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Elevating your brand narrative: Instagram story ideas for Influencer Marketing experts

Brands can post on social media regularly, creating and commenting on content. But the critical question is: are you truly connecting with your audience? Storytelling is the glue that binds you to your audience. If you don't want to rely solely on running discounts to attract customers, storytelling is the tactic you need.

A compelling narrative can make you the first brand a customer thinks of when they want to buy. The unexpected power of a well-crafted story can differentiate your brand in a crowded market. Are you looking to become that go-to brand? Read on to discover how storytelling can transform your social media strategy and create lasting connections with your audience.

Key Takeaways

  • The power of thematic content: Storytelling is a crucial strategy for brands to connect with their audience.  Consistent thematic content helps in creating a relatable and compelling brand narrative, making your brand memorable and trustworthy.
  • Consistency and engagement: By focusing on consistent themes, brands can create a cohesive message that resonates with their audience. This approach helps build a strong brand identity and establish a niche in the market.
  • Leveraging Instagram Stories: Instagram Stories is an ideal platform for thematic storytelling due to their short and temporary nature, which encourages spontaneous and interactive content. This format allows brands to reinforce their values and connect with their audience on a personal level.

The power of thematic content in building a cohesive brand narrative

Jonathan Gottschall, in his book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, emphasises the power of storytelling by saying,

“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Stories are an essential part of being human. But how does this affect your marketing?

Your copywriting, adverts, and visuals all tell a story. Every marketer knows that building a relatable and interesting story brings in buyers. Seth Godin, a renowned author and entrepreneur, further underlines this by stating, "Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell." This highlights the importance of brand reputation and the power of storytelling in creating a compelling brand narrative.

Thematic content, which revolves around consistent themes and narratives, plays a crucial role in building a gripping brand story that resonates deeply with the audience. This approach adds meaning and a linear, cohesive sense to your brand's presence. Consistency in thematic content reinforces brand messages and values, making them memorable and trustworthy in a sea of content.

For example, a beauty brand might focus on themes such as "natural beauty," "sustainability," and "self-care" across their marketing, weaving these elements into all communications. This strategy ensures that the target audience is more likely to be engaged and immersed in a coherent theme that they can relate to.

Restating this message solidifies the brand's identity, establishing it in a niche and creating a memorable connection with the audience. Take Dove's Real Beauty Campaign as an example. By challenging conventional beauty standards and featuring real women of various shapes, sizes, and ages, Dove created an inclusive environment that increased reliability, authenticity, and emotional resonance. Over ten years, the brand's value grew from $2.4 billion to $4 billion. Dove continues to use storytelling through initiatives like the Self-Esteem Project and leverages social media to amplify these messages with user-generated content.

Whether through humorous or heartwarming stories, thematic content is vital for brands to build a cohesive and compelling narrative that resonates with their audience and reinforces their market presence.

Why Instagram Stories are the perfect platform for thematic storytelling

There are many places brands can tell their stories. One unique opportunity is through Instagram Stories. These short and temporary pieces of content present a unique opportunity. Brands can use these photos or videos to reinforce brand values and repost user-generated content, telling customer stories that resonate with less risk.

As its name suggests, Instagram created Stories with storytelling in mind. They stated on their official website for the 2016 release:  

"Today, we’re introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.
With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day – with as much creativity as you want. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed."

However, there is also the option to save posts as Story Highlights. Unlike traditional Instagram Posts, Stories are ephemeral, making them perfect for sharing spontaneous moments and interactive content. Followers can like, comment on, and react to an Instagram Story, so it's a great way to strengthen your community.  

Your business's guide: How to create Instagram Story ideas?

The difficulty of creating an Instagram Story is part of the positive--the content doesn't stick around. That means you need to post Stories regularly to stay at the forefront of customers' minds.

You also need to put in consistent effort and plan ahead to create a cohesive narrative.

Brands post an average of 13 Instagram Stories per month.

Thankfully, you don't need to spark completely new content ideas every time. There are many tried and tested approaches to developing impactful Instagram Stories.

Let's explore the most effective options:

Identify your core themes for the best Instagram story ideas

The first step is identifying your core themes. Unfortunately, without careful planning, you risk boring and disengaging your audience.

