Instagram stories have outdone their competitor Snapchat since copying the feature in 2016. Now, as of January 2019, there were 500 million active daily users on Instagram Stories.
It’s the tool that influencers have stated that they get the most engagement from — allowing you to share content that disappears in just 24 hours, now with the option to turn them into highlights, a lifetime.
With so many brands using Instagram stories, how can you stand out?
The quality and content of your Instagram stories matter, but to create eye-catching stories, you’ll need the right tools to do it.
I’ve listed the 12 best apps made for Instagram stories and trusted by professionals and brands alike.
This article will be covering the following topics to give you well-rounded advice to jump-start your Instagram story skills:
- Best Instagram Story Apps for Videos
- Best Instagram Story Apps for Graphics
- Best Content Ideas for Instagram Stories
- Best Brands with Amazing Instagram Story Content
Best Instagram Story Apps for Videos
Available: for Android & IOS
VSCO is a personal favorite for influencers looking for filters and editing tools for images to post on their feed. Did you know they also offer video editing features for Instagram stories as well?
Hint hint, it comes with a paid account, but it’s worth it. It helps to maintain your brand’s aesthetics and gives it a professional touch that’s up to par with Adobe tools.
Available: for Android & IOS The Videoshop app is ranked in the top video editing apps when it comes to Instagram video editing for stories and feed.
Simply add your recorded clip to the app and trim or resize your video. You can also add music, voice-over sound effects, slow motion, filters. Take it a step further and merger video or photos.
Once you’ve finished editing your photos or videos and share it on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Whatsapp or by email.
Available: for IOS
An iPhone app favorite for anyone who wants to edit videos a bit more technical than iMovie or Clips. Once you’ve uploaded your video to the app, you can edit videos in landscape (16:9), portrait (9:16) (Instagram story size), and square (1:1) (Instagram feed). You’re not limited to videos, you can also edit photos for your Instagram stories.
Add a color gradient to your video, replace green screens with new backgrounds, add transitions, text, and audio (music and narration) — with all these abilities, you have full control over your Instagram story’s final look. There is a monthly cost, but the features are worth it.
Available: for Android & iOS
You shouldn’t be surprised to see the InShot Video Editor on our list of tools to use for Instagram stories. You’ve probably seen a few videos on social media with the watermark logo at the bottom right corner.
This app allows you to place your video in different ratios so you can easily resize, crop or take your design further and use a colored background, built-in templates or photo collages to make your video pop on Instagram.
Available: for Android & iOS
Lifelapse is an alternative to Instagram’s hyper-lapse, but the twist is you can also edit and create content-worthy animations, not to mention helpful tutorials, stock music, a built-in time, speed adjustments and much more.
If you’re a food brand or influencer and you’re looking for an app that’s made for you, Foodie is it. The name of the app alone is a winner. It allows you to add over 30 filters; editing tools specifically made for food images and videos allowing you to capture those yummy moments effortlessly.
It does have a few limits when it comes to editing like aspect ratio, so make sure to upload the video or image in the desired ratio you’d like to upload.
Best Instagram Story Apps for Graphics & Tools
This tool is a personal favorite of mine when it comes to creating content and Instagram stories for Wishpond’s own Instagram.
Canva allows you to create graphics, videos, and GIFs all tailored for your Instagram story. Choose from several beautiful templates with an easy-to-use editor to drag, drop, filter, and design your Instagram story as you like.
Anything Adobe puts its name on either has a steep learning curve, is a creative’s go-to, is a gateway to exceptional content or all of the above.
That being said, if you’re looking for something a bit more technical to get all the little details right, Adobe Spark Post is your app. It allows you to add not just filters but effects, sizing, coloring and editing tools on par with Photoshop and Lightroom. You can also convert photos into GIFs or videos ready to upload to your Instagram stories.
Available: Desktop version only
Wave.video falls smack in the middle of Canva and Adobe Spark Post. It’s the tool you use if you’re looking for an online video maker and editing tool that offers user-friendly experience with just the right amount of technical tools to give your video that finishing look.
Upload and export your videos with text overlay, effects, animations, and stunning transitions between the clips. You can also resize your video if you’d like to reuse it later for another platform.
