21 Jan 2021 Social media

10 Instagram Story ideas for your business in 2021

person holding a mobile showing the Instagram Explore page

Using Instagram Stories can be a great way to generate exposure for your account and engage with your audience on a more personal level. Did you know that more than 500 million people use Instagram Stories every single day? That shows a massive potential of engaging with your audience. It also shows that there is a lot of competition due to the high number of users, especially as businesses are increasingly using Instagram Stories in their social media marketing strategies. You need to come up with the best Instagram Story ideas for your business to stand out.

So what does that mean for you? You have probably heard and ignored all the advice that suggests you use Instagram Stories for your business. It can be intimidating trying to understand and succeed using an unfamiliar social media feature, but it is not as complicated as it might seem, especially if you have got some ideas under your sleeve.

It’s time to get started! Let’s explore everything you need to know about Instagram Stories and how you can make the most of it to benefit your business.

What are Instagram Stories?

You have probably already used Instagram Stories when looking at posts from people you are following. If you’re just starting from scratch and have no idea what or where Instagram Stories are, we’ll quickly go over the basics.

Instagram Stories appear at the top of the Instagram app. This often means people go through their Instagram Stories first as that is what they see first. That’s why having an Instagram Story strategy for your business is important.

Screenshot of other people's Instagram Stories at the top of the mobile phone Instagram feed.

Instagram Stories are highly engaging for various reasons. The main reason is that they’re gone after 24 hours (unless you save them into your Instagram Highlights – we’ll cover that in another post). They’re short snippets or pictures that can be viewed for a maximum of 15 seconds at a time, meaning your followers don’t need to commit lots of time and attention.

Also, Instagram has rolled out various tools within Stories to boost engagement. For example, you can ask a question or allow people to rate something. You can even do a karaoke story if you’d really like to. Finding creative ways to use those tools on Instagram Stories for your business is essential to stand out.

10 Instagram Story ideas 2020

Below are some suggestions and ideas to help you improve your business’ Instagram Story strategy.

1. Behind the scenes

Did you get an exciting delivery? Have you improved the decor in your office? Are you working from a cafe? Are you doing something exciting with the team? Give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at what you get up to.

This shows followers that you are a person, and people like buying from people. A lot of the time, a business’s social media can be impersonal. Giving an inside look into how the business works will generate a more personal connection with your audience.

Two screenshots showing Instagram Stories by LikeMind Media in their office.

2. Staff takeover

To keep things interesting, it is a good idea to bring in people who are not usually in charge of the every-day Instagram content. Your employees might have some exciting stuff to share, so why not take advantage of that?

An employee takeover is a great idea to show there are real people behind a brand. Everyone has their own personalities and different people will be able to relate to them.

So, how do you go about a staff takeover? It is exactly how it sounds – you let an employee take control of the brand’s Instagram Stories for a day. They can share what their average working day is like, give a tour of the office, what they are working on and how they feel about working at the company.

We have done staff takeovers at LikeMind Media. Our content creator Charlie shared his day, including the hassle with his pets and his passion for music. Our SEO expert Sarah shared her day by showing her adorable dog Millie and what she had for lunch with the team. The sky is your limit. Ask people questions using the question sticker and let people rate something. Be creative.

Screenshots of LikeMind Media's Instagram Stories of their Staff Takeover series hosted by content creator Charlie Thacker.

3. Teach your followers

Instagram Stories allow you to teach your followers anything about anything. Depending on your industry, you can give a snippet of a code, share an efficient marketing tool or show how to do a hairstyle. The options are endless.

You can even test your audience’s knowledge afterwards by using the quiz feature on Instagram. We use it to test the knowledge of our followers on social media. The more interesting questions, the better!

Screenshots of LikeMind Media's Instagram Stories using the Quiz sticker to quiz the audience about social media statistics.

4. Start a series

It might be worth considering starting a series on your Instagram Stories, so there is regular content for your audience that they can expect and look forward to.

There are so many different series you could start, depending on your industry. You could do beauty reviews, tutorials, team’s quotes of the week and so on.

As we have an Estonian team member, we have created a series called GB vs EST, where the British members try Estonian cuisine and vice-versa. Not only is it a great excuse to eat lots of food, it also shows our followers a little bit of our personality. 

Ours doesn’t really run on a schedule as getting Estonian food over regularly isn’t easy, but it is fun. A series is definitely something to consider.

