How To Use Your Instagram Highlights Strategically

Instagram Highlights Strategy 1/10

Intro: Instagram Highlights Strategy

What is an Instagram Highlights strategy?

And how can you figure yours out?

If these are questions that are on your mind, good news: this post is all about how to use the Highlights feature to your advantage.

With Instagram Stories being so fleeting by nature, you need a good strategy in place to collect the best ones.

They key is that, once you do, you also have to make sure they are on brand in order to serve their purpose: educate, guide or inspire your audience.

There are 8 tips in total, so be sure to scroll through and get all the valuable information. Alright, here we go!

Instagram Highlights Strategy 1/10

Intro: Instagram Highlights Strategy

What is an Instagram Highlights strategy?

And how can you figure yours out?

If these are questions that are on your mind, good news: this post is all about how to use the Highlights feature to your advantage.

With Instagram Stories being so fleeting by nature, you need a good strategy in place to collect the best ones.

They key is that, once you do, you also have to make sure they are on brand in order to serve their purpose: educate, guide or inspire your audience.

There are 8 tips in total, so be sure to scroll through and get all the valuable information. Alright, here we go!

Tip #1

Highlights are basically circle-shaped, mini Stories archives that line up at the top of your photo feed on your Instagram profile in a constant rotation (based on which ones are freshest).

Just like with regular posts, you want them to stand out from one another, yet keep them looking cohesive. The simplest way to do this is with the use of a well curated collection of Highlight covers.

You have the option to upload covers that are not part of your Stories, so uploading a full set of curated covers is an easy way to make everything look cohesive.

If you don’t want to use external Highlight covers, there’s always the option to use a representative Story within that specific Highlight. Zoom in or out on your chosen Story to capture the exact part that your cover will show. That’s it! Super simple.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 2/10
Instagram Highlights Strategy 2/10

Tip #1

Highlights are basically circle-shaped, mini Stories archives that line up at the top of your photo feed on your Instagram profile in a constant rotation (based on which ones are freshest).

Just like with regular posts, you want them to stand out from one another, yet keep them looking cohesive. The simplest way to do this is with the use of a well curated collection of Highlight covers.

You have the option to upload covers that are not part of your Stories, so uploading a full set of curated covers is an easy way to make everything look cohesive.

If you don’t want to use external Highlight covers, there’s always the option to use a representative Story within that specific Highlight. Zoom in or out on your chosen Story to capture the exact part that your cover will show. That’s it! Super simple.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 3/10

Tip #2

On your Instagram profile, Highlights are arranged from left to right with the freshest (aka the most recently updated) ones to the leftmost side of the screen.

Knowing this, you’ll want to keep your Highlights in a continous rotation so that each one gets time in the spotlight. This means that once your create Stories, you have to remember to add them to your Highlight of choice.

To add a Story to a Highlight, go to your Stories either by tapping your profile or by accessing your Archive via the hamburger menu on the top right of your profile. When viewing your chosen Story, you’ll see a round button in the bottom right corner which says “Highlight”. Tap that, then add the Story to the Highlight you want. Once you do, you’ll see that the round button will be now filled, meaning the Story is now part of at least one Highlight.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 3/10

Tip #2

On your Instagram profile, Highlights are arranged from left to right with the freshest (aka the most recently updated) ones to the leftmost side of the screen.

Knowing this, you’ll want to keep your Highlights in a continous rotation so that each one gets time in the spotlight. This means that once your create Stories, you have to remember to add them to your Highlight of choice.

To add a Story to a Highlight, go to your Stories either by tapping your profile or by accessing your Archive via the hamburger menu on the top right of your profile. When viewing your chosen Story, you’ll see a round button in the bottom right corner which says “Highlight”. Tap that, then add the Story to the Highlight you want. Once you do, you’ll see that the round button will be now filled, meaning the Story is now part of at least one Highlight.

Tip #3

Naming your Highlights is kind of a big deal because you have a maximum of 15 characters to use.

That’s right, that’s not many at all!

