Are you taking full advantage of Instagram Highlights?
This neat little feature has a lot to offer in terms of efficiently communicating your products and services and branding-up your account in general. Don’t forget: your profile info is the first thing people see when they land on your account — that’s why it’s oh-so crucial to optimize your bio and use those Instagram Highlights to give your potential followers an instant understanding of what your offerings really are.
In today’s guide, I’m giving away quick tips on how to approach Instagram Highlights strategically. You’ll also learn how to create Highlights and make sure they accurately represent your brand.
How to Use Instagram Story Highlights Strategically
Before we jump in, what are Instagram highlights and why should your brand use them?
You probably already know that, unlike regular Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, Instagram Highlights can live on your profile forever. Consider them a curated collection of Stories that your old, new, and potential followers can tap into and watch any time they like. Located right underneath your bio and above your feed, Highlights remain the perfect place to direct your followers’ attention to your most valuable and interesting content which you want them to see first.
You can add up to 100 photos or videos to one Highlight, and there’s absolutely no limit to how many Highlights you can create.
If you have over 10,000 followers and are eligible for that swipe-up feature on Stories, you can use them in Highlights too, which, to us marketers, means one beautiful word: traffic.
(I know, right? 😍)
But OK, OK.
You now know Highlights is a hot lil’ feature you should definitely take advantage of; but from the myriads of Stories you posted, which ones exactly should go into the selection?
Keep reading for some quick tips on how to decide which Stories should make the cut and how to best present them!
1. What are your overall business goals?
A good way to decide which Instagram Highlights you should create lies in the answer to the question of what your overall business goals are.
Why, again, are you on Instagram in the first place?
If you’re struggling to answer that, I really recommend revisiting your Instagram marketing strategy to remind yourself why your brand has a presence on this particular platform and what it is exactly that you want to achieve with it.
Is it to generate leads?
Drive more sales?
Push your brand values forward?
You’re the only person who can answer that, not me or not any other expert you find online.
A mistake that many brands make is that they pin some Stories in the Highlights’ section simply because they feel they have to pin something, without thinking how those Highlights could actually be supporting their brand and business goals.
Don’t be one of them!
Take a bit of time aside and write down EXACTLY what your Instagram goals are, and it’ll be clear to you what kind of Instagram Highlights collection you should make.
IVY & OAK, for example, has a short selection of only three Instagram highlights which focus only on what’s most important to their brand — their products and their brand story. That’s two main goals: to “push” their new collection along their core bridal collection and communicate the ethics and values that differentiate IVY & OAK from their competitors:
In contrast, the goal of WHO (World Health Organization) is to educate about health issues around the world. Thus, their highlights serve an educational purpose — the organization chooses to present certain issues, drive the audience’s attention to them, and provide more ways on how to educate yourself on important topics like climate crisis, ebola, and others:
Finally, another example on how to meet your business goals in your Instagram Highlights comes from the social media expert Anna Russett, who’s using the platform for personal branding and attracting leads for her consulting services. She only has one single Highlight, but precisely because of that, all the followers’ attention goes there:
Here’s a short list of all the other ideas for Instagram Highlights that could align with your goals:
- Behind the scenes content
- Customer reviews / Testimonials (celebrating the customer)
- Partnerships & Collabs
- Your affiliate and ad partners
- Your important campaigns as a brand
- Product lines / Collections
- Tutorials and How-To’s
- Product reviews
- Stories’ travel diary
- Timely offers / Sales
2. Make sure your Instagram Highlights are descriptive
After deciding what content you want to highlight, the important thing to note is that your Highlights need to be descriptive enough for people to grasp what they’re about.
When you create a Highlight, Instagram will ask you to add a description to it. While technically anything goes, it could look awkward if the descriptions across various highlights are inconsistent.
So, instead of using different fonts, spacing, emojis, and other elements, like this…
… stay consistent and describe all of your Highlights in the same style, like this:
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here, just make sure that your Highlights descriptions are consistent. You can keep it very simple as well, like Greta Thunberg does. Each Highlight is a date of a Climate Strike:
3. Stay on-brand!
Part of staying visually consistent is creating cover icons for your Highlights that reflect your brand’s aesthetic. If you look around on Instagram, you’ll find a lot of successful accounts that choose to stick to the same style, same color palette, and same design in their Instagram Highlights. Here are two examples: one from Cee Cee Berlin, a city guide account, and another from from ANDUKA, a Berlin-based influencer:
Branded Highlights covers add to the overall aesthetics of your Instagram theme, which plays a crucial role in how you decide to curate your visual image.
But how exactly can you add those covers?
In the next part of the guide, I’m showing you how to create Instagram Highlights from scratch and add the above-mentioned descriptions and covers. So keep reading to find out!
How to use Instagram Highlights for Stories
Now that you know the strategic know-why behind Instagram Highlights, it’s time to learn the know-how. 😉
STEP 1: Turn on the auto-archiving feature
One of the major sweet benefits of the Instagram Archive feature is that it eliminates the fear of losing any content, no matter how old it is. Instagram can automatically save (or archive) your Stories to their cloud, so they won’t ever be lost should you forget to save them to your camera roll. When you keep the auto-archiving feature turn on, you can save and re-share your best Instagram Stories — even after they’ve already expired and disappeared!
To do this, you only need to switch that feature on.
Go to your Instagram profile and head over to Settings → Privacy → Story → Save to Archive (FIY: this is where you can also enable the Save to Camera Roll feature):
Once you’ve done this, Instagram will automatically save your Stories content to your archive. You can view your archived content by navigating to Menu → Archive:
There, you’re not only able to access all the archived Stories, but also Settings and the opportunity to create a Story Highlight!
STEP 2: Create an Instagram Highlight
Though you can create a Highlight from the above-described method, my preferred way of adding a Highlight is directly from the profile. Click on the plus icon below the contact buttons. Don’t worry, if you’ve never posted a Highlight before, the button will still be there:
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see your entire Archive of Stories, dating either back to 2017, when the Archive feature was launched, or back to when you first converted to a Business profile. Scroll up and choose the Story (or Stories) that you want to include in your new collection. Then, click Next:
At this point, you can choose a name for your new Instagram Highlight!
STEP 3: Choose a cover
After you’ve given your Highlight a name, don’t tap the Add button just yet! Instagram will automatically generate a thumbnail based on the first Story in your collection collection, but you’d probably want to add a special cover image, as discussed before. To do that, you’d tap on Edit Cover:
You’ll be prompted back to your Camera Roll, from where you can choose your pre-saved files for the Highlights’ covers:
You might want to design your Highlights beforehand. Nowadays, you really don’t need to look anywhere further than Canva. 😉
Once you’ve selected and positioned the right cover image, click Add and, lo and behold, you have your brand new Instagram Highlight!
Note that, every time you create a new Highlight, it will appear as the first one in your list of Highlights. That happens when you add a new Story to an old Highlight too — it moves forward indicating that there’s fresh content inside.
STEP 4 (OPTIONAL): Edit your Highlight
Once you’re all set up, you can edit, remove, rename or, really, do whatever you want with your Instagram Highlights by clicking on the three dots in the bottom right corner:
Don’t forget to revisit your Highlights once in a while, edit then when necessary, update them with fresh content, or even delete if any of them stop being relevant.
You’re now all set to start using Instagram Stories Highlights like a pro, market your business, spruce up your Instagram account, and drive your followers’ attention to where you want it to go.