Creating engaging content on Instagram may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re running your own social media account and simultaneously doing a million other business-y things. In addition to posting regularly on your feed, using the right hashtags, and engaging with your followers’ photos, preparing Instagram Stories may seem like a lot of extra work. But with over 300 million active Instagrammers using Stories, there’s a massive audience to engage with (which helps boost your algorithm and gets you more views on the content you post - we’ll get to that in the next section!), making it definitely worth your while.
Since Instagram released their Stories feature in 2016, it’s taken off in a big way. Modeled almost entirely after Snapchat, Instagram Stories are just what they sound like; a unique way to tell a story with a sequence of personalized photos and videos. Whether you’re using Instagram to build your business or personal brand, incorporating Stories can help add some personality, showcase your products, engage your followers, and ultimately help drive more traffic to your work.
If you’ve made Instagram Stories within the app before, you know that you’re limited to what Instagram offers you in terms of look, font choice, stickers, and colors. Instead of putting yourself in a box and making Stories that look like everyone else’s, we’re going to show you how to unleash your creative freedom and create eye-catching content with more font choices, color schemes, and possibilities than you can imagine with BeFunky’s Designer. You’ll be able to create Story templates that are not only on-brand, but completely reusable to make your social media workflow easier than ever!
Why Use Instagram Stories?
We talked a little bit about the benefits of using Instagram Stories to increase engagement, but we want to break it down for you even more. Simply put, every time a user engages with your Instagram account, whether they’re liking your photos, clicking on your page, or viewing your Instagram story, you increase your chances of prioritizing your future content to that user. That means the followers who are engaging with your content the most will see your new content more frequently, resulting in more likes and followers (and ultimately more traffic to your work!).
The opposite is true of Instagram’s algorithm too. If your business or brand is not getting a lot of engagement, your content is more likely to be hidden from your followers or pushed to the bottom of their feeds where they are often too impatient to scroll. Kindof scary right? Before you start panicking, we’ve got good news! Our Designer has the perfect tools to help you get on the good side of Instagram’s algorithm and get your engagement where you want it.
Types Of Instagram Stories
Social media isn’t just for connecting with friends anymore. With 80% of users following at least one brand, there’s a huge opportunity to increase brand awareness and grow your audience. Incorporating Instagram Stories into your social media strategy only increases your chances of this, and it’s easy to start with a little planning and the right tools to create your Story slides. Here are a few of our favorite ways to create engaging Instagram Story content:
Feature Your Audience
Instagram users love a good shoutout, especially from a brand. If your followers are tagging you because they love your products, consider it impactful word of mouth advertising and reward those users by showcasing them in your Story.
Simply take a screenshot of their post and incorporate it into your Story template, tag the user and thank them, and you’ve won yourself a lifetime fan.
Show Behind-The-Scenes Footage
Getting to peek behind the curtain every once in awhile helps give personality to brands in a big way. Give your followers a sneak peek at how products are made, give them a chance to get to know the people behind the products, and show the footage that they wouldn’t normally see. All it takes is capturing a few photos and videos behind the scenes.
Showcase New Products
Just launched a new product? Instagram Stories are the perfect addition to your social media marketing campaign. The best part is, if you have over 10,000 followers and are set up on an Instagram Business account, you can add a direct link to that product in your Story.
Users will be able to swipe up and be connected to more information about the new goods.
Drive Traffic To Your Latest Blog Post
Whenever you publish a blog post, after you post a photo or video on Instagram to tell your audience, it’s always a good next step to market it in your Instagram story. Use a series of related photos and give your followers a sneak peek about your new post on (fill in the blank). That way, if they somehow missed your latest photo in their Instagram feed due to the algorithm, they’ll have a better chance of engaging with your content in your Story.
As with anything you create for your business or personal brand, it’s important to establish a unique and consistent look. That means instead of using the same Instagram Story tools that everyone is using within the app, opting for a design platform that can help you create Stories that are on-brand is going to help you look more professional and intriguing in the long run. The more unique you are, the more people are going to want to follow your aesthetic and there is no better way to drive engagement than to create content that people haven’t seen before.
