5 Tips for Using Instagram Highlights!

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There's a new ruler in the social media food-chain, and it's name is Instagram.

While just a fledgling platform years ago, this photo-sharing network has grown to unpredictable heights in 2018.  In fact, Instagram now amasses over 800 million active users a month. But what has stunted this growth?

The answer lies partly in the slew of innovative, engaging updates we all never expected but loved instantly. Here are some you might recall:

  • The ability to choose from different text styles in Instagram Stories
  • Being able to tag other accounts in your Instagram Bio
  • For some accounts, adding "swipe up" link features in Instagram Stories
  • The ability to follow hashtags 
  • The ability to turn on post notifications for certain accounts

Now, this app hasn't released everything we want (hint: having portrait mode as a Stories option). But one thing for certain is that Instagram knows what the people want. And it's most recent success?

Instagram Story Highlights.

If you're new to the #InstaGame, here's the rundown: the Highlights feature allows users to save their stories to certain 'albums' (which can be named anything like food, workouts, makeup, etc) that will appear publicly and permanently on the user's Instagram profile.

For consumers, Highlights is an incredibly useful tool for sharing your lifestyle/personality and saving precious memories.

For businesses, it allows events, deals, products, and insider-looks to be easily seen and saved by an audience.

I see more and more each day people buying in to the features of Highlights. But, I also see that not everyone knows how to use it.

Whether you fall into that category, or are just looking to grow your social savvy, here are some tips to help you get even more out of this awesome feature:

1. Make. Cover. Photos. 

I honestly cannot stress this enough if you decide to seriously engage in Story Highlights. Creating cover photos with a consistent, simple, and creative look allows your profile to stand out to other users! Think of your Instagram profile as a resume to new followers: if they like what they see, they will want to see more (meaning following you!). 

There are a few things to consider when it comes to creating the actual covers. You always want to make sure that the icon you want to show in the cover is centered in the graphic. As for the graphic itself, design it in Instagram Story size (1080 x 1920 px). To create the graphics, you can utilize online programs like Canva and PicMonkey, or pricier-options like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop for detailed edits.

Finally, make sure they all have a consistent color scheme and look. The covers should fit your Instagram theme (if you have one made!). 

2. Your Highlights Albums Should Describe You!

The other day I was looking at someone's profile and their many Highlights albums. After scrolling through for a few minutes, I noticed they had one called "Makeup." Pretty common. But the only issue? This person NEVER posts about makeup! And a few days later, that album was no longer in her profile.

This story teaches us one thing: make sure that your albums describe you! One way to figure this out is to conduct a Story Audit by accessing your Story Archive and seeing what content you post frequently. For example, I post a lot of food, fitness, UCF, Universal Studios, and social media stories; hence my Highlights album choices!

3. Add to Highlight Albums While Your Stories Are Still Viewable

All Instagram Stories expire 24 hours after they are posted. Once this happens, you can only add new stories to your highlight albums by opening each one and manually adding them from the Story Archive. I don't know about you, but this is honestly too much work for me! Instead, add to your albums before they expire. Here's how:

1. Open the story you want to add

2. Tap the Highlight button in the bottom right corner of the screen.

3. A Highlight pane will appear at the bottom of the screen. Simply tap the album you want to add it to, and VIOLA! You're done!

4. Do Not Add Old Stories to New Highlights Albums

Very simply: only add stories that are posted after your Highlights albums are created. This matters because users must tap through your entire album before they can see the newest story, and since it is a cover, the graphic you create should always be the first thing they see.

Adding stories that were posted before you created your Highlights album results in the cover image being sandwiched between stories. This looks unprofessional, unclean, and may lead to your beautiful cover never being seen when a user gets tired of tapping through the album. 

But how can you make sure a user sees everything in your album? This leads me to my final tip:

5. Keep Your Highlights Albums Short

Let's face it: we all have short attention spans. If it isn't quick or eye-catching, chances are we won't pay attention to it. That's why Twitter is such a popular social network. We get our daily doses of entertainment, news, and laughs in short, concise pieces. 

The same principle of short 'n' sweet applies to your Instagram Highlights. Nobody wants to tap through 30 stories of food that you eat, or any content for that matter. When it comes to Highlights, you want to keep your albums to 15 stories or less

Each week, I will poke through my own Highlights to refresh the content in them and trim it down to that limit. This practice allows current followers to see new content without having to re-tap through old stories, and new followers to quickly glimpse my feed and see who I am. 

Moral of this tip? Less truly is more!

I hope you enjoyed my latest blog post! Check back each week

for a new blog on social media tips, life, food and more. Oh, and of course...

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~This is My Story~