To really pile on the pressure, the name will cut off after 9 characters and only show ellipsis instead of the other 6 characters.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Consider this your mental exercise to come up with Highlight names that are on brand and also perfectly fitted for the content within.

You can opt to have one representative name like “Travel”, “Music”, “OOTD” or you can come up with short, two-word phrases like “To Do”, “My Looks”, “Top Links” etc.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 4/10
Instagram Highlights Strategy 4/10

Tip #3

Naming your Highlights is kind of a big deal because you have a maximum of 15 characters to use.

That’s right, that’s not many at all!

To really pile on the pressure, the name will cut off after 9 characters and only show ellipsis instead of the other 6 characters.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Consider this your mental exercise to come up with Highlight names that are on brand and also perfectly fitted for the content within.

You can opt to have one representative name like “Travel”, “Music”, “OOTD” or you can come up with short, two-word phrases like “To Do”, “My Looks”, “Top Links” etc.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 5/10

Tip #4

How many Highlights should you have? This, of course, is a very specific question that depends on each individual profile and its goals.

However, there is a range which will make sense for most profiles out there: a number between 5 and 30.

Don’t know how many you should have, though? Consider this: you’re aiming for a sweet spot that embraces storytelling. Since each Highlight should be very specific, your optimal number is the one which covers ALL the topics you talk about in your Stories.

Whichever number you end up choosing, keep in mind that only the first 4 and a half highlights show directly on your profile, the rest have to be discovered by swiping left or will be brought to the front once they are updated.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 5/10

Tip #4

How many Highlights should you have? This, of course, is a very specific question that depends on each individual profile and its goals.

However, there is a range which will make sense for most profiles out there: a number between 5 and 30.

Don’t know how many you should have, though? Consider this: you’re aiming for a sweet spot that embraces storytelling. Since each Highlight should be very specific, your optimal number is the one which covers ALL the topics you talk about in your Stories.

Whichever number you end up choosing, keep in mind that only the first 4 and a half highlights show directly on your profile, the rest have to be discovered by swiping left or will be brought to the front once they are updated.

Tip #5

As I was saying above, each Highlight has to cover a super specific topic. “But why?” I hear you wonder.

Because, based on their cover and name, your audience is expecting a certain thing when going into one of your Highlights – you have to deliever on that promise in order to keep them tapping, reading and engaging.

The second reason is that, by keeping them laser-focused, your Highlights can help you drive continuous traffic to your swipe ups. This will encourage your audience to make a purchase or to further engage with you.

By methodically segmenting your Highlights, you also curate and “fan out” your content in an engaging way that is simply not possible otherwise. So make the best out of it!

Instagram Highlights Strategy 6/10
Instagram Highlights Strategy 6/10

Tip #5

As I was saying above, each Highlight has to cover a super specific topic. “But why?” I hear you wonder.

Because, based on their cover and name, your audience is expecting a certain thing when going into one of your Highlights – you have to deliever on that promise in order to keep them tapping, reading and engaging.

The second reason is that, by keeping them laser-focused, your Highlights can help you drive continuous traffic to your swipe ups. This will encourage your audience to make a purchase or to further engage with you.

By methodically segmenting your Highlights, you also curate and “fan out” your content in an engaging way that is simply not possible otherwise. So make the best out of it!

Instagram Highlights Strategy 7/10

Tip #6

Even when written in the same font within the Instagram app, not all Highlight names are the same! You can make yours match your brand/aesthetic by making a conscious choice to stylize them.

How? Well, you can opt to have your Highlight names in lower case, all caps or just have even an emoji for a name. It may not look like it, but there’s A LOT of space to get creative with characters even in such a small space.

Here are a few ideas…

You can skip vocals so make a name look more interesting and make sure you fit within the character limit. (See tip#3 above.) Or you can match the colors of the emojis you pick.

Explore & have fun!

Instagram Highlights Strategy 7/10

Tip #6

Even when written in the same font within the Instagram app, not all Highlight names are the same! You can make yours match your brand/aesthetic by making a conscious choice to stylize them.

