How to Use Instagram Story Highlights Strategically as a Small Business Owner

By: Cori Widen, Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks

What Are Instagram Story Highlights?

Your small business may be active on Instagram but are you using the platform to the fullest? Instagram is a great way for your small business to engage with customers, increase brand awareness and drive traffic, but there is one feature that most businesses aren’t taking full advantage of —  Instagram Story Highlights.

Story Highlights is a feature on Instagram that allows you to organize Stories you’ve previously posted into an easy-to-access collection. Instagram Story Highlights is the section on your feed under your bio and right above your posts. Getting started with Story Highlights is easy — you can add any story (even ones that have already ‘disappeared’) into a Story Highlight. Learn how to add a story to a Highlight here.

If your small business isn’t already leveraging Story Highlights on Instagram, there are many reasons to get started! Here’s everything you need to know about using Highlights strategically.

Why Small Businesses Should Leverage Story Highlights

Regular Instagram Stories vanish after 24 hours, but when you add it to an Instagram Story Highlight, your content gets a permanent spot on your profile. Instagram Story Highlights enable you to re-purpose past content, help your customers find the information they need quickly and drive more traffic. With such a prime location on your Instagram profile, Story Highlights are also a great way to bring your brand to life, provide more value to your followers and offer another way for your customers to engage with your small business. 

instagram story highlights boosted
Our Instagram Story Highlights @boosted_social

How to Use Story Highlights Strategically: The Do’s & Don’ts

The Do’s of Instagram Story Highlights:

DO Create Simple, Descriptive Titles

You only have space for a few characters in the title of a Story Highlight so it’s important to use short, simple and descriptive titles to help customers know exactly what the highlight is about, quickly.

DO Create an ‘About’ Highlight

Think about Instagram Story Highlights as an extension of your website creating an ‘About’ Story Highlight is a great way to help a customer know who you are and what you do right away.

DO Make Branded Highlights

Instagram Story Highlights are also a way to bring your brand to life, so make sure you are creating custom icons/cover images for your Story Highlights that are consistent with your brand visuals.

DO Organize Strategically

One of the best parts about Story Highlights is the ability to organize Stories into categorized collections. Be strategic about what type of Story Highlights you create and be sure to group similar content together.

DO Focus on Important Content

Story Highlights are prime real estate on your Instagram profile! It’s the perfect place to feature the most important and valuable content to ensure your customers are seeing this information first.

DO Think About Your Business Goals

Before creating a bunch of Story Highlights, you will want to think through your business goals and decide how Instagram Story Highlights can help you achieve those goals.

DO Be Consistent

You already know that it’s essential to post high-quality content on your Instagram feed for a cohesive look. The same rule applies to Story Highlights. Keep your Highlights visually consistent by creating branded cover images and always use the same formats for Highlight descriptions.

The Dont’s of Instagram Story Highlights:

DON’T Have 20+ Highlights

Just because you are able to create tons of Story Highlights, doesn’t mean you should. In order to leverage Instagram Story Highlights to help your small business grow, it’s important to be selective about the Highlights you create.

DON’T Forget to Update Thumbnail Images

If you don’t select a new cover image for a Story Highlight, Instagram will simply use a thumbnail from the first Instagram Story in your Highlight.

DON’T Use a Photo or Text For Covers

While you are creating Highlight cover images, it might be tempting to simply use a photo or some text in the icon but this is a definite don’t. Using text or photos in such a small icon is hard to see and you would be missing out on an opportunity to create a more visually aesthetic and branded profile.

DON’T Post Too Many Stories in Each Highlight

You have the ability to post 100 photos or videos in each Instagram Story Highlight, but you should try to keep each Story Highlight on the shorter side. This will ensure you are only including content that is actually valuable to your followers and will increase the chances that your followers will watch the whole highlight. 

DON’T Post Just to Post

Some small businesses quickly throw a few old Instagram Stories together into a Highlight simply to have a few highlights on their feed. It’s a common mistake, but it’s better to wait a bit and be more strategic about the Story Highlights you decide to create. 

DON’T Keep Irrelevant Content

Don’t forget to look through your highlights periodically and remove any Stories that are no longer relevant. For example, if you no longer carry a certain item or a sale is no longer running, you will want to make sure you don’t have any Story Highlights that mention those. 

6 Small Businesses with Standout Story Highlights

Get inspired by these 6 small businesses who are rocking their on-brand Instagram Story Highlights:

1. @thedairy_fairy

2. @dani.stratman

3. @the.workaround

4. @parsnipdaily

5. @ourlosangeles

6. @yoursocialteam

Instagram Story Highlight Tips

Cori Widen is the Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks. She has been leading product marketing campaigns and doing qualitative market research in the tech industry for 10 years.

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