Last updated on July 24th, 2019.
100+ Instagram Story ideas for Food Bloggers and other content creators to keep your IG active and your followers engaged!
It seems like every week there is something new us food bloggers have to do on social media to keep up with the blogging industry. Facebook pages, Facebook groups, Facebook stories, Facebook Live, Pinterest group boards, Pinterest communities, Youtube channels, Twitter (what the heck is that even for??), Instagram posts, DMs, IGTV, Instagram Live, and Instagram Stories.
Each social media platform has its own “culture” and requires you to make different types of photos and videos with strongly suggested lengths and orientations for videos and size/proportion requirements for photos. It’s a LOT to learn about and a lot to keep up with. It doesn’t help that the requirements are always changing as social media evolves.
So I am hoping this post will help you get some ideas for Instagram stories and make it easier to be active on this platform. Because as far as we know at this moment, stories aren’t going away. So let’s make the most of them.
Before you continue though, make sure you follow me on Instagram (@babaganoshblog). It’s only fair, right?? Make sure you send a DM and say hi if you followed me after reading this post!
Let’s start with the basics first. If you are already know the purpose of stories versus posts on Instagram and all the basics about stories, feel free to scroll ahead to the list of Instagram story ideas and IG story tips below that.
Why bother with Instagram?
Instagram doesn’t bring much traffic to my blog, why should I spend my time there??
This question gets asked a lot by bloggers, and there are a few different answers to this. It’s true, the click-throughs from Instagram are very small compared to the traffic most bloggers get from Pinterest or SEO (Google searches).
One of the main reasons to be on Instagram as a blogger is that a lot of brands are on Instagram. If you want to work with brands on sponsored posts, being on Instagram is important. It’s a good way to connect with brands by interacting with their posts, commenting, and DMing them directly. And even if you already connected with a brand elsewhere, a lot of brands want to see your presence and influence on Instagram. A lot of brands also want Instagram-only campaigns instead of sponsored blog posts, so being on Instagram can pay off. So make sure you have a business or creator account on Instagram so you can see analytics and impressions for all your posts and stories.
And if you don’t want to work with brands at the moment, then Instagram is just another good way to connect with your followers and see what other food bloggers are up to.
Instagram posts versus stories
An Instagram post lives in your feed forever (unless you delete it). Once you post it, it will go into the first (top left) spot of your 3×3 tiled feed that people see when they click on your profile. Depending on how Instagram chooses to show your post based on their algorithm, your post might come up in a follower’s feed almost instantly or a few days later.
An Instagram “story” is a type of photo or video that only lives for 24 hours and is then deleted from your follower’s views (although it stays in your insights). If your followers don’t see it within 24 hours of you posting it, they missed it forever. The only exception to that is if you add your story to your Highlights (those little circles you see in people’s profiles), where it will live forever and your followers can click on it to view it. (Psst, this is a good thing to offer to brands in a sponsored post package, since the sponsored story will live on forever and not disappear.)
Stories can be found at the top of the Instagram app in those circles around people’s profile pictures. Or if someone clicks on your profile/bio they can click onto your profile picture to view your stories (if you have any from the past 24 hours). The people who show up first in your “stories” section are probably the ones you interact with the most, and the ones whose stories you watch more often. So basically, the more active you are with stories and on Instagram, the more people will watch them.
Why bother with Instagram Stories?
There’s no 100% correct answer on whether something would be better as an Instagram post or an Instagram story, but here is one way to think about these two types posting options on Instagram:
Instagram stories are a great way to showcase more of yourself on Instagram beyond just the square tiles in your Instagram feed. It is recommended that an Instagram account has a cohesive look and is pretty consistently posting content in a specific niche. So if you are a food blogger/recipe creator, you probably want to keep your feed to just photos of food. If you are a restaurant reviewer you probably want to keep your feed full of photos from restaurant meals. Some people go a step further and use the same filter on all their photos, some use a consistent background for food photography, or only post photos of food in round plates or bowls to have a very consistent “on-brand” look. So there isn’t a lot of room for ‘other’ types of posts on your feed if you are trying to have a cohesive consistent themed feed.