How? Well, you can opt to have your Highlight names in lower case, all caps or just have even an emoji for a name. It may not look like it, but there’s A LOT of space to get creative with characters even in such a small space.

Here are a few ideas…

You can skip vocals so make a name look more interesting and make sure you fit within the character limit. (See tip#3 above.) Or you can match the colors of the emojis you pick. Or you can choose not just one, but 3 emojis to convey what your highlight is about and capture your audience’s attention. Explore & have fun!

Tip #7

With Highlights, there’s always this temptation to hoard Stories. It’s true, you can put up to 100 Stories in a Highlight, but you don’t always have to use them. The number of viewers that drop off increases with the number of Stories they advance through and how many progress bars they see up top.

Depending on your niche, you may actually do very well with 100 Story Highlights. But you also very well may not.

This is where editing comes in. Before impulsively hitting Highlight on every Story, consider whether it serves a purpose, encourages an action or is just entertainment. All motivations are valid of course. You just have to pick the ones which work for you and, most importantly, your audience. Be a guide: take them through your most important Stories only.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 8/10
Instagram Highlights Strategy 8/10

Tip #7

With Highlights, there’s always this temptation to hoard Stories. It’s true, you can put up to 100 Stories in a Highlight, but you don’t always have to use them. The number of viewers that drop off increases with the number of Stories they advance through and how many progress bars they see up top.

Depending on your niche, you may actually do very well with 100 Story Highlights. But you also very well may not.

This is where editing comes in. Before impulsively hitting Highlight on every Story, consider whether it serves a purpose, encourages an action or is just entertainment. All motivations are valid of course. You just have to pick the ones which work for you and, most importantly, your audience. Be a guide: take them through your most important Stories only.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 9/10

Tip #8

Now that we have covered the importance of editing your Highlights (go back to Tip #7 above if you’ve missed it), let’s take a look at what you should keep in.

Here are a few ideas…

If you’re a fashion influencer, you could dedicate a Highlight only to affiliate swipe up links. If you also do beauty every now and then, you could create a separate Highlight for affiliate beauty swipe up links.

And if you’re an illustrator, you might create a Highlight for your studio tour and one for your daily doodles.

If however, you’re a brand, you might create a Highlight to present your team and one to keep together all Q&A Stories regarding your products.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 9/10

Tip #8

Now that we have covered the importance of editing your Highlights (go back to Tip #7 above if you’ve missed it), let’s take a look at what you should keep in.

Here are a few ideas…

If you’re a fashion influencer, you could dedicate a Highlight only to affiliate swipe up links. If you also do beauty every now and then, you could create a separate Highlight for affiliate beauty swipe up links.

And if you’re an illustrator, you might create a Highlight for your studio tour and one for your daily doodles.

If however, you’re a brand, you might create a Highlight to present your team and one to keep together all Q&A Stories regarding your products.

Takeaways: Instagram Highlights Strategy

I hope this was useful for you and that you now have the knowledge and mental clarity to take your Instagram Highlights to the next level.

To sum up, a successful Instagram Highlights Strategy includes giving your Highlights clear identities, keeping them as fresh as possible and making sure each of them has a representative name. You also have to keep an eye on the number of Highlights you have, ruthlessly curate their name and contents and make sure they’re on brand. Finally, whatever you decide to do, make sure you tell Stories.

That’s it, see you in the next one! In the meantime, make sure to follow @everythingherenow for more tips and tricks.

Instagram Highlights Strategy 10/10
Instagram Highlights Strategy 10/10

Takeaways: Instagram Highlights Strategy

I hope this was useful for you and that you now have the knowledge and mental clarity to take your Instagram Highlights to the next level.

To sum up, a successful Instagram Highlights Strategy includes giving your Highlights clear identities, keeping them as fresh as possible and making sure each of them has a representative name. You also have to keep an eye on the number of Highlights you have, ruthlessly curate their name and contents and make sure they’re on brand. Finally, whatever you decide to do, make sure you tell Stories.

That’s it, see you in the next one! In the meantime, make sure to follow @everythingherenow for more tips and tricks.

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