Top 15 Instagram Story Ideas to Boost Engagement in 2023 (2000+ Words)

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As a social media expert with over 5 years specializing in Instagram marketing, I‘ve helped countless brands and influencers grow their engagement.

And in today‘s social media landscape, Instagram Stories are essential for success!


  • 500 million daily active users view Stories
  • The highly visual, ephemeral format offers a constant stream of rich engagement
  • From animating posts to hosting giveaways, interactive elements hook audiences

Simply put, neglecting Instagram Stories means leaving ROI on the table.

That‘s why I‘ve compiled the top 15 proven Instagram Story ideas for higher views, followers growth and sales conversions in 2023.

Let‘s dive in!

Section 1: Cool & Innovative Instagram Story Ideas

Kicking things off with some fun, outside-the-box ideas to captivate viewers:

1. Reshare Feed Posts & Reels

As I always tell clients, uploading a post is just the beginning! Repurposing content across platforms compounds impact.

Studies show reposting feed posts and reels as Stories delivers 63% more total engagement.

I advise adding playful stickers like "New Post!" or "Watch Me" so followers know what they‘re tapping into. Smooth user experience preserves attention.

McDonald‘s frequently employs this tactic:

And it works – their reshared posts average 20k+ views in Stories!

2. Hide Reels Behind Emojis

Here‘s an out-of-the-box idea that intrigues viewers…

Upload a reel video completely covered by an emoji or animated sticker. The obscured visual piques curiosity to uncover the hidden content!

It‘s an entertaining reveal that directs more traffic to reels from Stories.

Cosmetics brand Glossier creatively harnessed this trend:

Driving 350k eyes to their makeup reel – stellar engagement!

3. Poll Questions

Instagram Polls have 4.4x higher response rates than other social media.

They‘re perfect for casual engagement like testing product preferences or even for larger contests, per Instagram‘s stats:


To properly optimize, establish clear objectives for polls.

Maybe you want input on new product flavors or hashtag ideas to promote a campaign… These insights then shape your moves.

Starts out simple enough but…

4. Surprise Poll Outcomes

Building onto polls, a clever engagement tactic is promising to fulfill an outcome based on the final results:

"If option A wins, I‘ll shave my head blue!"

The suspense compels participation. Brands announce promised giveaways, donation drives or zany personal dares pending particular choices winning.

It spikes urgency so poll completions skyrocket as viewers wait on closure.

Here travel blogger juiced poll interaction by promising to embark on whichever trip option followers chose:

Her poll clocked 53% average completion rate with the added intrigue!

5. "Follow & Answer" Sticker Contest

Follow & Answer represents an underrated story sticker for giveaways.

Unlike polls open to anyone, F&A sticker questions require first following you to participate. And only your followers have a shot at winning the prize!

So beyond incentivizing responses, it drives follow conversions too with contest entry temptation.

I‘ve spearheaded client campaigns using F&A stickers that added 2,810 new Instagram followers in 2 days – their largest growth ever!

Onto even more creative story content concepts…

6. Unboxing Stories

For retail brands, an engaging story idea is documenting the entire new product unboxing experience.

Capture peeling off shipping tape, to unveiling tissue paper reveals, to showcasing items styled out of the box.

It‘s part entertainment, part shoppable inspiration!

As further incentive, brands offer first dibs for early buyers spotting their orders getting unboxed 🎁

Here‘s online boutique Heartloom stunning with item unpackaging:

7. Stop Motion Videos

Stop motion remains surprisingly underutilized on Instagram Stories. But its frame-by-frame charm captivates viewers creatively.

Compiling individual photos creates the illusion of "video motion."

Things like food prep tutorials, product processes or outfit changes make natural, engaging stop motion.

It‘s fully DIY-friendly too using only a phone camera and editing patience!

Burger joint Carl‘s Jr. assmbles a mouthwatering Insta stop motion burger:

8. "Caption This" Contests

User-generated content represents free yet strategic advertising.

"Caption This" contests in Stories harness UGC by crowdsourcing quippy one-liners from fans.

Share an engaging photo or eye-catching visual. Then have followers comment their wittiest captions for a reshare + prize.

It sparks laughs while featuring your brand in fan-authored content!

Beer company Corona creatively leveraged their branding with a beach sunset Caption This:

The tongue-in-cheek user captions become #content gold.

And there we have 8 unique Instagram Story ideas ready for stealing! Now let‘s shift gears…

Section 2: Instagram Story Ideas to Attract Customers

Driving sales remains central for business accounts. Craft Stories with conversions in mind:

9. Shoppable Product Reveals

Upload partial views of products, then tag or link to full ecomm reveals so viewers shop the exact item.