Stories are a great way to add a little more personality into your Instagram persona and have your followers get to know more about you, and a great way to get to know your audience too. Things don’t have to be as “polished” in stories. Stories don’t have to be curated collections of photos. Stories can add a little bit of the “insta” back into Instagram while still keeping your feed curated and consistent.
Here’s a really quick way to visualize this. Here is a screenshot of all my stories vs a screenshot of my IG feed.
Stories are a great way to share more about your life, share pictures of your family, pets, hobbies, favorite restaurants, and vacation spots. They are great for sharing your favorite products, helpful kitchen tips, or other happenings from your kitchen.
Stories are a great way to really connect with your followers and have them actually remember you and your blog.
Often times, people scroll mindlessly through their Instagram feed, and they might not slow down to read about your vegan cheese, or your food allergies and how they inspired you to start a food blog, or why your pulled pork recipes is the BEST. But when they choose to watch stories, it’s usually an intentional action, so they are likely to pay attention and remember you and what’s unique about your blog.
Can you add a link to Instagram Stories?
Yes, you have access to the “swipe up” feature if you have over 10k followers. This allows you to add a link that people will land on if they swipe up while watching your IG story.
But don’t worry if you are nowhere close! Experts recommend asking people to DM you for the link instead of using the swipe up feature even if you do have 10k followers. This is because sending a message to someone is more interactive and more likely to lead to a conversation and build a relationship than if they simply swipe up and never have to interact with you.
How often should you post Instagram stories?
You should post Instagram stories as often as you feel like it! There is really no wrong answer to this. Approximately 2-5 stories per day seems like a good number. This way you are fresh in your followers’ minds and you come up first in their Stories in the top of their Instagram app. If you post a lot more than 10-15 stories per day, it might get annoying for some followers who want to skip ahead to the next person and need to keep tapping to get there.
Sharing stories every day is ideal, but of course that is hard to find time for. Heck, I don’t do it every day!
The list of Instagram story ideas below is geared towards food bloggers, but can be modified for other bloggers and content creators! So read ahead no matter what kind of blog you have. Maybe some of these will inspire you and add a little more “flavor” (see what I did there?) and personality to your IG stories.
100+ Instagram story ideas for food bloggers:
Photo-only Instagram story ideas:
- Sneak peak of an upcoming recipe! This can be a photo of the finished dish, the ingredients, one of the cooking steps, a recipe you’re experimenting with, or even a photo of your laptop as you’re editing the photos. Tag the brand if you’re using a specific ingredient or cooking appliance. Add a teaser caption to your photo.
- A photo of a new recipe that you posted on the blog. Add a caption, or tag a brand or company that you used to create the recipe.
- A photo of an old recipe from the blog. If you’ve already posted this photo in your Instagram feed, use the little paper airplane icon from your IG post to share the photo to your stories. It’s a great way to bring attention to an older recipe.
- Add a behind-the-scenes photo of your food photography set-up, or the mess you made while shooting the pictures. People LOVE to see the real you, so if you are shooting photos on your bedroom floor because that’s where the light is best, show that in your stories!
- Share a photo of a home cooked meal that’s not on the blog.
- Share a photo of a restaurant meal and tag the restaurant in it.
- Share a photo of a super foamy latte.
- Share a photo of a cheese-pull from your pizza.
- An ice cream cone.
- Your iced coffee.
- Your milkshake.
- Bacon sizzling on a hot skillet (though this would be GREAT as a video!)
- Bread dough rising on the counter.
- Your favorite kitchen appliance.
- A photo of your cat (or toddler) sneaking into your food photography.
- A picture of a concert you went to.
- The book you’re reading.
- Share other blogger’s posts into your story and tag them (use the airplane icon, don’t just take a screenshot of their photo).
- Call out another blogger who you admire and follow and write a caption about why their IG account is awesome (tag them in it).
- If someone tags you in their Instagram feed because they made your recipe, share their post (using that same paper airplane icon) to your stories as a way to thank them. People love getting personal attention from blogs and brands!
