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73 Clever & Cool Instagram Story Ideas (+Examples!)

Not only are one-third of the most viewed Stories from businesses, but also, according to Rival IQ the top 25% most active brands publish Instagram Stories at least 17 times a month.

That means that 1) Instagram Stories are important for social media marketing and 2) you need to post every other day—potentially more than your creative juices can keep up with. Lucky for you, I have curated over 73 creative and cool Instagram Story ideas to tide you over for…well, forever maybe.

Jump to Instagram Story ideas that are:

Creative Instagram Story ideas

Let’s kick off the list with some creative ideas, some of which are on the funnier end of the spectrum.

Be ridiculous

Oatly’s loud (but not obnoxious) visual style is a perfect representation of its brand voice. It’s on a unique mission to shift consumption of animals to plants to help preserve the planet, and what better way to do that than with oat milk carton puppets?

Oatly uses its Instagram Story to promote new episodes of The New Norm&al Show—which uses humor and ridiculousness to spread its message.

instagram story ideas - oatly example puppet show

Is it ridiculous? Yes. Does it stand out and help support Oatly’s mission statement? Also yes. If you want your message to be heard, you don’t have to be loud—just different.

Here are some more “out there” Instagram Story ideas:

  • Come up with a mascot or figurine to represent your business and use your Story to chronicle its travels.
  • Take employee selfies with distortion lenses.
  • Have employees ask their kids what they think terms and topics in your industry mean.
  • Be sure to tie these back to one of your core values or your mission.

Imitate emojis

This Instagram Story by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines reads “We’re not too fond of Mondays either, but we’ve got some blues that aren’t so bad…” It then shares a series of hilarious and adorable images of its planes that match with emojis. 

instagram story ideas - emojis fun example

Who knew a plane could be cute? There are as many ways to adapt this Instagram Story idea to your business as there are emojis—you could have Stories for weeks!

More emoji-related Instagram Story ideas:

  • Share designs for emojis that you think should be made.
  • Juxtapose pictures of your product or services with famous photos or celebrity photos that bear resemblance or represent similar concepts.
  • Share candid photos of your team members throughout the day and ask your followers to pick which emoji best represents them.

Mix your media

Mixing real photos with graphic illustrations is a growing design trend for landing pages and websites—why not incorporate it into your Story? In the example below by Cypress Avenue Works, we see a photo of one of its dog vests with a graphic of the design used for it overlaid on top.

instagram story ideas - mixed media example

More mixed media Instagram Story ideas:

creative instagram story ideas - mixed media example

Be relatably uncreative

Simply Straws’ Instagram Story below is a repost from Pink Over Plastic—literally just a video of a french press being, well, pressed, and the coffee being poured. The caption reads:

“having a wholesome morning…
…pretending I didn’t rink seven tequila sodas last night.”

instagram story ideas - simply straws relatable example

Two ideas here: Repost from accounts that share your audience (both Simply Straws and Pink Over Plastic cater to planet-loving cocktail-drinking women), and tell it like it is. Sometimes a mundane but relatable statement can be equally as appreciated as a templated Story with tips, facts, and stats—especially if you’re hungover.

More relatable Instagram Story ideas:

New post Instagram Story ideas

Thanks to the link sticker, Instagrammers can now share clickable links in their Stories—which businesses often use to send their followers to landing pages, product pages, their homepage, and blog posts. Here are some new post Instagram Story ideas to inspire you.

Share a weekly roundup

Hootsuite shares a roundup of it’s blog posts from the week in its Friday Instagram Story. The first frame looks like a push notification on your phone, but it reads “Happy Friday! Are you ready to catch up on our weekly Hootsuite Blog updates?

new post instagram story ideas - hootsuite roundup

Create a new post template

Use Canva’s Instagram Story templates to scale Stories that perform well and save time with series. And what better series than your latest blog posts?

new post instagram story ideas - template example

You can catch our beginner’s guide to Canva (with a video tutorial!) here.

Link to a Feed post

If you share Instagram posts with long captions or a lot of information, add a snapshot of the post in your Story and share a link to the post in your Feed.

instagram story ideas - promote a post

MORE >> 45 Creative & Easy Instagram Post Ideas

Instagram Story ideas for business

Businesses can promote their Instagram with any of the ideas in this post, but here are some that are pretty specific to businesses—especially B2B businesses.

Promote a guide

If downloadable guides are part of your content marketing strategy, promote them in your Instagram Story. Pull out the most interesting tidbits from the guide and turn each one into a frame.

instagram story ideas - educational guide example

You can do this with any piece of content you’re promoting, including blog posts, podcasts, videos, and more.