Instagram Stories should align closely with your brand values and messaging, reinforcing your messaging. For example, a fitness brand might focus on sharing workout routines, healthy eating tips, and motivational quotes.

Ask yourself the message you're trying to send. What do you want your followers to feel when they think of your brand? What style of content do they respond to? This will help guide your Instagram Story creativity.

When working with influencers, your content should fit their style as well as your own. Give them creative freedom to make the most of their expertise. Stories are the perfect place to create impactful influencer marketing content.

Seasonal and Event-Based story ideas for daily Instagram posts

Throughout the year, your customers engage with trending events and seasonal changes. These moments unlock an opportunity to connect with your followers and tap into the events that are important to them.

You can schedule your posts ahead of time for planned events and seasonal content. This allows you to maintain consistency and stay ahead of the curve.

Here are a few content ideas for your business Instagram:

  • Seasonal content: Just like in traditional marketing, you can promote new products and share tips and trends related to the current season. For example, in summer, post about beachwear, travel destinations, or summer skincare routines.
  • Holiday promotions and celebrations: Highlight special offers, discounts, and festive greetings during major holidays like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Valentine's Day. In addition, encourage engagement with holiday-themed contests or giveaways. Fit your content to the mood of the holiday. Put attention-grabbing stickers to emphasise giveaways on your Stories to promote engagement and create a sense of urgency.
  • Event highlights: Cover relevant industry or cultural events, conferences, or local happenings. Share behind-the-scenes content, live updates, or recap stories to keep your audience informed and engaged.
  • Encourage interaction: Use "This or That", polls, and quizzes to encourage your customers to interact with your followers and source new content featuring the results.
  • Daily Themes: Create recurring daily themes such as "Motivation Monday," "Tutorial Tuesday," "Wellness Wednesday," or "Throwback Thursday." This structure helps in planning and keeps your content varied and engaging.
  • Countdowns and Teasers: Build anticipation for upcoming events, product launches, or special announcements with countdowns and teaser stories. Use these to encourage people to sign up for your loyalty program.

Follow the trends in your industry to supplement planned event content with spontaneous, reactive content. For example, if your target audience is fans of a musical artist, you can create content when they announce a tour. A countdown to events your customers care about will also strengthen the community.

When working with influencers, ask them to create content around these ideas. Plan ahead and provide them with a brief including the call to action, the type of content you require, and the goal.

Behind-the-scenes and day-in-the-life stories

Sharing behind-the-scenes stories develops your connection with your audience, offering a glimpse into the inner workings of your business and the people behind it. These types of stories are engaging, exciting, and humanise your brand. It enhances relatability and trust.

Here’s how to effectively incorporate these themes into your Instagram Stories:

  • Production process: Show the process of creating your products, from design to production. This could include sneak peeks of prototypes, manufacturing, or even packaging. It's especially useful if you pursue sustainable or ethical production processes.
  • Office tours: Give a virtual tour of your office or workspace, showcasing different departments, introducing team members, and showing how your team collaborates.
  • Showcase employees: Feature a day in the life of different employees or even your CEO. Show their routines, tasks, and what they enjoy about their work. This can help your audience get to know the people behind the brand.
  • Event preparations: Share how you prepare for big events like trade shows or product launches. Include footage of setting up booths, rehearsing presentations, or packing for the event.
  • Creative process: Showcase how your team brainstorms ideas, develops campaigns, or solves problems. This can include clips from meetings, brainstorming sessions, or whiteboard diagrams.
  • Customer Interactions: Highlight interactions with customers, such as consultations or feedback sessions, to emphasise your commitment to customer satisfaction and understanding of customers' needs.
  • Work-Life Balance: Show how your team balances work and personal life. This can include wellness activities, team-building events, or community involvement.

To add suspense, use storytelling techniques to encourage people to swipe through to your next slide. For example, add a surprise element or create a mystery around what an employee is doing.

Educational and how-to ideas that boost engagement

Educational and how-to content is a powerful way to engage your audience while establishing your brand as an authority in your industry. It builds trust and encourages ongoing interaction with your content.

