Instagram for business owners

What to post on Instagram stories for your small business to convert your followers into customers

by Michaela fong

Instagram for business owners

What to post on Instagram stories for your small business to convert your followers into customers

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What to post on Instagram stories for your small business to convert your followers into customers - Small Biz Babes Community Podcast


“What do I post on Instagram stories so followers buy my products or invest in my service?” “Do I really have to share pictures of my morning coffee, or worse — pictures of myself?” “How’s that going to make me more sales?” “Shouldn’t my business’ Instagram stories be, well, business related?”

These were all questions I asked myself when I first started using Instagram stories to grow my business. Initially, showing up on stories felt so awkward for me. I had no idea what to post or what to say. And surely, I had no idea how to monetize it. Showing up on stories just felt like another thing on my to-do list, and I often did it without much thought. Fast forward to today, and Instagram stories have become a huge part of my marketing strategy and a major source of traffic for my business.

So I’m here to share with you five Instagram story post ideas that’ll help you boost trust, brand loyalty, engagement, aaaand sales in your business. Plus, I’ll explain why these posts help you boost more sales with specific examples, too. 

Why Instagram stories matter in the first place

I stumbled upon interesting 2023 research by Sprout Social that says 50% of Instagram users purchase a product after seeing it on Instagram stories.

It makes sense when you think about it — story viewers are followers already interested in your content and what you offer. These are people who want to know you more, see more from you, and are already warmed up to your business.

Many business owners often only reshare their feed posts to stories, post the occasional selfie, and share coupon codes here and there when they’re running a promo. The problem with that approach is, it often leads to low engagement because, well, it doesn’t give people a good enough reason to pay attention to your stories or interact.

Starting today, I want you to think of Instagram stories as a virtual coffee shop where people hang out. It’s the place where you’re not just another business trying to sell stuff. You’re the friendly face on the internet, serving up engaging conversations alongside your products and services. But how do you do that?

Well, let me share with you 5 story post ideas you can test out for your business. Now, remember, these posts won’t work like a magic pill. Like anything in business or life, it’ll take consistency on your part to see results. With that out of the way, ready to brew up some engaging Instagram stories? Let’s jump in! 

5 Instagram story post ideas 

1. Stories that make your audience familiar with what you sell without directly selling it

Instagram stories are a great way to showcase what you offer and give your audience sneak peeks behind your business. 

Now, here’s the thing: most business owners treat their stories just like their regular Instagram feed. They toss in a product pic with a “buy now” link or only show up when they’re trying to book more clients.

But if you use stories to document your daily life, show what you do, why you do it, and your business’ progress (without awkwardly pushing for sales) it becomes an interesting way for people to get familiar with your product or service over time. That way, when they’re in need of what you offer, you’re the first one they think of!

Let’s look at a specific example: 

For a product-based business: Imagine you’re putting together mood board inspiration for your fall collection. You could share a sneak peek of the mood board and use a poll sticker for your audience to vote on their favorites. Another day, you can reveal the poll results with that mood board. It’s a fun way of saying “Hey, the fall collection is on its way! No hard selling involved.

For a service-based business: Let’s say you’re a nutritionist creating a custom meal plan for a client. You could snap a pic of part of that meal plan and share something specific about the client, explaining why you tailored the meal plan the way you did. Again, you’re not saying, “Get your meal plan now!” Instead, you’re showing up, sharing your process, and getting people familiar with your expertise, even when you’re not in full-on sales mode

The next type of stories you want to share are…

2. Stories that show what you love

If you’re only using Instagram stories to sell, it doesn’t give people a good reason to watch them. We all know how we feel about chatting with a pushy salesperson at the store — it’s awkward! It’s awkward on social media too.

And let’s face it, nowadays, everyone on social media seems to be selling something. It’s a breath of fresh air when people share things without immediately dropping affiliate or shop links.

By sharing products or tools you love, without constantly and blatantly trying to monetize it, you become more like a trusted friend who happens to have great recommendations.

The funny thing is, if you talk about the products or tools you use, show how you use it, and explain what you love about it, chances are, those who see your stories will likely ask, “Hey, where did you get that?” or “What are you using?” Now that they’re showing interest, that’s when you can have a personal conversation and perhaps share a link from your own business. It changes the dynamic completely.

Plus, by genuinely sharing products or tools you love on a regular basis, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable talking about what you actually sell. It won’t be a turn-off for your audience either, because you’ve already earned their trust by sharing valuable recommendations on the regular. 

Let me give you an example: 

I used to share my journey of transitioning to my current productivity system, Notion, long before I started monetizing it. I’d take a picture of my screen, share what I loved about it, and how I used it —  without pushing people to try it with an affiliate link.

Instead, I’d let them ask questions like, “What’s Notion?” “Can you show me more about how you use it?”

For a product-based business: If you sell home decor for example, you could share a fantastic home decor-find you purchased just for yourself and recommend it to your followers.

For a product-based business: If you’re a nutritionist, you could share a delicious smoothie you whipped up with a new supplement you love, and recommend that to your followers too.

It’s all about building a genuine connection and making your audience feel like they’re talking to a friend, not just a salesperson.

3. Stories that reveal your personality

Or in other words, share stories that help your audience know you as a human so they can relate to you, build a relationship with you, and like you.

When people feel that human connection, when they know there’s a real person behind the business, it somehow makes them more comfortable and interested in engaging with you. Plus, it gives you something to talk about besides work!

I like to think of Instagram stories like a virtual coffee shop you go to for a break after work. Your Instagram feed is like the office — everyone’s focused on business and staying in their lane. But in a coffee shop, you can ask about each other’s lives, families, plans, and even restaurant recommendations. You talk about personal stuff in a coffee shop, right? So when you create that personal connection in a “coffee shop” (or in the Instagram world, your stories), you’re more likely to chat more, even in the “office” (the Instagram feed).