Screenshots of an episode of LikeMind Media's Instagram Story series GB vs EST where Estonian content creator Helina tries British fig rolls.

5. Share events

As a business, you probably attend events at some point. Either you’re sponsoring an event, have a stall at an event, or you have just gone to a conference to gain some knowledge. Well, it’s all worth sharing.

You can share Boomerangs, pictures and videos of the venue, pictures with people at the event, some content about your stand (if you have one) and your team, as well as any new knowledge you gain at the event. Always remember to tag the location and use the event hashtag to reach more new people.

Screenshots of LikeMind Media's Instagram Stories showing that the team attended Semta Awards and Social Day.

6. Show your workspace

Showing where you work can give your audience an overview about the environment where everything takes place. Your followers will want to know where the magic happens. Also, seeing how your desk is arranged will probably say a lot about you. Are you a fan of organised mess or a tidy desk?

Moreover, if you’re working from home, a cafe or next to a pool somewhere hot (I wish), it’s definitely something to share with your audience. Sharing is caring.

You can always add funny captions, create polls and ask your followers questions to make the Stories more interactive.

Screenshots of LikeMind Media's Instagram Stories showing Paul and Charlie recording a podcast in the office as well as the exterior of the office building.

7. Share new blog posts

Have you just written an awesome article or a blog post and you cannot wait to share it with your audience? You should create a bit of buzz by sharing the post on your Instagram Story.

You can add a snippet of the post on a graphic or a short 15-second video and post it to your Instagram Story to showcase what the post is about and encourage more people to read it. What we generally do is share a quick graphic including the title of the post, as well as an image related to the post to make it more visual.

There are various tools you can use to create a template to share your new blog posts and articles. Canva is a fantastic website that has tons of free templates for Instagram Stories. Alternatively, you can design it from scratch on the platform to make it fit your brand more. We suggest using your brand colours and fonts to make it stand out every time you post.

Screenshots of LikeMind Media's Instagram Stories showing two new blog posts.

8. Team favourites

If your team is a big part of your brand, you should show their personality to your audience. Every single person in your team has their own thoughts and ideas that people could potentially relate to.

You could do a weekly Instagram Story series where you share the team’s favourite things. Each week can be themed to make it different each time. For example, you could share your team’s favourite books, pizza restaurants, holiday destinations and so on. Choose things that match your brand’s values and personality.

We have shared several team favourites, including books. Of course, sometimes you might find some people don’t have an answer, like Sarah in our case. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post anything. That just gives you an opportunity to show some brand personality and add some banter if that fits your image. It’s all up to you how you want to portray your brand.

Screenshots of LikeMind Media's Instagram Stories showing graphic designs of the team's favourite books.

9. Wallpapers

Wallpapers are a great way to get people sharing your content on their stories.

If you’re great at graphic design, create some branded wallpapers for others to use. If people like the wallpapers enough, they are likely to share them with others.

If you’re fantastic at photography, why not take some photos that would look great as a phone background?

They will have to be visually appealing and you need to know what your audience wants to have as their phone background. Yes, you should still try to make the wallpapers match your brand, but don’t think too much about it. Create something that suits your audience.

For example, Zoella’s brand account often shares new wallpapers. You can share wallpapers to celebrate a special occasion or an event, such as Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day and Love Your Pet Day.

Always add your username at the bottom as well to potentially increase awareness for your brand. Save them all in a highlight for everyone to be able to access them easily at any time.

Screenshots of Zoella's Instagram Stories showing free phone wallpapers of flowers and a graphic saying 'breathe'.

10. Q&A

Give your followers the opportunity to ask you questions. Use the question sticker and arrange half an hour to answer as many questions as you can. 

You can make this a monthly feature. One month it can be the CEO, another month it can be the marketing manager or the product designer or whoever.

This is a great opportunity to showcase your expertise and engage with your audience as actual people rather than just a brand. People like engaging with people. This technique allows you to make the most of that.

Screenshots of Zoella's Instagram Stories showing the Instagram question sticker to ask questions and answer them.

All in all, the content on Instagram Stories has to be engaging in other to catch your audience’s attention. It’s up to you to create that personal connection. Try out one of these 10 ideas and let us know how it works out for you.

If you need more guidance on Instagram Story best practices to grow your business, check out this article by MobileMonkey.

Updated March 2021

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