13 ways to use Instagram Stories to promote your business

Instagram Stories have become incredibly popular since they first launched in 2016.

In fact, they’re so popular that over 400 million people use Instagram Stories every day. That’s no small number!

And businesses are no exception. Instagram’s data shows that 33% of the most viewed stories come from businesses.

But if you’re mostly used to seeing people use Instagram Stories to share videos of their kids, showcase their latest culinary masterpiece, or post vacation snaps, you might not know how exactly to use them to promote your business—especially if your product or service isn’t inherently visual (like copywriting).

That’s why in this blog post, I’m sharing 13 effective ways to use Instagram Stories for your business.

Let’s go!


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What are Instagram Stories?

Before we dive into talking about the best ways to use Instagram Stories for your business, let’s pin down what they actually are.

Instagram Stories are photos or videos that you can post on Instagram alone or in sequence. But what makes them different from regular Instagram posts is that they disappear 24 hours after you post them. This feature makes Stories a secondary feed of exclusive, must-see content for your followers.

And because you can add unique stickers and overlays to your Stories, you have tons of creative freedom when you make and share them.

So now that you know what Instagram Stories are, let’s talk about the best ways to use them to promote your business.


How to use Instagram Stories for business: 13 ideas that work


1. How-to or tutorial

Because Instagram Stories let you share a sequence of photos or videos, they’re a great way to show your audience how to do something step-by-step. For example, if you’re a baker, you can use Instagram Stories to teach your audience how to decorate a cake. And if you’re a web developer, you can create a tutorial on how to add WordPress plugins to a website.

Related: How to write good Instagram captions that convert + 80 call-to-action templates

Example: Sephora used this Instagram Story to share a tutorial for using Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless collection.


Example of Instagram Stories tutorial


2. Tip or trick

This kind of Instagram Story is essentially a mini version of the how-to or tutorial story. But instead of teaching a process in a sequence of photos or videos, you share a quick tip or trick using a single (or a small number) or photos or videos.

Like the how-to/tutorial story, this type of Instagram Story lets you deliver value to your audience while helping them with a key problem and showcasing your expertise.

Example: Healthy Canadians shared this quick tip for staying active during COVID-19.


Example of Instagram Stories tip


3. Portfolio

Are you a graphic designer, florist, or architect? Try using Instagram Stories to showcase your latest or top projects. You can do this by sharing a photo of the completed project. Or you can shoot a quick video of yourself talking about the project.

This type of Instagram story lets you show off your work to help potential clients or customers envision what you could do for them.

Example: Mimi Pineau Design uses this Instagram story to showcase a completed design project.


Example of Instagram Stories portfolio


4. Before and after

This is a specific example of the portfolio Instagram Story. It’s particularly useful for businesses that create transformations, such as fitness trainers, home renovation companies, and makeup artists.

If they’re appropriate for your niche, before and after Instagram Stories can be especially effective at highlighting your expertise. They make it very easy for people to see what something looked like before you entered the picture and what it looks like now.

Related: The 5 best types of content to share on social media + 7 free social media copy templates

Example: Chrissy Rasmussen created a sequence of videos to share these before-and-after shots.


Example of Instagram Stories before and after


5. Product or service promo

You can also create Instagram Stories to more explicitly promote one of your products or services. If you sell a product, share photos of the product from different angles or a video of how to use it. If you offer a service, use photos or videos to share how it works or what clients can expect to get from it.

Launching a new product or service soon? Use Instagram Stories during the weeks leading up to your launch to drum up excitement for it.

Related: 9 copywriting secrets to write better sales pages + free list of 100 copy phrases

Example: Swell used this Instagram Story to introduce a new product: their reusable straw set.


Example of Instagram Stories product promo


6. Success stories

You might be great at showcasing how great your product or service is. But you know who’s even better at it? Your customers.

There’s nothing like social proof to show just how outstanding your product or service is. That’s what makes these Instagram Stories so effective.