Here are some creative Instagram story ideas for educational content:

  • Quick tips: These are short, actionable tips related to your industry. For instance, a skincare brand might offer daily skincare tips, while a fitness brand could provide exercise hacks.
  • Myth-busting: Addressing common misconceptions or myths in your industry is a great way to increase intrigue. Critiquing common sources of misinformation positions your brand as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source.
  • Industry news and updates: Keep your audience informed about the latest trends, research, and news in your field. This will provide value to your followers, who will click back on every Instagram Story to receive updates.
  • Fun facts: Share interesting facts or trivia related to your products or industry. This can be a fun way to educate your audience and spark conversations. Launch an "Ask me Anything" (AMA) session to collect followers' questions and respond with useful answers.
  • Short tutorials: Create simple, easy-to-follow tutorials that show your audience how to use your products or services effectively. Break down each step with clear visuals and instructions. Longer tutorials are best left to Instagram Reels.
  • DIY projects: A great option for boosting creativity is by sharing do-it-yourself project ideas that involve your products. This demonstrates product versatility and also engages your audience in a hands-on way.

The idea behind this content is to address user questions, establish your brand's authority, and develop relationships.

Good Ideas from your customers: User-Generated Content and Community Instagram Stories

Encouraging followers to contribute their own stories and showcasing community content can significantly boost engagement and increase loyalty among your audience. It adds an extra source for generating content ideas.

Here are some great ways to incorporate user-generated content and community stories into your Instagram strategy:

  • Hashtag campaigns: Create a branded hashtag and encourage your followers to use it when sharing their experiences with your products or services. Repost the best content your users create to strengthen your community and quickly develop a new Instagram Story.
  • Challenges and contests: Host challenges or contests where followers submit their own stories related to a specific theme or activity. Offer giveaways, free access to your loyalty program, or features on your page as incentives.
  • Questions and prompts: Use Instagram's question stickers to ask your audience for their stories, tips, or experiences related to your brand. Share the best responses as an Instagram Story.
  • Feature requests: Invite your followers to share how they use your products in creative ways. Feature their content on your stories, giving them credit and showing appreciation for their contribution.
  • Reposting stories: Regularly share user-generated content on your own story. This not only provides fresh content but also acknowledges and appreciates your followers' contributions.
  • Customer spotlights: Dedicate a series of stories to spotlighting your customers. Share their stories, testimonials, and experiences with your brand, adding a personal touch. Spotlight customers who fit your target audience or share common customer concerns.
  • Share reviews: Positive reviews of your products are an excellent source of social proof. While it may be overkill to share reviews regularly as Instagram Posts, a Story feels casual, making it the perfect place to share positive reviews.

Allowing customers to bring you creative Instagram Story ideas relieves the pressure. Save the best content as Story highlights, which remain on your page for as long as you want.

By working with influencers, you can create cool Instagram Story ideas that catch on with customers, encouraging them to create user-generated content.

How do I make my IG stories stand out?

To make your Instagram Stories stand out, you need to grab attention immediately and show value to the watcher. Start strong by using a captivating image or video right at the beginning of your Story. Incorporate bold text or a catchy headline to draw viewers in. It’s crucial to convey the value of your Story upfront—let your audience know what they will gain by watching. Whether it’s entertainment, information, or a special offer, make it clear and compelling from the get-go.

Use Instagram's tools and features to enhance your Stories. Stickers, GIFs, and music can add a dynamic element to your content, making it more engaging and fun. Stories is the perfect place to express your brand with short videos than the Instagram Reels feature.

Maintaining consistency and brand identity is essential for making your Stories recognizable and professional. Use your brand’s colours, fonts, and overall aesthetic to create a cohesive look across all your Stories. This consistency helps reinforce your brand identity and makes your content instantly recognizable to your audience. Regular updates are also key—posting Stories frequently keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more, ensuring your brand remains top-of-mind.

How do I find Instagram story ideas for my industry?

If the ideas here aren’t enough, there are several strategies you can use to find fresh and relevant Instagram Story ideas for your industry.

