You’ve mastered posting on Instagram. Developed a cohesive aesthetic. Identified your perfect hashtags. And you’re even posting on a consistent schedule. But, now we have another question for you: What about Instagram Stories? Did your stomach just drop into your shoes? Are you one of many brands who’s been ignoring this feature? Maybe you’re hoping that its popularity dies down and stories disappear from the app altogether. We get it—it seems like each new day brings some sort of new social media trend or fad you’re supposed to jump all over. But, we have news for you. This one’s not going anywhere. So, knowing how to post creative Instagram Stories can mean big things for your brand. Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. That’s a significant increase from the 300 million daily active users back in October 2017. Let’s put that into perspective. Instagram Stories have double the amount of daily active users compared to Snapchat. Huge, right? Needless to say, if you haven’t been posting your own Instagram Stories, it’s time to start. Here comes the tough part. You’re already hard-pressed creating enough content to post on your normal Instagram feed. So, how can you possibly come up with even more to post to your Instagram Stories? We’re here to help. We’ve rounded up heaps of inspiration from 20 top brands in a variety of industries. These creative Instagram Story examples will help get your own creative juices flowing. 20 Creative Instagram Stories Examples by Industry: Media Beauty Fitness Fashion Food B2B Travel Entertainment Real Estate Technology New Ebook: Instagram Strategy Secrets of Top Brands Grab the secrets of brands like Skechers, Random House and Facebook detailed by the strategists who manage them. Industry #1: Media 1. The Everygirl The Everygirl is an online resource geared toward Millennial, career-driven women. Their site showcases a diverse range of content. And their Instagram Stories are no exception. Plus, they use their creative Instagram Stories to talk about a little bit of everything. For starters, they often engage with their followers by using polls. From asking what they should spend a Sephora gift card on. To soliciting opinions on home decor purchases. They foster a real sense of community. While growing a symbiotic relationship with their followers. Sure, a lot of the subject matter leans toward the lighthearted. But make no mistake—this account isn’t all fluff and no substance. They also use their creative Instagram Stories to educate their followers. Complex issues and current events, (such as the government shutdown) make the cut, too. Image via The Everygirl The result? Their account is a curated blend of creativity. And their social posts are just as well-rounded as the content on their actual site. 2. National Geographic Let’s face it. It’s not tough to post amazing Instagram content for National Geographic. After all, they have a slew of gorgeous wildlife and nature photography at their disposal. So, National Geographic doesn’t rest on its laurels in that regard. As well, many of their Instagram Stories get a little more personal. They even give followers behind-the-scenes peeks into various events the outlet is attending. But, they also stay true to their mission of education. And share fascinating video clips. These might not suit a standard Instagram caption. But they have a new home in Stories. From interesting facts about how a bald eagle hunts its prey. To talking through the ins and outs of free solo rock climbing. Their creative Instagram Stories are packed with interesting and engaging content. They also often encourage their followers to get in on the learning too. The brand uses Instagram’s poll feature to quiz their audience on relevant facts. Trivia like ‘what year did Yellowstone become the first National Park?’ We guess you’ll have to tune in to find out! Image via National Geographic Never forget to post! Sked Social allows you to schedule your Instagram Stories (both images and videos!). So you can constantly engage your followers. Industry #2: Beauty 3. Glossier It’s no secret that beauty brand, Glossier, has totally nailed their Instagram account. And, a big piece of the puzzle is engagement. They’re constantly connecting with their customers and followers. The brand frequently posts user-generated content in their actual grid. And, impressively, they follow suit with their Instagram Stories. Here are some examples of how they creatively use Instagram Stories. The account reposts content from their customers in a “Top 5” highlight. This showcases the brand’s favourite tagged content Glossier asks followers for skincare resolutions. And then put those into their Instagram Stories Their followers can even have burning beauty questions answered by an expert High engagement is a goal for so many brands on Instagram. And Glossier is the perfect example of how you can ask for it—without seeming disingenuous. Image via Glossier INSIDER TIP: Take a page from Glossier’s book. Go and explicitly ask for the engagement you’re aiming for on Instagram. Include calls-to-action in your captions. Such as asking followers to tag a friend or answer a question. And work in opportunities for participation using polls or question boxes. 