Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Stories

The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style

Instagram stories are nearly as important as the content you post to the feed itself! Here are all the tips you need to take them to the next level.

I really love using Instagram stories to connect with my friends and followers. In fact, I sometimes enjoy stories way more than my feed because they allow me to be more candid, goofy, and vulnerable. This part of the app has allowed me to open up in ways a static photo never can, and typically my stories are viewed more frequently than my feed – so it’s a great space for me to share what’s on my mind.

Instagram has provided plenty of great in-app options to make your stories look fantastic, and I utilize them all on a regular basis! However, I also enjoy upping my game with outside apps to create cool templates, fun filters, or intriguing text designs. I want to give you a run-through of the best uses for both in-app content as well as alternative programs!

The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw StyleMix and match styles and sizes, add symbols, utilize backgrounds, and play with colors for the best story!

You can use the eyedropper tool for text and marker color-choosing within the photo itself. You can also press down on one of the rainbow colors along the bottom of the screen to see the entire color palette.

Highlight any text, bring up the color palette, and undo your highlight with one hand while scrolling along the colors with the other to create an ombré effect!The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style Place your text in the most aesthetically-pleasing spot, and use text backgrounds or the marker tool to make it visible.The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style Always add your location (you can search for a specific spot if you’re posting at a later time). Tag the spot if you please. This helps you reach a larger audience – and tagging the location, product, or otherwise allows the person running that account to repost you!The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style Use hashtags that relate to the post. You can also utilize plain text for your hashtags and “hide” them by pinching with your fingers and making the text incredibly small, then using the color dropper to pick a color within the photo and placing the text over that location to “blend” it in.

Gifs are fun too! Relate them to your photo or video, make them playful or sarcastic, and grab peoples’ attention by having them be extra bold or wordy!

Along the sides of your Instagram story screen are grid-lines. These light up in blue when you move text, gifs, or otherwise towards the outer edges of your screen. Don’t pass them! If you do, your content will be hidden by the top bar, bottom text bar, or sides when people are swiping through. Be mindful!The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw StyleTake advantage of Instagram’s options. Polls, questions, ratings, and quizzes allow you to engage with your audience. Get sassy and fun with these, and add them whenever you can! The more people engage with your stories, the more you’ll show up at the top of their feed!

Music is awesome, but make sure to actually choose something specific, rather than just always opting for the top picks the app suggests for you. I like to search for songs that relate to the content, or use music that I’d like for my audience to discover!

The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style

The Top 10 Apps to Take Your Instagram Stories to the Next Level

Unfold //

This app is my absolute favorite outside of Instagram itself when it comes to quality IG story content. There are tons of templates, fonts, and styles to choose from when it comes to curating something especially beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing on your story.

Canva //

You can use this program for way more than just Instagram stories. I create all my Pinterest headers, infographics, and more with the desktop version – but it’s also fabulous for fun story templates and even story highlight covers!

StoriesEdit //

This is an app created by Planoly and I love how you can really brand all your stories by using it regularly. I tend to pick and choose and not stick to a certain branding style for my stories, but it really is an excellent option for a modern look.

8mm //

I downloaded this after seeing a couple of my favorite bloggers use a beautiful, film-like filter across their stories. I discovered it wasn’t a filter, but an app that allows you to capture professional video in an old-timey style.


This is basically an alternative version of Snapchat that’s really popular in Asia, but I only use it for the filters. It makes your skin look really nice but gives you the option to turn up or down the intensity of the filters, unlike Snapchat or Instagram.


This app was really popular for a while, letting you snap photos that look like they were taken on a Fujifilm Instax or Polaroid camera. I like it for the occasional artsy photo.

Storyluxe //

Similar to Unfold, this app has templates that are incredibly aesthetically-pleasing. The only downside is that you can’t move the photos around or zoom them in the same way you can on Unfold – but there are way more template options.

