Skip to main content

Previously I would have said Twitter. Then it would have been Snapchat. But now I think Instagram Stories is the place where brands can not only be active on a fresh platform but ALSO derive real business value.

In this blog post I’ve started a list of some fun and genuinely useful ways in which brands can use this ever evolving platform. With new features regularly added the limits are mostly imposed by your own imagination!

1. To launch a sales enquiry

threadsNot only can every frame of your Story act as its own ‘catalogue’ page but, by adding a swipe up link to WhatsApp, you can seamlessly move the customer into a one-to-one, private conversation. Thread Styling are the masters of this for their high end fashion support.


2. To run a journal club

Popular amongst healthcare professionals, the idea of facilitating a focused debate around a specific topic is nothing new. The recent (July 2019) addition of the ‘Join Chat’ sticker on Instagram Stories enables 32 people to chat within in a direct message group chat, sharing links and images, all managed by the host.


Keeping everyone inside the platform is also a big tick for delivering a nice, smooth user experience.

3. To crowdsource a product or service

Crowdsourcing has been around for as long as social media. Anywhere you can add a voting mechanic over the top of a video or image gives you an opportunity to do this.

Instagram Story’s Poll interface makes this super simple.

Just be careful not to do a Boaty McBoatface.

4. To run a Catchphrase style quiz

Mr. Chips and Roy Walker. Ah, heady days of ITV entertainment.

The tap-through nature of a Story is ideal for revealing an image bit by bit. Ask viewers to reply with a Direct Message and you’ve got yourself another simple entry mechanic.

So, which city is this…


5. As alternative blog post format

‘Blog’ content is now delivered in all manner of formats, so why not use Instagram Stories as well? Creating what we sometimes call a ‘visual abstract’ of a longer form blog post, you can present the highlights across a number of frames.

It’s probably not a great idea to fill the entire page with text, but don’t forget you can remind readers to tap and hold the screen to pause the Story from progressing automatically (top tip @ninahainespreece).

6. As a sales catalogue

The most basic idea in this list, each frame showcases a separate product and links out to a relevant webpage. Simple but efficient. What’s more you can add this as a Highlight at the top of your Instagram profile, giving it more of a mini-website feel.

Brewdog have this down.


7. To humanise your brand through a Q&A

Open up the expertise in your business and add a more human element by running a Q&A; great for B2B enterprises. Again, Instagram Stories offers a super simple interface that reduces friction for users to take part.

Unlike open Twitter Q&As, the anonymous nature of the Instagram Stories version will be appealing to individuals and brands alike. I see lots of sports stars, like tennis player Genie Bouchard, are fans of this feature; a great way to engage fans without any inappropriate questions being publicly displayed. That doesn’t mean it can’t work very effectively for businesses too, especially when the owner is the face of the brand like Mutha Hood.

8. To remind the audience of an event

This is a super slick method of getting an all important date in your customers’ headspace. With the countdown sticker steadily ticking away it somehow gives everything a greater sense of urgency.


9. To deliver a simple quantitative survey

By putting together a number of Story frames, each with a different question, you can build a nice little survey.  Little touches like the emoji slider can transform a bog standard question into something that users can’t resist engaging with. If you display some answers as well it can make the viewer feel like they’re engaging with like-minded peers.


Now consider using some paid media targeting to push your survey to a specific audience and you can get a good sense of your respondent make up.

10. To deliver a quiz to show thought leadership

Whether you’re an engineer, a GP or general member of the public everyone loves a quiz. Using multiple frames you can deliver a visually appealing, easy to enter quiz using the, you guessed it, Quiz sticker.


It’s a great mechanic, especially for consultants and agencies to help them show they know the right questions to ask.


I’m sure there are plenty more examples, so please add your favourites in the comment and I’ll incorporate and tag you!

[Cover image source: lalo-hernandez-r34cKhbEDCU-unsplash]

Leave a Reply