25 Creative Instagram Story Ideas to Boost Your Engagement in 2023

Instagram stories on phone screens

If you’re a social media manager, influencer, or business owner, you know that Instagram stories are a powerful marketing tool.

With a reach of over 500 million Instagram accounts, stories are a creative and immersive way to interact with your audience, grow your following, and inspire interest in your brand.

Social media users are drawn to stories because they’re an easily digestible form of content. And since they disappear within 24 hours, they give you a chance to experiment with different strategies so you can figure out what works best.

Coming up with fresh and creative Instagram story ideas every day can be challenging, but don’t worry – we’ve curated 25 engaging Instagram story ideas to help you excite and delight your audience this year.

Let’s go!

P.S. Follow Loomly on Instagram for more helpful tips & tricks!

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1. Create “shoppable” stories to promote your products
2. Spotlight user-generated content
3. Stand up for a cause
4. Walk your followers through quick and helpful tutorials
5. Start a challenge with the “Add Yours” feature
6. Post a behind-the-scenes sneak peek
7. Start a regular series
8. Engage your audience with a poll
9. Test your followers with a quiz
10. Share positive reviews that hype up your brand
11. Hand off the reins for a takeover
12. Advertise your business with creative story ads
13. Let your followers get to know you with an AMA
14. Introduce your team
15. Try meme marketing
16. Share promo codes and special offers
17. Go live
18. Host a contest or giveaway
19. Use the Countdown sticker to build excitement
20. Share your location
21. Encourage your followers to DM you
22. Celebrate your accomplishments
23. Feature content from other creators
24. Direct traffic to your other channels
25. Share “before and afters” 

1. Create “shoppable” stories to promote your products

Instagram stories should play a primary role in your brand’s social media marketing strategy.

Showcasing your products or services in your stories helps you drive more sales. According to Instagram, 50% of users say they’ve visited a website to buy a product or service as a result of seeing it in that company’s stories.

Social commerce is expected to be an $80 billion industry by 2025. So don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion. Share high-quality photos of your products and tag them using a product link so that customers can shop as soon as they discover them.

2. Spotlight user-generated content

If you want to engage customers with more authentic content, don’t sleep on user-generated content (UGC).

UGC is any form of organic, brand-specific content created by individuals (not brands) and shared on social media. An example of UGC is a customer sharing a story while shopping in your store.

lush cosmetics instagram story UGC

(Image Source)

Sharing UGC works because people trust people. In fact, 93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than brands. Because UGC lets potential customers know how much others like your content or brand, it’s a great way to build social proof.

If your followers tag you in a story using your products, wearing your designs, or watching your content, repost them on your story.

3. Stand up for a cause

2020 was a big turning point for our collective social consciousness — more people are aware and invested in social causes and value brands and influencers that champion social, political, and environmental causes.

If you run a sustainable clothing brand, promote a fundraiser or share sustainability best practices in your stories.

Or, if you have a connection to a cause, non-profit, or charity that’s near and dear to you, you can use your stories as a platform for change and encourage your followers to get involved, too.

4. Walk your followers through quick and helpful tutorials

Sharing bite-sized, easy tutorials in your stories adds real value to your audience and demonstrates your skills and expertise.

Make visually engaging tutorials that are relevant to your niche and capture your audience’s attention. If you’re a yoga instructor, for example, you could create a series of slides showing yoga poses that increase flexibility.

5. Start a challenge with the “Add Yours” feature

Instagram challenges are a powerful technique to grow your social media following and brand impressions, as well as create UGC.

Instagram's "add yours" sticker announcement

(Image Source)

Since its launch in 2021, the “Add Yours” story sticker has allowed users to respond to your story with their own after following a prompt from you. If you run a travel account, for instance, you could create a “Share your top travel tip” sticker and encourage others to share their own.

This feature prompts users to engage with your story and makes your account more discoverable.

6. Post a behind-the-scenes sneak peek

Behind-the-scenes content allows you to show a more authentic, less curated side of yourself and your business on Instagram.

Use your stories to create engaging and educational behind-the-scenes footage that shows the preparation that goes into your product development or creative process.

According to the 2022 Instagram Trends Report, young people are interested in the stories behind products — stories that show how a dress was made or a video tour of your office or store.

Giving your audience a peek “behind the curtain” builds trust, as people value transparency. And, let’s be honest, everyone loves feeling like an insider.

7. Start a regular series

Creating a story series gives your followers a compelling reason to check in with you and look out for your content whenever they’re on Instagram.

If you run a restaurant or cooking account, for instance, you could start a weekly recipe series that features video tutorials. A regular series lets you easily plan content ahead of time and schedule it for publication in advance, helping you save time.

8. Engage your audience with a poll

One of the quickest ways to get more story views is to poll your audience using Instagram’s engagement-driving Poll sticker. The Poll feature lets your followers select one of two answers to any question you ask them.

Polls are useful not just because they’re an interactive way for your followers to engage with you but also because they allow you to gather valuable insights about your audience.

iced coffee vs hot coffee

Before launching a new product or design, consider conducting a poll asking your followers for their honest feedback.

9. Test your followers with a quiz

If you want a high engagement rate, your followers need to get excited about your content. And a good way to make this happen is a good trivia question.

Like Instagram polls, adding quizzes to your stories is a fun way to build engagement and interact with your followers.

The interactive quiz sticker lets your business share trivia-style multiple-choice questions with your audience and tracks the results in real time.

10. Share positive reviews that hype up your brand

Positive customer feedback does wonders for your digital reputation — 85% of buyers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Injecting a favorable customer review or video testimonial into your Instagram stories from time to time can improve others’ perceptions of your brand or online identity. For a more personal touch, you can even tag that person to show your appreciation.

