10 tips for creating the best Instagram stories!

I get asked ALL the time how I create such rad Instagram stories, what apps I use, and how I get my photos to look so clean and beautiful! With the algorithm always changing, it can be hard to get noticed and sell your stuff or even just get a message out to your followers. This is why I love making my stories unique and eye catching - I always get a great response and it's been the best way for me to make sales! So I thought I'd go ahead and share with you my top 10 tips for creating Instagram stories that totally kill it.

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For my first five tips, I'm going to go through my favorite apps I use to make my Instagram stories. I use a mix of each of these almost every time I share to make my stories professional yet fun! Keep in mind some of these cost money but I promise it's worth it. I bought all of these and never looked back because of how much it's helped my business!

1. Lightroom Mobile

Would you believe that most of my Instagram story photos are iPhone pictures?! The reason they look so good is because I use my own filters to edit them! And guess what - this app is FREE and #hbgoodiepresets for your phone are only $20. You can grab them here and watch how I edit using them (it's SO easy!) here. I always edit every photo I share to my stories with one of my filters first. It also keeps my pics on brand and matching with everything I share both on my website and my feed. 

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2. Mextures

Want that cute scratchy film look everyone has on their pics?! Look no further than the Mextures app. I will usually slap one of these on after I'm done editing in Lightroom to give my photo an extra something. My favorites are are the "Grit and Grain" and "Emulsion" pack. Make sure you play around with the opacity and rotation to get the best results!

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3. VSCO

There are lots of filters in this app but the really cool thing is that you can put filters over video if you're a subscriber! I hate the cheesy colors that come in Instagram stories + iMovie so if I post a video from my phone I like to add a VSCO filter to it too! 

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4. Unfold.

This app right here is the holy grail! Lots of you ask how I put images and videos into polaroid frames, or how I get the white / colored background, or how I make my stories look so nice.. well my friends, THIS IS IT! There is a free set of frames for you to experiment with but I also use CS2 and FF1 the most. I love that videos will play in the frames as well - it makes it super easy to share horizontal videos you've taken. I also love combining images with video to create a work of art on my Instagram stories. I will usually edit all of my photos and videos before I upload them to this app, so Unfold is usually my final step.

Bonus tip: Utilize the fun features within Instagram too! For example, you can hold down the pen to make a page fill in with color, and then use the eraser tool to draw transparent words or doodles!  I shared an example on the left in the picture below. You can also add GIFS (moving images), music, or draw with the pens and spray can.

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5. WordSwag

Cute texts, fun textures, and the ability to make a background more dark / blurry so you can see the text better. I use this app ALL the time and always get compliments! Personally I think stories will be way more eye catching with a fun font on it rather than the regular fonts that come with Instagram!

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6. Timing is everything!

Basically, don't share anything important (like a product you're promoting or a sale you're having) at the end of your story, share it FIRST. You will get the most views with the story that appears first for the day. Sometimes I even delete old stories if they haven't expired and I need to share something more important. Also the time of day you post your story will affect its response. I try to post when my followers are most active (which you can find through trial and error or by looking at your insights on your business profile). Even though your story lasts for 24 hours, you want more people to see it right away so that your story will appear at the top of your follower's feed. 

Bonus tip: I try to stick to 10 stories or less each day. It gets overwhelming to have more and most people will swipe past it if they see too many stories.

7. Make it YOU.

If someone is swiping through you want them to stop on your story because they know it's you right away. This can be the style you have, the colors you use, and everything else that points to your brand. Maybe you're really funny and so you incorporate a ton of memes and GIF reactions. Maybe you are poetic and put out a lot of dreamy content so you include music and videos of the little details from your day. Maybe you are an artist and want to make your stories funky and colorful. Do whatever fits your brand and screams YOU.

8. Use those highlights!!

I get asked the same 5 questions EVERY day probably 100 times. No joke. But it would be more like 500 times if I didn't use the highlights in my bio to answer those questions! I like to use my highlights to share my products, answer frequently asked questions, link to helpful blog posts, and more. Make sure you are utilizing your highlights to get people the information they want in the fastest possible way. Instagram also lets you upload a cute cover for your story now without posting that cover to your story for the day! This is useful because before people had to upload random graphics and colors mid story to get that cute highlight button.

9. Use a call to action. 

You can be posting pretty stories all day but it's hard to gauge how your audience feels unless you invite them to do something! With rad new tools always coming out such as the question and poll sticker, it's easy to get your audience to DO something. You can ask questions, invite them to do something, start a fun challenge, or even just direct them to something you created such as a blog or vlog. If you have over 10k followers then you can use the swipe up link! Otherwise you can use a service such as Linktree to put a link in your bio that links to more than one thing! This is super helpful because you don't want to change the link in your bio to something that doesn't lead people to your website. 

10. Lastly: don't just sell all the time. Serve and share!

I know too many people that just post about their products and sales all the time and to be honest it gets boring and makes me want to unfollow them or even mute their stories. I try to sell no more than once or twice a week just so people who click on my stories know they're getting entertainment and service rather than just sales-y stuff! Then when I do decide to sell, people are more willing to listen because they know I'm not just trying to make money off of them. When I say serve and share I simply mean to serve them with helpful blog posts, tips, quotes, videos, inspiration, etc and to share your every day life with no strings attached! People want to know who YOU are and Instagram stories provides a window into your every day, unposed life. So definitely include some unfiltered moments and remember to serve your followers more than you sell!

I hope these tips were super useful to you!! I'd love it if you told me which tip helped the most OR if you have any to add to this list! What has worked for you?!

Love you all!

Heather Xx

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