21 Creative Instagram Story Ideas To Beat The Algorithm (2023)

Instagram Story Ideas

Are you looking for Instagram story ideas? Need some inspiration?

Instagram is competitive. If you want to grow your audience, you’re going to need to bring your A-game and dominate the algorithm. That means some next-level Instagram story ideas.

In this post, we’re sharing 20+ creative Instagram story ideas that you can use to increase views and engagement.

Let’s get started.

Instagram Stories vs Instagram Reels: What’s the difference? 

Because there are still some Instagram users that can’t tell Instagram Stories from Instagram Reels, it would be a good idea to differentiate the two.

The biggest differentiator between the two is availability. 

  • Instagram Stories are only available for 24 hours. After a day, these posts will automatically get deleted. A user can only save an Instagram story if it’s saved as a highlight. Instagram Stories have a maximum length of 15 seconds. Instagram Stories is the platform’s answer to Snapchat.
  • Instagram Reels are posts that will stay on your feed. There’s also a section in your profile where users can access all reels that you’ve uploaded. Instagram Stories have a maximum length of 60 seconds. Instagram Reels is the platform’s answer to TikTok.

That’s pretty much it. As to which one you should use, it boils down to preference. Most companies focus more on reels though. But there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t do both.

This post will focus on Instagram story ideas.

How to make Instagram Stories interesting

How can you make Instagram stories interesting and fun for your followers? Here are a few Instagram story ideas that’ll make your audience look forward to every post you make.

Add layers to your background

You can spice up your plain story background by using more elements. For instance, adding text to your background could make your posts more interesting. That would turn your background into a text wall that can complement your main photo or video.

Logos can also have the same effect. Or anything that can boost your branding will do.

You can add layers to your background in the image or video itself or you can do it through Instagram as you upload your Instagram story.

Intel uses different shapes in its background to tell users the story of its brand. Not only does it make the background more interesting, but it also gives the story a retro vibe which makes sense given that the topic is about the brand’s earlier years.

Do a Boomerang clip

Boomerang has been around for a while. And while others might think people are over it, there are still some that like it. This is especially true if the effect is used in the right situations.

For the unfamiliar, Boomerang is an Instagram feature that lets users record looping videos. It used to be a standalone app. But now, users can access it through Instagram directly. When you post a story, you should find an option to upload the clip as a Boomerang post.

Do a Boomerang post once in a while to see how your audience will react to it.

Amazon still uses the Boomerang feature in some of its Instagram stories. 

Highlight a customer’s Instagram story about your brand

You don’t always have to post your own Instagram stories. You can use your followers’ Instagram posts if they have anything to do with your brand. Are your customers posting content featuring your products? Are they leaving positive reviews?

These are all IG-worthy stories. It would be a shame to let these go to waste.

It’s one way of saying thanks to your customers for their support. Asking for permission before reporting their content is highly recommended just to make sure you don’t run into any issues.

Patagonia uses real-world footage of its customers using its products under extreme conditions. It does a good job of demonstrating just how good its products are.

Use background colors to stand out

Not everyone will pay attention to the background colors used on Instagram stories. But they do have an effect. Background colors can set the mood and give your story a much-needed pop to make it stand out.

You can also use colors to establish your branding. Use colors that are as close to your logo as possible. So next time you create Instagram stories, don’t stick to the default background color. Experiment a little to see what background colors work best for you.

Or you can try Starbucks’ approach to Instagram story backgrounds. It incorporates multiple background elements to introduce different colors that make their stories stand out even more.

Feature products using customers or models

You can have a photo or video shoot featuring your customers and models to highlight all your products or services. Then you can use these assets for your Instagram stories. 

The good thing about IG stories is that photos and videos don’t have to look as polished compared to anything you’d use for an ad campaign. You only need your phone to take photos and videos. Make a couple of edits and upload them right away.

What if you don’t have access to customers or models? No problem. You can ask your employees to be your models. And if they’re feeling camera shy, you can be your own model and have them take your photos or videos.

Waffle House shot its employees while they were working and used the footage for its Instagram story. It didn’t use fancy equipment either. You can do something like it for your own shop with help from your employees. If you get permission from your customers, maybe you can get them on video too.