The best thing about wave.video is that it has full integration with Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Hubspot, Wistia, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Vimeo so that you can share or upload your videos in one click.
4. Font Candy
Available: Android and iOS Maybe you’re looking for something not so technical, and just need to do something simple like adding text overlays to your videos or captions — why not use Font Candy?
This app provides loads of fonts, editing, and adjustments like text curving, opacity adjuster, and shadow controls to design your Instagram stories.
Available: iOS or Android
Unfold has been on the rise since 2017 and has been named by Refinery 29 as “the must use Instagram story app.”
Choose from a wide range of Insta-worthy templates that allow you to seamlessly post aesthetically-pleasing content that fully align with your brand look and feel.
6. A Design Kit
Created by the fantastic lifestyle and content creators, A Beautiful Mess, and A Color Story, so you know you’re in good hands. A Design kit is a graphic designing tool perfect for IG stories.
It allows you to add stickers, textures, color, and font directly on your Instagram stories. You also have 120+ designs and templates to choose from so you can spice up your stories in style.
Available: iOS only
Have you ever gotten so caught up in the moment recording your Insta stories that your video ends up way longer than you expected? Don’t worry; we’ve all been there.
Because Instagram only allows you to upload 15 seconds of video and 7 seconds to video-photos, that’s where Cut Story comes in. It gives you the power to divide or section your long videos into a series of shorter clips.
Granted, Instagram does do this for you automatically when you upload a longer than a 15-second clip, but Cut Story gives you more control over where and when you cut your clicks.
Best Content Ideas for Instagram Stories
Sometimes coming up with content ideas for your next story can be a head-scratcher. Below is a list of 7 easy-breezy content ideas you can use for your own Instagram story!
Pick, choose, and reuse as you like:
1. Show Behind the Scenes
Give followers a sneak peeks at what goes on behind the scenes of your products or team. Show off your daily shenanigans so that followers feel a part of your brand. You don’t have to go into details like your ingredients or retailers. Take a look at Vogue International as they showed followers around the office gave mini-tours or insight on their current or past projects.
Instagram Story Example:Vogue International
2. Give Product Updates
Keep customers updated on new product launches with your Instagram stories and save them in your Instagram highlights so they can re-watch the update in case they missed it.
Instagram Story Example: Herbivore Botanicals
Herbivore Botanicals is a skincare product company that prides itself on its plant-based products. They create a story every time a new product is launched. The story above is a cover of their in-store launch for their Prism Exfoliating Glow Potion.
3. Share A Story
If your brand covers stories or advice, you can use your Instagram stories to well, share stories and advice. This can be about your own brand story, customers, or other people in your industry. I find that The New York Times does a great job of creating short and engaging stories on local and international celebrities and activities.
Instagram Story Example: New York Times
4. Online Tutorials
Hubspot found that 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. The same goes for your Instagram stories. People consume videos or stories to learn about your products and your brand.
Instagram Story Example: Mike’s Mighty Good
Mike’s Mighty Good Noodles has a wide range of organic ramen noodles. To keep their foodie followers excited and engaged, they create step by step tutorial on delicious and easy dishes they can create at home. This can range to your typical crushed red pepper, shrimp and parsley ramen bowl or meaty beef ramen burger.
5. Post Interview & Tips
If you have interviews, add it to your story. This could be a short Q&A, detailed conversations, or highlights of things that stood out and made an impact with your viewers.
Instagram Story Example: Ted Talk
We’ve all watched a TED Talk or two. Well, if you’re interested in seeing a series of 15-sec TED Talks, you can check their Instagram stories. They’re mainly videos highlighting commonly asked questions for experts in the field.
6. Highlight Customers & Reviews
Over a third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online, and 60% of users use Instagram to seek out and discover new products.
Instagram Story Example: Cesta Collective
When you add customer reviews and highlights to your Instagram stories, you allow shoppers to see real people enjoying or using your product. Customer reviews allow your shoppers to imagine the product as their own and build your brand’s credibility, making them more likely to buy one for themselves.