Video Instagram story ideas:
- Short videos (very low effort): A super easy way to add video to your stories is by taking a really short video (about 5 seconds) of the same thing you would take a picture of. So instead of taking a picture of something, hold down the photo button and slowly move your phone back and forth or in an out to show what you have in front of you. It just adds another layer, another dimension to what would be a flat photo. Use this just like you would for a photo-only IG story. You can turn the sound off for these types of videos, just remember to add a caption so people know why they are looking at something.
- Longer video (these will be broken up by IG into several stories 15 seconds long): share a video of yourself cooking (just the pan, no need to show your face if you are feeling shy), spiralizing vegetables, seasoning meat, pulling pork to make pulled pork, opening your oven to show what’s roasting, making vegan cheese, showing your two favorite almond milk brands, sharing your huge stash of spices – anything related to food!
- A video of your kid enjoying the dinner you made.
- A video of your kids running around the backyard.
- A selfie-video where you talk about what’s on your mind: a recipe idea, your picky eater toddler, a cooking fail, an amazing dessert you had at your favorite restaurant, why you prefer one brand of spices over another, a unique ingredient or vegetable that most people don’t use, your latest blog post, a tasty new ingredient you discovered, your favorite protein powder, anything!
Remember to let people know to turn their sound on if your video needs sound (more on that below in IG story tips). The easiest way to do this is either with a caption or with a little gif:
Instagram Story Polls
Polls are a great way to get your followers to interact with you. The more they interact with your stories, the more your posts will come up in their IG feed. It’s also a great way to get to know your followers and for them to get to know you a little. So put some personality in those polls and get creative! Even if you are asking a yes/no question, you can still make the poll options more fun than just a plain “yes” or “no.” Try “heck yea!!” or “no freakin’ way!” or whatever sounds most natural to you.
Polls are great because they require almost no effort for people to respond and interact with you – just one click. People LOVE sharing their opinions so they will likely interact.
- This vs. that: Milk or dark chocolate? Raisins or craisins? Coffee or tea? Mayo: yay or nay? You get the idea. Make a list of this vs. that questions and refer to the list whenever you want to add an interactive story to your Instagram. You’ll get to have some fun and perhaps learn a little about what kinds of things your followers might like or dislike.
- “Which recipe do you want to see next?” with a choice of two options. Give your followers the choice to decide what recipe you’ll post next.
- It doesn’t have to be only about food. Ask if people stay in or go out on Friday nights. Do they celebrate on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning? Dream vacation: beach or mountains? Beach or pool? Pineapple on pizza, yes or no? (NO, THE CORRECT ANSWER IS NO)
Instagram Story Questions:
If you want to ask your audience a question that requires more than two options as an answer, you can use the Question feature on IG stories to ask an open-ended question. Just be prepared to get less responses (unless you really get a question that people care about) because it takes a bit more effort to type out an answer than to tap “yes” or “no” on a poll. I think by now you get the idea of what kinds of things to share on IG stories, but here are a few question ideas to get you started.
- What is your favorite thing you cooked lately?
- What’s the last vacation you’ve been on?
- Has anyone been to Disney? I need tips!
- What’s your favorite seasoning?
- What’s your favorite type of cheese?
- Do you have pizza on Fridays?
- Does your family have a weekly rotation of dinner recipes, such as Tacos on Tuesdays, Pizza on Fridays, etc?
- What’s your favorite thing to cook in the Instant Pot?
- What’s your favorite cookbook?
- What’s your favorite recipe from your grandma?
You can also ask these questions in a selfie video. It might be a good idea to switch up between using Questions and Videos so your stories are always different.
Instagram Story Series
This takes a little bit more planning than the Instagram story ideas I mentioned above, but is worth doing if you have dedicated followers who view your stories regularly and react and interact with them. Plan a series of photos or short videos to post in a row all having to do with the same topic. Some examples are:
- Pantry series: start with a little selfie video intro telling people you’re going to share what’s in your pantry. Then turn the camera around and make a series of short videos showing each pantry item and how you use them. Make sure you tag the brand!
