Are you looking for a nice, polished and consistent layout to improve your brand’s Stories, but don’t have the time or money to invest right now? Or do you just want to experiment? As Client Advisor and social media expert at Omnicom PR Group, I’m treating you to my Top 5 free apps for the perfect Instagram Story #nospon.
What’s so special about Instagram? Over the years Instagram has evolved from a social media platform with single-picture posts into a medium that allows you to showcase your creativity with multiple pictures and videos in one post, IGTV or IG Stories. Here we are going to discuss the latter.
Although we love (and strive for) the perfect, well-organized feed, the added value of a visually strong and well thought-out Story can’t be denied anymore. Once initiated to compete with Snapchat, the idea behind Instagram Stories is to showcase you and your brand’s personality authentically (unlike the perfectly styled feeds we all know and love). These Stories disappear after 24 hours, creating room for more unpolished content, which is a great way for others to get to know your brand even better. However, with the introduction of ‘highlights’ (the circles under your profile description) it’s become more important to show a well styled and thought-out Story that fits your brand.
As we know well by now, video is becoming increasingly popular on social media. As it is on Instagram: you can find loads of tutorials on the social platform, as well as ‘behind the shoot’ videos, time lapses etc. But what do you do when you’ve taken a few nice pics that you want to showcase in your Stories? Enter Mojo. The app that creates movement with otherwise static imagery. This results in images shooting into the Story-page one-by-one and slow motion zoom-outs of the pictures. You can even add texts which look like they’re being typed onto the page and choose a font fitted to your style. The app has a simple, clean template overview that you can always use as well as free weekly additions.
StoryChic is an app that gives you stylishly sleek Story templates with a bit of edge. Similar to Mojo, the app gives you options to create moving stories for static imagery. On top of that, they also have still-standing templates. Free and paid content are displayed mixed in the app; the difference between the two is defined with a little crown in the bottom right corner. This crown symbolizes that you have to pay for that template. The fairly new app only has a minimal amount of free options at the moment but their Instagram feed shows that you can expect more from them if you purchase with them. The good thing about them being so new is that you can do a 3 day free trial for all their templates.
Here is a personal favorite: Unfold. It is one of the best known Instagram Story apps around; frequently used by lifestyle and fashion influencers. The free template options are very minimalistic but can be personalized with different background colors and the addition of text – which come in a variety of fonts and colors. For each new day, event or subject you can create your own story-overview. These are shown clearly organized as soon as you open the app. Even though this app was designed to upload static imagery you can also add videos into the templates. Be aware though, they won’t move until you upload them to Instagram. With their last update, the app launched a new free template line named ‘ART’ which is made available when you follow them on Instagram.
Similar to StoryChic, StoryArt offers you both animated and static templates. It has a large range of options in a myriad of styles. From minimalistic to incredibly edgy and everything in between so let your creativity run free! Some templates also give you the option of changing fonts, font sizes and font colors and they even offer filters/effects for over your photos. Both paid and unpaid templates are offered in the same overviews and are differentiated with a little crown in the bottom right corner. StoryArt also offers a wide range of ‘highlight covers’. This is a great addition to help you create more consistency on your Instagram page and it can add a level of professionality to it. If you use the menu in the top left corner, the app has an option that explains how to add these covers to your feed without spamming your followers.
Picsart is a photo editing app that not only gives your Stories a boost but also your feed—and they’re really starting to create a name for themselves. Creative influencers are widely showing tutorials on how to create stunning pictures by using this app. With the free option you can apply basic photoshop skills such as adjusting the colors in a photo, crop an element out of an image, change the perspective of the image, mirror the image or even whiten your own teeth and smoothen your skin. You can also add stickers into the image—and with a bit of practice they’ll look very real in the photo (think: stars, birds, balloons and lens flare). With the ‘fit’ option you can create your own Instagram templates from scratch, adding background colors, lines and texts in different fonts. To be honest, I could write a whole blogpost about the vast range of options Picsart has to offer.
Of course not one app is perfect. Practice shows that combining these apps ensures the best results. You can, for instance, use a template from Unfold and personalize it with a sticker from PicsArt. The possibilities are endless. In addition to Instagram Stories, there are many more ways to take your Instagram to the next level. Curious how? Don’t hesitate to send me a message!