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Instagram stories app.

Seven EPIC Apps To Up Your Instagram Stories Game In 2019

blog, Boutique Hotels, Social Media, Tools

These seven apps will elevate and transform your brand and social media presence on Instagram stories

With Instagram singing to the tune of a 1.2 billion net worth, 800 million monthly users, and several marketing experts predicting that the popularity of the platform will surpass its big brother, Facebook, there’s never been a more important time to start amplifying and perfecting your IG game. There are a number of ways to take your presence to the next level- including engagement, curating your feed, and looking at your insights, but at The Experience Experts, there’s one component that beats them all: Instagram Stories.

In August of 2016, Instagram released IG stories, allowing users to show ephemeral content that told more of a, shall we say…story. The feature created a way for influencers and brands to give their audience a glimpse of daily life for their accounts. It’s since taken the platform by storm and because the nature of Instagram is that it’s filled with content creators, it’s only natural that IG stories quickly became a way for folks to flex their creative muscles. Now, businesses and influencers alike can take viewers on a deeper journey. They can also be used as an effective tool for driving traffic to your website, promoting specials, and converting into sales.

Before we get into our favorite apps to use for designing epic and stunning IG slides, it’s important to understand the basic format and best practices for using IG stories.

Instagram stories editing app. Photo by Unsplash.

A photo editing app for Instagram stories. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Full proof tips for your IG stories

  1. Shoot in vertical- shooting photos or video in horizontal format won’t fill the entire frame the way vertical shots will. Vertical content will catch your audience’s eye and keep them on your stories for a longer period of time.
  2. Use optimal dimensions- Your image or video should be 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels in height. Also known as an aspect ratio of 9:16.
  3. Use ALL of the IG stories features- Instagram occasionally releases a new feature for users to try out in stories, like GIF’s, location tags, hashtags, or putting music behind your slide. You should always be using at least one of their features in your slide and every time they release a new one, try it out. The IG algorithm rewards this kind of behavior and it will show up higher in your audiences feed when you do.
  4. Save your most important content as a highlight- Your content only lives on IG stories for a 24 hour period, UNLESS you save it as a highlight. This is an especially useful tool for boutique hotels to showcase their amenities, events, and special offers.

Check out an example of one we did for one of our clients!

Now that you have an idea of how best to use the Instagram stories feature, you’re probably wondering how to make them look sleek, exciting, and stand out above the competition! These are just a handful of the many apps and tools out there. Honestly, you could get lost in a sea of apps. We’ve combed the web, consulted with our team of experts and landed on these as the best of the best for IG stories.

1. Unfold

Unfold editing app.

Unfold- a design kit app. Photo courtesy of Unfold.com.

Why we love it: Unfold not only features stunning layouts for video and photo, it’s incredibly user-friendly! The free version of the app comes with several layouts and you can purchase more intricate layout series as you familiarize yourself with the app. They also have a template series specifically for film, which is useful for showcasing animated clips.

What’s it’s best for: Creating elegant and engaging templates for your video and photo content.

Where it’s available: Available for iOS and Android

Recommended by: Devon Steeves at @womenoftheworldtravel #wotwtravel & @devonsteeves. We met Devon in Bali during the Unconventional Life conference and were totally inspired by her and her content on IG!

2. Color Story

Color Story for Instagram Stories.

The Color Story editing app. Photo courtesy of Color Story.

Why we love it: Color Story is another design kit app but this one if focused more on creating bright colorful filters for your images. You can also add fonts, stickers, brushes, and designs to your photo to add dimension to it. The app comes with several free preset filters and you can purchase user-created filter series, for an additional cost.

What’s it’s best for: Add effects and poppy filters to your photos.

Where it’s available: Available for iOS

3. DesignLab

Design Lab for Instagram Stories.

The Design Lab app. Photo courtesy of Design Lab.

Why we love it: Another template-based app, DesignLab lets you choose from thousands of editable templates, graphics, fonts, and images for your story slides. The app features easy to use tutorials and they make updates to their template collection every day, so you’ll always be able to find something new and exciting to integrate. You can even install your own fonts onto the app, which is a feature most apps don’t allow for.

What’s it’s best for: Creating slides where you can incorporate your branding more easily. Also great for switching up layouts frequently.

Where it’s available: Available for iOS.  

4. Over

Over app for Instagram Stories.

The Over design app. Photo courtesy of Over.

Why we love it: Over is similar to DesignLab in its functionality. It comes with easy to customize templates that are beautiful and colorful. The main difference is that many of the best features are only available on the PRO version.

What’s it’s best for: Designing more intricate slides.

Where it’s available: Available for iOS and Android.

Recommended by: with over 50k followers and an epic digital nomad who sells her retreats and trainings through Insta stories, @epicself is an account to check out.

5. Word Swag

Word Swag app for Instagram Stories.

The Word Swap app. Photo courtesy of Word Swag.

Why we love it: If you are simply looking to draw attention to your slides through the power of words, Word Swag is a great go-to. The app comes with several preloaded fonts and designs you can easily overlay on your image, to give it that extra pop!

What’s it’s best for: Textual overlays.

Where it’s available: Available for iOS and Android.

6. A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess app for Instagram Stories.

A Beautiful Mess app. Photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess.

Why we love it: A Beautiful Mess is perfect for adding some whimsy to your photos. Much like the other apps, it comes with presets and templates that are easy to mix and match. This app is great for adding frames and borders to slides.

What’s it’s best for: Adding hand-drawn doodles, borders, filters, and fun fonts to your slides.

Where it’s available: Available for iOS.

7. Canva

Canva app for Instagram stories.

The Canva app. Photo courtesy of Canva.

Why we love it: Canva reigns supreme in our book. It’s the original DIY app/ platform for small businesses and content creators. While it originally started out as a platform best used for marketing collateral like flyers, invites, etc., it’s quickly caught on and created beautiful IG stories templates for users to play with. The templates, fonts, and graphic elements you can add in Canva are kind of endless (in the best way possible).

What’s it’s best for: Everything! Canva is the multi-functional design studio that will make you feel like you are a professional graphic designer, without having to take years of schooling.

Where it’s available: Available for iOS and Android. Also available on desktop!

Love what you learned here? Drop us a comment and let us know! Tell us about your favorite Instagram stories apps or ask us a question on how to best use these!

Take your boutique hotel’s Instagram stories to the next level and start booking more customers! 2019 is the year for massive Instagram growth for your property. If you want to explore the options, Schedule a discovery call with our expert team.


Lynan Saperstein

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  4. Pabrotravel says:

    Thanks for Post!
    At present, there are numerous Instagram Story editor apps in the market. Some of them are totally worth it, and others are just meh! If you’re looking to take your Instagram game a notch higher, then, we’re probably your best bet to get started. We’ll be listing out some of the best apps for Instagram stories to give your stories that extra oomph.

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