500 million people now use Instagram Stories every day. 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for Stories of the products or services they want to buy. 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.
It's clear from these statistics that Instagram Stories is one of the most engaging tools online right now. The tap-happy experience provides immense opportunities for businesses to build their audience, connect with their customers, and ultimately grow their brand.
These opportunities are exciting, but come with some questions and considerations related to branding: how important are Stories for my brand? How do I make the most of my visual identity when creating Instagram Stories? How do I keep them aligned with my brand?
In this article, you'll learn why you need to keep your Instagram Story designs on-brand, and exactly how to do that!
Why You Need On-Brand Instagram Story Designs
Branding is made up of lots of small decisions that build a big picture of your business. It's your logo, copywriting, partnerships, patterns, social media strategy, colors, packaging, and so much more.
'A brand is "The intangible sum of a product's attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it's advertised." — David Ogilvy
To make sure these elements all come together to tell your brand story, you will need cohesive branding. This means ensuring that every component of your brand comes together in an effective, unified way, including on Instagram stories. The way you use filters, GIFs, text, colors, and other aspects of the 'Gram all creates a picture of your brand that needs to be cohesive.
You've probably heard it before, but consistency is key, especially when it comes to branding. Brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility, and there is a potential 23% profit increase associated with consistency. Your brand is only as strong as the weakest element, so it's no use having a brilliant website, packaging, or Instagram feed if your stories then throw everyone off with random colors, confusing messaging, and messy design.
All of this adds up to your brand reputation. The definition of reputation is the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something. That's exactly what branding is all about – shaping the beliefs or opinions that are held about your business. Creating a cohesive and consistent brand that is applied everywhere, including your Instagram Stories, is the ultimate goal. The aim is to build something so undeniably you, that tells your audience precisely what your business is all about.
How To Design On-brand Instagram Stories
Use your brand colors.
Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. Think about all of the brands you know and love, and you'll probably associate a color or two with them, right? Coke: red, Twitter: blue, Starbucks: green; the list goes on and on.
You can achieve the same kind of recognition with your brand by using a robust and consistent color palette and applying that to your Stories.
On Instagram Stories, there are 27 preset color options for you to choose from, but if you can't find yours in there, they're not the only colors you can use. Use the color dropper to the left of the colors to drag and drop a color from your image.
You can now use this color to draw, write text, or fill the background of your Story (tap and hold down to do this.)
Choose a font style or two and stick to them.
"Your choice of typefaces is as important as what you do with it" — Bonnie Siegler.
The typeface you use massively affects the mood that you're trying to create, what you're trying to say, how you're making people feel and what you're trying to remind them of, so it's essential to choose the right typeface for the job.
Choosing a gothic blackletter typeface for a children's apparel company, for example, is going to send the wrong message entirely and probably scare people away from purchasing! And using a super ornate script calligraphy typeface for a futuristic event probably won't attract the right audience.
Instagram gives you 5 built-in options for fonts: Classic, Modern, Neon, Typewriter, and Strong. If you're not going to be creating your own templated designs for your stories, you're limited to these 5 styles.
Choose the one that fits your brand the best (two at most,) and stick with that. Use it consistently and combined with your colors, filters and other brand elements, your Stories will be recognizable in no time.
Select a set of filters that represent your brand.
One of the original features of Instagram is the filters. While those first filters still exist, there are now thousands of user-submitted options that are free to use. With great power comes great responsibility, however. Having so many options is fantastic, but can be detrimental to your brand if used wrong.
Using a childlike, flowery, feminine filter is probably not going to be the right filter for a high-end, professional law firm that deals with the estates of the elderly. And a black and white one might not be the option to choose if your business sells party supplies for children's birthdays – then you should be looking for fun, bright filters!
To find the perfect one for your brand, swipe all the way to the right of your filter options, tap 'browse effects,' choose one to try, and hit the name of the filter at the bottom of the screen to 'save effect.' Then when you go to create your stories, your saved filters are there for you to use!
[Browsing, selecting and saving a new filter in Instagram Stories]
Choose your filters carefully, and don't go too wild. Pick a few goodies and use those regularly!
Create Story Templates
There are some Instagram stories about sales, new collections launches, or announcements about holiday delivery dates, for example, that you'll probably find yourself using over and over. Instead of starting from scratch whenever you need these, why not make a template to streamline the process?!
Not only do templates save you time, but they also ensure that you stay on-brand every time, no matter who is creating your posts. This consistency means that your stories are always recognized as your stories.
Something super easy to use like Canva can be your go-to design tool for Instagram story templates. They have pre-made templates for you to use (some are even animated!) or create your own if you're feeling creative.
Again, remember to use your brand colors, fonts, patterns and images to ensure you're on-brand from the start, and if you get stuck, reach out to a designer who can help you or create a template for you!
[Instagram story templates in Canva]
Tell Your Brand Story
Creating on-brand Instagram Stories isn't just about how they look; it's also about what they say. It's essential that whatever you post is adding to your brand narrative and telling your story.
Brand storytelling is all about appealing to your customers' emotions by connecting with them on a deeper level.
According to research by Headstream, if people love a brand story, 55% are more likely to buy the product in the future, 44% will share the story, and 15% will buy the product immediately, so telling your tale is your secret weapon.
Your brand has many stories, one of which is about your values, why you have them, and how you incorporate them into your business. Maybe sustainability is one of your values, so your Instagram stories could showcase your recyclable packaging, talk about your approach to circular fashion, or educate customers about sustainable packaging. All of these add to your narrative and engage your audience in more in-depth conversations about your brand.
Another brand story you might tell could be about the attention to detail that you take in the customer experience, specifically in regards to your packaging. So your Instagram stories could include taking your customers behind the scenes of designing custom packaging tape, sharing your memorable unboxing experience, or showing the process for creating your seasonal packaging!
Instagram Stories are a super exciting tool with insane potential for building your business. While the goal is to keep things on-brand, it's also important to have fun, get creative, and share who you are. As long as you're following the tips of using your brand colors, fonts, and filters, and telling your story, you'll have a cohesive and consistent strategy that builds your reputation in no time!
For more on custom packaging, check out our blog!
This is a guest post by Hollie Arnett, founder of Black & White Studios. She is a brand strategist and coach with a vision to make the world a better place, one brand at a time. Her mission is to help purpose-driven businesses build their brands by educating, equipping and empowering entrepreneurs through online courses, group programmes, and 1:1 strategy sessions.