How Brands Use Instagram Stories: 10 Real-Life Marketing Examples

March 31, 2023

Instagram Stories have become very popular. Because of its growing popularity, many marketers want to use Stories for influencer marketing. The typical Instagram app user finds them fascinating because they are tap-friendly and time-sensitive.

The Instagram algorithm has also changed, which has decreased organic reach. Brands utilize their Instagram story strategy as a workaround and low-hanging fruit for visibility and engagement.

But if you still need help understanding Stories, we got you covered. That is why we created this comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram Stories. 

In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about why you should use Instagram Stories for marketing, all the way to how some of the biggest brands leverage them effectively.

Why Use Instagram Stories for Marketing?

The answer to the question of why your Stories matter at all in the context of social media marketing strategy is authenticity. Using the Instagram stories strategy, you can humanize your business and establish a loving connection with your audience.

They have always been a way for Instagram users to reveal the truth behind a photograph, get past the carefully managed one, and show off something more authentic.

Furthermore, it goes beyond exposing your brand to the appropriate demographic. According to recent Instagram statistics, 50% of users visited a website to purchase after viewing it in an Instagram Story.

Need more convincing? Here are more reasons why making Stories a top priority is essential to growing your brand on Instagram:

Reach More People

Your Instagram account is displayed with a vibrantly colored ring above the Instagram feeds of your followers each time you publish a new Instagram Story. 

Your followers can receive a notification when you occasionally post stories. As a result, your Instagram posts are significantly less likely to be missed than your multiple Stories.

As a result, compared to your posts, your Stories content is likely to reach a larger audience. 

Also, you can post many Stories back-to-back or at different times throughout the day to increase your Instagram reach. A SocialInsiders analysis found that posting up to five stories daily guarantees a retention rate of over 70%.

Last but not least, remember that even though your Stories only endure 24 hours, they can still reach people in your target demographic who are not currently among your follower base.

Keep posting, then!

Interact With Your Audience

Instagram Stories are engaging and creative ways to connect with your target audience personally. A few brief thoughts:

  • Use the Poll stickers to conduct polls.
  • Request a direct message from followers in response to queries.
  • Request comments on a fresh product.
  • Use the Questions sticker or DMs to facilitate team member Q&As.

Your overall engagement rates on Instagram will increase as your audience engages with you there. That gives the Instagram algorithm the positive signals it needs to know that your followers enjoy you and your content and want to keep seeing it.

Drive Traffic to Your Site

You know that you cannot use clickable links in Instagram posts. But you can add links to your Stories, so take advantage of that. Use links to direct visitors back to your website where appropriate and practical.

Adding a product sticker to your Stories will allow your followers to click through and view the featured product, for instance, if you are an e-commerce firm sharing pictures of your products in use.

Perhaps you might invite influencers to connect directly to your items if you run an influencer marketing campaign and encourage them to promote your business in their Stories.

Even if you are not selling anything, you may still direct visitors to blog posts, contests, lead magnets, and other parts of your website that you want your fans to view.

Run Instagram Stories Ads

There are 1.22 billion users of Instagram, according to estimates. Instagram Stories are helpful if you want to launch marketing campaigns. Instagram Stories advertising can be incredibly effective for lead generation, boosting sales, and directing traffic because they are inserted between regular Stories and appear to be typical Stories.

Increase Your Engagement

Last but not least, Instagram Stories are significant since they ultimately impact one of the most crucial Instagram metrics—your engagement. Stories are entertaining, engaging, and a terrific method for businesses to increase brand recognition and foster active online communities.

Your Instagram engagement may encounter difficulties if you have not started sharing on Stories.

Tips for Using Instagram Stories for Your Business

How do you optimize Instagram Stories for your digital marketing strategy if they are as crucial as we claim? Here are a few helpful tips:

Determine Your Visual Identity

Consider, first and foremost, how you want your brand to appear on Stories. Nothing in the realm of social media is ever fixed in stone, including this. But consider whether you want your brand's personality to appear on Stories.

For instance, you might only want to share unfiltered, in-the-moment content on Instagram Stories. 

On the other hand, you can like a much more curated appearance and submit Stories content using predefined themes.

Consider how you want your tale to appear on Instagram first. Then start writing Tales that fit this imagined visual brand.

