9 Instagram Stories best practices

When Instagram Stories first launched back in 2016, you might have written them off as just a blatant attempt to wipe out Snapchat by copying its signature self-destruct content format.

But in the years since then, Stories have become a big deal on Instagram.

In fact, over 400 million people use Stories every day. And 62% of them say that they became more interested in a product or brand after seeing it in a Story.

The fact that brands can now also advertise in the Stories format only provides further proof of just how powerful they’ve become.

So what does all of this mean?

If your audience is on Instagram and you’re NOT using Stories, you’re probably missing out on traffic, leads, and sales.

That said, even though Instagram Stories can be a gold mine for businesses, it can be frustrating to spend time creating content that lasts for just 24 hours if it doesn’t give you significant results.

That’s why in this blog post, I’m sharing 9 Instagram Stories best practices to help you get better results for your business.

Let’s get to it!



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1. Create eye-catching visuals

I might be pointing out the obvious here, but because Instagram is a visual platform, it’s important to create eye-catching visuals for your Stories. Remember that Instagram Stories are short. So best practices say that you should craft visuals that will immediately grab your audience’s attention.

What are some easy ways to do this?

  • Include faces of people when relevant
  • Capture interesting settings or landscapes
  • Use contrasting colours when adding text overlays

Related: 13 effective ways to use Instagram Stories to promote your business

Example: In their Instagram Stories, Sephora includes images and videos of people using their products to engage their audience.


example of Stories best practices



2. Include the right kind of text

Your Instagram Stories don’t need to be all about the eye candy. Text (as long as it’s relevant) has a place in Stories too.

To follow best practices when using text, make sure that your font type and size make your copy easy to read. And choose a font colour that doesn’t clash or fade into the background.

Related: Scannable copy: How to write for your audience online + free scannable copy checklist

Example: Swell includes easy-to-read text in their Instagram Stories to provide extra info about their products.


Example of Instagram Stories product promo



3. Maintain a consistent visual identity

According to Instagram Stories best practices, you’re more likely to end up on the platform’s Explore page if your Stories have a consistent visual identity. Maintaining a consistent visual identity also makes your content recognizable to your audience and helps you form a connection with them.

You can create a consistent visual identity with your Instagram Stories by using the same fonts, colours, and templates across your Stories.

Example: West Coast Kids maintains a consistent visual identity by using a white background and black text in most of their Stories.


example of Stories best practices


4. Include interactive elements

Follow best practices for boosting engagement by adding interactive elements to your Instagram Stories. For example, you can add a poll sticker to your Story to poll your audience on a topic. Or you can add a question sticker to ask your audience a question.

These stickers let you pick your audience’s brain in a fun way while giving them a low-effort way to engage with your content.

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

Example: Nesha Woolery uses a poll to make this Story about her latest podcast episode interactive.


example of Stories best practices




Need some help writing social media posts that attract and engage your audience?
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5. Add hashtags

Want more people to see your Instagram Stories? Add hashtags to them.

Including hashtags can make your Story visible on the pages for those hashtags. And if this happens, it means that your Story will get displayed to people who don’t yet follow you.

Pro Tip: Don’t want to clutter your Stories with hashtags? Try shrinking your hashtags and hiding them behind another sticker.

You can add hashtags to your Instagram Stories using the hashtag sticker or by adding regular text with a “#” at the beginning.

Example: Haus Labs added a hashtag to this Instagram Story for extra visibility.


example of Instagram Stories hashtag


6. Use video

If you browse Stories on Instagram, you’ll see that many of them are still images or a series of still images. Posting images as your Instagram Story is entirely in line with best practices. And because they’re easy to create, most of your Stories content may, indeed, be images.

But to take your Stories game up a notch and get more engagement, try adding some videos to the mix. Even just a quick video teasing your product or upcoming launch can go a long way toward boosting your results.

Example: Sephora uses Instagram Stories to share video tutorials on products they sell.


example of Instagram Stories video


7. Go live

One of the best ways to build a relationship with your audience is by using the Stories feature to create live broadcasts. When you go live on Instagram, you stream live to your audience in real time. You can engage with them right in the moment (through the comments function) to do a live tutorial, host a Q&A session, or just have a casual conversation.


8. Include a CTA

At least right now, there isn’t an obvious way to add a call-to-action (CTA) to your Instagram Stories. So it can be easy to forget about including one. But like with any kind of content, it’s important to include a CTA if you want your audience to actually do something after seeing your story (e.g., shop your website or sign up for your email list).

If you have at least 10,000 followers on your Instagram business account, you can add a “swipe up” link to create a CTA in your Stories.

What if you haven’t hit that follower count yet? Add a CTA as text in your Story. It won’t be clickable, but it’ll at least tell your audience what to do next.

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

Example: Mint Content included a text-based CTA at the end of this Instagram Story sequence. You can also add similar text to a single-image Story.


example of Stories best practices


9. Make Stories Highlights

Still hate the idea of creating content that lasts for just 24 hours? I’ve got good news for you: there’s a way to make your Stories last forever.

You can give your Stories a permanent home on your Instagram profile by following best practices and creating Highlights. Each Highlight is a reel or sequence of Stories that appears right under your profile bio. You can create separate Highlights for different categories of content so that your audience can view past Stories related to a particular theme at any time.

Once you’ve created a Highlight, you can easily edit and add new “expired” Stories to it. So it’s pretty easy peasy to extend the life span of your Stories content.

Example: The WHO uses Highlights to showcase past Instagram Stories on a range of key themes.


example of Stories best practices


Follow these 9 best practices to boost your results

Instagram Stories are a powerful tool for promoting your business, gaining leads, and increasing your sales. But it can be frustrating to pour your time and energy into creating Stories if you’re not getting great results from them.

To maximize what Instagram Stories can do for YOUR business, follow these 9 best practices. They outline simple steps you can take to up your Stories game and get more bang for your buck from them.




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





Want better results from Instagram Stories for your business? Learn 9 best practices that will help you take your Instagram Stories game up a notch + grab my 7 social media copy templates.

9 Instagram Stories best practices to get better results for your biz + 7 social media copy templates

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