With 400 million people watching Instagram Stories every day, brands are increasingly using this format to engage audiences and share content.

But not all Stories are created equal! Some brands are really killing it with creative, interesting or unexpected content.

In this post, we’ll share the seven best brands in Instagram Stories and what you can learn from them to shape your own Instagram story strategy.

Top 7 brands on Instagram Stories

1. endless road

Everlane is a digital-first clothing brand that built a strong Snapchat following before Instagram Stories existed. This gave them an edge in mastering the format.

They’ve long been known for delivering the original, behind-the-scenes type of content their customers love.

Everlane uses Stories to reinforce its core values: transparency. They constantly share honest and detailed information on how each of their products is made. In their stories, they dig deeper into the origins of each product that builds trust with their customers and strengthens their brand.

Everlane’s Stories also reveals the quality and elegance of its products. These are not just FAQs; they act as search books promoting new offers and showcasing their products.

Instagram is changing the way users shop, so it’s essential to showcase your products to drive sales.

How can you make this work for your brand?

What makes your brand special? Whether it’s the variety of your products or the quality of your service, Instagram Stories is the perfect place to share what makes your company different.

The vanishing format means you can dive deep into a particular topic without buying a ton of valuable real estate in your main Instagram feed.

Fly: If you have a Story that really resonates with your customers, save it in Highlights! Highlights live at the top of your feed and don’t expire. You can use them to create a series like Everlane or organize your content by theme:

2. Shiny

Glossier built her brand on social media and gained a huge Instagram following even before launching her first products. So it’s only natural for them to be successful in Stories.

Glossier’s niche is skincare and beauty products for a millennial audience, and their fun, airy Stories show how well they understand their customers.

Their stories regularly feature product Q+As and original content like tutorials, surveys and music playlists and quizzes. Stories often link to longer videos or articles and take interested customers to more in-depth content on their website. Tone is warm and relaxed like a friend giving great advice.

They replace these user-focused Stories with other stories featuring products or pop-up shops. This provides a mix of content that also builds loyalty and brand awareness.

As a result of their stories, Glossier has a very engaged audience, which also provides lots of valuable customer insights. They reach their target audience through Stories while developing new products, surveying desired features or favorite competitors. This means that every new product is launched with a precise understanding of their market.

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How can you make this work for your brand?

Connecting with your followers and initiating conversations takes effort, but gives great rewards i.e. more visibility for your posts. Glossier is outstanding at listening to its followers on social media and giving them loads of ways to share their thoughts through Polls, the new Questions tool or replying to Stories.

By encouraging your followers to share their feedback with you through Stories, you can develop strong relationships and gain tons of insights to shape your business strategy.

3. Bon appetit

Bon Appetit is best known for their monthly magazine of delicious recipes and restaurant reviews, but they also share original and exciting content on social media.

Instagram Stories feature food tours, tutorials, recipes, interviews and more. This content reflects their magazine’s high-quality, editorial outlook that strengthens their brand.

What’s more, they post Stories every day, providing tons of new content and encouraging their viewers to check back often to see what’s new.

Bon Appetit’s Instagram Stories often complement their monthly print editorial themes and Instagram Feed posts, encouraging their followers to engage with them across multiple platforms.

Bon Appetit’s account underlines the fact that while Instagram Stories is a more spontaneous, casual place than Feed, users are starting to expect high-quality content. If your brand is refined and polished, your audience will expect it from your Stories.

How can you make this work for your brand?

Keeping your Stories active with original, exciting content is a great way to engage your audiences and keep them coming back for more.

Use Stories to complement the content you create on other platforms, provide additional value for your followers, and encourage them to visit your other channels.

4. Article

Article is a direct-to-consumer furniture company that relies on digital platforms to reach customers.

The article is great at using Instagram Stories to recreate the traditional product and service information you’d find on websites, but in a more compelling format.

For example, Featured includes product FAQs and an overview of shipping options. Just because they’re informative doesn’t mean they’re boring: they feature quality visuals, humor, and the occasional cute dog cameo. Visual consistency is an important part of building your brand on Instagram, and that goes for Stories too!

How can you make this work for your brand?

Do you use social media to share information with your customers? Instagram Stories can be a valuable tool for sharing the kind of details you might find on an About or FAQ page, packaged in a fun and engaging way.

These Stories can build awareness about your products and services while also building trust and credibility. And if you let a cute dog in once in a while, they can have fun too!

5. Google Maps

I know what you’re thinking: Google Maps? The utilitarian app that offers nothing in the way of visual excitement, unless you’re excited about city grids?

Surprisingly, they have an amazing Instagram Feed full of incredible photos. There are no map screenshots in sight (but you can find them in the oddly fun Sad Topographies).

Google Maps shares curated user-submitted footage of stunning locations tagged #OnGoogleMaps in their Stories. Followers can provide plenty of inspiration for avid travelers by swiping up to save locations to their own Google Maps account.

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How can you make this work for your brand?

Even brands that don’t create photogenic products or exciting experiences can provide an outstanding feed. Look for opportunities to create or showcase high-quality images, even if they don’t clearly feature your product or service in action.

This kind of creative thinking proves that Instagram is a platform where any brand that can find and share great images can thrive. There are no excuses for sharing boring or lackluster Stories; just think outside the box.

6. The New York Times

The Gray Lady is unexpectedly innovative when it comes to using Instagram Stories. They complement news articles with visually dynamic Stories. Stories provide an introduction to the long-form article with an invitation to scroll up and read the entire piece.

These Stories leverage high-quality photography produced for the newspaper, but pair each Story with text that engages the viewer and makes them want to read more. In this example, the copy is as heavy a burden as the image.

New York Times Instagram Story

How can you make this work for your brand?

For brands that produce written content or invest in blogging strategies, Stories can be used to extend the life and reach of your content. Consider how you can pull off interesting leds or eye-catching quotes that will make your followers want to scroll up for more.

A social media content calendar can help you plan how Instagram Stories will increase the reach of your blog posts or other content.

7. Aritzia

Aritzia is a prominent brand on Instagram with impeccable editorial content showcasing its fashion lines.

Fashion companies have an edge on Instagram because they’re in the business of making things (and people) look good, but Aritzia sets herself apart from her peers when it comes to using one of Instagram’s newest features, Shoppable Stories.

Their stories reflect the sleek and flamboyant look of their posts and include lookbooks, photos of celebrities as they appear, and seasonal inspiration. They understand that their audiences follow them to see the latest products, making it easy to move from Stories to purchases with just a few clicks.

Aritzia Instagram Story

How can you make this work for your brand?

Shoppable Stories is poised to be the next retail revolution on Instagram. Now mastering the format means you can make it seamless and easy for your customers to discover and purchase new products (only physical products can be sold in an Instagram shopping). You can setup for Instagram Shopping by following our step-by-step guide.

Now that you have plenty of examples of using Instagram Stories to engage your followers creatively and effectively, you can apply these tactics to your own strategy. Happy shipment!

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