10 Ideas for Instagram Stories

Colorado State University’s Instagram account is one of  our most effective social media channel and has been for several years. The #CSUSocial team has spent time developing our Instagram strategy in order to take advantage of the platform’s impressive and useful features.

Instagram content is published one of two ways: Feed and Stories.

At the Denver Digital Summit this summer, I attended a good session by Jason Hsiao, co-founder of Animoto (a tool that we use here at #CSUSocial). He mapped out a simple way to think about the differences between Feed and Stories.

Graphic depicting Instagram Feed vs Stories


There is plenty of room to experiment with Stories. So let’s get into it.

10 Story Ideas for Instagram

1. Tour facilities: No better way to show off-campus than by going on a virtual tour.

Examples of tours on Instagram Stories

2. Take a poll: Entertainment plays a big role in social media consumption. Why not have a little fun with your followers… and learn something about them at the same time.

Examples of polls on Instagram Stories

3. Q&A: Customer care and community management are foundational pillars in social media management. Use Stories to feature subject matter experts in a variety of disciplines. #CSUSocial teams up with the CSU Health Network several times of the year for Instagram Stories content and the Ask the Experts series has been quite successful. Students DM their questions and health professionals answer them via Stories. It’s very cool. Additionally, Stories is a handy tool to help answer generic and common questions.

Examples of Q&As on Instagram Stories

4. Takeovers: Whether it is a student or a campus partner, takeovers are helpful in diversifying content and showcasing members of the community.

Examples of takeovers on Instagram Stories


5. Informational/Public Service Announcements: This type of information (academic deadlines, policy, health, safety, etc.) is really important for students, but it’s hard to deliver via the Feed. This is where Stories really shine. The CSU Health Network does a fantastic job taking health and wellness messages and making them social via Stories.Examples of PSA messages on Instagram

6. Announcements: Is there something big coming up? Generate interest by teasing announcements and news via Stories.

Examples of announcements on Instagram Stories


7. Promote Events: College campuses are busy places. Any given week there are dozens of events happening. Every Monday during the school year, #CSUSocial uses Stories to highlight a few events for the week. The weekly Story always ends with a link to the university’s event calendar. This use of Stories has been a game-changer for the way social media can effectively promote events at Colorado State.

Graphic with the text: This Week at Colorado State8. Special Events Coverage: Invite your digital audience to be part of a campus tradition. From giving behind-the-scenes access at Commencement to on-the-field coverage at a football game, Stories can transport a campus experience to fans around the world.

Examples of special events coverage on Instagram Stories

9. Tips/How To: The Internet is a place people go to learn. Tap into that intent by offering helpful tips.

Graphic: 5 Tips for Cramming for Finals


10. Promote Others. Everyone loves a shoutout. Use Stories to feature accounts that your audience may also value.

Marching band members marching
Read more about social media at Colorado State University on our blog, Social.