Aside from more creative freedom, the best thing about using BeFunky to design Instagram Story templates is that it will save you time. When you create a Custom Template in BeFunky, you’re able to Save As A Project, meaning you can save your template in editable format for reusing over and over again. This way, you can easily return to your Instagram Story template and re-edit it to fit the type of content you want to push. When you have new content to market in Instagram Story form, all you need to do is reload the project, change the text and photos, and you’ll have a new story in no time. Your creative workflow will be more seamless than ever, and your social media content will be next level - a win win.
How To Create Custom Instagram Story Templates
Now that you know how Instagram Stories can help boost your engagement, drive traffic to your work, and add personality to your brand, it’s time to show you how easy it is to create your own custom templates. Before you start designing, it’s important to research some Story looks and choose an aesthetic that best fits your brand. With that in mind, head to the Designer and select Custom Template from the Templates tab on the left.
You’ll be presented with a Custom Template menu, and since Instagram Stories are sized at 1080 x 1920 pixels, type those dimensions into the corresponding Width and Height boxes, then press Create. From here, you can choose to make a story that is purely made up of graphics, photos, or a blend of both.
Now that your blank template is perfectly sized for an Instagram Story slide, it’s time to let your creativity shine. If you want to change the background color of your template, click on the Customize tab and use the Color Palette to select any background color you wish. If you’d rather keep a clean white background (like we have), you can start by adding in images that help tell your story. You can add photos by simply clicking and dragging them into the Designer interface, or use the Images/Layers tab at the top of the menu on the left to upload your own images or free stock photo imagery. Use the blue circles around each image to resize them to your liking, and drag them around your template to position them just right.
To add text to your Instagram Story template, click on the Text tab in the menu on the left and select the Add Text button. You’ll be presented with a textbox that you can use to type your messaging. Notice that any time you have a textbox selected, a Text Properties menu appears for you to change the Font, Font Color, Spacing, and more! If your brand has a specific font, you can easily add it to the Font Library and use it in your designs. And even if you don’t know the first thing about fonts, here’s some font pairing inspiration that will help you look like a pro in no time!
Next, make your Instagram Story stand out even more by clicking on the Design Elements tab in the menu on the left. Once there, you can search a wide selection of customizable graphics that can help add depth and intrigue to your Story. When you find a graphic you like, simply click on it and it’ll be added right to your template. Using the Graphic Properties menu that appears, you can change the Color, Blend Mode, Opacity, and more. Keep in mind that any graphics you use should accentuate certain elements of your Story. If the graphic distracts from the main content, try keeping your story more simple so that the focus is where it needs to be.
When you feel your first Instagram Story template looks the way you want it, use the Save button at the top of the Designer to save the project to your computer, after which you can send the file from your Computer to your phone for uploading to Instagram. Then, click the Save menu again and select Save as Project. You’ll then be able to name your Story Template and save it in editable format to your Computer (as a .bfd file) or BeFunky account for accessing and re-customizing later.
The best part about saving your template as a BeFunky Project is that you can reload it at a later date, change the photos and text, and thus create a new Instagram Story slide without starting from scratch. When you want to design using one of your Instagram Story templates, all you have to do is use the Open tab at the top of the Designer, reopen the project from your Computer or BeFunky account (wherever you chose to originally save your template), and you’ll be right back where you left off. Trust us, it’ll save you tons of time and creative energy for future posts, all the while giving you a plethora of options for designing content that is sure to stand out.
We recommend creating 3-5 different Instagram Story template styles for fast editing in the future. That way, whenever you have new content to share or products to promote, you’ll be able to whip up an engaging Story in a snap. It’ll be a huge game changer when it comes to your Instagram engagement, and you won’t find another app or platform that makes creating Instagram Stories as much of a breeze.