Use more than one font

It’s not that uncommon to find Instagram stories that use more than one font. It’s a graphic design technique that helps make text stand out. Not only that, it can help make a big chunk of copy easier to read. 

It’s also a great way for non-designers to make eye-catching stories. After all, you don’t need graphic design experience to change the font. And you can create an Instagram story using nothing but text. So this is a great Instagram story idea for those that don’t have the time to shoot photos and videos.

Play with font colors

And if you don’t think using more than one font is enough to cut it, then why not try using different font colors instead?

Yes, you don’t have to stick with black or white font. There are plenty of colors to choose from. You can stick with your brand colors. Or you can pick colors that go well with your photo or video. It’s really up to you.

Another way to add font colors is by adding drop shadows on your text.

Insert multiple images in your story

Turn your Instagram story into a collage to add more interest. Instagram has a built-in feature that lets users insert multiple images in one story. That means you don’t have to use third-party graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop to create a collage.

But why would you post a collage?

Well, you can use a collage to highlight multiple products in one go. You can also post photos from an event. Or you can use your collage to feature customers who have bought your products recently.

Make announcements through Instagram stories

You can also make announcements using Instagram stories. Because IG stories only last for 24 hours, users feel a sense of urgency. So if you announce a one-day sale, for example, then your followers will be more inclined to take action.

That’s not all. If you already announced upcoming events days or weeks in advance, you can use stories as gentle reminders. This way, people won’t forget whatever event you have coming up.

Is your physical store closing early? Are phone lines down? You can make urgent announcements through IG stories too.

Gigabyte uses its stories to promote upcoming events. And there’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your business.

Find a suitable sticker for your Instagram story

Instagram stickers don’t feel like they do much. But people really like using them because they tend to inject fun and personality into every post. And just because you have an Instagram Business account doesn’t mean you can’t use stickers.

Some stickers are interactive. That means you can add functionality to your Instagram stories. It also means you can be creative with how you use your stickers. You can even use them to interact with your community and get them to engage with your Instagram posts.

Run a poll using Instagram stories

Instagram polls are also another way you can get your followers to engage. Polls don’t have to be complicated. In fact, you want to keep them as simple as possible. As an example, you can have a poll asking followers which product color they prefer or which features they’d like you to add.

Because polls already provide answers, people are more willing to give their answers. Requiring users to type in their answers will have the opposite effect.

Vespa uses Instagram stories to post simple polls for its followers. It’s a perfect example of how simple polls can be. You don’t need anything overly complicated.

Launch a countdown

Do you know why having a countdown is a great idea? Because it gives you an excuse to post every day. And they’re so easy to make. Most countdowns use the same template. You only need to change the numbers as you get closer to the event you’re counting down to.

You can have a countdown for a company event. But holiday countdowns are also a great idea. 

Samsung has a countdown on its Instagram stories as of this writing. And you should do the same if you have something to celebrate in the next couple of days or weeks.

Do a quiz

Do you want to make a truly interactive Instagram story for your followers? Then how about doing a quiz?

Quizzes could be about anything. You could create a quiz about a product or announcement. If you’re the type of business that regularly publishes articles, you can create quizzes about those too. Anything that you think would entertain your followers would do.

You don’t have to ask tough questions. And it would be better to provide a couple of options so your audience won’t have to think about the answer for too long.

Businesses can create quizzes on IG stories using a quiz sticker.

Even big brands use quizzes to engage their audience. Nike not only uses quizzes to interact with their followers but to also teach people about their shoe technology. 

Even if you know nothing about Nike shoes, you’ll appreciate the quiz because it’s teaching you things you may not have known before.

Related: The Best Online Quiz Makers (Comparison)

Tell your customers how much you appreciate their support

One of the best Instagram story ideas is creating thank-you posts. Use your Instagram account to thank your followers for supporting you. Whenever you hit company milestones, create stories that would let people know how grateful you are.

You could convey your message through text or you could add photos. However, posting a video might be the best option. Prepare an Instagram story template for such an occasion. Add a fun sticker to help make each post more fun to look at.

Or use it the other way around.

You can ask customers what they like about your brand. And then you can post their replies as Instagram stories. That’s one of Applebees’ creative ideas. Not only did it generate new posts for its account, but it got free recommendations from people who love the business.

