HOW I MAKE MY INSTAGRAM STORIES SHINE
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Instagram Stories are a crucial way to capture your audience's attention or share thoughts, information, and photos with your followers! Whether you're running a brand, small business owner, or a casual personal Instagram, you have an aesthetic. Why not let it show through creative Instagram Stories? While Instagram Stories may seem straightforward upon first glance, there are a ton of ways to get creative with fonts, markups, GIFs, and external tools/apps!
As a lifestyle blogger with a penchant for consistency, I developed a color palette and style for my brand. This aesthetic, appearing throughout my website and my Instagram stories, subconsciously tells my audience "HEY, it's me."
So, here are most of the things I consider when creating an Instagram Story. I hope these tips help you hone the branding of your stories and give you some new design options to try!
Pick two/three signature colors. This is crucial for branding purposes. Unless you want your brand to be "the rainbow Blogger", I suggest picking a few colors to stick with for fonts and background colors.
Be consistent with fonts. There are multiple fonts on Instagram Stories, and while I often mix and match the STRONG and CLASSIC fonts with the cursive NEON font (I like the masculine/feminine contrast), I don't suggest using every font in the Instagram Arsenal. Pick a few that feel true to your brand and use them regularly.
Pay attention to text formatting. When typing text, explore the Multi-Line Icon in the top left corner. This icon gives you multiple text formatting options. A few options keep the text at the same size but alter the text justification to left, right, center. Another option fits your text, leaving lines of text different sizes. Personally, I hate this last option. I want my lines of text to be even in size -- but I just wanted to make you aware that this is something people look at!
Font backgrounds have endless possibilities. You can add a background to select fonts by clicking the "A" button when the desired text is selected. You should know: a background will be applied to the entire block of text. If you want some text with a background and some without, it's best you create them in different blocks of text. Taking font backgrounds further, if you type ". ." and hit the "A" button, you'll get a straight line of a color that can be used for design purposes. I often use it to break up a monochromatic background!
Markup features can and should be used. In addition to multiple fonts, Instagram gives you different markup features that can be used to add flair to your stories. When you click the "draw" button in the top righthand side, you should see five options for marking up your stories. Explore those! I use the second to draw arrows as subconscious calls to action, such as Click Forward, Swipe Up, or Visit Profile. I also use the third, a somewhat translucent markup, behind text as an unofficial background.
Use formatting cues/borders provided by Instagram Stories. If you move a block of text or GIF across your Story, you'll notice that Instagram gives you formatting cues and borders. I love these! I use them all the time to center my text and shared posts. The border cues they provide are also really helpful and exist for a reason! If you place elements outside of these borders, it's unlikely your followers will be able to read/click on them. I know I always get frustrated when people put text under the bottom border because it gets covered with the "Reply" bar. Make it easier for your followers, not harder!
Explore Instagram Stories Filters. Instagram has a ton of filters that you can also add in to your rotation. Use them to take snapshots of moments your daily life or spruce up a candid video. You can search all the filters by scrolling to the far of all filters options. You can also save filters used on your friends' stories by clicking the filter name in the top left corner of the story with the desired filter.
Utilize outside apps for photo editing and additional Instagram Stories layouts. My favorite apps for additional Instagram Story layouts are Unfold and StoriesEdit by Planoly. These apps allow you to curate multi-photo, templated Instagram Stories and download the photos directly to your phone. You can also use phone wallpapers as backgrounds to share your IG feed posts. Learn how to add backgrounds to your shared post stories by watching this tutorial with the Over app.
Copy photos into Instagram Stories as stickers. This is probably my favorite tip because it's not a well-known feature of Instagram Stories. Want to add a photo to a story? A screenshot of a text or your IG feed? To add a new or old photo to a story: head to your photos and "copy" the photo you want to add. Head back to your open Story. If the photo is in your phone's clipboard memory, a pop up will ask if you want to Add (the photo) as Sticker! Do that. If this pop-up doesn't appear, proceed like you're going to add a block of new text and paste in the copied photo.
Spice things up with GIFs! This one is self explanatory, but fun nonetheless. I love adding GIFs when appropriate.
Use spacing/layering/capitalization to create a different text appearance. If you want to change up the appearance of your text, change it up. Add spaces between letters to create wider text. Layer text on top of one another to create a shadow effect. TYPE IN ALL CAPS TO CREATE A BOLDER LOOK. Or do a combination of the three. Y O U R C A L L.
Break up paragraphs of text by stepwise addition. If you want to share blocks of text - thoughts, a recipe, etc - consider sharing them in a stepwise addition. Your audience can follow along gradually; this prevents them from being overwhelmed at three paragraphs of text and skipping the story altogether. To do this, add your first element, save the story as a photo, share the first story. For the second story, you will add the saved photo as your starting block and add your next piece of text. Save that second story, share it. Repeat! This can also be done with design elements, adding them in a stepwise fashion by saving a previous story before sharing -- and then uploading it as a starting block for the next story.
Rainbow text, if you're into that kind of thing. I'm not a rainbow text lady, personally, but there are plenty of ways to get colorful on Instagram Stories. Use the colors you have or select new ones by clicking a pre-selected color and swiping up for a full color wheel. You can also color-match to specific colors in a background photo by clicking the dropper in the bottom left corner (this goes for markup colors too.) OR use every color and add some rainbow text.
KEEP IT SIMPLE.
I know this was a lot of info. There are a LOT of features here to create endless possibilities of Instagram Stories. This is awesome and all, but if you're looking to capture your audience's attention effectively, you need to keep it simple. By including a TON of color, GIFs, paragraphs of text, you will only overwhelm your followers. Attention spans are limited, and personally, visually overwhelming stories get skipped. You don't want your followers ignoring your stories altogether, right? Keep it simple, but simple doesn't HAVE mean boring.
For me, simple means executing a plan. I try to make it easy for my followers to understand the information I'm giving them while still staying true to my brand identity. In regards to BRANDING, I've already selected my color palette and fonts, and I always justify my fonts in the middle of the screen (see #3 in DESIGN). In regards to DESIGN, I mix and match these features but often utilize #1-3, #5-7).
At the end of the day, I want my stories to look polished but still relatable.
All of these new elements are FUN but using them all at once will be overwhelming for your audience. You should implement 1-3 elements from the DESIGN category at once. More than that and you risk losing people's attention or distilling your brand identity.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THESE DESIGN ELEMENTS IN MY STORIES:
What do you think? Was this helpful? Did you learn something new? Leave me a comment if this post helped up your IG Stories game! If nothing else, I hope some of the tips and stories I shared give you inspiration to play around in Instagram Stories. There are a ton of options to design, customize, and get creative!
We're all on Instagram more than ever right now, so I felt it was useful to share my tips and tricks. Speaking of Instagram, be sure to follow me over at @stylishlytaylored. You can see my stories in action and keep up with my adventures in real time.
Stay safe, be well.