11. Hand off the reins for a takeover

A takeover involves partnering with someone who takes over your Instagram account for a designated amount of time (usually 24 hours) and posting from their POV. That someone is typically a brand ambassador, influencer, or company employee.

This popular marketing tactic can be used to breathe some fresh air into your Instagram stories and increase engagement. It can also help you reach new audiences, as your partner will likely announce the takeover to their followers.

Instagram story ads are becoming prime real estate for online advertising.

native instagram story ad

(Image Source)

From major brands to small SMBs, four billion businesses use attractive story ads to create brand awareness and reach new customers using precise targeting.

Unlike organic stories, story ads are paid content that reaches users who aren’t already following you, helping you tap into new audiences.

Jelly Skateboards, a skateboarding company from Southern California, managed to grow its engagement and customer base by running a video contest story ad.

13. Let your followers get to know you with an AMA

An AMA, which is short for “ask me anything,” is an interactive story in which you invite your followers to ask you questions. This starts a two-way line of communication and encourages engagement between you and your audience.

You can respond to questions via video stories or create text responses and post them to your story with the corresponding questions.

14. Introduce your team

Your followers want to know they’re interacting with more than just a logo. Use your stories to give your audience a chance to get to know the people behind your brand.

You can either introduce your team members or spotlight them when they deserve recognition. If your team is full of experts, you can do a Q&A in which those individuals answer audience questions about a specific topic.

Showcasing your team shows that you value the people who work with you and helps you humanize your brand.

15. Try meme marketing

Memes make the online world go round. If you haven’t already implemented meme marketing in your social media strategy, now is a good time to start.

Meme marketing is where brands share their take on a trending meme in a humorous way that’s relatable to their audience — while still retaining the original meme.

Purity coffee instagram meme

(Image Source)

Using relatable memes in your stories is a great way to fulfill your marketing goals and increase brand awareness.

16. Share promo codes and special offers

If you have special offers, promo codes, or an upcoming sale, don’t miss a chance to share these with your followers via Instagram stories.

Sharing discounts encourages followers to engage with you while they save money, and it also gives you a chance to send visitors to your website or online store — a win-win!

17. Go live

Instagram Live should be in your social media arsenal for a few reasons. First, it offers you the opportunity to have genuine and raw interaction with your followers in real time.

Second, the engagement you generate by hosting a live session (think likes, comments, and shares) gives Instagram a reason to prioritize your stories and other content in the Discover feed. Your content will show up on your target audience’s radar, helping you expand your reach.

18. Host a contest or giveaway

Contests and giveaways are some of the best ways to generate engagement with your current followers and — if you ask them to tag a friend or follow you to qualify — bring in new followers.

instagram story giveaway

Promote contests or giveaways on your Instagram story, and don’t forget to post the contest winner. Publicly announcing a winner to your story proves that your contest is legitimate and not simply a ploy to increase your follower count.

19. Use the Countdown sticker to build excitement

Got a new collection dropping this spring or a meet-and-greet event you want to promote? Post a countdown on your story and encourage your followers to get excited about it!

Countdowns are a great way to build up hype and pique your followers’ interest around upcoming events, product launches, and exciting announcements.

20. Share your location

Tagging your location or creating a custom location tag in your story puts your business on the map — literally.

coffee shop instagram location tag

Location tags automatically make your story more discoverable under the location tag search, bringing in new followers. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, like a store or coffee shop, sharing your location can also increase your local exposure and bring in more customers.

21. Encourage your followers to DM you

Taking the time to really connect with your followers is the key to social media engagement. Instagram DMs allow you to chat with your audience or customers one-on-one and build deeper relationships with them.

Create Instagram stories that encourage your followers to reach out to you. For example, ask them for recommendations when you’re traveling somewhere new or get their opinions on a specific topic (pineapple on pizza?). While it may take a bit of work to answer each and every question, it’s worth the effort.

22. Celebrate your accomplishments

Don’t shy away from sharing your wins with your online community. Whether you’ve won an award, reached 10k followers, or your brand just turned a year old, every milestone is worth celebrating.

one year instagram anniversary

Sharing your successes and expressing gratitude to the people who support you can build a sense of community and inspire others.

23. Feature content from other creators

Not all your Instagram stories need to be created in-house. Instagram stories allow you to diversify your content by reposting stories from other accounts.

Going beyond your own content brings value to your audience and helps you build meaningful relationships with other creators in your community. If you’re a fan of someone else’s work or come across an inspiring piece of content, don’t hesitate to share it with your followers and give the creator a shout-out.

24. Direct traffic to your other channels

Instagram is one of the best social media platforms to build an online presence, but it’s not the only one.

If you have a website, YouTube channel, or blog, occasionally sharing them on your story can drive traffic to these channels. For instance, say you want to promote your blog. Sharing recent blogs using Instagram’s “Swipe up” feature directs Instagram users to your blog, likely turning at least some of them into new subscribers.

25. Share “before and afters”

If your business involves any kind of transformation (think personal trainers, interior designers, hair salons, etc.), then “before and after” stories are a great way to show off your skills.

before and after hair transformation

“Before and after” photos are a powerful marketing tool that shows your followers that your product or service will deliver. To encourage engagement, add an interactive sticker to those stories that allows users to rate your work.

Magnetize your audience with quality content

Your follower count will typically grow if you consistently post engaging Instagram stories as part of your overall strategy. Whenever you need inspiration, the Instagram story ideas outlined here will help you engage and delight your audience.

And if one of your 2023 resolutions is to reach new audiences and build your online brand, Loomly can help you manage all your social media content and create Instagram stories like an expert. Start your 15-day free trial today!