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10 Instagram Stories Design Tips for Small Businesses

Updated: Oct 9, 2023


Photo by Cliff Booth



Social media, particularly Instagram, is more than just a platform for selfies and snapshots of your lunch. With over 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram is a dynamic marketplace, a hub of interaction, and, for the savvy entrepreneur, a goldmine of opportunity. But here's a secret: it’s not just about having a perfect Instagram feed.

The Instagram Stories feature is the golden ticket to spontaneous, engaging interaction

The Instagram Stories feature is the golden ticket to spontaneous, engaging interaction. These 24-hour snippets of your brand can create connections, build loyalty, and drive conversions.

And the best part? You don't need a team of graphic designers or a hefty budget to create engaging stories. This article shares 10 Instagram Stories design tips to help your small business stand out in this bustling online marketplace.

1. Use a Storyboard to Plan Out Your Story


Photo by Africa images via Canva

A storyboard helps you visualize the sequence of your story, allowing you to plan out your narrative, visualize your graphics, and organize the flow of information.

For instance, if you want to use your stories to promote your recent blog post, your storyboard should include the key tips you will include to entice viewers. This strategy ensures you deliver a coherent and engaging story to your audience, improving your overall content quality.

2. Create a Style Guide for Your Instagram Stories


Photo by ninitta via Canva

When creating your stories, you can use video clips or graphics produced from scratch or leverage the design elements offered by Instagram to enhance your content. It's worth creating an Instagram Stories style guide for your small business.

A style guide ensures consistency across your stories

This guide should depict which fonts, filters, and types of GIFs align with your brand's aesthetic on this platform. A style guide ensures consistency across your stories, making your brand easily recognizable to your followers.

3. Incorporate Your Brand Colors and Font


One effective way to communicate your identity is by incorporating your brand's colors and fonts into your Instagram Stories, just like Oatly has done above.

This creates a consistent visual experience for your audience and enhances brand recognition. Whether it's a text overlay, a background color, or a filter that matches your brand's palette, these elements work together to represent your brand cohesively.

4. Incorporate Photography


This example by Kayak is a perfect example of using photography to showcase or promote your products on Instagram Stories.

One tip for success on Instagram is to post awesome content, and high-quality photography in your Stories is part of that. Incorporating engaging photographs can add a touch of authenticity and a personal connection to your content. This could include behind-the-scenes images, product photos, or shots of your team at work.

5. Leverage Boomerang


Photo by Hookle

Boomerang is a fun, engaging feature on Instagram that allows you to create mini videos that loop back and forth. Whether it's capturing a team member in action, showcasing a product, or sharing a special moment, Boomerang videos add a touch of excitement and keep your audience engaged.

6. Add a Text Shadow


Photo by Hookle

Adding a text shadow to your Instagram Stories can drastically enhance your content's visual appeal. It gives your text a 3D effect, making it pop out against your background and enhancing readability. So, this design tip is not just about aesthetics but also about enhancing readability.

7. Give Your Text an Ombré or Rainbow Effect

If you want to make your text pop even more in your Instagram Stories, give it an ombré or rainbow effect. With an ombré effect, your text transitions smoothly from one color to another, creating a captivating visual gradient. Alternatively, a rainbow effect adds a spectrum of colors to your text, making it stand out even more.

8. Use GIFs and Stickers


Incorporating GIFs and stickers into your Instagram Stories is a fantastic way to bring your content to life and engage your audience. These playful elements add a touch of personality, making your Stories more enjoyable and interactive.

Instagram's wide array of stickers includes interactive ones like polls or questions, encouraging your audience to participate and engage with your content.

9. Create Backgrounds and Overlays


This tip allows you to add a personal touch and reinforce your brand’s identity. Whether it's using your brand colors, incorporating your logo, or featuring captivating images related to your business, custom backgrounds, and overlays help you stand out from the crowd. They provide a consistent and cohesive visual aesthetic that resonates with your audience. has mastered the art of using captivating images as backgrounds in the brand’s Instagram stories to engage users, as shown in this example:

10. Start With a Template


Templates by Canva

If you're still unsure about your design direction for Instagram Stories, starting with a template is a fantastic choice. Templates provide a ready-made structure and design elements that take the guesswork out of creating captivating visuals. They offer a range of styles and layouts, giving you a head start on crafting engaging content.

Canva is an awesome resource for easy-to-use Instagram Stories templates. There are also other tools such as Adobe Express, Mojo, and Shutterstock's free Instagram Story template pack.

Schedule Your Instagram Stories Easily with Hookle


Photo by Hookle

In an era of social media marketing, Instagram Stories will help you connect with your audience and boost your brand presence. With these tips, you can create captivating Stories that leave a lasting impression.

To simplify your social media management, consider using tools such as Hookle. Hookle's AI assists you in auto-generating engaging social media posts with just one click, and its planner makes it easy to schedule your Stories and other social media content all within one user-friendly mobile app.

But don't just take our word for it - try it yourself! Download Hookle and revolutionize your social media marketing today!


Dec 15, 2023

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