7. Brand/Influencer Collab
Let the world know about your collaboration with another brand or influencer on a product. 70% of Instagram users watch stories daily so if followers missed the update via your feed, adding it to your story allows you to increase exposure.
Instagram Story Example: Topo Designs
10 Best Brands with Amazing Instagram Story Content
Need more inspiration for your Instagram stories? I’ve got you covered. Here are Insta-worthy accounts that provide some of the best Instagram stories, highlights, videos, and ads.
1. Brit + Co
Overview: If you’re looking for an account that is a shining example of having a solid brand identity and color coordination, look no further than Brit +Co. The aesthetics are consistent, and you can undoubtedly identify the brand on Instagram with or without a logo present.
Looking for a way to revamp your Instagram to reflect your brand? I found this guide by Hootsuite on How to Create a Unique Instagram Aesthetic that Fits Your Brand very helpful.
Overview: Oats Overnight, you might be giggling at the name, but the Instagram content is sure to amaze you. Their Instagram story/highlights made this list because it embodies a FAQ and makes the buyer’s journey from awareness to purchase effortless.
Stories cover: Us v Them (comparing themselves to competitors), benefits, customer reviews, an easy buy-now option, and much more.
The key to a successful Instagram is to be mindful of the content you create and place for followers and potential customers to see. This means having a profitable Instagram strategy in place to capture them. Remember that your social media platforms are also marketing funnels.
Overview: Billie is full of fun, quirky, and oddly satisfying stories and content. They’ve built their following and sales on their online brand personality, which is what makes the brand so unique.
Sit down and take the time to figure out who or what is your brand’s personality so it can shine easily through your stories. Hint: It can even inspire your next Instagram’s content ideas.
Overview: Building a community around your Instagram is also another ingredient to Instagram success. Take Huffington Post; they use their stories to highlight topics and people who are important or relevant to their readers.
Wait, what do stories have to do with building a community, that’s a pretty far reach?
When people first land on your page, the check three things: your bio, feed, and story highlights. Each of these speaks to your brand values and brand positioning.
If you post highlights that connect with your viewers, you’re able to build a virtual rapport that sparks an interest, connection and adds a new follower to your account.
Overview: If you’re a writer or magazine that’s looking for Instagram story content ideas, you can check the Harvard Business Review. They make mundane topics seem exciting and alluring with 15-second videos and graphics. You can go through and learn how to apply these ideas to your content.
6. Red Lobster
Overview: Red Lobster and Buzzfeed are two brands with foodie friendly Instagram story content and highlights. Each more delicious and tasty than the next. A critical insight is that they spend time providing quality images of their food not only in their feed but stories.
Overview: Equinox is a fitness brand that knows how and what type of content engages followers. Their stories highlight the lifestyle of its core followers before, during, and after their workout, making them one of the best Instagram accounts to learn from for gym and fitness lifestyle content.
Overview: If you’re looking for ideas on more product-focused Instagram stories, I found that this brand, KL Polish, has an effortless outline of product highlights.
Why does this brand make this list?
Simple: it has a unique method of showing off its product but in a way that still allows the viewer to feel that it’s more about the customer than the brand. This type of Insta-marketing is always a plus because it translates to shoppers that the product is all about them.
Overview: Pottery Barn has numerous collections for every type of DIY home decorator. Instead of shoppers leaving their Instagram account to find collections, they can scroll through their stores or highlights and see what they’d like. From there the customer can either choose what they want to buy before moving on to the website or use the Instagram checkout feature.
Overview: I recently found this account on my Instagram scrolling frenzies. It’s an Instagram account for IG stories from brands around the world. Each IG story is selected by the Facebook and Instagram team themselves, so you know you’re getting the best of the best when it comes to Instagram stories.
Instagram stories are essential to big brands. You can see a lot of marketers adding Instagram stories to their Instagram marketing strategy.
Now you have the tools to create professional and stunning stories up to par with these brands. Here are the 12 of the Best Instagram Stories Apps to Create Amazing Content:
8.Adobe Spark Post
12. A Design Kit
Did I miss a tool on this list, or do you see your favorite in the top 12? Drop a comment below and tell me why it’s your go-to Instagram story tool.