Other content-promoting Instagram Story ideas:

  • Share three questions that your guide answers, each in its own frame, then tell your followers they can get the answers in the guide.
  • Take the most attractive visuals from the guide and turn them into frames.
  • Share how many people have downloaded the guide so far.

Show off your product

Semrush’s Instagram Story below was published at the end of December and designed to match the new year countdown theme. It reads:

Happy New Backlink Strategy!
5…Links you can compare with our Backlink Gap tool
4…Backlink tools we compare to see which could find new backlinks the fastest.
3…Times the speed our crawlers update our backlink index than in the
2…Part study we conducted to compare the speed of our Backlink Analysis tool to leading competitors.
1…More day to try out our Backlink Analytics toolkit for FREE! So get to it!instagram story ideas - semrush countdown example

What a great way to prove your product’s value (it’s one of the best keyword research tools), encourage more sign-ups, and keep it seasonal.

Business spotlight

Use an Instagram Story template to create little profile cards of your customers and feature a new customer each week. Adroll does this with its Small Biz Spotlight series. It includes a photo of the business owner, a quote from them, and a link to their Instagram handle.

instagram story ideas - business spotlight example

You can repurpose content from your case studies for this or simply reach out to your customers with an example and ask them to provide their quote—a quick and easy customer engagement strategy that promotes long-lasting relationships.

Promote your podcast

Just as you can share tidbits from a guide you’re trying to promote, you can also share snippets from your latest podcast. The Skimm does this with its SkimmThis podcast and uses the caption sticker to give its followers a preview.

instagram story ideas - the skimm example

Pull out clips that will catch readers’ attention or spark their curiosity enough to get them to listen to the whole podcast.

Ideas for sound bites to pull:

  • It was then that I realized that…
  • That was my breaking point.
  • So I have one word to answer that question…
  • Here’s the secret to…

Repost customer Stories

Content that promotes your business, that people trust, that you didn’t lift a finger to create? It’s perfect. Repost user-generated content on your Story and you’ll be surprised at how much more of it you’ll see.

instagram story ideas - repost example

Learn how to do it here >> How to Repost on Instagram (7 Different Ways!)

Tour your website

If you want to increase traffic to your website don’t just link to it, give people a reason to go there! Give them a preview of what they can expect.

instagram story ideas girlboss example

You can use this Story idea to:

  • Show the wide range of offerings on your ecommerce site.
  • Show off your rebranded site.
  • Demonstrate how easy it is to sign up for something or use a feature you have.

Cute Instagram Story ideas

“Cute” doesn’t have to mean babies, puppies, or fashion styles—as we’ve already demonstrated above with the adorable Boeing 747. Here are some more Instagram Story examples that are cute in their approach and design.

Share tips from a teammate

Providing useful and practical information is a must for any social media marketing strategy, and there are so many ways to do it. Canva regularly posts Stories where team members share their top tips for different use cases.

cute instagram story ideas - share tips from a team member

Coming from a person makes it more, well, personal—and thoughtful and curated—and puts a face behind the brand. Plus, useful information will land you more quality Instagram followers.

Add illustrations to photos

Very similar to the mixed media ideas above. Moment’s “Early Early Spring Sale” Instagram Story shows how just a few hand-drawn (or hand-drawn looking) squiggly lines can add the perfect human touch to your Instagram Story photos.

cute instagram story ideas - photos with illustrations

Take care of your audience

Who says self-care posts are only for lifestyle bloggers? NPR recently shared a Story created by one of its cartoonists on how to cope with anxiety from the news. How cute is that worried brain?

cute instagram story ideas - NPR example

Engaging Instagram Story ideas

Instagram marketing 101: Don’t just post, engage and engage back! Here are some interactive Instagram Story ideas to show your followers you care.

Poll your audience

You can use Instagram Story polls to get audience insights and feedback or just for plain fun. TripAdvisor’s Story below shares different vacation preferences with a sliding bar scale, then asks its followers to type in where they’re headed in the new year.

instagram story ideas - poll example

More Instagram Story poll ideas:

  • Would you rather
  • Pick between two of your products
  • Rate these photos/ideas/products

Ask open-ended questions

Just like polls, you can use the question sticker in your Instagram Story in a practical or purely playful way. CarGurus has a new “hot seat” question each week in its Story.