Create a Sense of Urgency Around Your Special Deal

The Stories stream, which is constantly changing and fleeting, is the ideal area to remind your prospects of what you are giving.

Encourage your prospects to take action right now, regardless of whether you are running a particular campaign, a seasonal sale, or anything else that has a deadline.

Tell Your Brand's Story 

Remember that Instagram Stories are ultimately about conveying stories. Remember that telling a story comes before selling when considering using Instagram Stories for marketing.

People are interested in your brand's origin story, your team, and significant turning points when they first learn about it.

Allow them to get to know your team better by sharing your tale and putting it in a different set of stories.

There is no need to invent that tale; you already have a singular, true one, complete with thrilling highs and enlightening lows. Again, people are looking for authenticity and flaws on social media networks.

Many businesses need more time or resources to provide Stories with fresh content consistently. 

Most likely, your followers are producing brand-related content that you may share on your Stories.

Use your user-generated content if your fans produce it since people love seeing others just like they are featured on brand social media pages.

Cross-Promote Your Content on Other Channels 

Having all your social media content on just one social platform is not ideal for a successful outreach campaign. Be visible across several social media platforms to expand your audience, but do not keep them apart from one another.

Use cross-promotional strategies to tie the pieces together and provide a cohesive mix of social media content.

For instance, storing your long-form educational movies on websites that help people find new information, like YouTube, makes sense. Encourage viewers from various locations to watch your instructional to promote it.

Share Valuable Tips

Using the Stories Highlights feature, you can group your Stories into series that will occasionally appear in your profile. These pinned circles can be used as a repository for advice, quick video tutorials, and weekly summaries, among other things.

If you have shared it there, keep important information visible from in-stream Stories after 24 hours. Make a distinct Highlights section, keep it updated frequently, and watch as viewers return for more of these episodes.

Include CTAs

Provide clear calls to action in your stories so viewers know what you want them to do after viewing them. Simply asking them to DM you or clicking a product link could accomplish that.

Including CTAs makes it easier for your viewers to engage in your content. You can include Instagram stickers as CTAs or paste clickable links in your stories.

Leverage Stickers in Your Story

You can personalize your Instagram Story by using any stickers available on Instagram. They let you spruce up your Stories with amusing visuals and GIFs. Let's also look at the main sticker categories and the uses for each one.

  • Location - This sticker can add a location tag to your Stories. Search for the location you wish to tag and tap the sticker icon. By doing this, your Stories will automatically include that location.
  • @Mention - You can mention other users and accounts in your Instagram story using the @Mention feature. Enter the username of the person or account you wish to tag after choosing the sticker.
  • Add Yours - Add a photo and create a prompt with the "Add Yours" sticker. Users can tap the invitation to add their photo by seeing your Story and then tapping the prompt.
  • Questions - You can ask your followers questions with this feature. Some people even utilize this to pose a query and gather responses.
  • Music - You can add your favorite music to the story by using this sticker. It is a fantastic way to add entertaining audio tracks from the Instagram music collection to your Story.
  • Poll - With this sticker, you can design a poll with up to four possible responses. Users can choose the best choice to submit their vote.
  • Quiz - The quiz sticker functions similarly to the poll feature, except you must choose one accurate response. It is an excellent method for using storytelling to keep your audience interested.
  • Emoji slider - One good example of a voting sticker is the emoji slider. Users must slide the emoji to respond to a prompt or question you enter. For instance, they can express their excitement for a forthcoming launch.
  • Link - Using this sticker, you can include an external link in your Story. The URL you enter after tapping the symbol will appear as a link in your Story. The text that appears in place of the naked URL can be changed.
  • # Hashtag - The hashtag sticker speaks for itself. You may add a hashtag to your Story that viewers can tap on just like an ordinary Instagram hashtag in feed postings.
  • Countdown - With this sticker, you can give your Story a countdown timer. The countdown's name, finish time, and date are all editable. It is ideal for a countdown to an upcoming occasion, like a product launch or a sale.

Create an FAQ 

Do prospective and current customers consistently have the same inquiries about shipping policies, promotions, or office hours?

To help everyone, you need a FAQ! Frequently Asked Questions are the most common questions your viewers and followers might want to know.

Make a FAQ highlighting several text-based Articles that address those questions. 

FAQs on Stories disappear after 24 hours. The best way to do this is to put FAQs in your Instagram Highlights.

