years ago.

If you want to get more engagement now, I recommend that you switch to creating more stories. There’s less competition for this type of post.

Therefore, to help you quickly get the most out of this format, I have shared my top Instagram story ideas below…

Promote the latest Instagram posts

Instagram might be lowering the reach of your in-feed posts, but there’s one simple tactic you can use to still drive maximum engagement. This is by getting on the explore page.

If you get on the explore page more people will see your Instagram post and you will drive a lot more engagement.

One way to get on the explore page is to get a lot of likes as soon as you publish the post. When a post gets a lot of likes as soon as it is published, Instagram’s algorithm sees it as a sign that people like it, so it pushes it onto the explore page and also ranks it for relevant hashtags.

This results in a lot more engagement over a prolonged period.

There are several tactics you can use to get these instant likes. One of them is to use Instagram stories. You can send out a story to your followers as soon as you publish a post.

People who didn’t see your post in the feed at that moment will then see your post and like it.

A good example of this technique can be seen in this post from averillofficial.

instagram story ideas example

He simply informs his followers about a new post with a big #newpost hashtag and a preview offered through pictures.

Make sure you try out this Instagram story idea, the next time you publish an in-feed post.

Promote products

If you had a choice between promoting products through Instagram stories or in-feed posts, you should always pick stories, especially if you have more than 10,000 followers. As Instagram lets you share links in stories when you have more than 10,000 followers. This is something you can’t do with in-feed posts.

As the link to the landing page can be located directly in the story, you will generate more traffic. Here’s an example from Cape Clasp. The ‘See More’ text at the bottom is a link. When you click on it you are taken to the website.

promote products in Instagram story ideas

If you run an ecommerce store and are unable to share links, you can instead use the product sticker and tag relevant products in your posts.

You can easily create stories that sell by using an Instagram stories pack that comes with ready-to-use templates. You can also use an Instagram scheduler to schedule them in advance.

Share catalogues

You don’t have to use stories to only promote individual products. You can actually create digital versions of your catalogues with stories. This will be a slide show story. Each slide in the story can either be an image or a video of a product.

Several brands do this. Here’s an example from Topman. They used the catalogues Instagram story idea to create a ‘New In’ post.

instagram story idea example

It consists of a couple of their top models wearing some of their latest clothing.

It is a nice way to launch new products online. You can share links to each individual product in each slide of the story or tag products with product stickers.

Run sales

Stories can be used to run sales too, not just to launch new products. As stories last for just 24 hours, they work great for flash sales. They naturally work in FOMO. You can actually enhance it further and add a countdown sticker. This will countdown as the time left to make the purchase goes down.

Here’s an example from mumsdolunch.

ideas for instagram story

You can also combine stories with in-feed posts to promote long term sales. Your in-feed post can promote the sale launch, but the stories can promote the deadline.

Run contests

The countdown sticker can also be used to promote other short term campaigns such as contests and giveaways. The contest doesn’t have to be only promoted on your website, but it can also be promoted on an influencer’s account.

You can team up with them and give them a couple of products. One for themselves and one for the giveaway.

Here’s an example of a giveaway from thebestdayevereventsbypaula.

instagram giveaway story idea

You can use Shoutcart’s Instagram influencer marketplace to find top influencers to work with at affordable rates.

shoutcart marketplace

Run takeovers

Another way to team up with influencers is through Instagram stories takeovers. This is where you invite an influencer who your followers like and who has followers that you want to attract to manage your stories for a day.

This can really drive up engagement as the influencer will share fresh ideas and they will also promote the takeover on their account. This will attract some Instagram followers too.

Here’s an example of an Instagram stories takeover between summerfridays and an influencer.

instagram story takeover example

When you run a takeover make sure you have a strategy in place. Your goals from a takeover should add to your bottom line in the short term and long term.

And you don’t always have to work with influencers. You can also get your staff to do takeovers.

Instagram live stories

Another way to boost engagement quickly is through Instagram live stories. Videos already do well on Instagram, but live videos do even better. As it is a one-time event. It can have the same effect as a webinar. People can also ask questions and get answers immediately.

More people will prefer to watch live videos. So, run an Instagram live video story once a week or once every two weeks. During these live videos, you can promote products, share tips, do interviews, and do so many other things. Here’s a screenshot of a live story from eatingwell. They share a recipe here.

instagram live story ideas

To get the most out of live videos you should plan the content out properly instead of winging it. Also, make sure you run it at a time when most of your followers are online. You might want to promote it beforehand so that they make time for it.

Share FAQs

You can take some of the questions you get asked during the live Instagram stories videos and other posts you publish and then share them as FAQ stories along with the answers.

This is a great way to answer the most pressing questions your followers have. You could also throw in some of the FAQs you have on your website, if you feel that they are relevant.

Here’s a good example of a FAQ Instagram story from PuraVida.

instagram stories faq example

Interact with questions

Another way to find out the questions your followers have is by using questions.

Instagram has a questions sticker for stories. Here you simply ask a question and leave a box. People can add in their answers.

This is a great tool for audience research.

Interact with polls

Another great tool for audience research is the polls sticker. As not everyone will want to type in long answers. Polls let you ask a short question and suggest two answers. Your followers can pick one of them as the answer.

Most people use them for Yes/No questions, but you can get more creative and ask whatever you want as Martha Steward did here.

instagram polls example

You can also try making a quiz on your website and link to it from a story. This will help you ask more targeted questions and offer more choices for the answers.

Promote blog posts

Stories can also be used to promote your new blog posts. An example is this post from Pinch of Yum.

promore blog posts in Instagram stories

They created a recipe of the video, published it as a story slideshow, and then linked to the blog post version of the recipe on their website in the last slide. This is a nice way to drive traffic.

You don’t have always create elaborate videos like these to promote blog posts. As you can always just publish an image and link to the blog post. You can also add the link to the post as overlay text or suggest that the link is in the bio if you have less than 10,000 followers.

Highlight evergreen stories

Your stories don’t get deleted after 24 hours. They actually get saved in the archive section of your account. You can go in there and revive these posts as highlights. You might have already noticed highlights. They appear right below the bio on most accounts as in this account from sonofatailor.

instagram stories highlights example

Stories such as catalogues and FAQs make great highlights as they can stay relevant for longer. You might also want to create some Instagram stories and immediately use them as highlights.

As there is very little information you can use in your bio. You can share more information about your business and Instagram account through highlights.

Once the information in the stories become irrelevant, you can archive them.


These are 12 creative Instagram story ideas you can use to drive more engagement. But don’t just use these. If you go on Instagram, you will find people using stories in hundreds of ways. Make sure you check them out and then try out those ideas along with these. You might also want to brainstorm unique stories ideas of your own.

Which of these Instagram story ideas did you like most? Did I forget to share any important ideas? Please leave your comments below.

12 Instagram Story Ideas to Drive Maximum Engagement in 2020