This week’s hot seat question is polarising. What’s the correct way to call shotgun?

instagram story ideas - open ended question example

More Instagram Story question ideas:

  • What would you like to learn about/what should our next blog post be on?
  • Here’s what [keeps us up at night/brings us joy/keeps us going/etc]. What about you?
  • What’s your favorite thing about [your business]?

Share recommendations

Of course, this is easy if you’re a product like Netflix that makes recommendations, but you can get ideas from accounts like these.

instagram story ideas - example of sharing recommendations

Recommendation ideas for your Instagram Story:

  • If you like [one of your products], you will like [another one or few of your products].
  • Feeling [mood]? Here are three songs to [inspire you today/pump you up/get you out of bed].
  • Low-cost alternatives to [item].

Ask for advice or recommendations

On the flip side, ask your audience for their advice or expertise to remind them that you value their input. And respond to their responses!

engaging instagram story idea - ask for advice

Ask me anything

Give your followers a chance to get to know you or your business more, or to borrow your expertise with an ask me anything in your Story. Then answer them!

instagram story ideas - ask me anything

Image source

Cool Instagram Story ideas

Here are unique ways you can use your Story to promote your Instagram account give your followers a little something different.

Post immersive video

Now, not all of us have the budget to travel the world and capture the moments that define humanity, but the idea behind this National Geographic Instagram Story example is to just transport your followers somewhere else for a few seconds—whether that’s behind the wheel, under the water, or literally even behind the handlebars on the stationary bike at the gym.

cool instagram story ideas - national geo immersive video

Repost a repost of your own post

The Muted Home’s Story below is a repost of its contest winner’s repost of its contest announcement post. If anything you’ll increase watch time as your viewers try to wrap their minds around it.

cool instagram story ideas - repost of a repost

Mindblown.

Do an Instagram takeover

If you’re looking for ways to change it up in your Instagram Story, why not just change up the person creating it? Hand over your credentials to someone else for a day and see what they come up with. USA Today did an Instagram takeover with Olympic skier Winter Vinecki at the Winter Olympics, but you don’t have to connect with a celebrity to use this idea.

instagram story ideas - takeover usa today

More Instagram Story takeover ideas:

  • Hand your account over to someone in the field, on the production line, or behind the scenes at an event.
  • Ask an influencer or someone popular in your local community to take over for a day.
  • Give the credentials to someone on your team attending an industry event so they can share the experience and key takeaways.

Instagram Story birthday ideas

Last but not least, Story ideas for birthdays.

Company culture birthday

On your company anniversary, show how much you’ve grown with a series of team photos from each year. Customers like to see not only the people behind the name, but also that your business is growing.

instagram story ideas for birthday - company birthday

Customer birthday

Why not celebrate your customers’ birthdays? Or even their anniversary with your business? It’s a good way to show that you’re on their mind and that you care about their growth! Bonus points if you’re a marketing agency fueling said growth. Make sure you get their permission, of course.

birthday instagram story ideas - canva templateBirthday raffle

Showing how you’re celebrating your company’s birthday is fun and all, but not very engaging to your audience. Throw in a raffle, contest, or other offer and let them share in the experience.

instagram birthday story idea - birthday raffle

The mega list of the best Instagram Story ideas

I won’t list out all 72+ ideas, but here are the “seed” ideas from above for easier remembering and brainstorming.

Entertain and impress your followers with these creative Instagram Story ideas:

  1. Be ridiculous
  2. Imitate emojis
  3. Mix your media
  4. Be relatably uncreative

Get more engagement with your content with these new post Instagram Story ideas:

  1. Share a weekly roundup
  2. Create a new post template
  3. Link to a Feed post

Stand out from competitors with these Instagram Story ideas for business:

  1. Promote a guide
  2. Show off your product
  3. Business spotlight
  4. Promote your podcast
  5. Repost customer Stories
  6. Tour your website

Add a human touch to your content with these cute Instagram Story ideas

  1. Share tips from a teammate
  2. Add illustrations to photos
  3. Take care of your audience

Build an audience with these engaging Instagram Story ideas:

  1. Poll your audience
  2. Ask open-ended questions
  3. Share recommendations
  4. Ask for advice or recommendations
  5. Ask me anything

Change things up a bit with these cool Instagram Story ideas”

  1. Post immersive video
  2. Repost a repost of your own post
  3. Do an Instagram takeover

Celebrate anniversaries with these Instagram Story birthday ideas:

  1. Company culture birthday
  2. Customer birthday
  3. Birthday raffle

Got any ideas of your own? Share them in the comments below!

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