5 Ways to Make Your Instagram Stories Stand Out

With more and more brands joining Instagram and posting Stories on your followers’ feeds, it’s becoming more of a challenge to keep your followers from swiping through your Stories. How do you make your Stories stand out and inspire your followers to stick with them?

Here’s a trade secret: there are so many creative ways you can use the Stories features and format that most users aren’t taking advantage of.

In this post we’ll introduce you to some of the lesser-known tricks that will impress and engage your followers.

1. Get creative with fonts and text effects

Adding text to a Story is pretty straightforward: you just open your Stories camera, add or record your Story, and then tap the text icon. Instagram recently expanded their font options from 4 to 9:

When you scroll through the font color selection, you’ll see 27 color options. You can actually choose any color you want when drawing in Instagram Stories. Simply tap and hold a color — and a whole color palette will appear on your screen! Slide the pin around to select any shade you like.

instagram stories color select

Did you know that you can select different letters or words in the same text and change their color separately? You can even create a rainbow or gradient effect by selecting the whole word, then tapping and holding a color with your right thumb, then sliding your left thumb to the right to deselect the word as you slide your right thumb to the left to move through the color palette. Here’s a quick TikTok tutorial on how to achieve this effect from social media pro @annaarends2:

The background effects look different for the newer fonts, too, so be sure to scroll through those and see what inspires you.

Another fun effect you can create using the text features on Stories is to spell out a word with individual letters and stagger them or arrange them however you like to look like scattered tiles. Or, create a shadow effect by creating identical texts in different colors and setting one just overlapping the other. There’s so much room for creativity here!

2. Use the doodle and erase features to highlight or hide parts of an image

Another under-appreciated feature is the doodle feature. Yes, it lets you add little drawings and arrows to your Stories… but there’s so much more it can do.

First of all, the pen tool can create a solid background. A super easy way to create a solid background is to select any image for your Story, then tap the doodle feature, pick the color you’d like for your background, and tap and hold on the screen.

But that’s not all: the highlighter tool can create a transparent overlay. This is super useful for adding text and other images over an image with lots of colors and details without making it look too “busy.” You add the transparent overlay the same way you add the solid background with the pen feature just select the highlighter tool, pick your color, and tap and hold on the screen:

Now, the eraser is where you can really take this up a level. You can start out with an image, create a solid background over it, and then use the eraser to reveal just one element from the image that’s hiding underneath. This is a fantastic way to highlight a particular subject or object in an image. You can do the same thing with a transparent overlay — it’ll really make your subject pop!

You can also use the eraser feature to doodle through a background or overlay for an interesting “negative space” effect.

3. Use animated GIF stickers

Nothing catches the eye like an animation, and the variety of GIFs available in Instagram is staggering. Invest some time in poking around and looking for GIFs that fit your Story in terms of theme, mood, and color scheme. A strategically placed GIF can really pull a Story together.

You can also create a full screen GIF using Create Mode. Simply head to Create Mode and swipe left on the menu that appears above it to select GIF. Tap “Search GIPHY” and enter your keywords to search for the GIF you want. Create Mode GIFs look like this:

Check out our guide here for full insights on Instagram Story GIFs.

4. Create video Stories with templates

Especially if you’re short on time, a video maker app like Boosted can be a lifesaver. The app provides stunning and stylish templates, stock footage, music, and other effects that make it a cinch to pull together an impressive-looking video Story in just a few minutes.

Templates are fantastic for Stories because they create a visually cohesive video that’s smooth, easy on the eyes, and looks very professional, without the hours and hours of working with design apps (not to mention a great deal of skill and talent) it takes to create something similar on your own.

Here’s a video created with Boosted that we recently shared to @boosted_social‘s Story:

5. Take advantage of sequencing

There’s a reason Stories are called Stories: each slide leads to the next, and taking advantage of that format can really help you pull your Stories together and keep your followers engaged.

Some very simple ways to do this involve using the same background image, but adding or removing an element from each slide in sequence. For example, creating a list and adding just one item to each slide, or creating a sequence of slides that slowly reveal a key element of your image. You can do this right in the Stories camera by creating your first slide, saving the Story as an image (click the “download” icon at the top center of the screen), then altering the Story to create another slide and saving that one, and so on. Once you have all your images, upload them together in the proper sequence:

insta story sequencing

There’s no end to the creative ways you can use the features and format of Stories to create compelling content your followers will love. Invest some time in getting to know the existing features and keep an eye out to see how people are using them to give you more ideas! For more Story inspiration, check out 50 Engaging Instagram Story Ideas for Your Brand.

Action Items:

  • Play around with different ways to use text and fonts to make interesting effects.
  • Use the doodle tools to bring out specific elements in your image.
  • Find an animated GIF that fits your Story perfectly and place it strategically on the image.
  • Try out Boosted to create some quick, professional-looking video Stories.
  • Keep sequencing in mind and try to create a whole experience for your followers using multiple slides.
Instagram Story Ideas

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