You can share customer success stories in your Instagram Stories by posting video testimonials from customers or sharing screen shots of written feedback.

Example: Fancy Face used this Instagram Story to share glowing product feedback from a happy customer.


Example of Instagram Stories customer success




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7. User-generated content

The other great way to use Instagram Stories to show social proof is to share user-generated content. This is when you share social media posts that your customers have posted about your product or service.

When you share user-generated content on your Instagram Stories, it shows your audience that your customers love you so much that they take the time to tell their followers on social media about you.

Example: Morphe shared this post of a makeup artist using their brushes for a masterclass.


Example of Instagram Stories user-generated content


8. Deals and promotions

Want to spread the word about a deal or promotion that you’re running? Use Instagram Stories to promote it.

You can also choose to share deals and promotions exclusively on your Instagram Stories. This way, your audience knows they need to stay glued to your Instagram content if they want in on the hottest deals. And you know what that means—higher engagement!

Related: How to write social media CTAs that boost traffic, leads, and sales + 80 CTA templates

Example: goViral Fashion promotes a sale in this Instagram story.


Example of Instagram Stories sales


9. Contests

Instagram Stories are perfect for running contests because they allow you to share contest details with your followers without clogging up your main Instagram feed. They also naturally create a sense of urgency because Stories give your audience only 24 hours to enter.

When running a contest using Instagram Stories, post a video or sequence of photos that includes the rules for entering, the prize you’re offering, and details about how your audience can enter.

Example: Haus Labs used this Instagram Story to promote a prize-packed giveaway.


Example of Instagram Stories giveaway


10. Announcements

Because Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, they’re also great for sharing announcements that don’t need to sit in your regular Instagram feed for all of eternity. For example, you might use Instagram Stories to share info about an upcoming launch, a change in store hours, or a collaboration.

Example: Banana Republic used this story to announce a collaboration with another brand.


Example of Instagram Stories announcement


11. Long-form content promos

If you create blog posts, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, or other long-term content, share an Instagram story every time you create a new piece. It’s an easy way to tell more people in your audience that you have something new for them to check out. And it helps you drive traffic to your blog, podcast, or YouTube channel.

Related: 9 places to share your blog posts for more traffic, leads, and sales + free Pinterest profile cheat sheet

Example: Terry Schilling shared this Instagram Story to promote a recent interview he did with Breanna McGowan.


Example of Instagram Stories content promo


12. Polls

Use these Instagram Stories to learn more about your audience, conduct market research, and boost engagement. By asking your audience to respond to a simple question, you can uncover useful info about them while sharing fun, interactive content for them to consume.

Example: Whole Foods shared this Instagram Story to discover customers’ favourite Halo Top ice cream flavour.


Example of Instagram Stories poll


13. Behind the scenes

With these stories, you share “behind-the-scenes” photos or videos from your brand. They can show your team working on an upcoming project, preparing backstage before an event, or getting involved in a project in the community.

These Instagram Stories are an excellent tool for humanizing your brand and helping your audience feel more connected to you and your team. After all, because they tend to be more casual and less polished than others, they’re really good at resonating with audiences.

Example: Amy Porterfield uses this behind-the-scenes Instagram Story of her team to humanize her brand.


Example of Instagram Stories behind the scenes


With Instagram Stories, the sky is the limit

The 13 ideas I summarized above illustrate some of the most effective ways to use Instagram Stories for your business. But they’re not the only ways to get more traffic, leads, and sales with one of Instagram’s most popular features.

Instagram Stories gives you lots of options for spreading your creative wings and engaging your followers. So don’t be afraid to experiment with other types of stories and test how your audience responds to them.

Now go forth and tell your story!




Need some help writing social media posts that attract and engage your audience?
Download my 7 free social media copy templates + examples.

Send me the templates





Not sure how to use Instagram Stories to get more traffic, leads, or sales? Discover 13 effective ways to use Instagram Stories to promote your business + grab my 7 social media copy templates.

13 effective ways to use Instagram Stories to promote your business + 7 social media copy templates

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