Stepping up your Instagram stories with Canva

Matt Smith
Matt Smith

In 2018, you can expect Instagram Stories to continue to dominate and become an essential part of your Instagram marketing strategy. Instagram Stories have over 300 million daily active users—which is almost double that of Snapchat.

Did you know that you can quickly and easily create multiple templates for your Instagram Stories with Canva?

Creating templates for your Instagram Stories will not only save you a ton of time but will also help you create cohesive, on-brand Instagram Stories (no graphic design experience needed!) that align with your business as a whole.

Here, the team from Later shares their insights into why Instagram Stories are important, how to create your own Instagram Stories templates in Canva, and how templates can be used to optimize your business’ Instagram Stories strategy. Want to learn more? Sign up for Later’s free Instagram Stories Course.

Why Instagram Stories are important for your business

As the Instagram algorithm continues to change and users are frustrated by their lack of engagement, it’s no surprise more and more users are spending more time on stories than the feed.

Instagram Stories are a surefire way for businesses to connect with followers, drive traffic to posts, and take back control of reach.

Instagram Stories are a fun, free, and effective way for you to engage with your followers every day and stay top of mind, even if they don’t see your regular posts in their feed.

How to use Canva to create Instagram stories templates

Canva makes it easy to maintain a consistent brand aesthetic on your Instagram Stories. You can choose from millions of backgrounds, 130 different fonts, and tons of graphics to create customized templates to help your business stay “on-brand”.

Maintaining your Instagram aesthetic so that your content fits together as a whole is super important for growing your account, and it’s going to become an essential part of your Instagram marketing strategy this year.

In 2018, your Instagram profile will become just as important as the homepage on your website as more and more people are starting to search for brands on Instagram first, instead of Google. So, just like you spent time crafting the photos and copy on your website, the same intention needs to be applied to your Instagram (and Instagram Stories).

Social media experts at leading brands are applying this principle to their Instagram Stories; using their brand logos, colors, and fonts to make them easily recognizable.

Check out Later’s video explaining how to use Canva to create Instagram stories:

Customizing templates to fit your brand aesthetic

With a free Canva account, you can upload your logo and use the color picker to select your brand’s colors to create cohesive, branded templates to upgrade your Instagram Stories.

Bonus: Users with a Canva for Work account can also upload specific brand fonts and store logos and color palettes for a smoother workflow.

Canva templates page

You can also choose from any of the fully customizable templates created by Canva’s team of designers. You won’t need to worry about setting the right aspect ratio, as the templates already come in the correct dimensions.

Creating your own custom Canva templates for Instagram Stories

Using Canva is a quick and easy way to create beautiful Instagram Stories templates for your brand.

To create your own Instagram Stories template, open Canva and select “Create a design.”

Create a design Canva page

Next, select “Use custom dimensions” and choose 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Canva custom dimensions

From here, you can begin to design your custom Instagram Stories templates. Canva has millions of different backgrounds, text options, and elements you can choose from.

Simply click one of the menu options on the left panel for a list of full options.

You’ll also notice a search bar at the top of the panel, to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Canva Search bar

Already have the perfect image to use? Upload it to use it in your design. Once uploaded, it stays on your uploads folder, ready to be used for future designs.

When you’re finished, be sure to name and save your template so it’s easy to find and use for future Stories.

Using the Canva Photo Library

Canva gives you access to an extensive media library with images and illustrations you can use for your Instagram Stories templates. Browse through to choose from a collection of over a million backgrounds and textures, and bring uniqueness and originality to your Canva designs. There are plenty of free images in the library, as well as low-cost premium images.

Canva stock photos page

When to use Canva templates for Instagram stories

There are tons of different options for templates you can create, depending on the types of Instagram Stories you make. Creating branded templates will help save you time and help you maintain a cohesive presence on your Instagram Stories.

Here are a few ideas for ways you can use Canva templates for your Instagram Stories.

Updates & Announcements

Create a template with space for a photo and text that can be easily swapped out for brand updates, product launches, events and more. We’ve create a branded template with Later’s colors, fonts, and icons to save for later use.

Later IG stories template

Sharing a new blog post? Simply drop your photo and text into the template to create Stories that will grab your audience’s attention. You can also add your business’ logo and your own background image to give the template a more “branded” look.

Later Instagram stories

Quotes & Testimonials

Canva templates can also be used to add some design magic to quotes and testimonials. Instead of using Instagram’s standard text and background options, create a template using your brand colors and fonts that you can easily go back to and switch out later on.

Freebies

Everyone loves a freebie! Use Instagram Stories to share cheat sheets, recipes, wallpapers, and more. This will not only delight your audience, but also give them a reason to keep checking back for more!

Instagram Stories Highlights Covers

With the release of Instagram Stories Highlights, Instagram has given brands a new way to get more followers, showcase their brand, drive traffic, and sell products. Keeping these highlights “on-brand” will help you maintain a uniform Instagram ‘look’ and will give you an extra opportunity to connect with your followers.

Creating Highlights covers with Canva is quick and easy. First, choose a background that matches your brand by selecting “Background” in the left-hand panel and then select your color.

color palette Canva editor

Next, select the “Elements” tab and click “Icons” to find different graphics to represent your Highlights categories.

I searched “calendar” to create a Highlight to teach users how to schedule their posts with Later.
Canva icons
You can also upload your own icons if you’ve already created a set that matches your branding. Once you’ve created your Instagram Stories Highlights cover, select “Download” and save it to your device.

There are tons of ways you can use Canva templates to create captivating Instagram Stories. Like any social media strategy, Stories allow you to engage with your followers and grow your audience. Creating branded Stories templates will not only save you time, but will also help you turn your brand’s followers into loyal fans.