Why You Should Use Instagram Templates and How To Get Started

If a dancing alien sums up your #FridayMood, an Instagram template might be for you. But…what is it? And why should you use one?  Templates are a great way to drive real people to engage with your content. Read on to learn why to use Instagram story templates and how to get started today!

What Are Instagram Templates

Move over, teen magazines: personality quizzes have arrived.

Instagram templates aren’t exactly new.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’ve already done one without even knowing it. Do you remember ever filling in a MySpace questionnaire, or posting a Facebook status filled with fun facts about yourself?

 

A myspace survey

 

Instagram story templates are pretty much the same thing, reborn in a much more aesthetically pleasing format.

The basic idea of an Instagram story template is that you take any topic, write in a few questions, and leave a blank to fill in answers with the gif, emoji, or answer that fits best. Questions can be as simple as “Where Are You From?” or even get a bit deeper – “What Do You Dream About?”

Instagram story templates can come in many shapes and sizes: checklists, Q&As, favorites lists, gifs that capture a particular mood.

Once you’ve finished your template, you post it on your story with your watermark. Your followers can then repost on their own stories and tag whoever they want to fill it in.

Why Instagram Templates Are Relevant to You and Your Brand

Remember that watermark I mentioned? Users will have to go back to your story to find the empty, repostable version. Every repost drives a visit from a real person to your profile.

Every visit to your profile could result in a new follower. Instagrammers who are the most successful with templates churn out three or four a week. Some even create a section in their highlights specifically for aggregated templates.

Instagram highlights section with templates

So what kind of growth can that bring you and your brand? Let’s take a look at the OG – after fashion & lifestyle blogger @thesundaychapter posted her original templates earlier this year, her followers rose from 25k to a whopping 446k in a little under a week. Talk about exposure!

Sunday Chapter's story templates

What Makes Templates The Hottest New Trend

Instagram story templates are a super fun way for your followers to feel like you’re getting to know each other. Instagram often feels one-sided. A creator-consumer relationship can only give you so much interaction.

A gif challenge instagram story templateIt can be easy to feel totally invisible to your favorite content creator.  Templates let you and your audience learn about each other at the same time, like a blind date with cute gifs attached.

They’ve popped up on everybody’s Instagram stories – including mine! The template was a wonderful and creative way to participate in Instagram.

Why Instagram Templates Beat Polls, Questions & Sliders

Don’t get me wrong, questions and emoji sliders are fun. But they have one huge flaw – they don’t increase outreach.

Your questions and polls only reach users who already follow you.

Templates allow you to showcase your creativity and drive real people to visit your profile. You can increase engagement with people who already follow you and gain new ones at the same time. Likewise, Instagram story templates give new followers a reason to stick around, eagerly waiting for your next one.

Why There’s No Other Place But Your Story

Who has time to scroll with those shiny pink circles at the top of the screen? Instagram stories are the best way to interact with your audience in real time.

Traditional posts could be swallowed depending on algorithm. Stories are guaranteed to reach everybody who clicks.The twenty four hour time limit also lends some urgency to the repost.

Basically, if you don’t have a story these days, you aren’t on Instagram. What better way is there to remind your audience than you exist than to let them talk about themselves? Plus, this way, they get to use a cute gif.

How an Instagram Stories Template Can Help Build Your Brand

There’s no better way to attract devoted followers than a consistent signature style in a unique niche. If your Instagram story templates fit with your overall aesthetic, people will want more. The people who want more will visit your profile and follow.

The more your templates are re-posted, the more your watermark is seen. Some Instagrammers have already built a following specifically for their niche Instagram story templates.

Take a look at astrology account @notallgeminis’ “Circle What Applies” templates:

Circle what applies zodiac sign story templates

 

How An Instagram Template Helps You Get to Know Your Audience

When your audience completes and shares your templates, it’s not just about driving profile visits…it’s a chance for you to learn directly about your audience! Instagram templates help you understand what your audience likes, and what they don’t. You can also find out about their content preferences based on the types of content they engage with most.

Instagram story templates are a fantastic way to see why your quietest follower is following you in the first place. Not everybody will answer a survey or vote in a poll.

Instagram story templates aren’t about giving feedback to a creator – at least, not at first glance. They’re a chance for the audience to enter the creativity part of the relationship.

You can take all this useful info into consideration when you create your next template! The process of template creation is more than account growth. It’s also pretty darn fun.

Making Your Instagram Template Unique

 

tgif instagram story templateLet’s not forget that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Copycat templates from Astrology to Disney Characters to Anime Husbands have popped onto the ‘gram. So how do you stand out, you ask? Make a template that suits your unique audience. Show that you know them.

If you’re a travel blogger, share your dream destinations. If you’re into lifestyle, your healthy eating routine. Beauty, your night out products and so on.

You can feature some of your user’s responses on your own story to show that you’re paying attention and capture your audience’s hearts. Remember that even creator-consumer relationships are a two-way street.

How to Get Started With Your First Instagram Template

Instagram story templates are the hottest thing on Instagram at the moment so hopefully, you’re on board! Maybe you’ve got your idea and your questions all picked out. But now for the practical aspect.

How do you create your first template?

The most important thing is that you should be comfortable with whatever you’re using. If the name Photoshop strikes fear into your heart, it may be best to stick with a web editor.

Personally, I’m a fan of Youtube darling PicMonkey. You could call it “Photoshop for Dummies.” It’s very intuitive, and therefore great for people with no prior photo editing experience.

Pickmonkey home interface

 

Another web editor you can use is Gimp. It’s a bit less intuitive than Picmonkey but allows more sophisticated options.

Those lucky enough to call themselves Photoshop pros have no reason to fear. Nobody will even judge you if you use Paint.

Using An App to Create Your Instagram Story Template

In the digital age, you don’t even need a web editor. Apps geared towards creating stylish Instagram stories are here to help. While most of these apps are geared towards professional markets, they are easy to adapt.

Get started with Canva, a free graphic design software. They have hundreds of pre-designed story templates to choose from. You can design on Canva’s website or with their app for maximum convenience.

Canva Instagram template designs

Another great template tool is Easil. Easil offers several different, cost-effective plans and a month long free trial. A big plus of Easil is that it allows you to create gifs as well as photos – hello, custom story content!

Getting the Details Right

Of course, make sure your template is the right size for an Instagram story (1080 x 1920). Your reposts won’t go very far if half the picture is cut off.

Keep your branding & aesthetics consistent. Make your Instagram story template fun to look at, and even more fun to fill out!

Your First Instagram Template: Post, Post, Post!

Once your template is designed, stylin’, and ready to go, all that’s left to do is press that plus button! Remember to keep an eye out for your follower’s responses.

Instagram template examples

No matter your niche, Instagram story templates are a fantastic way to engage your audience and drive real visits to your profile. There’s a reason this trend is hot.

Allowing your followers to participate in the creative part of your relationship boosts engagement and awareness. A template could be just what your brand is missing.

By Victoria Hendersen

Victoria is an American expatriate currently based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, she lived in Bordeaux, France before relocation to Russia's cultural capital. Victoria holds a BFA in Film and Media Studies from UC Irvine.

She works as a copywriter and translator. An experienced travel blogger and vlogger, her main drive in life is discovering the jewels of lesser traveled cities. You can keep up with her travels on Instagram at @village_witch.

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