I know it feels awkward to share personal things about yourself. But if you’re the person running your business’ Instagram account, it just makes sense to show people who’s behind that work.

For example, start with simple things:

  • Take a picture with a book and your morning coffee, and mention how much you appreciate quiet moments before a busy day 
  • Capture a pretty view during your afternoon walk and share something about the town you live in
  • Take a mirror selfie in the morning, ready to tackle your workday, and share your to-do list. Make sure to include important work tasks but also personal things too, like going to your favorite Italian restaurant for dinner! 

When you share the simple and personal aspects of your day, you give people a reason to remember you and make them curious to check your stories again.

So, think about the parts of your daily life, things that matter to you, or things you genuinely love. Share it on Instagram stories with your audience so they can get to know you better. It gives them a reason to start a “coffee shop” conversation with you.

4. Stories that ask your audience questions

Questions are a fantastic way to engage with your audience on Instagram stories. They not only help you learn more about your followers, their preferences, struggles, and thoughts, but they also give you inspiration for future content or product ideas. 

Questions that inspire future content, product ideas, or product features

Imagine you’re a travel blogger who creates travel guides for passive income. You can use Instagram stories to ask your audience, “What’s your next travel destination?”

If you notice several people mentioning the same place, it could be a good reason to create travel recommendation content for that specific destination. If your audience engages with it, it might be a good hint for your next travel guide to focus on that destination, because people have shown interest.

Now, how about if you sell gemstone jewelry? You might ask something like, “Which gemstone do you love more: Ruby or Sapphire?” This can guide you on which gemstone to focus on for your next product collection. 

Questions to get to know your audience on a personal level 

This can help you create an inner-circle community feel with your followers. For instance, you can share a picture of the TV series you’re watching and ask them about their TV show. If you discover your audience loves the same TV shows as you do, it’s a great way to connect and share more content about those shows — just like you would chat about in a coffee shop with coworkers who share the same interests! 

Questions to make your audience feel part of your upcoming launch

The more engaged your audience is in your business and upcoming launches, the more they’ll remember it. This way you’re the first person who comes to mind when they’re looking for your product.

I’ll share an example from my business:

One of my Etsy Success Academy students, Aya, has been totally killing it with her small business. Now, not even a year later, she’s launching an entire baby brand. It’s next level and I’m so proud of her!

All this to say, she’s been asking her audience tons of questions on stories about her adorable baby clothes samples. She’s asked about colors, designs, and patterns to involve her audience in the product creation process, even though she won’t be launching for months.

Now that one of my friends is expecting a baby, Aya’s business first came to mind because I’d seen asking great questions on Instagram stories. That’s the kind of connection you want to build with your audience.

So, don’t hesitate to ask questions on your Instagram stories. It’ll make your audience feel more connected to your brand and someday, become a customer.

5. Stories that highlight testimonials and reviews

Testimonials and reviews are powerful tools for building trust with your audience. According to a study by BrightLocal in 2018, 86% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. People find comfort in knowing others have purchased from you before and were happy with their investment.

That’s why testimonials and reviews are a must! You should be proud of them and proudly share them too. Plus, when you share testimonials that highlight positive experiences of your customers, it creates a sense of FOMO and makes followers not want to miss out.

Now, if you combine testimonials with limited-time offers or promos, that will encourage story viewers to take action before your offer expires.

Of course, you don’t want to overuse this technique and annoy your audience. But during limited-time launches or promos, it’s a tactic that’s worked in marketing for years!

Let’s get to some examples:

  • If a customer tags you in a post, talking about how much they loved working with you, reshare it
  • If they tag you in a post showcasing a product they bought from you, reshare that too
  • Screenshot a website review a customer left you and share it on your stories with a specific picture of what they bought (just make sure to blur their name if you don’t have consent to share it publicly)
  • Share successes and milestones like, “We just hit 1000 orders!” or “I’m fully booked up for 1:1 coaching sessions this month!” This shows your audience there’s a demand for what you sell 

By sharing testimonials and reviews in different ways, you’re not just promoting your brand, you’re also building trust and credibility with your audience. 

Instagram stories build trust with your audience and turn followers into customers

That’s because Instagram stories create a “virtual coffee shop” dynamic that gets followers comfortable engaging with you more and more. As their trust grows, so does the likelihood of them turning into a loyal customer.

If you get stuck on what to post, remember to share Instagram stories that…

1. Show, don’t tell: Familiarize your audience with your business. Document your process, show what you do, and how you do it, without always trying to sell your product or service

2. Share what you love: Be that trusted friend, not a pushy salesperson. Share products, tools, and experiences you genuinely love without constantly trying to monetize them, so you can build a genuine relationship with your audience. 

3. Reveal your personality: Humanize your brand by sharing personal moments in your day and your interests. Create connections that go beyond business. Treat your stories like a coffee shop meet-up after work, not like an office 

4. Ask questions: Use questions to learn about your audience’s preferences, struggles, and thoughts to gain valuable insight for content, product ideas, and community building

5. Share testimonials and reviews: Build trust by showcasing feedback from happy customers. Aaaaand from time to time, use them to create FOMO, especially during limited-time offers 

Want to learn more about how to convert followers into customers through Instagram stories? Tune in to today’s podcast episode here 🎧

Talk soon,


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DISCLAIMER: Some of the links you'll find in my blogs are affiliate links. If you happen to love something as much as I do and decide to give it a shot through one of these links, I might earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me keep creating my podcasts and blogs that I hope you enjoy and find valuable. I promise to only recommend products and services that I've personally tried and absolutely LOVE.

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