- Spices series: same as above, but go through your spices. Especially helpful if you have a few unique ethnic spices that people don’t always use! Again, tag the brand. You never know if you’ll form a relationship from doing this sort of thing.
- Kitchen appliances or gadgets. Show people your Instant Pot, Air Fryer, Bread Maker, Juicer, Blender, etc. and talk about why you love them. Or share your favorite julienne peeler, garlic press, citrus squeezer, etc.
- Ingredients series: talk about your favorite ingredients to make vegan cheese, favorite mix-ins for overnight oatmeal, favorite ingredients to make homemade marinades.
These little series are good to do because you don’t have to commit to recording one long video without any fumbles. You can make a series of mini videos or photos and post them all in a row.
As you can see, there is pretty much a never ending list of ideas because you can pick and choose from the above categories and talk about almost anything on your Instagram stories.
I would recommend rotating between these story ideas regularly so that you’re not always posting similar types of stories. So for example, add a sneak peak photo of the ingredients of an upcoming recipe, then show a video of how you flip crepes, then do a “food porn” type photo or video of oozing cheese on your French fries from lunch or dispensing whipped cream on your ice cream, then do a poll, then add a photo of the beautiful rainbow you saw on your walk. Switch things up, and your Instagram stories will not be repetitive.
Other helpful Instagram Story tips:
- Play around with all the options in stories! Don’t be afraid of them. You don’t have to post it if it ends up looking weird, or being “too much.” Or if you post it and hate it, just delete it! Chances are no one will see it if it’s only up for a few seconds.
- Show your personality! Be funny, be silly, be helpful.
- Check the analytics for your stories to see what kinds of posts your followers like the most! If pictures of your kids get the most views and comments, then consider posting more of those. If videos of your cooking your recipes get the most engagement, then you know that’s what your followers want and maybe back off the pictures of your cats sitting in boxes.
- DM your favorite bloggers when they post something in their story that you want to comment on. It’s a great way to build a little blogging friendship. They will be more likely to respond or react to your stories.
- Make sure you always add a caption/text in videos in your stories, because most people watch them on silent. If you do want people to actually listen, then add the “sound on” icon. I would still recommend a quick recap in a caption though.
- Don’t worry so much about the story insights and analytics. Just do stories on a regular basis in order to start liking them.
- Stories are a great way to show that you actually use the products you mention and are not just getting paid to post about them in your feed. If you regularly post your favorite products, then it will be more authentic if you have do to this for a sponsored post.
- Stories are a great bonus to throw in for ‘free’ when you’re talking with a brand about a sponsored post. (Psst, if you want to work on more sponsored posts, then DEFINITELY sign up for the Pitch Perfect Pro course from Jenny Melrose.)
So here’s my challenge to you:
Today or tomorrow, commit to sharing one Instagram story. Just one. It can be a photo. It can be a re-share of a previous IG feed post. Don’t worry too much about lighting or composition, just share it.
Then set a reminder for yourself to share another story in two days.
Then plan to add a short video story (it can be with the phone camera turned away from you) where you either add a caption or say a few words.
Build up from there.
Make a list of 50 IG story ideas that are relevant to YOU and your kitchen. Then look a the list whenever you feel uninspired, post a new story, and cross that item off the list.
Just like with anything else, it takes time to make something part of your daily habit. At first it takes some effort, it feels awkward, and you might even forget to do it. But after a while, you’ll get more comfortable with understanding what kind of content you want to share in stories and with using all the IG story features.
Other Instagram Resources:
- Instagram 101 Webinar from Tailwind – a free webinar for getting started on IG with lots of tips.
- Instagram Playbook Webinar from Pinch of Yum – a free webinar, I loved hearing Lindsey’s approach to IG.
Other blogging tips posts from Babaganosh:
- Getting started with Pinterest as a new blogger
- How I grew my traffic 5x in less than a year
- 100+ tools and resources for food bloggers
- How do you define success as a food blogger?
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