With a plethora of social platforms available, it can be challenging to know where to direct your marketing efforts. With 1 billion active users each month, it is not a surprise that many local businesses have decided Instagram is a platform worthy of their attention. However, many still don’t take full advantage of all of its great features, such as Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories have over 500 million active users daily, making it a feature you shouldn’t neglect. Here is a complete guide your business can follow to help up your Stories game!

What Are Stories?

Launched in 2016 as a response to Snapchat, the Instagram Stories allow accounts to post photos and short videos to their ‘story’ – where they will be visible to their followers for 24 hours.Since its launch, updates and revisions have included the addition of filters, stickers, locations, music, and interactive features – such as polls, ranking bars, external links, and question stickers. These updates allow for increased engagement and interaction with your audience.

How Is This Different From Just Posting on Instagram?

If your brand is already active on Instagram and you share posts to your feed often, do you need to post Stories too? The answer is yes!

Instagram Stories add a level of engagement and interaction that you cannot achieve through feed posts alone. By incorporating Stories into your social media marketing strategy, you can interact with your audience by responding to polls and asking questions through the stickers. Better yet, you can give them the option to swipe up to go to an external link of your choosing, which is a function that is not available in Instagram photo captions. Better yet, your brand’s Story can even feature user-generated content by reposting a story one of your followers has tagged you in!

Due to their fleeting nature, Stories are also better for fast, time-sensitive information – such as promotions, flash sales, or giveaways – that might become outdated too quickly to be featured in regular Instagram posts.

What Kind of Stories Should My Business Post?

Once you decide to concentrate on Stories, you may not know what to post to get your business the most traction – but we do! Here are 5 Story ideas for inspiration to get you started.

1.      Tutorials

Stories’ short, sequential formatting makes them perfect for sharing bite-sized educational tutorials or hacks. At-home recipes, beauty how-tos, or more on-brand tutorials relating to your business’s products or service area are the perfect Story posts for educating and engaging your followers.

2.      Behind the Scenes

Stories have a more casual, informal nature compared with traditional posts. Therefore, they are the perfect platform for posting behind the scenes exclusive looks. Snap a few pics from the set-up for an event you’re hosting or give a quick view of what you are finding during a home inspection or service call, and why it is an issue. You can even share the various work-from-home set-ups of your team members running a “day in the life of an employee at _____” series.

3.      Exclusive Promotions

Your Stories are likely going to be watched by your most loyal and engaged followers, so running giveaways, flash sales, and exclusive promotions via Stories is a great way to reward those who follow your brand the closest.

Additionally, offering an exclusive gift or prize to a lucky follower who shares your Story on their own is a great way to spread the word about your business and products and get your page in front of potential new followers and customers!

4.      User-Generated Content

One of the best things about Instagram Stories is that you can share any Story that has tagged your business on your own Story. Your followers will love seeing their posts featured, which will boost their engagement, and truly make your followers feel like they are an important part of your brand – because they are!

Try running a user-generated Story campaign by creating a hashtag unique to your brand and encourage your followers to tag your account and hashtag in their own Stories. From there, you will be able to interact with them and repost their Stories, all while expanding your brand reach and engaging with your followers.

5.      Paid Story Ads

If you are in a position where your brand can run paid ads, Instagram Story ads are a great route to take. When clicking through Stories, the average Instagram user will see a paid Ad every fourth Story. For Instagram users who follow upwards of a thousand accounts, that’s a lot of ads and potential purchase opportunities! Take advantage of this by designing a Story ad catered to your target audience. Keep in mind the Instagram Story specs and best practices when creating your campaign, and you will be golden!


With total creative liberty at your fingertips, Instagram Stories provide an endless canvas for stellar audience engagement. For more tips on how to build successful marketing campaigns, talk with one of our digital marketing experts today!