Use Instagram Story Highlights Strategically as a Small Business Owner 
 
The great thing about social media is the myriad of ways you can use it to benefit your business and build connections and conversations with your customer – but of course that’s what also makes it hard when time is short. You need to keep up to date and stop to think strategically. Then make time to actually put your plan into action… 
 
We recognise the problem called not enough hours anytime. 
So this is your snappy guide to Instagram story highlights and how to make them work for you. 
They are valuable because they are the stories you choose to keep which your followers can have a look at whenever they like. Better still you can organise the content in categories to trigger followers into looking at content that’s ideal for them. And they’re easy to find, right there under your bio with handy image icons and titles. 
 
You can add up to 100 photos or videos to one highlight, and then make as many highlights you wish. Not that you should though, more on that below. 
 
If you’ve got over 10,000 followers then you’re eligible for the swipe-up feature on stories, which means you can retain them in your highlights too and boom… you’ve got lovely traffic. 
 
Let’s be strategic 
Whichever media you are using you always need to be sure footed first about who your audience is and why they interact with you. 
This is about your proposition, your story, your brand and essentially your products and services. Then understanding your audience’s typical profile, how they think and live; and then what and why they buy from you, and why you specifically, as opposed to from anyone else. This is something you should review on a regular basis in the context of keeping tabs on your competitors and what’s happening in the world so you’re in tune and looking ahead at trends that may affect you. 
From this you can work out what the key themes are for your audiences. These themes should guide your content for all your channels and on Instagram they should guide how you categorise your highlights. You’re doing the legwork for your customer and pre-sorting relevant content for them. So far, so good. 
 
● Your feed is for everyone who follows you 
● Stories provide extra moments of interest, offers, questions, info videos etc. but they do disappear after 24 hours 
● Highlights allow you to retain the value in your stories 
● Better still you can group stories into natural and logical categories segmented according to your audiences’ needs or interests. 
Be the storyteller and bind your followers to you, emotionally and practically. 
It’s always a good idea to make it hard for them to go elsewhere. 
Before you leap into themes and organise your stories into satisfying groups – here’s another useful question. Why are you on Instagram? 
Are you generating leads, informing, educating, raising money for charity, projecting your brand or pushing sales
If you don’t know, you need to decide first. You can’t do all of these things all of the time – but everything you do should always be consistent with and reinforce your brand spirit and values. So, take a step back and look at all your channels and work out the primary purpose for each one in relation to the others. 
Then it will be much easier to decide what your stories should be about, how to create them, what to say and which ones you want in highlights. That’s because you may also still be creating stories that are time-limited and need to disappear. Here are a few ideas on what you can use highlights for: 
● Showcase products 
● Promote events 
● Share what you've been up to over a season 
● Produce interactive polls 
● Answer followers' questions 
● Feature how-to tutorials 
● Highlight amazing customer testimonials 
● You could even share how a poor testimonial made you improve what you do. 
 
In summary, with an Instagram Story Highlight, your story becomes permanent on your profile, allowing you to: 
1. repurpose past content 
2. help your customers find the information they need quickly 
3. drive more traffic 
4. bring your brand to life 
5. provide more value 
6. offer a different way for people to understand what your business is all about. 
 
TOP TIPS for Instagram Story Highlights: 
1. Short and sweet titles – characters are limited so keep it short, sweet and informative so customers know exactly what the highlight is about. 
 
2. An ‘About’ Highlight 
It reassures people that they can get the whole picture on you and your business. So just like on your website you can do an About Story Highlight. This portrays the core of you and your brand and the purpose of your business. 
 
3. Brand your Story Highlights 
This is a great opportunity to be cute with your icons and bring your brand to life, so long as they are consistent with your brand design principles. Customise them so they work as hard as your highlight stories are working for you. 
 
4. Build Strategic Collections 
This is a Marie Kondo moment – organise stories into specific collections. Like the director of a museum or an interior designer – you decide what goes where. Group similar content together or even plan specific groups. It’s very satisfying. 
 
5. Invest in great content 
This is such a valuable space so put your best content here and impress your customers only with quality content. 
 
6. Be consistent and authentic 
Consistency equates to authenticity and customers like to know they can rely on you, especially if they champion you to their friends. 
 
7. Be selective 
Just because you can post unlimited highlights, doesn’t mean you should. 20 or fewer is a good rule. 
 
8. Update Thumbnail Images 
Remember to update your thumbnail images otherwise Instagram will just pick off the first one. Photos and texts can be too small so create branded cover images and always use the same formats for highlight descriptions. It’s that consistency thing again as well as being visually more effective for your brand, and lovelier. 
 
9. Post with purpose! 
By that we mean make sure you’ve got something meaningful to share, show and tell. It helps to keep your followers with you for the long-term. 
 
Lastly, have fun with it – an interaction with your customer should be a joyous thing! 
 
But if you’re finding it hard work you’ve got back-up. We can either train you or do it for you, whatever helps to make your life simpler. We’re right here if you need us. Click Here to contact us now. 
 
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