Nichi //

I just discovered this app recently and have yet to discover every fabulous thing about it, but I do know that it’s a lot of fun if you enjoy adding stickers to your stories (rather than just gifs). It also has some really cool font options and the styling is very ethereal and bohemian.

Filmm //

Another recent download of mine, but I’ve been loving it for filming on IGTV especially (something I’m just now diving into). It gives you filters, effects, and tons more options for video and makes your content look really neat!

Splice //

If you’ve filmed an especially long video and want to chop it up, add transitions, feature music, or include captioning – this is an awesome app option. Instagram stories seem to sometimes glitch and only allows you to upload 4 videos at a time, so this gives you the freedom to “splice” everything into 15-second intervals to upload in series!

Related Posts: 25 Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following // 20 Products That Help You Slay Flatlay Photography

The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style

What do you use to spice up your Instagram stories?

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The Beginner's Guide to Nailing Instagram Stories | She Saw Style



  • Reply
    Hillary Conheady
    June 10, 2019 at 9:19 AM

    This is such a great guide! I need to remember to use hashtags!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 9:30 AM

    This guide is amazinggggg! I never thought of a lot of these, so I’m going to start doing them!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 9:46 AM

    This is so good, Stephanie! I LOVE how you did the examples with the Story screenshots – so creative, girly! Love, love that. I have some new apps I need to download 🙂

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 12:05 PM

    Okay, this is seriously the best post ever! Stories are not my strong point so I’m really excited to start implementing some of your tips!


  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 2:03 PM

    Fantastic info!!!

  • Reply
    Kasey Holloway
    June 10, 2019 at 3:23 PM

    I use a lot of these apps and really enjoy them! I love using Unfold especially! Also, I always forget to put hashtags in my story, but I need to remember how important they are!

  • Reply
    Tanvi Rastogi
    June 10, 2019 at 5:09 PM

    So many new apps to check out. Thanks lady!!! I didn’t know about a lot of them.

    ❥ tanvii.com

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 7:13 PM

    These are such great tips! I had no idea you could create ombre text like that- definitely going to try that!!

  • Reply
    Alix Maza
    June 10, 2019 at 9:41 PM

    Oooh so many IGS apps! I tend to just use Unfold, I’ll check the others out.

  • Reply
    Azanique S Rawl
    June 10, 2019 at 9:44 PM

    I totally need to up my story game! I currently use Canva but had no idea about these other apps. Thanks for sharing babe 🙂

    -xo, Azanique | https://www.lotsofsass.com

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 9:49 PM

    I love this post babe, definitely need to check out and download all of these apps!! So helpful, thanks for sharing!

    cute & little

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 10:12 PM

    I really suck at stories. I never use them. Your tips rock!

  • Reply
    Candace Hampton
    June 10, 2019 at 10:34 PM

    This is really useful. Thanks you so much for such a detailed post. By reading I realized that there’s a lot of tools that I’m not using. Thanks for sharing your secrets<3

    Candace Hampton

  • Reply
    Lecy | A Simpler Grace
    June 10, 2019 at 11:53 PM

    These are such fun tips! I have noticed that some people are spending more time on their stories rather than the pictures on their main feed. There are so many neat features to try!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2019 at 1:17 AM

    I have the worst time with Instagram stories. Your tips are so helpful!

  • Reply
    Indya | The Small Adventurer
    June 11, 2019 at 6:32 AM

    I have also fallen in love with Instagram Stories! I LOVE watching other people’s; it’s one of the first things I do when I come home from work 😂 I’m trying to make my Stories are aesthetically pleasing as my feed is though, as so far it really hasn’t been, so I’m downloading some of these apps now! Hope they help.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2019 at 10:03 AM

    Wow, what a very helpful post! I learned about a lot of new apps that I didn’t know about before. I agree on that sometimes I love stories more, but I can get a bit lazy with it. Though being able to add fun gifs and polls is really cool!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2019 at 11:25 AM

    This is such a fantastic resource and so helpful! I’ll be referring back to for sure. Instagram hasn’t been a big focus for me just yet, but I know that it will help secure more relationships, opportunities and engagement over time.

