Instagram stories. It's where the cool kids are—and for a really good reason.
Since launching in 2016, we've seen a huge uptick in brands using Instagram stories. They let brands update audience members in real-time, giving insights on new products and happenings in the office.
Further, it's a great marketing platform. Over 500 million people use Instagram stories daily. And since over 50% of Instagram users follow a business, you have a huge potential market open to you.
So if your brand isn't using Instagram stories yet, it needs to be. But that's easier said than done—stories sound easy to make on paper, but require creativity, inspiration, and some minor design skills.
But don't worry: if you don't have those, don't sweat. We're here to help!
In this article, we'll show you 10 awesome Instagram stories you can steal for killer engagement. We'll take you through why each brand's Instagram stories are awesome and discuss what you can learn from them.
Use these tips to create awesome stories content on your brand's Instagram account. If you do it right and you'll be greeted with better engagement, higher reach, and a higher social media ROI.
So without further ado... let's dive right in!
A library of awesome tips and tricks – @tylerjmccall
Tyler J McCall is a marketing superstar that shares his digital marketing knowledge with his followers. His Instagram stories feed is chock-full of Q&A sessions, Instagram tips, and the occasional bit of his personal life.
All of McCall's stories are backed up to his stories highlights. This acts as an archive of his knowledge and adds to the social proof of his Instagram page—after all, why wouldn't you trust someone with hundreds of stories that teach awesome social media marketing tips?
Further, we're particularly huge fans of his screen-capture video stories. These give you in-depth instructions on how to do technical things on Instagram, like make better stories and view analytics.
These stories have helped McCall amass a ton of Instagram followers. As of March 2019, he has over 28,500 followers. Each of these are potential customers for McCall's online marketing courses.
What can you learn from @tylerjmccall's stories?
This all goes back to the buzzword we used earlier: social proof.
Don't be afraid to share industry knowledge with your Instagram followers—even if it sounds super basic to you.
This proves that your brand knows its stuff and makes a product that will actually help the people using it.
It's like content marketing: prove your value first, and the sales will come soon after. Just make sure you're sharing valuable insights that will help your audience learn new skills.
Looking for more Instagram stories tips? Check out these stories best practices.
Teach your audience something new – @brewpointcoffee
Brewpoint Coffee—or, @brewpointcoffee on Instagram—is an up-and-coming coffee company in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. It has a few shops, a roaster, and an absolutely amazing Instagram presence—mostly due to its great use of Instagram stories.
The coffee company posts a variety of different things to its Instagrams stories, but our favorite is their "how-to" series. Here, the coffee shop shows its audience how to brew coffee using different brew methods (pour-over, espresso, etc).
Each step is its own story screen, so @brewpointcoffee's audience can tap through each step at their own pace. The stories use a mixture of text, photo, and videos to make the experience more interactive, too.
Talk about getting creative with stories!
What can you learn from @brewpointcoffee
Like @tylermccall, @brewpointcoffee teaches its audience valuable skills. It's a testament to the fact that any brand teach its audience something new—even if it's a coffee shop!
Consider using @brewpointcoffee's awesome step-by-step tutorial format when teaching your audience something new. It's easy to make, gets your point across, and still hits the social proof points we mentioned earlier.
Celebrate the (Hallmark) holidays with your fans – @flynyon
FlyNYON is a helicopter tour company in New York City. The company takes photographers, couples, and adventure seekers on helicopter tours above Manhattan, giving them amazing views of the bustling city life below.
Another thing it does well? Instagram stories.
The helicopter tour company frequently posts behind-the-scenes looks at its tours, staff outings, and customer holiday parties. One of our favorites is their most recent holiday series: Valentine's Day.
This Valentine's Day @FlyNYON hosted a party for customers taking special Valentine's Day tours. Travelers were treated to champagne and couple's photos pre-departure.
These photos were posted in a festive album on FlyNYON's Instagram story, showing that they care about their customers and are willing to go the extra mile to make their Valentine's Day extra festive.
On top of this, the Instagram story is festive. Couples want to get in the Valentine's Day spirit, so make sure to facilitate this on your story—who knows, maybe next year they'll want to celebrate with your brand.