  1. Use a Social Listening Tool: Social listening tools like Kolsquare, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social can help you monitor conversations and trends within your industry. By analyzing what your target audience is talking about, you can identify popular topics and themes to incorporate into your Instagram Stories. These tools provide valuable insights into trending hashtags, keywords, and content that resonates with your audience, helping you stay ahead of the curve.
  2. Analyse Competitors: Take a look at what your competitors are doing on their Instagram Stories. Identify the types of content they are posting, which ones get the most engagement, and how they interact with their audience. This can give you an idea of what works well in your industry and inspire you to create similar or improved content.
  3. Engage with Your Audience: Ask your followers directly what they would like to see in your Stories. Use Instagram’s interactive features like polls, question stickers, and quizzes to gather feedback and suggestions from your audience. This not only provides you with content ideas but also boosts engagement and shows your audience that you value their input.
  4. Follow Industry Influencers: Keep an eye on influencers and thought leaders in your industry. They often set trends and provide fresh content ideas. By following and engaging with these influencers, you can stay updated on the latest industry trends and incorporate them into your own Stories.
  5. Content Repurposing: Repurpose existing content from other platforms or formats into Instagram Stories. For example, turn a popular blog post, webinar, or YouTube video into a series of engaging Stories. Highlight key points, quotes, or interesting visuals to keep your audience engaged.

Cool Food story Instagram ideas

For food brands, leveraging seasonal themes and posting recipes can significantly enhance engagement. By aligning your content with the current season, you can stay relevant and offer timely value to your audience. Sharing seasonal recipes that feature your products not only showcases their versatility but also provides practical use cases that can inspire followers to try them.

For example, posting a step-by-step tutorial on making a refreshing summer salad with your organic vegetables or a hearty winter stew with your spices can drive interest and interaction. This approach helps in building a loyal community that looks forward to your content and associates your brand with creative and useful ideas.

Beauty Instagram story ideas

Beauty is one of the biggest sectors for influencer marketing due to its highly visual nature.  Instagram Stories is an ideal platform for showcasing products in industries like beauty because it allows brands to create visually stunning content that captures the audience's attention.

Creative ideas include product tutorials, before-and-after transformations, and user-generated content. For example, a brand could share a step-by-step makeup tutorial for its latest eyeshadow palette, giving followers ideas for looks they can create.

Alternatively, brands can work with influencers to create funny Stories based on trending hashtags and topics. In addition, influencers can take over the brand's account to create content by sharing their beauty routines and favourite products.

Additionally, behind-the-scenes content from photoshoots or product development can give followers an exclusive look at the brand’s inner workings, building a deeper connection with the audience.

How do you put creative ideas into an Instagram story?

To put creativity into an Instagram Story, focus on making your content visually appealing and engaging. Use a mix of quality photos, videos, and graphics to tell a cohesive story.

One of the best Instagram Story ideas is to use the available features and incorporate interactive elements like polls, quizzes, emoji sliders, and question stickers to encourage viewer participation. These features aren't available for Instagram Reels and Posts, so they give you a unique opportunity. In addition, use powerful tools like filters, GIFs, and music to enhance your Stories.

While creativity is key, it shouldn't be a source of confusion. Make sure your business's content aligns with your brand’s aesthetic by using consistent colours, fonts, and styles. That way, when you save them as Story Highlights, there is a unified message.

Most importantly, keep your audience in mind—create content that is not only creative but also valuable and relevant to them.

What should I write in my Instagram story?

Adding text to your Instagram Stories enhances engagement and gives you a chance to share important information.

One option is to share personal insights or behind-the-scenes moments with captions that provide context and deepen the connection with your audience. There are plenty of options. You can also create step-by-step tutorials or how-to guides with explanatory text to add value and demonstrate your expertise spanning over multiple Stories.

Interactive text elements like polls, quizzes, and Q&A stickers can boost engagement and encourage viewer participation. You can also showcase user-generated content by adding captions that recognize and appreciate your followers, building a sense of community.

Additionally, make announcements about promotions, loyalty programs, and events with clear, actionable text to drive conversions. Inspirational quotes and tips written in visually appealing fonts can motivate and captivate your audience. Discuss trending topics and incorporate popular hashtags within your text to increase visibility and relevance. By combining these text elements, you can create dynamic and engaging Instagram Stories that effectively communicate your brand message and connect with your audience on a deeper level.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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