  • Reply
    Sarah Lindner
    June 11, 2019 at 12:15 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I am always looking for new apps to try out!

    xoxo Sarah

  • Reply
    Caila Quinn
    June 11, 2019 at 1:02 PM

    Wait… this blog post was so helpful. Love how you combined fonts and made text stand out! Truly inspired 😀

  • Reply
    June 11, 2019 at 1:33 PM

    you always have the best tips!!!! so important

    xx reb

  • Reply
    June 11, 2019 at 1:52 PM

    I am so bad at instagram stories. I’m never sure what to put on my feed and what to put in stories!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2019 at 5:14 PM

    This is such a fun post filled with helpful info!

  • Reply
    Crystal // Dreams, etc.
    June 12, 2019 at 12:34 AM

    Love these app suggestions! I really need to use them more when putting together Stories!

  • Reply
    Anna English
    June 12, 2019 at 9:31 AM

    Okay, I love this post! I’m heading on vacation tomorrow, so I just downloaded a few of these to create some fun new content! Thanks for sharing your secrets with us girl.

  • Reply
    Taylor Mobley
    June 12, 2019 at 9:32 AM

    Uhm ok story queen. I am the worst with pretty stories.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2019 at 10:52 AM

    These are such great tips! I tend to just share what I’m reading on Stories but I really need to get on that IG Stories game!
    I LOVE using Unfold for my stories!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    I love these tips. I always forget to add my location, such a great idea to do it and reach more of an audience.

  • Reply
    Laura S
    June 12, 2019 at 1:01 PM

    I LOVE this! As someone who is just jumping back in the game of IG stories, I definitely needed to read this today!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2019 at 2:54 PM

    This was SO helpful! I tend to be a bit “boring” with my stories — but I rarely have the time to make everything look super pretty like you. I definitely need to amp up my game.

  • Reply
    Carmen Edelson
    June 12, 2019 at 3:29 PM

    Okay it’s good to know that Unfold is your favorite! I downloaded it recently and have been using that so far so good 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura Leigh
    June 12, 2019 at 6:29 PM

    You rock Instagram stories lady! And absolutely rocked it with this post. I love all of your advice and how you styled your Instagram stories.

    xo Laura Leigh

  • Reply
    Jasmine Vargas
    June 13, 2019 at 8:34 AM

    I just downloaded a few of these apps. I can’t wait to use them.

  • Reply
    Kenzi - Life of a Sister
    June 13, 2019 at 10:28 AM

    I just downloaded Nichi! I have some of these apps and I love them! I love “hiding” the hashtags so they don’t clog up the picture, I also hide them behind tags too.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    You’re an Insta story pro!! I only use Unfold to help me “up my game” but need to check out the other apps you mentioned!

    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  • Reply
    Tonya Morris
    June 13, 2019 at 5:14 PM

    These are awesome tips! I love the stories you created as examples!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2019 at 2:55 PM

    These are such great tips!! I hate doing videos on Instagram stories 😂 Bookmarking this to reference when I need it.
    Xo, Deanie

  • Reply
    Julia Comil
    June 14, 2019 at 3:08 PM

    This is such a great post! IG story is so complicated with all its amazing functionalities!

  • Reply
    June 15, 2019 at 10:04 PM

    Absolutely loved reading this post! I love your tips for utilizing Instastories to their full potential! And love the stories you created to help show what you’re talking about!

    xo, Laura

  • Reply
    Denise Kokinis
    June 17, 2019 at 2:05 PM

    This was seriously so helpful! So many good tips and tricks for stories! I love how you showed examples of how to do these, especially to show how you eliminate negative space. These tips are some I need to start using for my account and get a little bit better at.

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

  • Reply
    June 18, 2019 at 10:03 PM

    This is such an awesome guide! I have to try to remember these tips. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2019 at 10:54 PM

    This is an awesome IG Story guide. So many good points.

    Xx, Nailil

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