Show Behind-The-Scenes Videos

Instagram Stories are beautiful because they do not have to be elaborate, well-produced scenes or performances. In actuality, many brands produce unedited, real-time Stories.

Consider many approaches to using Stories to involve your audience. You might share images from the event and "day in the life" posts showing your regular schedule.

Instagram users follow brands not so they can see logos and product listings. They desire to see people who resemble themselves and to whom they can relate.

Today, customers purchase experiences as well as goods and services that go along with them. The interactions between businesses and consumers play a significant role in that experience.

Create authentic connections by introducing your followers to the inner workings of your company. Publish it in Stories! They will feel at home and treated like close friends at your establishment.

Again, these videos should be raw and genuine rather than flawless.

Feature Your Company Values

Nowadays, being an entrepreneur involves much more than just buying and reselling goods. With shared interests and beliefs, business-client ties are being nurtured.

Whichever industry you are in, it is critical to identify your guiding ideas and uphold the standards that give your company its distinct identity.

Birds of a feather flock together, so spread the word about your values to draw like-minded people.

Create a Teaser for Your Master Content

You want your efforts to be worthwhile when you create a large content item, such as an extensive study, a lengthy blog post, or an expert interview.

Digesting this kind of stuff takes time and effort, which is the trick. Larger chunks of content cannot be "eaten" on the move by your audience. You must thus pique their curiosity to the point where they take it home, warm it up, and serve it appropriately.

Instagram Stories is a fantastic tool for teasing your audience and directing attention to the main content.

Pick out the most important passages from your lengthy read or film, and then create a series of Stories.

Mention and Engage with Other Users in Your Story

An excellent method to ensure people see and interact with your Story is to mention other users. You can mention influencers, clients, staff members, and competing brand accounts can be mentioned. It is ideal for igniting discussions and encouraging others to listen to what you say.

Use the @Mention sticker from your sticker dashboard to mention another account. Alternatively, tap on the Story to begin typing and type "@" to refer to another account.

The tagged individuals may even share the Story with their followers if lucky. As a result, your Story can receive more views.

Receive some news coverage and press mentions? Cool! You put much effort into making that happen and have every reason to be pleased.

Pinning such mentions and recommendations to your profile's Highlights will make them the most noticeable.

Your fans will have greater faith in your goods or services if they learn about you from reliable sources.

Take Full Advantage of Creative Features, Tools, and Formats

In addition to everything we have just mentioned, Instagram is constantly adding new interactive features so you can create engaging content through the Instagram story.

We advise carefully monitoring such upgrades to uncover new ways to engage clients and stay current with trends.

An excellent example is the most recent modifications Instagram made to compete with TikTok. For instance, you can cross-post your Reels and upload popular songs to your Stories.

Make Use of Instagram Stories Highlights

Want to make your 24-hour Story last longer? Remember to use highlights. Submitting your Stories to the highlights broadens their audience and improves their visibility. 

Highlights are a terrific way to save content that your audience will find repeatedly.

For instance, the usefulness of a tutorial you produced through a collection of Stories need not vanish after 24 hours. 

If you save it to your highlights, you may point your followers to it whenever they need the knowledge.

There are various ways to use highlights depending on your brand. It is not necessary to limit it to tutorials. Some companies utilize it to highlight and store new season merchandise. Others might use it to compile frequently asked questions.

Figure Out Your Publishing Frequency and Post Consistently

One of the main advantages of using Instagram is the ability to publish Stories regularly without worrying about annoying your followers.

Once you have determined the best schedule for posting your Stories, stick to it religiously. Furthermore, releasing your Story at a time when viewers are more likely to pay attention is crucial. Find out when it is ideal to post to Instagram Stories, then adjust your posting schedule.

It will not work to post one Story every other day and wait for Instagram popularity to come your way. You must frequently post if you want to use Stories as a vital component of your marketing plan.

Every time you upload a Story, as we already discussed, it will be displayed at the top of the user's Instagram feed, increasing the likelihood of seeing it.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Instagram Stories Engagement

You should monitor your social analytics, yet Stories are sometimes overlooked when gathering information.

This is because some people usually think, "What can we actually learn from this short-form content?"

