12 Cool Instagram Story Ideas Plus Quick, Easy Templates

Need some creative, cool Instagram Story ideas? Maybe you're feeling a little stuck and lacking creativity for what to post? In this post we share 12 cool Instagram Story ideas to help you stand out and spark engagement on Instagram (plus quick and easy templates to get you started).

12 Ideas for Instagram Stories plus Quick and Easy Templates
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BY DONNA MORITZ | PUBLISHED 10 OCTOBER, 2021

Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission at no cost to you, if you purchase through a link. 

Instagram Stories are a great way to have conversations and get to know your ideal customer, so jump in and start using them with these ideas! Let's take a look at 12 ideas for Instagram stories you can use now and templates you can use to create Instagram Story posts right away!

We've included Canva templates to get you started – and you can use these as a base for Instagram Reels too!

Why Care about Instagram Stories?

People in my community often ask me:

What should I put on my Instagram Story?
How do I make my Instagram stories interesting?
Why should I use Instagram Stories?

Here are a few answers for you! Instagram Stories are fun, engaging and easy to consume. So here are just a few reasons why you should consider creating Story content and in particular Instagram Stories:

  • Story format suits many different platforms from Instagram to Facebook – even Pinterest Idea Pins are story-size in format. So once you create a story for one platform you can use it across multiple.
  • With more and more features being added to the Story framework in Instagram, you have multiple choices for engaging your followers. From stickers to GIFs to videos and more – it's not hard to come up with Instagram Story ideas, but often we need a little help reminding us of the types of content we can create.
  • You can now repurpose many of your Instagram Stories as Instagram Reels! Instagram Story Ideas are becoming more useful by the minute!

So in this post I've listed 12 fresh, exciting, and even cute instagram story ideas that will help you boost your engagement on Instagram. Keep reading to discover 12 ways you can create Instagram Stories that spark engagement with your followers. Then start creating stories today!

12 Cool Instagram Story Ideas Ready to Use

Let's dive into our list of cool Instagram Story Ideas to get you started. Keep this post handy to refer to the next time you're stuck for what to create when it comes to Instagram Stories. We've got you covered with a list of creative ideas for Instagram Stories.

1. Share a Sneak Peek of a New Product or Service

Instagram Stories are a great way to share your product or service. This is your chance to promote your products in a creative and engaging way. When it comes to Instagram Story Ideas, you have to include some promotional content. But that doesn't mean you can't make the content useful, helpful or entertaining to your audience and potential customers.

Instagram Story Ideas using products and services: 

  • involve your audience in the product or service development – ask for their input or feedback.
  • show the behind the scenes of a new product or service – or showcase a client using it
  • share a sneak peek of a product launch, like in the example below.

Try this Product Showcase Instagram Story template (add extra pages or images if you need them):

2. Introduce us to your Team

We love to know the people behind the businesses we love. So don't be afraid to showcase your team. It's instantly relatable content as your “human” potential customers get to meet the awesome “humans” on your team.

It also helps to build that know, like and trust factor when we get to interact with a person and not just a logo.

There are literally endless cool Instagram story ideas we could share here with you… but here are a few:

Ideas for Instagram stories around your Team:

  • Introduce new team members
  • Showcase tips or insight from your team
  • Get one of your team members to take over your Instagram account and post about their day

Try this “Team Member Tip” Instagram Story Template, featuring team member “Rachel”:

3. Share a Customer Testimonial

Hearing testimonials from other customers or clients is such a powerful piece of content. Yet for some reason we often forget to do this! Or we are self-conscious about promoting our wins.

Don't discount this type of content when thinking of Instagram Story ideas. It's super powerful and relatable for your audience. And when you consider that most customers these days rely on reviews, why not add a few of your own?

I think by now we can all agree that as “people” we love to interact with other people, so the more you can humanise your brand the better – with real life case studies and testimonials. Try some of these ideas:

Instagram Story Ideas using Testimonials:

  • Share testimonials from your current clients or customers
  • Ask Your clients to share a win or benefit they have had from your product or service.
  • Consider using powerful video testimonials too – they can be very engaging.