What can you learn from @flynyon?
You can learn two things from @flynyon: get your customers involved with your stories and celebrate the holidays—even if they're Hallmark holidays.
Try your best to get your customers involved with your Instagram stories. This can be "re-gramming" their photos (with permission, of course), taking photos of customer parties... and the list goes on.
Doing this will make your customers feel involved with your company. And the more involved they feel, the more likely they are to interact with your stories and other Instagram content.
Holiday coverage can be as simple as wishing your audience a happy National Coffee Day, or as intricate as a full blown Valentine's Day party with champagne and roses. Just make the effort—your audience will appreciate it and remember your brand the next time the holiday rolls around.
Share your look-book – @allbirds
Fashion brands need to pay special attention to Instagram stories—they're a great way to show off your latest wares to an audience that's looking to buy.
One of the best ways fashion brands can share their wares is by uploading look-books to Instagram. These are essentially collections of different looks made out of a new fashion line. It may include multiple models and a collection of different clothing you released in a certain year.
Shoe startup Allbirds (@allbirds) shares all of its look-books on Instagram. They use this to show off all of their looks with their social audience, inspiring them (and, of course, marketing its products).
Allbirds saves all of its social media look-books to its Instagram stories highlights too, so its can audience can refer back to them whenever they need a little fashion inspiration.
What can you learn from @allbirds?
Don't be afraid to show off your products, but do it with a value-add.
If you're in fashion, look-books are a great way to do this. Not only will you market your products, but you'll inspire your audience to try similar looks and outfits. This will keep your products fresh in their mind and
Creative cobranded awareness campaigns – @natgeo
National Geographic's Instagram account—@natgeo—is one of the most-followed Instagram accounts of all time, and it's easy to see why: the publication posts amazing content from its huge network of photographers.
The publication's Instagram stories are especially amazing. It frequently produces cobranded awareness campaigns for different charities and causes around the world.
For example, above you'll see its collaboration with water filter company Brita USA. This campaign brings light to the world's overuse of plastic bottles which are filling up oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water.
Brita and National Geographic teamed up to fight this overuse of water using National Graphic's excellent photo team and Brita's knowledge and funding.
Doing this put a good face on both brands and helped them promote a cause that's super close to their hearts. At the same time, they picked a very accessible cause that's unlikely to divide either company's audience.
What can you learn from @natgeo
Millennials want brands to be more aware and supportive of different causes. This can be by promoting awareness for a specific cause, starting a fundraiser on social media, or posting behind-the-scenes footage of a company service outing.
Take a cue from @natgeo's book and promote a cause that's important to your brand. It doesn't have to be as intricate as @natgeo's, but try and make it as creative as possible.
Motivate your audience to do their best – @marketing.stories
@marketing.stories may not be a branded page, but it's a wildly successful page that frequently shares marketing and entrepreneurship advice, motivational quotes, and other content from modern-day marketers-turned-entrepreneurs.
One of the ways the account has grown so quickly is due to its awesome Instagram story posts—every day it posts motivational quotes, photos, and marketing insights to its story.
These feel-good posts pump its audience up and push them to do their best. This is an easy thing to sell as everyone wants a little boost to get them through the week.
Further, these posts are super sharable. After all, who doesn't want to pump up their friend and give them a little bit of #MondayMotivation?
What can you learn from @marketing.stories?
Don't be afraid to post some motivation on your brand's account—quotes and other motivational content are easily sharable content that can be created in seconds.
But unless you're solely focusing on motivation, make sure you switch it up and use this content sparingly. It's good for filling in the gaps or posting in-between new social media campaigns.
Go behind-the-scenes – @eurowings
Eurowings is a new budget off-shoot of the world famous German airline Lufthansa. Being so new to market, the airline has been aggressively marketing itself as an alternative to other regional airlines in the German and Central European market.
Its Instagram presence (@eurowings) is one of the best we've seen in the airline space—especially when it comes to stories. It frequently posts deals, new route announcements, and other interesting content on its Instagram story.
However, we personally prefer the brand's frequent behind-the-scenes content. https://www.instagram.com/eurowings/ takes you behind the scenes to show how they prep airplanes, how its crew provides in-flight service, and more.