4. Urban Decay Cosmetics Urban Decay provides their followers with plenty of help and inspiration. The brand posts various makeup looks in their Instagram Stories. Plus, tips and tricks for the application, too. But, they also use their Stories to directly promote their products. And the most amazing thing is that they do this in a highly-engaging way that never feels slimy. How? They let their followers do the talking. Let’s take their ever-popular All Nighter Setting Spray, for example. The brand simply shared relevant social media posts that their customers had published. It still directly touts one of their products, but in a way that feels relatable and far more genuine. Image via Urban Decay Create a stunning Instagram feed your followers will love. Sked Social is your tool for designing your feed, growing your followers, and telling your brand story. Start your free trial Industry #3: Fitness 5. Nike As one of the top fitness gear brands in the world, it’d be easy enough for Nike to dedicate their Instagram Stories to their products. Or even featuring many of the famous athletes they’ve worked with over the years. But, instead, they go above and beyond to truly make their Instagram Stories stand out. Case in point? They use their Stories to share the journeys of various inspiring people. Like a 700-pound man who’s working to drop his extra weight. And a triathlete with only one leg. Image via Nike 6. Fabletics As a workout apparel company geared toward women, it’s obvious that Fabletics knows their audience. Their creative Instagram Stories: Give exclusive peeks behind-the-scenes of photoshoots Share glimpses into the life of the company’s co-founder, Kate Hudson Include clips of customers shopping and trying on items They’re also a great example of another brand using Instagram Stories to offer more value. They frequently share different workout routines that their followers can try immediately… While wearing their Fabletics gear, of course. Image via Fabletics Industry #4: Fashion 7. Allbirds This popular shoe brand doesn’t have many Instagram Story Highlights. But, here’s the thing: The ones they do have, they use wisely and strategically. For example, they have an entire Story Highlight dedicated to FAQs. That’s a great way for them to conveniently answer questions from their customers—without having to invest a lot of extra time or elbow grease. The answers just live in that easily-accessible place. Image via Allbirds INSIDER TIP: You can do this same thing! Refer to some of the questions your customers or followers are constantly asking. Then pull them into a Highlight that lives at the top of your Instagram Profile. Now, your followers can quickly click through the answers. New Ebook: Social Media Planning for professionals Grab Your Guide to Social Media Planning Success. Carve hours out of your workflow with this advanced ebook. 8. Forever21 This clothing retailer is no stranger to influencer marketing. And various influencers frequently take over their Highlights for a day. Many of their creative Instagram Stories feature influencers: Trying on different pieces of clothing Talking through their outfit It’s highly relatable and also great at instilling an urge to buy that same item. Image via Forever21 The brand also uses their Instagram Stories to showcase various trending pieces. Followers can vote on their favourite items, and also swipe up to shop them immediately. Industry #5: Food 9. Chipotle Chipotle truly uses their Instagram Stories to provide valuable information to their followers. The restaurant chain has Highlights dedicated to a variety of different diets. These include Keto, Paleo and Whole30. When followers view these Stories, they’re walked through diet-specific options. Image via Chipotle It’s an effective way to engage and educate their users, while simultaneously elevating their brand. Want to do something similar? Use Sked Social to schedule your Instagram Stories content. You can schedule images and videos! 10. Starbucks Starbucks does a bunch of different things through their creative Instagram Stories. From providing menu tips to explaining the basics of espresso. But, arguably the most impactful thing Starbucks does is illustrate the efforts they make for social good. They’ve used their Stories for a variety of admirable causes, like: Teaching people how to ask for their favourite menu item using American Sign Language Recognizing military members Addressing large issues like their environmental impact Image via Starbucks Industry #6: B2B 11. HubSpot Yes, HubSpot uses their Instagram Stories to promote a lot of their own products and services. But, they also place a high priority on education. They often use their Stories to offer helpful tips for their followers. Such as, how to create a solid colour or transparent background for their own Instagram Stories. These sorts of insights from such a trusted leader in the marketing space are highly valued (not to mention implemented!) by the brand’s audience. Image via HubSpot 12. MailChimp MailChimp brings the “social” to social media. And they creatively use Instagram Stories to interact with their audience. Their “A Day in the Life” series introduces followers to various MailChimp employees through a series of short and engaging video clips. Their audience gets to associate a face (or, more accurately, faces) with the brand. And they also get a glimpse of the office and other inner workings of the company. Image via Mailchimp INSIDER TIP: You don’t need to be a large company to pull this off! People like to feel like they’re getting exclusive access to something. Consider having your own team do short interviews and office tours. Industry #7: Travel 13. Airbnb With so much content at their fingertips, Airbnb has the ability to take their followers all over the world. Lucky for us, it’s something they take advantage of in their Instagram Stories. They use their Stories to showcase all sorts of unique experiences. From making homemade pasta in Sabina. To attending