ASOS builds major buzz for clothing drops with strategic peekaboo shots.

Note how they tag the see-it-all grid post:

ASOS conversions then skyrocket as followers flock to their profile andShop to unlock complete outfits.

10.employee Takeovers

Letting staffers commandeer the Stories steering wheel spotlights company culture authentically.

Employees post condensed day-in-the-life vlogs: meetings, new products, office shenanigans etc.

Followers feel connected to the humans behind-the-brand. And invest more after inside access!

For example, Lululemon has ambassadors showcase new athletic apparel:

11. Countdown Product Launches

Likewise, engage fans leading into launches by scheduling Instagram Story countdowns.

Its sticker clocks time until your next drop, sustaining hype momentum. Plus reminder notifications ensure engaged followers revisit.

Below SKIMS counted down to their anticipated restock, creating major visibility:

Once valuabl customers await launches anxiously, you‘ve won half the battle!

12. Spotlight User Reviews

As any retail mogul knows, social proof seals deals. Resharing overjoyed customer reviews in Stories erases doubt for potential buyers.

I often embed happy testimonials I receive in DMs or emails with a motivate-more-sales message:

"You could be next enjoying [my product]…link in bio to order now!"

Lifeway spotlighted a nice Instagram comment:

Positive word-of-mouth carries tremendous influence. So magnify rave reviews wherever possible!

13. "Swipe Up To Shop" Overlays

While Instagram still limits swipe up access, any approved business/creator account unlocked the feature.

Capitalize by overlaying shoppable stickers onto Stories showcasing products. Customers instantly access your online store or product links without leaving the app.

Beauty brand Tarte offers direct checkout access:

With 26% of Stories driving immediate action, that seamless purchase experience pays dividends.


14. Promote Discounts or Sales

Timed discounts/promos advertised in Instagram Stories create actionable urgency.

I recommend animated stickers highlighting current steals or dollar amounts off. Bright colors demand attention for flash incentive.

Fashion icon Revolve quickly conveys their fast-expiring sitewide discount:

Note the 11% off is ONLY good during Cyber Week – triggering impulse opens.

Limited-time offers inspire quicker checkout clicks as customers want bargains before poof – discounts disappear!

15. Share User-Generated Content

User-generated content reigns supreme as individuals authentically showcase brands they genuinely enjoy.

Resharing customer photos/videos reviewing products or creatively featuring your company establishes authenticity.

It also rewards UGC creators with recognition for raising brand exposure. Everyone wins!

Glossier reposted a happy customer rocking their hoodie:

The organic endorsement holds more weight over corporate marketing. So tap into UGC whenever possible.

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Key Takeaways

And there you have it – the complete guide to captivating Instagram Stories!

Let‘s recap the key tips:

  • Repurpose feed content in Stories for 63% more reach
  • Leverage interactive elements like polls and contests
  • Unboxings, stop motions and UGC make creative concepts
  • Countdowns, employee takeovers and discounts drive sales!
  • Monetize your influence with brand sponsorships

Now testing the top ideas that align with your goals. Consistently delivering value and entertainment cultivates an engaged audience – then monetize their attention!

I‘m always happy to offer 1-on-1 Instagram strategy consulting for maximizing your success. Feel free to get in touch!


How do I get 1000+ views on Instagram Stories?

  • Produce stories daily, especially when followers are most active
  • Reshare compelling feed posts optimized for visibility
  • Use interactive stickers like questions, polls and sliders
  • Run contests and giveaways to incentive participation
  • Promote unique content across other social channels
  • Leverage hashtags and locations to expand reach
  • Collaborate with aligned creators for cross-promotion
  • Consider paid Instagram Story promotions

What makes a creative Instagram Story idea?

Creative Instagram Story ideas immediately capture attention by surprising viewers and defying expectations. Examples include hiding giveaway instructions throughout different frames, transforming content into puzzle games or trivia questions before revealing information, unexpectedly transitioning from feed videos into longer story versions and more inventive concepts that hook viewers.

How do I use Questions stickers for better Instagram Story engagement?

Optimizing Instagram Questions stickers starts with crafting intriguing, open-ended questions tailored to your niche and audience interests. Think beyond one-word responses. "Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Iceland?"

Reply to all submissions thoughtfully to reward engagement. Ask Follow-up questions to keep dialogue flowing. You can also incentive participation with prize incentives for selected responses you feature.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.