Your Instagram Story is a powerful piece of real estate.
It’s how you build a relationship with your audience.
Think of it like this.
Your feed posts and Reels? That’s how a user decides if they “like” your content.
Your Instagram Story is how someone gets to “know” and “trust” you.
Why is this important?
It’s the trifecta you need to activate your audience and turn them from followers into customers.
But to get the formula right, you need to know how to create Stories that help you build a community and keep people watching.
Keen to find out more?
Here are the top Instagram Story ideas to increase engagement and audience retention!
6 Creative Instagram Story Ideas to Boost Engagement
The #1 key to engaging Instagram Story ideas? Involving your audience.
Follow these tips and watch your retention skyrocket.
1. Use Countdown Stickers to Promote Content and Drive Engagement
Not creating Stories with countdown stickers?
Here’s why you should:
1. It fuels FOMO (the fear of missing out).
2. It builds anticipation.
3. Instagram automatically reminds everyone who subscribes.
…But when should you use a countdown sticker to increase engagement?
Whenever you have something specific to promote.
• New blog post.
• Upcoming podcast episode or YouTube video.
• An Instagram Live.
• A teaser for your next Instagram post or Reel.
• New collection, service or online course drop.
• Opening applications for your group coaching program.
For this strategy to work, you can’t drop a countdown sticker and hope for the best.
You need to warm up your audience first and use storytelling to get your audience to opt in.
1. Introduce the topic or problem.
2. Tell your audience you made something to solve the problem or a resource you’ll reveal in your next post.
3. Add your countdown sticker and tell your followers to turn on the alert.
BONUS: Depending on what you’re promoting, you can up the FOMO levels with scarcity and encourage your audience to engage with the sticker.
• “Only 10 spots available.”
• “First 5 people to sign up get a 20% discount.”
• “First 5 comments will receive a $100 Amazon voucher.”
If you’re looking to drive meaningful action from your followers, this Instagram Story idea is a must try!
2. Create Recurring Instagram Story “Episodes”
Think about your favourite TV show.
What keeps you coming back every week? (Or binging the entire season in one night…)
You want to know what happens next.
The anticipation and emotional connection keep you glued to your screen and makes the show addictive.
That’s the same reaction you want to invoke in your audience with your Instagram Stories.
By creating a series.
What can you offer your audience every week that connects with your niche and provides value?
• A business coach can host “Ask Me Anything” sessions.
• A fitness guru could bust workout and nutrition myths.
• A budget travel account can share one money-saving tip each week.
• A photographer could post 1-minute editing tutorials.
By creating these reoccurring “episodes”, you’re training your audience to check your Stories every week on that specific day to learn from you.
It builds your authority as an industry expert, makes your brand memorable, and improves your engagement.
Tip: Add your “episodes” as a highlight on your Instagram profile.
3. Use Polls to Give Your Audience What They Want
The quickest way to figure out what your audience wants to see from your account?
It’s a simple Instagram Story idea but impactful and a win-win.
You get to figure out what to post more of on Instagram while increasing your engagement.
Here are some Instagram Story question ideas you could use:
• “Which Reel should I post next?”
• “Do you want _____ tutorials?”
• “What content do you want me to post more of?”
• “What topic should I speak about next?”
But it doesn’t stop there.
Use polls to:
• Figure out what your next product or service should be.
• Dig deeper into your audience’s pain points.
• See what colours or designs resonate the most with your followers.
The reason Polls create engaging Instagram Stories is because you’re involving people. By asking for their opinions on your next product launch or your content, you’re making your audience feel connected to your brand and a part of something.
4. Use These Stickers to Attract New Followers
Your Instagram Stories aren’t only for engaging your current followers.
You can also use specific stickers to attract new followers to your Instagram account.
The Location, Mention, and Hashtag stickers make your content discoverable to users outside of your network.
So, the next time you’re about to hit “Share” on a story, see if you can include one or all three to boost your visibility and viewing count.
Tip: If you don’t want these stickers visible on your story, you can always hide it behind another element, minimize it or swipe it off the screen. If you’re looking to gain new followers Instagram story ideas like this are a must!
5. Create Better, More Engaging Question Sticker Posts
Is that the only response you get when you post a Question sticker?
You’re not alone.
It’s one of the tricker interactive Instagram Story ideas, but there is a solution.
What you want to do is this:
Avoid posting generic questions.
The more someone has to think, the less likely you’re going to get a response.
By keeping your questions specific and involving your audience, you’ll see an uptick in replies and retention.
Here are some examples:
“What should I talk about today?”
• “What assumptions do you have about ______?”
• “What behind-the-scenes content do you want to see today?”
• “What’s the biggest fear stopping you from showing up online?”
• “Share your sun, moon, and rising sign for a free reading.”
6. Drive Traffic to Your Website or YouTube Channel
Repurposing content is the best way to create more content without burning out.
It starts with taking a blog, YouTube video, podcast or webinar and splicing it up into smaller posts you can use for Instagram story ideas.
What you’re doing is creating a “sneak peek” and driving traffic back to your longer form of content.
All you need to do is use the “Link” sticker.
The best part?
You can re-use these snippets on Twitter, LinkedIn, and your Instagram feed and fill up your content calendar in seconds.
Psst…Did you know Plann has a cross-posting feature? Create one post across all your social platforms at once and save yourself HEAPS of time!
Schedule Your Instagram Stories With Plann
Now that you have your Instagram Story ideas, it’s time to create your posts!
Sign up for your free 7-day trial of Plann Pro and schedule your pre-made promotional Instagram Stories to go out when your audience is most engaged and online.
The best part?
No more manual posting. No more push notifications. No more forgetting.
Plann will schedule and automatically publish your Instagram Stories, keeping you on track and consistent even when your phone battery dies.