However, there's a lot to learn. Ask yourself these questions when monitoring Instagram Stories data:

  • What types of Stories are most popular in terms of views, comments, and engagement?
  • How frequently should you publish first-person narratives?
  • Compared to your Stories viewers, how engaged is your entire audience?

The good news is that there are various ways to showcase all the mentioned details in a concise, simple-to-read dashboard. 

You can adjust your content approach using the data points provided. So you may share Stories with your audience that speak to them.

Of course, unless you start regularly publishing Stories, it's hard to tell what works and what does not.

10 Best examples of How Brands Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories have become integral to any brand's social media strategy. From showcasing new products to behind-the-scenes glimpses, Instagram Stories offer a creative way to engage with followers and build brand awareness. 

In this section, we will share the ten best examples of how real-life brands use Instagram Stories to their advantage. Get ready to be inspired and learn how to make the most of this popular social media feature.


Instagram showcases some of the most stunning photos and videos on the network. However, most of the account's content comes from its fan base. By tagging and crediting users who submit content, Instagram fosters a sense of community and shows it cares about its users' experiences.


Key Takeaway:

Don't miss out on the "low-hanging fruit" of content curation for your business. Instagram excels at promoting user-generated content, and even small businesses can follow suit. 

Sharing and thanking clients or followers who submit content can foster a sense of community and trust. 

For example, a clothing store can showcase customers wearing its clothes, and an art studio can highlight its students' work. Seize the opportunity to showcase your brand's unique perspective and connect with your audience.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch frequently uses Instagram Stories to highlight their deals. They increase the likelihood that their posts will attract viewers' attention, pique curiosity, and prompt a purchase by publishing high-quality product images.

This image is from Abercombie and Fitch with a "Tap To Shop" link and a Story with an exclusive online-only item.

Key Takeaway:

Because of the excellent product photographs and the content used in their tales, Abercrombie and Fitch stands out. Instead of just sharing an image of a product, it informs viewers that holiday shopping has begun and that they can get started right now by tapping to shop.


While LEGO advertisements and other marketing content may be more geared toward youngsters, its Instagram strategy is geared toward older people likely to purchase the product. 

These audiences might consist of parents who might purchase a set for their kids or young adults who enjoy puzzle projects.

LEGO's Instagram page focuses primarily on creative creations created with its products. 

While younger Instagram users may find this engaging, older users who played with LEGOs as children and may wish to purchase them for their children may also find it fascinating.

Key Takeaways:

A great example of how a company that caters mainly to one age group can change its content for social media platforms that attract consumers from other generations is LEGO's Instagram. 

They do an excellent job of producing interactive content tailored for the young adults on the platform while staying true to the brand and focusing on LEGO nostalgia.


NASA uses eye-catching space photos, images of their unique equipment, and newsworthy space discovery updates to provide engaging stories for science enthusiasts. You might come across a Tale about a brand-new planet, space-related interactive polls, or fast historical fun facts on any given day.

The tone used by NASA is surprisingly informal and straightforward to understand.

Although the organization's content covers complicated subjects like space, physics, and technology, its Stories excel at getting right to the point by outlining what's noteworthy or engaging in a manner that non-scientists can quickly grasp.

They usually ensure the first part of each NASA Story begins with an interactive feature or text summarizing the subject matter.

Key Takeaways:

On many social platforms where users scan posts or skim Stories before moving on to the next Story or exciting piece of content, NASA's approach of attracting audiences with rapid, understandable, and engaging information can be crucial.

Regarding overall strategy, NASA does a superb job utilizing solid content and information to produce original tales about space. 

NASA understood that its photo and video content would work well with Instagram Stories, whereas other organizations might need to get inventive and develop original Story content.

Take a cue from NASA and utilize storytelling to make your audience more approachable if you offer a highly technical or sophisticated commodity or service.


In-depth conversations with well-known athletes who wear Nike gear are featured in Nike's Instagram Stories. Instead of focusing on Nike items, the players discuss their professional successes during the interviews.

For example, soccer player Alex Morgan explained how she realized she wanted a different career route than her sister.

Although there is no mention of shoes, the content is meant to inspire athletes who might be tempted to buy the same shoes as other well-known athletes.

Key Takeaways:

Using relevant influencers like Nike enables you to produce content supporting your brand without emphasizing your offering.

Viewers may see these stories wanting to learn more about the well-known athletes being profiled. Then, people might have more faith in Nike's reputation since these accomplished athletes have confidence in its products.

