15+ Instagram Story Ideas and tips to boost engagement

15+ Instagram Story Ideas and tips to boost engagement

Quick, you’ve got 24 hours to entertain, inform, unpack, or boost engagement on an Instagram profile. Are you going to rely on the algorithm to showcase your posts in the ideal target audience’s feeds, or are you going to be exploring the shorter-lived yet ever-so-impactful Insta story? Content creators everywhere are looking to come up with creative Instagram story ideas that not only reel new community members in but also delight long-time digital friends. 

Think of Instagram story ideas as shooting your digital shot, all while fostering a fun, engaging connection with a network of online friends. It’s only human to be stuck sometimes, and we have the perfect cure for the content creator’s block.


All you need to know about Instagram stories 

Like any other game, Instagram story ideas are a package deal that comes with a set of rules. Winning the engagement game and fostering a thriving online community with creative Instagram story ideas means working with the parameters set by the platform. 


Here’s all you need to know about them so you can bring your Instagram story ideas to life:

  • Duration - While in the past you had to compress creative Instagram stories in under 10 seconds, this limitation is no longer the golden rule. The maximum duration of an Instagram story is now 60 seconds, meaning you’ve got an entire minute to showcase all those cool Instagram stories ideas. Remember, they’re only up for 24 hours! 
  • Size & aspect - The optimal Instagram story dimensions are 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high, roughly translating to an aspect ratio of 9:16. 
  • Compatibility - We took out a pen and jotted this down: no matter what Instagram story ideas you’ve got, the videos you upload must be in an MP4, MOV, or GIF format. 

With all the rules and requirements, keeping track of everything in the excellent Instagram stories ideas checklist could seem complicated, but this is where we’ve got you covered. Use this Instagram story video maker to have all the technicalities automatically taken care of while you focus on the creativity of your content alone.  


15 Instagram story ideas you can try right now

 1. Make your own templates

A trending functionality recently added that you can use for creative Instagram stories ideas is sharing templates. The “Add Yours” templates feature is like a diary entry all your followers can hop on and fill with their own content. You can choose from the preset templates that Instagram provides, showcased below, or you can create your own Instagram templates for stories, which are 100% customizable and easy to share.

Be the first to break the ice in the cool Instagram stories ideas department and go for video templates instead of the more traditional static image ones. Your community will surely follow, and before you know it, you can be a real trendsetter.  

FAQ: What happens when you use a template on Instagram?

If you choose to use an Instagram reel template, your content will be synchronized with the timing and music dictated by the Reel. If you use an Instagram story template, your story will be visible to followers if your profile is private or to the public if your profile is visible to everyone. 

2 . Announce a new post

We’ve all seen it, and we’ve all done it at least once! One of the oldest Instagram story ideas is letting your followers know you’ve posted in the feed. This practice has been used to gain traction for posts that were not performing as expected, so don’t hesitate to tap the share button and then select the “Add to story” functionality. You can overlay your preferred sticker to hide the post partially, making it more inviting for your followers to tap and see it in your feed.

FAQ: What is the best time to post announcements on Instagram?

A top tip is always to check the insights section and discover patterns on when your followers are most active, information you can cross-reference with standardized recommendations. Dive into more information about the best times to post on Instagram to understand more about timing your announcement, and remember to test and see what works out best for you. 

3. Video teasers

Going for a cinematic look is a great Instagram story idea for teaser videos. Without revealing too much, you can use a video fade effect to create anticipation and buzz around an upcoming piece of content and avoid spoilers. 


FAQ: How to do a teaser on Instagram?

  • Reveal selected pieces of content or information gradually without giving spoilers
  • Create a dedicated hashtag to generate buzz 
  • Take advantage of the countdown feature
  • Make it interactive through quizzes to keep your followers guessing


4 . Experiment with different filters 

By now, you’re probably familiar with the classic, swipe-left Instagram (passport-stamp-like) filters, Paris, New York, Melbourne, Jaipur, Cairo, and so on. Filters add a touch of color to any creative Instagram story ideas you might have, but if you want to take your content to the next level, you can try out a different set of video filters to give your stories a different mood. 


FAQ: How many filters can you have on Instagram?

While you can select and apply a single filter on an Instagram story at a time, you don’t need to be confined by the preselection available in-app. You can try

5. Stickers

Instagram’s built-in stickers are great additions that can liven up any Instagram stories ideas. Become familiarized with them by trying out various combinations and see how they can gently boost engagement by driving conversations with your community.

A screenshot showcasing the different types of stickers you can add to your Instagram story.

FAQ: Does Instagram count your sticker taps?

Yes, Instagram counts sticker taps, and any creator can select an individual story and then view the “Sticker taps” analytics, which showcase the exact number of times users have tapped on it.


6. Polls

A neat feature you can use in many creative Instagram story ideas, the poll has your followers call the shots. This is one of the pretty straightforward, cool Instagram stories ideas you can easily share with your followers by using the built-in feature.


FAQ: Can others see who voted on your Instagram poll?

While the creator of an Instagram poll will clearly see the answers, the other users cannot see what fellow followers of the creator have voted. However, while not a common practice, the creator can share screenshots of poll answers with visible usernames. 

A screenshot of an Instagram poll.


7. Trends

Trends have become like a heartbeat, keeping social media alive and kicking. Whether it’s a hashtag people are creating glorious content around, photo dumps, or cool Instagram stories ideas that gravitate around “Before and After” shots, trends are a fun way to get those creative juices flowing. Jump in on the action and add your own original creative touch with Instagram story ideas that ride the wave digital trends are creating. Our Roman Empire is the #cinematic trend so that you can try that out as an inspiring starting point. 