Always ask permission to share testimonials. Try this Testimonial Instagram Story Template:

4. Share a Quiz, Poll or Story Sticker for Engagement

Instagram Story Ideas don't need to be limited to promotion or people. You can have fun with them and post something funny, engaging or light-hearted. This is where quizzes come in.

Instagram has a series of powerfully engaging Story Stickers that you can use for everything from asking questions to holding polls or Quiz Stickers. You can easily add a photo or video with a quiz sticker and boom… instant post! Here are some ideas:

Ideas for Instagram Stories including Quiz or Story Stickers:

  • Ask your audience a fun question to test their knowledge of a related subject
  • Use a quiz or poll to get feedback on a product or idea – your audience loves to help!
  • Ask people to rate themselves in a fun, relatable way, like with this cat scale quiz below!

Try this fun Cat Quiz Instagram Story Template:

5. Share a Motivational Quote

Who doesn't love a motivational or inspirational quote? There are literally millions of them that we can choose from, and chances are you can find a quote that suits your audience or industry. When it comes to Instagram Story ideas, this one is a no brainer to share from time to time.

Try some of these ideas for Instagram Stories.

Ideas for Instagram Stories using Fun or Inspirational Quotes

  • Share a quote from a leader or person of interest in your industry
  • Share a funny quote from any source that your audience will relate to.
  • Share a quote from you or your team. It doesn't have to be about ego – focus on a quote or tip that “helps”.

Use this Quote Instagram Story Template:

6. Announce a Live Stream, Event or Podcast Episode

With so many options to do live or recorded content, Instagram Stories can be a great way to announce them! Use these Instagram Story Ideas for your next event or podcast episode or live stream.

Try some of these ideas for Instagram Stories.

Instagram Story Ideas for Fun or live events, podcasts or Q&As. 

  • announce an upcoming Q&A or interview, Instagram Live or Facebook Live on any platform.
  • do a countdown or announce how long until something goes live – or the close cart of a launch!
  • Share a favorite podcast episode or upcoming episode of your own show if you have one (with audio). Or in the example below, showcase a podcast “episode of the week” from any show.

Use this Podcast of the Week Instagram Story Template:

Here's another example of a post to share an upcoming Q&A or live show:

7. Post a Conversation Starter

This type of Instagram Story idea is great for starting a conversation. It can be a serious topic or something more lighthearted, but the idea is that you post a comment or a statistic or some sort of information about that topic.

Then, add a question or encourage your audience to join in on the conversation or share their own experiences.

Ideas for Instagram Stories using Conversation Starters

  • share an interesting statistic or some data with added text/question. You can also add an Instagram Question sticker to ask your audience to join in on the conversation or give their opinion.
  • share a photo or video about an engaging topic, and ask your audience to comment on it or caption it! You can ask for their advice about it too.
  • Share a funny anecdote or observational humor post like the one below. In this case, I am sharing that I am a chronic list maker. Are my followers list-makers too? I could ask them to share their funny experiences about the making lists or any relevant topic.

Use this Confessions of a List Maker Instagram Story Template:

8. Post a Fun Message or Notification Post

If you haven't been living under a rock, then you would have most likely noticed all the message reminder and notification posts flying around the internet. If you want message reminder templates, check out this post.

These types of posts do really well as Instagram Stories as they are highly engaging and quickly processed as we scroll through stories. We are so used to seeing these types of alerts on our devices, we naturally gravitate towards engaging with them in static or video form.

Instagram Story Ideas using Message Reminder Posts 

  • share a reminder post like the examples here.
  • Share a funny chat reminder message like the one below. This can be easily adapted to promote your business, whether you are a coffee shop, a pet business or vet, or even a real estate business or AirBnB host, using the template below!

Use this Holiday Accommodation Chat Message Instagram Story Template:

Heads Up! I have dozens of message reminder posts on my Canva Creator profile here.

9. Share a fun Meme, Pun or Joke

Who doesn't want to have a little fun when it comes to Instagram Story Templates? Let's face it, if you love memes, puns and humor, the chances are your audience probably does too. Most of us can relate VERY well to this type of humor.