intimate concerts in unexpected venues like tree houses, lofts, or speakeasies. Put simply, Airbnb creatively uses their Instagram Stories to make their followers feel as if they’re travelling the globe—without having to leave their couches. Image via Airbnb 14. Booking.com Booking.com posts a wide array of different Instagram Stories. But, the ones that stand out most are their travel tips. They offer advice for all sorts of different travel-related endeavors—such as travelling solo or on a tight budget. Image via Booking.com Booking.com also has an entire creative Instagram Stories Highlight. This is dedicated to showcasing some of the unique places people can book using the site (from huts to historic venues). The result? Highly-engaging content that also directly promotes their service. Industry #8: Entertainment 15. Netflix Netflix is another brand skilled at using their Instagram Stories to ask for engagement from their followers. For example, Netflix uses the Instagram Stories slider feature. Then they’ll ask their audience to rank how embarrassing a certain television moment is. Or, they’ll host quizzes testing their followers’ knowledge of some of their favourite shows. Image via Netflix It’s an amazing strategy to make their followers feel like they’re part of their own entertainment. Rather than constantly broadcasting one-sided messages to their followers. 16. Disney As a highly-creative company, Disney obviously isn’t afraid to try new things. As a result, the brand uses their Instagram Stories in a variety of ways, including: Giving peeks at upcoming attractions in the parks Sharing trailers and behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming Disney films Promoting fun Disney merchandise, like waffle makers and pins Image via Disney If there’s one thing that followers expect from Disney, it’s constant excitement. So, maintaining this mix on their Instagram account ensures their content always feels fresh. Industry #9: Real Estate 17. HGTV HGTV knows that their audience is highly-invested in discovering ways to transform their houses into homes. So, the brand capitalizes on this desire. They use their Instagram Stories to show various home renovation projects through their “House Diaries” series. Image via HGTV Of course, followers also can’t help but love the clips that grant access to HGTV’s annual Dream Home. Are you always forgetting to post content to Instagram Stories? Sked Social allows you to schedule your Instagram Stories—both images and video! 18. Realtor.com Similarly, Realtor.com also recognizes that their followers are on the hunt for a new place. Or looking for some inspiration. So, they pull together tons of gorgeous home snapshots into various Story Highlights. Then separate these by different areas of the home. Highlights include interiors, exteriors, kitchens, and more. As a result, their creative Instagram Stories aren’t overly promotional (despite most of their Stories leading back to posts on their own site). They feel more like a helpful resource than anything else. Image via Realtor.com Industry #10: Technology 19. Apple Music We’re all fascinated by celebrities. Apple Music’s Instagram Stories capture that fascination by featuring snippets and exclusive interviews with various musical artists. These range from Meek Mill and Usher to Ariana Grande and Cardi B. Image via Apple Music INSIDER TIP: Of course, not everybody has access to this level of high-profile subjects. But, challenge yourself to find another way to fascinate and delight your followers. Whether it’s through some sort of demonstration… Behind-the-scenes access to product production. Or an interview with an interesting or enlightening figure. 20. Instagram Alright, it really doesn’t get more meta than this. But, we couldn’t help it. Instagram’s own Instagram account is a true example of the great things that can be done using Stories. Instagram fosters a real sense of community by featuring cool accounts all over the platform. From a talented cellist to the most adorable dog accounts. They give their followers the opportunity to discover even more amazing content on the platform. Which, ultimately, serves their own brand well. Image via Instagram How to Schedule an Instagram Story Using Sked Social Sked Social makes it easy to schedule your creative Instagram Story content (both images and video!). So that this important feature doesn’t become an afterthought… Here’s how to do it: Log in to your Sked account, head to your Billing/Profile Settings, and then toggle the switch to turn on Story posting. Select one or several of your Instagram accounts and then select the Story posting tab on the left side of your dashboard. Using your computer, upload the image or video you want to post to Stories. Review your posts or add new images and then click “Continue.” Crop, edit, or add to your images. Review your post details by previewing each post. Then either send them to drafts, add them to your queue, or schedule them to be published at a later date. That’s it! Leverage This Inspiration to Your Advantage There’s no shortage of brands who are doing amazing things with Instagram Stories. And we’ve pulled together plenty of inspiration for you here. But, remember that this is only inspiration—it’s up to you to pull from it and put it to work on your own Instagram account. Do that, and we’re confident you’ll use your own Instagram Stories to create awesome content that engages your followers and elevates your brand. Need some help getting started? Sked Social allows you to schedule out your Instagram Stories, so you can plan strategically and stay ahead of the game.