This lets Eurowings fliers get a first-hand look at what they'll experience on-board a Eurowings flight, making it informational and a great marketing tool.
What can you learn from @eurowings?
Try going behind-the-scenes on your Instagram story. If you're a pastry shop, show how you make a flagship recipe. Or if you're a software house, bring your audience behind-the-scenes at a user testing session.
Doing this gives your brand a layer of transparency. It shows you have nothing to hide and will give you some serious points with your curious audience members.
Amazing event promotion – @dogfishhead
Hosting an event is a great way to promote your business, so make sure to promote and cover your next company event on Instagram stories.
Craft brewery @dogfishhead frequently runs tasting events at its breweries. These events are heavily promoted and covered on its Instagram stories, giving their fans a taste of past and upcoming events.
Each of these event stories feature glamor shots of their drinks, talks, and other happenings at the event. These awe-inspiring photos make @dogfishhead's audience want to make a special trip to the brewery for the next party.
What can you learn from @dogfishhead?
Show off on your brand's events on its Instagram story too. These can be public events like launch parties or tastings, or company events like holiday parties.
Whatever you do promote though, use your story to raise interest in what you're doing. Give context around the event, show attendees having a good time, and otherwise raise interest.
We recommend promoting your event beforehand and covering it in real-time while it's going on. This will get more people to go to your event and raise awareness and anticipation for the next one.
Show off your press and testimonials – @gograysquare
Gray Square is a Pennsylvania-based marketing agency. On Instagram, it goes under the name @gograysquare and frequently updates its pages with new content. Much of this includes testimonials, portfolio items, and even its mentions in the press.
We're huge fans of how @gograysquare uses Instagram as a place to show off its successes and past work.
The agency organizes its successes into different story highlights on its Instagram page, so potential clients can view portfolio pieces without loading its full website.
And though we don't have solid numbers, we'd bet that @gograysquare has wrangled in at least one or two clients via these Instagram stories.
What can you learn from @gograysquare?
You need to show off your work if you run social media for an agency or if you're a freelancer.
Sure, photos of your office and team are great, but in the end you need clients. These clients are interested in seeing your work, so make sure you're actively showing it off on your Instagram story and in your story highlights.
This makes your portfolio super accessible and gives potential clients a look at what you're all about.
On that note, agencies and freelancers should make exactly what they do super clear on their Instagram page.
So if you're a marketing agency for travel companies, make sure that's well states in your bio and reflected in the work you choose to share on your story.
#foodporn to the max – @vanleeuwenicecream
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream is a New York and Los Angeles staple. The ice cream company is constantly experimenting with new ice cream flavors, mixtures, and other dessert creations.
The ice cream shop constantly posts its new creations on its Instagram story under the name @vanleeuwenicecream. Just take one look at its Best of 2018 stories highlight and you'll be greeted with a ton of awesome #foodporn—I mean, just look at the examples above 😍
@vanleeuwenicecream posts these #foodporn photos everyday, so its followers are constantly reminded of the sugary goodness that their creating at their numerous locations.
What can you learn from @vanleeuwenicecream?
If you run a restaurant or cafe you need to embrace the #foodporn trend.
Posting delicious photos of your food will make your audience's mouths water at the sight of your latest creations—and the next time they're hungry, you'll be the first on your list of new restaurants to check out.
With that in mind, take care to make these photos pop. @vanleeuwenicecream uses bright colors, good lighting, and creative shots to make each scoop of ice cream look like an absolute masterpiece.
There's no doubt that Instagram stories are a big deal. After all, there are over a billion people on Instagram that are all potential clients for your new products, services, and content. So get out there and engage with them using Instagram stories.
In this article we showed you the 10 best Instagram story ideas for killer engagement and what you can learn from each of them.
Find which are your favorite and use them as inspiration for your next Instagram story campaign—trust us, it'll create engagement and make your Instagram profile a better performer than ever.
But now we want to hear from you. What was your favorite Instagram story on this list? How will you use it as inspiration for your own Instagram stories? Let us know in the comments below—thanks for reading!
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