Five Creative Ways To Make Your Instagram Stories Awesome

Five Creative Ways To Make Your Instagram Stories Awesome

*** Updated October 2017
Since this post on creative Instagram Stories continues to get the most traffic at the Smartphone Marketing School blog, I realized it needed a major update so you can get some new awesome ideas! I also have the following video tips available to send to you at Messenger if you’re interested.


Ok, let’s get started on creative and awesome Instagram Stories (and it’s nine not five ways now)! (And hope you don’t get dizzy with all the GIFs :P):

Instagram Stories That Are Creative And Awesome

This post won’t give you any strategies for IG stories or even how to use it, but it will show you some super fun techniques for adding some snap, crackle, pop to your IG Story posts that are sure to catch your audience’s attention.

1) Use your camera roll.

Any video or photo in your camera roll is fair game. Just know that if it isn’t portrait, it will be expanded to fit the vertical format of IG Stories. To access your camera roll, go to your > Home Feed > Swipe to the right > Swipe up. Now you can grab whatever you need.

Camera Upload

At the time I’m writing this update, I personally can only access footage from the past 24 hours. Others have been given the ability to access older clips (grrr). If you’re stuck like me and need to insert an older photo or video, you can run it through a 3rd party app like InShot (you’ll see how to do that further on). Or, you can use an app like Pixelgarde  to change the timestamp on your photo to the day you are posting.

2) Repurpose your Snaps from Snapchat or Facebook.

If you’re a Snapchat or Facebook Stories user, definitely don’t forget to repurpose your snaps to your Instagram Stories. Snapchat’s filters are still way more fun than Instagram’s and Facebook has a lot of cool message overlays and decorative frames. Both Snapchat and Facebook have a download button that makes it super easy to add snaps to your camera roll.


And, as I write this, there is talk that you will be able to directly upload Instagram Stories also to your Facebook profile and vice versa.

3) “Verticalize” all the pics and videos with InShot.

A bunch of apps can do this, but I love the InShot app for changing my photos and videos to vertical with a nice blurred or solid background. This is a great workaround for sharing non-vertical images to your IG Stories without them being altered to fit correctly.


The following InShot tutorial video for converting any photo or video to vertical for Instagram Stories is from my paid SPMS membership site. Sign up for my weekly SPMS tip emails and you can learn right now how to convert any photo or video in your cameral roll to a vertical Instagram Stories post (or Snapchat). And this app is available for Android as well!

Get the InShot tutorial FREE


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4) Animate With PocketVideo

For the app-adventurous, you can do an amazing job creating fully-edited vertical video for your IG Stories with the PocketVideo app. The GIF below is an example of a text “Tile” created with the PocketVideo app. I am so in love with this app right now for editing my IG Stories.

Instagram Stories - Five ways to make them creative and awesome.

5) Transform still designs into animations with Adobe Spark Post.

Hopefully you’re familiar with this app because it is a LIFESAVER for any business owner on the go. It’s also great for creating animated vertical 4-second videos. To create one for your IG Stories, make sure to select Instagram Stories dimensions.

Adobe Post Resize

Once you’ve resized your design, tap Effects and the Animation. Here you’ll find a ton of animations to choose from. Tap any animation twice for an alternate version of that animation.

Adobe post Animations

Here’s a video I made to advertise my FREE #Couchhustler Master course in my IG Stories.

Instagram Stories - Five ways to make them creative and awesome.

6) Incorporate your brand colors into your Instagram Stories.

When you choose the text or draw button, there is an eyedropper that allows you to match your text/drawings to any color in the photo or image. This is great, but still not effective at getting your exact brand colors. So what do you do? First watermark your photo or video with the iWatermark + Batch app. Yes, it’s $3.99 but it will watermark photos AND videos. If you find a cheaper, better app that does both those things, let me know please!


Once you’ve added your watermark to the image or video and inserted it into your Instagram Story, you can now use the eyedropper to perfectly match your brand colors in your text and drawings. Exciting, right?? Well, at least I’m excited, lol.


7) Add animated text to your Stories with Hype Type.

My app genius friend Anita of Goodwinnovate shared the Hype Type app with me. If you’re familiar with the Legend app, it’s kind of similar with all of the cool animated text options. Except, in my opinion, the options are even better AND you get the option to crop 9:16 or 16:9 instead of only square. Nine by sixteen is what you always want for vertical post for Instagram Stories, so if you see that aspect ratio in an app, tap it!

hype type

8) Create vertical video collages with PicPlayPost.

The PicPlayPost app has been around for awhile and it has never let me down. It’s perfect for combining multiple photos and videos into vertical 9:16 collages for Instagram Stories. I often incorporate videos along with a blank branded color square (learn how to make these on your phone with my 4-day iPhone Design Challenge). This gives me space to add text while in Instagram Stories.

picplaypost before

I feel adding text while in Instagram Stories gives a more authentic feel to my collages. Sometimes you can get too flashy and professional that people will gloss right over your Story thinking it’s an advertisement (although this example is, lol).

PicPlayPost After

9) Add screen recordings to your Stories.

In my niche, screen recordings are an awesome way to provide tips that are valuable to my audience. Maybe you don’t have a tech niche, but I’m sure your audience will appreciate getting an app tip every now and then related to your niche.

It’s so easy to do now. Here’s a quick tutorial if you’re unfamiliar with how to do screen recordings on an iOS device. You must have the iOS 11 update.


Time To Create Your Own Awesome Instagram Stories!

And that’s it! Hope I’ve given you some ideas to get your creative juices flowing with your IG Story. I’d love for you to tag me on IG if you use any of these tips – I’ll be sure to give your Story a visit!

Want to make sure you don’t forget these tips? Pin this image to one of your Pinterest boards.

Five Creative Ways To Make Your Instagram Stories Awesome