Although a small local business might not be able to work with or film a well-known athlete or influencer, they can still try a similar tactic by speaking with lesser-known influencers or experts.

YouTube Music

Users are encouraged to download the YouTube Music streaming app through YouTube Music's Instagram account. 

Viewers get an intriguing taste of what they might expect when downloading the app by combining high-quality images with audio clips.

Key Takeaways:

In most cases, listening to music is an audio-only pastime that involves only pressing the play button. By providing song excerpts and high-quality photographs of the performers, which are not often associated with listening to music, YouTube Music uses Instagram Stories to elevate the music-listening experience.

Viewers are aware that YouTube occasionally links the song to the artist, and they may eagerly check its Stories to see whether a photo of their favorite singer has been published.

National Geographic

National Geographic is the most-followed brand on Instagram outside the platform's account. This publisher experiments with various content forms similar to its regular photo posts.

NatGeo's Stories frequently feature mini-documentaries, although they also sporadically incorporate surveys or tests.

National Geographic periodically condenses long-form content to promote an article or video to which readers can swipe up.

Key Takeaways:

National Geographic uses the stunning and unique pictures it already has to create engaging on-brand content for Instagram, much like NASA. It enables the business to use its resources efficiently while encouraging long-form articles that cover more ground than the Story.

Even tiny firms may produce content more affordably when collaborating with other businesses. 

Releasing the content may help both brands attract followers and customers from the other's base.

Outback Steakhouse

Like America's Test Kitchen, Outback Steakhouse uses polls and photographs of mouthwatering food to engage its Instagram Stories viewers.

Others feel more engaging and creative, unlike some Stories that, by discussing promotions and discounts, feel like adverts.

Key Takeaways:

Outback demonstrates that you can still captivate viewers with a series of images in a way that feels more like an interactive experience than an advertisement, even if you need help to develop a story idea with a more conventional plot and narrative.

A range of different brands might adopt a similar approach. Viewers might recall your Stories later on and visit your store, knowing you have various options if they are having trouble deciding which product to buy.


Sephora is a global store of cosmetics and personal care products. Audiences visit their accounts with over 20 million followers to read instructional information about what they sell, partnerships with influencers to be your brand ambassadors, and distinctive product photographs and videos.

The images below demonstrate how the company uses Instagram Stories to disseminate educational content about its loyalty program and forthcoming deals.

Key Takeaways:

People can use their Beauty Insider Rewards points from purchases to get free merchandise through Sephora's well-known program. 

With the help of Instagram stories, Sephora reveals to customers which products they can access after earning a particular number of points. It excites users and motivates them to purchase their free products.


The NBA frequently shares Instagram Stories in a behind-the-scenes fashion, which may feature post-game celebrations, interviews, and other off-the-court activities.

For instance, a recent Story that followed the Toronto Raptors parade in Ontario, Canada, featured footage of players taking photos with Drake and his families.

Key Takeaways:

A brand or corporation feels more relatable or reliable when the people behind it are presented. We frequently observe NBA players acting stern and tough while they play basketball. 

On the other hand, you discover that they are people when you see them off the court.

Even if a person is not a sports lover, they might watch behind-the-scenes stories like these to learn more about the people representing the brand or how the sports industry functions.

FAQs: How Brands Use Instagram Stories

Why do brands use Instagram Stories?

Stories may help organizations drive traffic, raise conversion rates, maximize audience engagement, and increase follower counts and brand exposure. Here is how to use Instagram Stories to get these advantages: Demonstrate the human side of your brand.

Should brands use Instagram Stories?

Without a doubt, Instagram Stories provide an excellent platform for companies and influencers to work together! You can collaborate with a relevant company you believe your followers would find valuable and relatable or a good client who is also an influencer.

Conclusion: How Brands Use Instagram Stories

Without a doubt, Stories should be at the heart of your Instagram approach.

Publishing your initial Story may involve trial and error due to the wide range of creative options available.

Nonetheless, if you follow this guide, you can confidently begin using Stories. Instagram Stories have much potential for advertising and can significantly impact your social media marketing.

They have many uses, and the list above could be a place to start. Get inventive and engaging, keep experimenting to see what works best, and remember that Stories should enhance, not replace the Feed.

Happy sharing!

Written By
Kim Pañares

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