10 Ways Your Business Can Use Instagram Stories

And 10 Free Adobe Spark Templates

Photo by JD Weiher on Unsplash

50 percent of the businesses on Instagram created an Instagram story in July, according to TechCrunch.

There are so many different ways businesses can use Instagram Stories.

At Buffer, we use Stories to:

  • Discuss our latest blog posts
  • Take our community behind the scenes
  • Share social media stats and data
  • And much more

To help you get the most out of Instagram Stories, we’ve teamed up with the team at Adobe Spark, an awesome free design tool, to share 10 ways of using Instagram Stories and 10 easy-to-edit Instagram Stories templates you can use to quickly create your Instagram Stories content.

How to use these Instagram Stories templates:

  1. Click on the ‘Use this template’ link under your chosen template
  2. You’ll then be taken to Adobe Spark to edit the template (you’ll need to create a free account to do this)
  3. Once logged in, edit the template as you wish: change the background, caption style, etc.
  4. Download the finished graphic and you’re ready to post to your Story

1. Storytelling

Use this template

One common use case for Instagram Stories is to show behind-the-scenes content. For example:

  • Restaurants show how their dishes are prepared
  • Musicians show how their music is recorded in their studio
  • Sports teams share training sessions with fans
  • Fashion experts demonstrate how to put together the perfect outfit
  • SaaS platforms could provide an inside look at their company hack-day

This template could be used to introduce a story to your audience — like an opening title. If you want a bit of inspiration, here are 11 storytelling formulas you can refer to.

2. How-to tutorials

Use this template

This is our favorite way of using Instagram Stories — to educate. We’ve used Instagram Stories to share how to curate content, set benchmarks, and much more.

If you want to share some tips or teach your followers how to do something (such as how to use your product), you could try using this template.

For example, we often get questions about the perfect size for Instagram Stories (1080px X 1920px) or how to advertise on Facebook. We’ll take these questions and turn them into short Stories tutorials.

3. Blog post promotion

Use this template

Blog post promotion is another thing we often do with Instagram stories.

Instead of simply asking people to visit our blog, we like to highlight the key points via Stories. Repurposing content across channels is a great way to ensure it reaches as much of your audience as possible.

If you write how-to guides or create how-to videos, you can adapt the how-to tutorial template above to promote your content.

4. Lists and countdowns

Use this template

I learned this strategy from Airbnb. I’ve seen them share lists of the best places to live, workspaces in Airbnb homes, and more.

You might be interested in sharing:

  • Various ways to use your product
  • Surprising stats and facts about your industry
  • User-generated content

You can also try fun and entertaining lists such as “top books for marketers” or “top things we learned in social media this month.” People love a good list!

5. Limited time offers and promotions

Use this template

As Instagram Story lasts for only 24 hours, making it a great way to promote time limited sales. This is a strategy often used by online clothing retailers.

For example, Black Sheep Cycling launched their new limited edition cycling kit through Instagram Stories and sold them out in 30 minutes.

You could use this template to share your offers with your followers.

6. Giveaways and discount coupons

Use this template

To entice followers to watch their Instagram stories, brands sometimes host exclusive giveaways or give out discount coupons in their Instagram stories.

Again, this is great for online retailers who drive sales through social media promotions. You could use a unique discount code specifically for your Instagram stories to track how much sales your Instagram stories generate.

At Buffer, we’ve used this technique to help encourage reviews to our podcast.

  • First, we thanked all of our weekly listeners for being a part of the show and then we showed a picture of Buffer socks and shirts.
  • Next, we asked people to respond to our Stories with a 👂 if they have listened to our podcast or a ⭐ if they’ve reviewed our podcast.
  • Everyone was entered for a chance to win swag!

7. Data, research, and statistics

Use this template

Do you know any interesting (or surprising) statistics about your industry that your followers might be interested in?

Mentioning a cool stat can be a great way to get the attention of your followers before you share something important (such as an announcement or a blog post).

8. Quotes and inspiration

Use this template

Several social media influencers such as Gary Vaynerchuk often share motivational quotes on their Instagram Stories.

It doesn’t only have to be a motivational quote. You could share a quote from your most recent blog post or a quote from your CEO — if it’s relevant to your followers, it’s often worth sharing.

9. Introduction for an Instagram takeover

Use this template

An Instagram Stories takeover has a nice advantage over a traditional Instagram post takeover, in that your guest can post as many stories as they like without filling up your nicely-curated gallery.

Before you let your guest post on your account, you might want to promote the takeover or introduce the guest, and that’s where this template will come in handy.

You could also use this template if you want to host a question and answer session with your followers through Instagram Stories. Let your followers know what the session is about and invite them to DM you questions.

10. Announcements, news, and updates

Use this template

We have shared several fun announcements using Instagram stories: the launch of our podcast, the launch of our online social media strategy class, our celebrations for Social Media Day, and more.

You could use this template to build up the anticipation for your announcements and then to reveal the surprise through a subsequent story.

Over to you

Using templates can be a great, easy way to create amazing Instagram stories in minutes. I’m grateful to the team at Adobe Spark for creating these wonderful Instagram Stories templates we have shared with you in this post.

Apart from using templates, how else do you create Instagram Stories quickly?

If you like this post, you might also like these posts on Instagram marketing:

The full version of this blog post was first written by Alfred Lua on the Buffer Social blog on August 10, 2017.