FAQ: How to know what's trending on Instagram?

The easiest way to see what’s trending on Instagram is to actually…scroll and spend time on Instagram. Browse through the Reels and Explore feed sections to see what kind of content is popular with users. Sneak a peek at the hashtags popular users within your niche are using and use the hashtag auto-complete feature the Instagram search bar has already to get more suggestions. 

8. Throwbacks

Nostalgia is a… great source of inspiration, actually, especially when you’re stuck looking for some cool Instagram stories ideas. Take a walk through your stories archive, your posts archive, or even your live archive to give your community a glimpse into the past. Revive the #ThrowbackThursday by resharing old stories and sparking up conversations as a blast from the past. 


FAQ: How do you use throwback on Instagram?

There’s two methods to share a throwback pic or video as a cool Instagram story idea:

  • Go to your profile, then select “Options” in the top-right side of the screen. Select “Archive” and then tap the drop-down menu to select either the Stories, Posts, or Live archive. The “Memories” section will show you what you posted “On this day” alongside a Share button that streamlines sharing directly to your story.
  • Tap the Create (+) button, and select the “Story” mode. Then select the “Create” feature and scroll right in the bottom menu all the way to “On this day”. The “See all” button above displays Story memories from the same day in different previous years you can select and share as creative Instagram stories ideas. 

9. Reshare content you’re tagged in

This is an obvious, yet brilliant Instagram story idea! You can effortlessly reshare content you’ve been tagged it by adding it to your story straight from the Insta interface. Add your own personal touch with stickers, GIFs or even text and don’t forget to thank the original creator, and, why not even reciprocate later.


FAQ:What are the rules for repost on Instagram?

One of the creative Instagram stories ideas that can help artists is reposting their content for extra visibility. However, before you repost someone’s content, you need to reach out to them and obtain permission to do so. After the original creator has expressed consent, remember to give credit and comply with the rules of fair use on Instagram.


10. Share external links

There’s been some buzz around the Instagram algorithm’s relationship with external links, but since descriptions are still a no-go, take advantage of this feature to cross-promote your other socials. Use the “Link” built-in feature and connect your creative Instagram stories ideas with external links by adding a URL and custom text that will appear on the clickable sticker. A pro tip is to use a dynamic or captivating video as a background for the link sticker to make sure you’ve really caught your followers’ eyes. 

A screenshot demonstrating how to add links to an Instagram story.

FAQ: What happens when you share an Instagram link?

Sharing an Instagram link means the content you’ve selected can be viewed by anyone with access to that specific link, as long as the profile and content are publicly available. 


11. Craft Stories Highlights series to connect the dots

Not only do Insta feed posts showcase your aesthetic, but you can infuse your personal touch through cool Instagram stories ideas as well. Create custom highlights series with distinctive aesthetics for an immersive viewing experience. A great example is using a black & white filter for a specific kind of stories, to make a clear visual distinction between categories you create. 

FAQ: How do you combine highlights on Instagram stories?

The easiest way to combine highlights on Instagram stories is to tap the “New” highlights circle on your profile and manually select which stories you’d want grouped together. Then, tap “Next” and select one of the stories as a cover for your new highlights section. Don’t forget to name it or use an emoji to distinguish it from others. 


12. Countdown

3, 2, 1, launch! Getting your followers excited about an event has never been easier. Bonus, if you’re looking for cool Instagram stories ideas, this type of teaser is the best to keep your community engaged and build excitement. 

A screenshot showing an example of a countdown in an Instagram story.

FAQ: Can you edit a countdown on Instagram after posting?

No, you can’t edit a countdown after you’ve posted it to your Instagram story. Keep in mind that your followers can opt to get reminders, so if there’s been a change of plans, the best course of action is to openly inform your community, delete the initial story, and create a new countdown.


13. Ask the right questions, get fun answers

Another native feature that can kickstart a digital party of cool Instagram stories ideas is the “Ask a Question” sticker. Drive conversations with your followers and even go for video replies so they feel like they’re FaceTiming a close friend. Ultimately, asking your community to share some insights and preferences as to what content you can keep creating is also a great way to get some stories ideas Instagram’s going to love.



14. Be inQUIZitive

Go for a quiz to test your community’s knowledge on various topics and break the ice on conversations about your content. Yet another built-in feature that you can use to create Instagram stories ideas to foster a more personal connection with your followers, quizzes, can boost engagement through their interactive nature.   


15. Emoji sliders for feedback

There’s no shame in getting a helping hand from your community when you run out of Instagram story ideas. Au contraire, getting feedback from your followers is an endless source of inspiration, so why not use the emoji sliders feature to get the pulse of the community?

FAQ: Is Instagram emoji slider anonymous?

This is a friendly PSA that Instagram emoji slider polls are, in fact, not anonymous, meaning that your friends or favorite creators can see how you rate their content.


All in all, the best way to get more creative Instagram stories ideas is to keep an open mind and fresh perspective. When everything else fails, drawing inspiration from others can be a great starting point, as you never know where the next viral Instagram stories ideas will come from. Start from scratch or opt for Instagram video templates as inspo, and keep sharing beautiful content, without losing hope that results will appear. 

Frequently asked questions

What are good Instagram story questions?

What kind of stories do well on Instagram?

What are the guidelines for Instagram stories?

What is the minimum time for Instagram story?

Why use Stories instead of posts?

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