The Instagram Highlights Feature Explained
What you need to know about the Instagram ‘Highlights’ Feature
The Instagram app, both personally and professionally is one of my favourites, and it struck me while delivering my Instagram for Beginners business course earlier this week, that the app is JAMMED with features - features that some of us Insta users take for granted, others don’t know exactly how to use, and some that others kind of know about, but aren’t sure whether to bother using, or what the purpose of every single feature, is! All a bit exhausting isn’t it?!
I’m going to breakdown the Instagram ‘Highlights’ feature in this blog, so that it’s clear at least what it is, and how it could be used if you had wanted to give it a whirl or check that you’re on the right track:
Highlights – What are they?
First off, we need to be familiar with Instagram Stories, which is the feature (based on the Snapchat live/24 hour then vanish functionality) that allows us to share content/document our day using video, text, gifs, stickers, video and images on a 24-hour rotation, enabling us to share content not just on our feed/grid but also, or instead - onto our ‘stories’
The media uploaded on these ‘stories’ originally would disappear after 24 hours but Highlights have changed this up for the better.
Below if you tap on the little camera icon you can add to your ‘story’ which becomes a mini slideshow you can add as many pieces of footage as you like, another way to add to your story is to tap on your profile picture.
The icons with the coloured ring around them have recent ‘stories’ that you can watch.
Highlights (pictured below, the icons entitled PLAY, DIY) are a space on users’ profiles where story content that has previously been shared, can be added and archived on to a Highlight, to be watched after that time has elapsed, giving us an extra way to share our story content for more than 24 hours, archiving it for our audience to come back to it later, or see it if they’ve missed it.
Highlights can be used in many ways – but their main purpose is to give content a longer lifespan on your Instagram page and so the end use depends on your own goals for how you’d like to repurpose content and share your message. Highlights will appear as circles on users’ profiles below their biography section and above their grid, and when other users tap them, they play as if they were stand-alone stories.
Users can add as many Highlights as they wish, and they will remain on their profiles until removed. Users can edit or remove Highlights by tapping and holding on them in their profiles. (Ad Week)
To add to your highlights, you press the small heart icon at the bottom of your story (pictured below)
It can be good to use them as a directory for the parts of your business you want to… highlight! FAQ’s, Services, Popular Products, Behind the Scenes. It works to catagorise this content, every time you add a ‘story’ post, you have the option to save it to the appropriate highlight.
Making a cover for your highlight.
I’m commonly asked how to make a cool-cover for a highlight.
You can use an image you’ve previously shared on stories as your Highlight Cover photo, the feature will do this by default and then you can change it. I’ve created icons for clients in two ways:
1. – A graphic designer helped create branded icons based on the categories I’d created for someone who needed their Instagram set up visually and technically so that they could continue to upload content themselves, I had the advantage of beautiful branding having been created first, and I worked from there:
2. In other cases where there was very little by way of time and budget, I created very minimal options in the Canva app (desktop and mobile) , you just select the Instagram stories template, place an icon of your choice in the centre with the colour of your choice in the background – post these on your stories, save as highlight, edit cover and select the new image as your DIY bespoke highlight! All free!
Instagram said the following about Highlights upon their initial release:
“Over the past year, Instagram Stories has become a key part of how you express yourself—but there hasn’t been an easy way to keep your Stories around for more than 24 hours. Now you can more fully express your identity by grouping Stories you’ve shared into Highlights and featuring them on your profile. Story Highlights lets you show all of the sides of your personality, and you can make highlights out of anything you’ve shared to your story in the past. From the best moments of your ongoing soccer season to all the stories you capture of your loved ones, the interests and activities that matter most to you have a home right on your profile.”
They can make your page look polished, they give you the ability to save the content you’ve created on your Stories so that they can be watched again, and they can become a shop window for your audience to browse content they might otherwise have missed! Tailor them to suit your business goals to make the most of the feature.
A quirky feature well worth trying out – as an extra place to host and share content for free, I say – why not?! 😊