December 6, 2021

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How to Effectively Use Instagram Stories Highlights

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You already know that Instagram Stories are a great tool for engaging your audience on Instagram. But with Stories lasting only 24 hours, it seems like a lot of work to create content visible for a short period of time.

This is where your Instagram Stories Highlights come in. Instagram Highlights allow you to save and categorize your Stories on your profile so followers new and old can still view and interact with past Stories, well after that first 24 hours expire.

Throughout this article, we’ll do a deeper dive into what Instagram Stories Highlights are and how they work, as well as how you can use this feature for your business.

What are Instagram Stories Highlights?

Instagram Stories Highlights are categorized Stories that have been saved to a user’s profile so they are accessed beyond the 24 hours from posting.

Take a look at the Instagram Stories Highlights on Sprout Social’s Instagram feed:

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When Sprout’s social team shares Instagram Stories, they’re able to save them into these different highlight categories. By doing so, viewers can access exactly the types of content they’re most interested in viewing.

Plus, this elongates the life of a Story, and they keep collecting views, clicks and replies way past the initial 24-hour expiration date.

How to create Instagram Stories Highlights

So how can you get started creating your own Instagram Stories Highlights?

The process is simple. The more complicated part is determining what each of your Highlight categories should actually be. Consider the different types of content you share on your Instagram Stories. Can that be broken down into different sections?

Popular options might be:

  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Meet the team
  • Reviews
  • Blog
  • Products/Services
  • Events

Create a list that makes sense for your business before you start creating the actual Highlights.

If you’ve never created any Highlights before, head over to your profile and tap on the small dropdown arrow next to Story Highlights view the full feature:

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Click the circle with the plus sign that says New to start creating your first Highlight. You’ll see your Stories archive appear so that you can choose photos and videos you’ve shared in the past to add to your new Highlight.

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Keep in mind that these will now reappear on your profile (they will not reappear as new Stories), so make sure they’re good ones that you want your audience to still have access to.

Once you’ve selected all of the relevant Stories to this new Highlights category, tap Next to add your title:

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From here, you can also edit your Stories Highlight cover either by repositioning the image from one of your Stories or uploading a photo. We’ll talk more about this a little bit later.

How to use Instagram Stories Highlights effectively

Now that you have this exciting new feature at your fingertips, it’s time to decide how best to use it. We have 10 ideas for how you can maximize your Instagram Highlights’ potential.

1. Show off different products or collections

One of the best ways to use your Story Highlights is to show off your different products or collections.

Consider creating a Highlight for each major facet of your business, or take a page out of Grove Collaborative’s book and create a Highlight for “Shop” that showcases their product varieties.

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You can also combine two of Instagram’s features and showcase one product at a time, then link to it using Instagram Shopping so your customers can easily purchase it for themselves. Or use a link sticker that sends customers to the product or collection landing page.

2. Share company announcements

Another great way to use your Stories Highlights is to store company announcements. It’s helpful to have these accessible well after the initial announcement so new customers can see all of the milestones your company has hit.

We see a great example of this from Freddy’s Frozen Custard, where they have a Highlight specifically for sharing all of their new locations.

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Call this Highlight “News” or “Happenings” so your audience can easily tell what to expect.

3. Provide resources and educational content

One thing you should be doing on your Instagram Stories regularly is sharing links — or at the very least promotional graphics — for your blog content and other educational resources like ebooks, podcasts, videos, etc.

This will look different depending on your business and industry. For example, a SaaS company might share tips on using their software along with links to recent blog posts.

A gym, like Equinox Fitness, might share workout routines or healthy recipes.

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It all depends on what kinds of helpful resources your specific audience would most like to see from you.

4. Promote events

Instagram Story Highlights are also perfect for promoting upcoming or recurring events in order to increase the number of registrants or attendees, as well as events that your business participated in.

Below, we see an example of the latter from Nature’s Path, an organic food company that participated in the 2019 Global #ClimateStrike in support of the climate youth movement. They have a Highlight all about the #ClimateStrike events, sharing photos and videos of their team participating across major cities in Canada and the United States.

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Sharing events that your company hosts and/or attends is a great way to show what your company is all about. As an always organic and environmentally-friendly food company, it makes sense that Nature’s Path would share that their team is in support of climate change advocacy.

5. Answer follower questions

Consider creating an “FAQ” Story Highlight for any Stories you’ve created answering customer questions. You can use the “Question” sticker to get questions coming in, before either recording yourself answering or simply typing the answer out on top of a photo or blank background.

6. Highlight customer reviews and testimonials

Highlighting happy customers whenever you have the chance is always a good idea. If you have anyone on the fence about working with or buying from your business, showcasing positive reviews and testimonials can help them make a decision and bite the bullet.

You can share videos of customers talking about their experience with your business, or you can create branded graphics with reviews left online that share positive moments and experiences your customers have had.

7. Engage your followers

Sometimes your Instagram Stories have no aim other than to simply engage your followers. Using stickers like polls and questions can be a great way to engage followers temporarily, but those only last the same 24 hours that an initial Story does.

Instead, take a page out of Whataburger’s book. They have a Highlight category called “Just for fun,” where they share engaging content like these Stories below.

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By sharing quizzes and coloring book pages, Whataburger is taking customer engagement to a whole new level.

What can you learn from this example? How can you turn your Stories content into fun games that your audience will enjoy?

8. Put your campaigns front and center

When you’re starting a new marketing campaign, consider including Instagram Story Highlights. Create a Highlight category specifically for your campaign, and save any related Story to that Highlight so it’ll last throughout the span of the overall campaign.

9. Introduce your team

Using your Stories Highlights is another great way to build employee advocacy and introduce your team to your customers. This tactic works for both small and large businesses and is a great way to humanize your company and build more personal online relationships.

Schedule employee takeovers where they post their day-to-day tasks to your Stories. Ask them to record short videos introducing themselves and talking about their role at your company, or share photos and quick Q&As with your audience.

Check in with which employees are comfortable with being featured online before you begin this campaign.

10. Brand your Highlight covers

Our last tip is to brand your Highlight covers so that they match your profile and help to build overall brand strength and equity online. There are a few different ways that you can do this.

First, and probably the most simple, is just using high-quality photos as each of the covers as we see on regularly on Instagram.

Another option is to use your brand colors along with icons or words that represent that Highlight cover. We’ve got a great example from Nature’s Path to represent this.

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The last example is basic but effective. Instead of creating photos or graphics, simply use a variety of blank colors that match your brand. The Sill uses a number of pastels that still enforce brand recognition as their Highlight covers.

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Think about the visuals that your brand tends to lean towards. You want to make sure the Stories Highlight cover design you choose makes sense for your business and the graphics it creates.

Get started with Instagram Story Highlights

Ready to start creating your own Story Highlight categories? Start thinking about which categories make the most sense for your business based on the strategies outlined throughout this article. Then make sure you’re constantly measuring their performance by checking out your Instagram Stories analytics.

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