Design tools to make social media stories better

By Chloé Gee on November 13, 2019

By Chloé Gee on November 13, 2019

If you can’t tell already, I’m a big fan of stories on social media. It’s popular on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. But if you’re not a graphic designer, you may find yourself wishing your stories looked better.

Have no fear, we have some tools to make better graphic stories on Instagram!

But first, let’s talk about the point of social media stories, what makes a story good, then finally we’ll dive into some design tools we recommend for designers and non-designers alike.

What is the point of social media stories?

Stories differ from normal posts because they’re intended to tell a more detailed narrative about your life or your brand. You can thread together a collection of photos and/or videos that exist in your story—but usually just for 24 hours.

If you’re more comfortable with traditional posts, I completely understand. But plenty of people out there prefer stories over posts, so they’re not going anywhere! It’s a great method for connecting with your audience.

And don’t forget, adding to your story lets you sidestep the Facebook and Instagram algorithms. Instead of hoping they see your content while scrolling, your icon will be right at the top of someone’s feed when they log in.

What makes a social media story good?

So you’re sold on social media stories, but want to make sure yours is good. Let’s face it, it takes quality to stand out from the rest!

Yes, of course you need to take great photos and videos that are well lit and utilize good photography and videography. But your story needs to be interesting as well. It should provide your audience with a little something extra they weren’t expecting to see when they logged in.

Your goal should be to delight, educate, or pique interest. Consider doing one of the following:

  • Show off your product or service
  • Create a tutorial that appeals to your target audience
  • Post about a giveaway
  • Share upcoming events
  • Post something related to your company culture

The options are endless as long as it’s interesting to others.

You also don’t have to use a photo in your story every single time you post. It’s nice to have them, but sometimes you may want to announce a date or ask a question. In those cases, you can use some of the tools we’ll get into below.

And if one story gets a lot of engagement, consider saving it to your page. In Instagram, you can add past story posts as permanent highlights by going to your profile, tapping the “new” button up top, then selecting the story to highlight.

The best social media design tools

These tools are great for designers who want something quick, or non-designers who have no desire to mess with the Adobe suite of applications.

Let’s dive in!


One of our favorite tools is Canva. You can get a free account or if you’re serious about social media graphics a Pro version is also available.

The whole thing is web-based, so you don’t have to download any software, you just have to create an account. It’s great for non-designers because it has pre-made templates specifically for social media that you just have to fill with your content.


Another great online design tool is Easil. If you like the concept of Canva but the execution isn’t up your alley, give Easil a try. It’s designed with social media in mind.

They are also web-based and they also have a free plan as well as a couple paid options.

Hype Type

Maybe you already have some gorgeous photos and you want better text options than the ones the social media platforms give you. Hype Type is an iOS app that lets you do things like zoom, fade, type or write letters, and add music to your story posts.

There is a free version, or you can subscribe for a year to unlock more features.


Finally, we’ll wrap up the list with CutStory for iOS. With this app you can import a long video of any length, and it will chop it up into 15 second segments. Those short segments can then be posted to your story even though the overall video is longer than platforms allow.

Instagram resources

Let’s face it, stories are used the most on Instagram. If you want to up your Instagram game, here are some articles to check out:

Second, hashtags are a big part of Instagram. If you need to up your hashtag game, watch this episode of PixelTV with a few hashtag tools.

Finally, if you’re tired of running your Instagram account—or any of your social media accounts—on your own and feel like it’s time for professional help, we would be glad to talk! Reach out to have a conversation and we’ll see if we’re a good fit for you! We offer account setup, training, or we can manage the whole thing for you!

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