Use Instagram stories to share coupon codes and freebies

Do you know what kind of Instagram story ideas your followers would like a lot? The type that gets them access to discounts. If you really want to give people a reason to follow you on social media, you’ll have to offer coupon codes.

Yes, you can use an Instagram story to post a coupon code. And it’s just as useful for sharing details like links to freebies or contests. Your followers would surely appreciate all of it. And it might lead to an increase in sales.

Look at what McDonald’s is doing. It’s using Instagram stories to give its followers access to free wallpapers which is a neat idea. You can use your Instagram account to post multiple photos that your followers can use as wallpapers too.

Post inspirational IG stories or tips

You can’t go wrong with a good motivational message. Posting an inspirational Instagram story lets you add some variety to your posts. Who wants to see nothing but product updates on their feeds, right? 

When you post something inspirational, your Instagram followers get a break from your usual updates. Inspirational quotes are also great for days when nothing is going on. Have a couple of quotes ready just in case you run out of Instagram story ideas.

You can also share tips with your community, especially if your brand is a thought leader in your industry. That’s what CVS Pharmacy does with its Instagram stories. It even has Instagram story templates specifically for sharing tips.

Share your latest product photos and features

Share Instagram stories of your best product photos and videos. These are a good use of Instagram stories because it lets you be as creative as you want to be. 

One of the best parts about posting product photos is that they’re fun to do. And you can prepare a month’s worth of Instagram story content in a couple of hours with proper planning. You can do it yourself or work with a team. Or you can have friends or employees help you with the shoot. And you can even upload multiple photos if you need to.

Also, it’s not enough that you mention any new product feature in your latest blog post. You should also mention it in an Instagram post.

Rolex does a great job with its photoshoots. And it only makes sense that it shares some of its product photos through Instagram stories.

The brand even managed to talk about some of its watch features like how they are waterproof.

Give customers a sneak peek of what’s to come

A sneak peek is exactly what your customers need to get hyped for the future of your brand. People follow you on social media to see what’s in the pipeline. And you should use Instagram story highlights to feed your followers’ appetite.

Create a buzz by posting news about what you’re currently working on. Even a vague tease will do if you can’t give out specific details just yet. If that’s the case though, try to space out your stories. 

And remember to have fun with it. Sneak peeks don’t have to be serious. Find a fun way to share whatever plans you’ve got.

Diet Coke used its stories to hype up its Diet Coke sticker pack. And it showed a few of them to tease its followers. It’s a good way to drum up some interest.

Show your followers reviews from your customers

Need Instagram story ideas to get people excited about your products? User-generated content is a great source of IG stories. If you find video testimonials or Instagram feed posts from customers that show how much they like your brand, feature them in your stories.

And honestly, you don’t have to stick to reviews. You can post user-generated content like funny photos so long as they have something to do with your brand. Go over the social feed post of your followers to see if there’s anything you can use. 

Customers will usually tag the business if they’re doing a review. So always keep an eye out for potential Instagram stories content.

Share your recipes

If you’re in the food industry, you can use Instagram stories to share recipes that your followers might like. Even posting one recipe per week will do wonders for your social media content calendar. It’s also a fun way to share ideas about how people can use your product to prepare meals for the family.

You can even think about asking your followers for inspiration. Ask them what kind of recipes they want to see in your stories. Do they want easy-to-cook dishes? Or are they looking for recipes that they can cook as quickly as possible? Are they looking for recipes that will save them the most money?

Campbell’s has done a terrific job of adding recipes to its Instagram stories.

Teach your followers

You can use Instagram stories to teach your followers. Lessons can be about anything so long as they’re related to your brand. But it’s best to keep things simple since Instagram users will only spend a few seconds interacting with stories.

Ikea puts out a couple of these types of stories once in a while. For example, it has a story about where product engineers start when coming up with a food container design.


There are plenty of ways to spice up your Instagram stories. It will all depend on what your goals are as a company and how to want to make money on the platform.

Instagram stories are great because it lets you be as creative as you want to be. Make sure you take full advantage of that. Feel free to experiment with different styles.

And if your stories aren’t getting the type of engagement you hoped for, you can always switch it up with little to no repercussions compared to regular Instagram posts.

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