5 Storytelling Instagram Content Ideas for Your Small Business

Grow an engaged community with these 5 must-try Instagram content ideas for your small business.

Lauren Melnick
6 minutes read

It’s tough out here. Coming up with an endless stream of storytelling Instagram content ideas feels daunting.

Especially when there are dozens of other tasks you need to action in your small business.

What to do?

Use your real-life experiences to create content that tells a story, resonates with your audience, and helps you make more sales.


Ready to kick content block to the curb?

Let’s get started.



Choose Your Content Pillars

Before you can weave a single brand story, you need to know where you’re going.

That’s where content pillars enter the chat.

These are the core topics you want your brand to be known for and are valuable to your audience.

Without a focus, your social media content becomes less impactful. You risk creating an inconsistent story that doesn’t develop a relationship with your audience, position you as an expert, or drive sales.

That’s not all.

Instagram SEO is a thing now.

Your content pillars make sure you’re using key phrases and hashtags related to your brand. The results?

Your discoverability goes up. Your content reaches more accounts. You gain more followers.

Here’s an example:

Gabby is a travel blogger, and her Instagram content pillars are:

• Solo female travel

• Paid travel opportunities

• Digital nomad

Choose Your Content Pillars

Action Step: Think of three to five topics for your Instagram strategy to build your own bespoke content pillars.

Need a helping hand? Plann lets you add your content pillars to your brand story and visually build your posting strategy with ease. Our drag-and-drop planner is ready and waiting for you in your Plann workspace.

5 Storytelling Instagram Content Ideas (Perfect For Small Businesses)

1. Your Origin Story

Okay, now that you have your content pillars, it’s time to put them to use and tell a good story.

An easy and impactful option to get your creative juices running?

Your small businesses’ origin story.

Seriously, people love them. But what is it exactly?

It’s your backstory that tells your audience about who you are and your core motivations. The reason it works so well? Origin stories make your brand memorable.

Think about it.

You probably know how Greta Thunberg became famous. But if you didn’t know why a random teenage girl was skipping school, you wouldn’t have become invested in her story.

Origin stories build credibility, validate your motivations and give people a reason to root for you.

Action Step: Create an Instagram post around your “big why” and tell the story of why you started your small business. Film an engaging Instagram Reel, jump on Stories or craft a long-form caption to bring your story to life in an engaging way.

2. Story Hacking Your Life

Feeling stumped on story ideas? You are the source material.

“But my life isn’t interesting!” you protest. Alas, you’re wrong.

Every week, things happen to us that we can use to create teachable moments (especially as a small business owner). Even the most mundane things can turn into a story for your brand, especially when you funnel everything through the lens of your content pillars.

Let’s unpack this with an example from Erin May Henry, a personal branding business coach.

After ending her engagement, Erin started documenting her progress towards becoming “the coolest person you know”. 

On her Stories, Instagram Reels, and IG Lives, she would share her latest hobby, ticking off a bucket list item or trying a new style she was too scared to wear before.

She used her journey as a teachable moment for her audience, demonstrating what can happen when you start saying “yes” to yourself and taking small steps to radically change your life.

From there, it’s an easy pivot into her Killer Confidence course, which aims to help you become the best version of yourself.

Story Hacking Your Life

Action Step: What’s happened in your life this week? What challenges have you faced in business recently? What did you learn? How can you use it to address the problems of your audience?

3. Share What You Learn

Sharing what you learn is similar to story-hacking your life.

Except, you’re taking your audience on a journey from amateur to professional.

It’s a powerful storytelling technique that uses the classic zero-to-hero archetype or the “rags to riches” trope. Why does it work so well?

It allows your audience to experience your journey vicariously and imagine what it would be like to aspire to greatness. You’re giving your followers hope and getting them invested in seeing you succeed.

How does this storytelling Instagram content idea look in practice? Share what you’re learning as a small business owner.

Whether it’s a new skill set, a marketing strategy, business tips, milestones, or relevant industry news.

And no, you don’t need to wait until you have “results”. Take your audience on the journey to see if posting Reels every day for 30 days did help you grow your business or not.

Share What You Learn

Action Step: What have you recently learned in business? How can you relate it back to content pillars? Craft a save-worthy carousel or film a bite-sized Reel showcasing your latest learnings as text overlays.

4. Behind The Scenes

Okay, it’s time for the crowd favorite: behind the scenes (BTS) content.

No storytelling Instagram content ideas post would be complete without it. Why? Because people are inquisitive. And a little nosy.

Take advantage of those curious cats with BTS content that shows what an average day is like in your small business.

Not only does it feel more authentic, but it builds trust with your audience. Plus, you can have so much fun telling these BTS story ideas:

• Focus on one employee each week or month.

• Show how you package products.

• Reveal the details of how you go from an idea to a physical product.


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5. Focus On The Problems You Solve

The problems of your audience are excellent storytelling Instagram content ideas. The only catch?

You need to frame it the right way to have maximum impact.

1. Start with a relatable protagonist. You can speak directly to your audience experiencing the problem or feature yourself or a past client.

2. Use emotions to connect with your audience. How is this problem showing up in their lives? How is it making them feel?

3. Present a solution. How have you solved this problem in the past? How can you help your audience right now?

You can rinse and repeat this basic storytelling structure for all the different challenges your followers are experiencing. 

In this post from Manifestation Babe, she uses a story about using YouTube as a method of DIYing an online business.

She digs into the problem mentioning how much time this approach will cost you, the frustration of not getting it right, and how she had to learn this lesson the hard way. 

Katherine ends the post by promoting a business course that helped fast-track her success and paints a picture of what you can expect if you opt in for this method over a degree from YouTube University.

Plann Your Instagram Content Ideas

Ready to tell your brand story? Great!

Sign up for a free 7-day trial of Plann Pro and put all of the above to work in one easy-to-use workspace. 

From mapping out your content pillars to visually planning your feed and tapping into our done-for-you content prompts, we make it easy to grow your small business organically on social media. What are you waiting for?


Free Storytelling Guide: 30 Questions To Help You Tell Your Brand Story
Free Storytelling Guide: 30 Questions To Help You Tell Your Brand Story





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