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Although Instagram Stories have been around for a while now, the vast majority of marketers are not utilizing them to their full potential.
Even those posting story updates regularly have no real strategy for their Instagram stories, and they’re paying the price because of it.
Stories have the power to build connection with your following that your main feed never could, and if you learn to tap into their power, it’s possible to do very well – even without a large following!
In this article, I want to share 7 Instagram story content ideas to consider trying out. If you can implement even one of these into your business going forward, you’ll find that creating engaging content regularly becomes much easier!
1. Share Behind-The-Scenes Footage
The beauty of Instagram Stories is that it’s not expected to be professionally done.
Footage from a smartphone with no further editing or processing is perfectly fine, meaning you can have a story up in as little as 30 seconds!
One of the easiest ways to get some of your first content up is to simply showcase what you’re already doing throughout your work day.
On my Instagram Stories, I often showcase myself shipping out orders, editing videos, or sharing projects. You may think this content isn’t that interesting or exciting – but it’s all new to your audience!
Remember that the type of audience willing to go through your Story is likely already engaged with you – they care about you and your brand. As a result, they’re often quite interested in everything that’s helped your brand come to be.
2. Share Random Thoughts Or Feelings
Your audience cares about what you have to say, or they wouldn’t be following you in the first place.
Throughout your work day, interesting or valuable thoughts may pop into your head. When this happens, pull out your smartphone and share it! This only takes a few seconds, but will allow you to stay in contact with your followers more often throughout the day.
Note that this doesn’t always have to be strictly related to your niche either. Let your following get to know you on a more personal level – this does wonders for building a connection!
Some examples I’ve shared personally…
- Showing a picture of a book I was listening to on Audible, recommending it to others.
- Stating, ‘This is what freedom is all about!’ as my girlfriend and I walked through the Disneyland gates on a Monday morning.
- Sharing thoughts out loud that would later become my ‘business tip of the day’ posts.
Do not overthink this! Perfection is not expected in Instagram Stories. When something interesting pops into your head, do not hesitate to share it – even if you don’t like the way you look on camera.
3. Ask Questions
Polls are a fantastic way to engage your audience, while also learning more about them.
There are two types of polls that you can utilize within Instagram Stories – multiple-choice, and a fully typed answer. Each one of them should be utilized!
Multiple-choice polls tend to lead to higher response rates, simply because they require very little time investment to answer. One tap on the button, and their answer’s been submitted.
Short, simple questions work best for these. If it can be avoided, don’t make the question something that viewers need to think a lot about.
When it comes to written answers however, feel free to go a bit more deep. For example,
- I may ask a question such as, ‘What was your favorite marketing book that you read last year?”
- An ice cream shop may ask customers what their favorite flavor is.
- An instrument brand may ask something like, ‘What was the first song you learned to play on your bass guitar?’
I recommend responding to all of the answers you receive, the same way you would a comment on a regular post. Screenshotting individual responses, and responding publicly in your story can also help to boost engagement for future polls, as many people love to be featured!
4. Customer Testimonials
Speaking of being featured, highlight the positive reviews you receive for your products and services in your Story!
Publicly showcasing and thanking reviewers accomplishes a few things…
- It acts as social proof for your product, and further builds trust with your audience.
- It encourages word-of-mouth advertising, encouraging more people to share their feelings about your offer.
- It’s a fantastic branding tool, and reminds followers about your company’s offers.
Like any social media platform, you don’t want to overdo it. However, mixing testimonials in alongside other pieces of Story content is perfectly fine.
5. Move People Off Instagram – Showcase Other Channels
As powerful as Instagram can be, it’s never a good idea to have all of your following concentrated on one platform. The only exception to this is if you own the platform yourself – such as your email list or blog.
In any case, Instagram Stories are great for showcasing what you’re doing on other places – then encouraging people to consume your content there as well.
For example, discuss new posts on your website when they come out. Share podcast episodes as they’re released. Let people know about the new YouTube video that you uploaded. Screenshot tweets that you’ve sent out, and post them in your story.
Every platform you’re present on should help funnel people to other platforms. Instagram Stories are no exception. This mitigates your risk dramatically, and helps you grow a larger and more engaged overall audience. Perfect for part of your Instagram Stories strategy!
Note: Once you hit 10,000 followers, you’ll be able to use link stickers that allow people to visit external links directly. Before that, you’ll have to direct people to your bio.
6. Build Hype For Events
Develop a series of graphics, or utilize the countdown sticker to build hype for upcoming events.
These can be in-person conferences you’re hosting, webinars, product launches, sales, or even just promotion for upcoming content releases!
To make things even better, Instagram allows your Story viewers to opt-in for a reminder when the countdown hits zero – making it easier to remind these viewers about your offer. When done right, this can be a great tool for a powerful launch!
Get creative with this sticker, and it may become an additional money maker for your brand.
Instagram Stories is a great place to experiment with different types of content, and judge the reaction of your audience quickly.
Because Stories (typically) only last for 24 hours, you’re free to put up content that you otherwise wouldn’t want on your main feed, giving you the freedom to try new things out.
I strongly encourage you to follow other brands within your niche, and look at the creative ways they are using stories to grow and engage their audience. Chances are, you’ll find things that you’ll be able to apply for your business as well!
Additionally, be sure to pay attention to any new stickers Instagram adds, and look for creative opportunities to utilize them while they’re new.
Again, there is no pressure to do things ‘right’ as long as you keep your audience in mind. Try things out, be yourself, and have fun!
Crafting an Instagram Story content strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. When you think about it, it’s actually one of the easiest platforms to create content for.
I hope that this article has given you some ideas for Story content. I challenge you to take one of these ideas, and put something up right now.
Get the hang of it, and there’s no reason you can’t always have something available in your Story, at any given time.
I’d love to hear more about how you plan to shape your Instagram Story strategy going forward. Additionally, if you want to see more examples on how I carry out my own Instagram Story strategy, please consider following me on Instagram by clicking here.
Wishing you the best!
– James McAllister