So why not use it in your stories to break things up a bit and have a laugh? It's a perfect type of post to fall back on when it comes to thinking up Instagram Story Ideas.

Ideas for Instagram Stories using Jokes, Memes or Puns

  • Share a favorite pun or play on words.
  • Use a photo or video that is from you or your team and add your joke to it. Maybe it's a mishap or a behind the scenes prank. Anything that makes us laugh is perfect for Instagram Stories.
  • Share a meme that is relatable to your audience. A meme is an image, video or piece of text content that is usually funny in nature and is spread and shared by internet users who appreciate the humor (sometimes with variations).

This meme below is a popular format for sharing something about ourselves that we can laugh at. It could be plants, our love of books or as above, a list-making obsession that you are poking fun at. But poking fun at ourselves makes us relatable to our audiences.

Use or edit this Plant Lover Meme Instagram Story Template:

10. Countdown to something

Countdowns are notorious for springing us to action – either to get excited about something or maybe to make us take action. They can be perfect for Instagram Story Ideas to add to your posts.

Instagram Story Ideas using Countdown Reminders and Countdown Timers

  • share a countdown timer of some sort that shows the days or hours left for a “thing”.
  • share a photo or video and add an Instagram Countdown Timer sticker to the content – this is built into Instagram Stories and is the easiest way to share countdowns.
  • Share a seasonal image about your countdown or something coming up. This is perfect for counting down to Christmas or some other big event of the year.

Use this Animated Christmas Countdown Instagram Story Template:

11. Share a Promotional Code or Offer

While I don't advocate promoting ALL the time, there's no harm in sharing a code or promotion from time to time. So, we've included this as one of the Instagram Story Ideas.

Ideas for Instagram Stories using Deals, Offers and Coupon Codes

  • Share a code that your audience can get by sending you a DM – this means that they take action and show they are interested if they take the extra step to DM you.
  • Share an offer that is exclusive to your Instagram followers, like free shipping or a discount.
  • Share a seasonal shipping code like in the featured templates below.

Use these Free Shipping Instagram Story templates:

12. Share an Educational or How-to Story

Instagram Stories (and also Instagram Reels) are perfect for sharing multi-post how-to or educational content.

Hot Tip: Pinterest Idea Pins are now sharing similar content (in the same document size/format) so you can use the templates below as Pinterest Idea Pins or as Story pins too! Just edit the final panel to a relevant call to action.

Instagram Story Ideas for How-to or Educational posts

  • Share a step by step post with images or video that require your audience to tap through to watch. If you think it lends itself well to Instagram Story Reels, maybe post it there instead.
  • Share content that reveals a secret sauce strategy or tip that might not be common knowledge.
  • Consider repurposing this type of content for Instagram Reels, TikTok or Pinterest Story Pins.
  • Use a mix of video, text and images to keep attention and encourage us to click through.

Use these multi-panel (video) how-to Templates to create Instagram Stories:

Again, note that these templates are originally designed to use as Pinterest Idea Pins, but can also be used for Instagram Stories.

Don't have Canva Pro? Try it free for 45 Days

Get started by using the Canva templates in this post (free for Canva Pro users). Canva Pro gives you access to thousands of videos, elements, photos and templates from a whole range of designers on the Canva Marketplace. Try it free for 45 days on this link:

Bonus Instagram Story Tips!

Let's share a couple of final ideas for Instagram Stories. Try some of these on your stories (on Instagram or Facebook too):

  1. Give a Shout Out to another Instagram or Facebook account on your stories.
  2. Ask us… is it This or That? There are plenty of This or That templates on Canva.
  3. Hold a Story Takeover
  4. Share your Instagram Reel
  5. Slide into the DMs – encourage followers to DM you for more conversation
  6. Share an image from your feed to your story
  7. Share another story post to your story

Get creative and have fun sharing some of these cool Instagram Story ideas!

Over to You!

Are you using Instagram Stories or Reels? What type of posts perform best? I'd love to hear your own cool Instagram Story ideas!

12 Instagram Story Ideas + Quick and Easy Templates
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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