Instagram is one way people, businesses, and organizations connect and engage, whether it’s by posting pictures, shoppable tags, live videos, or IGTV. And Instagram continues to come up with new ways people can interact with one another on the social media platform, enhancing the customer experience for many brands and businesses.
One of the popular features Instagram offers—which gained a great deal of attention from its initial release and is now used by 500 million accounts every day—is Instagram Story Highlights.
WordStream’s own Instagram Story Highlights
In this post, we’ll share how you can use Instagram Story Highlights to promote your business and engage with customers. Now, let’s start by exploring what this feature is and how to use it, and then we’ll dive into nine ways you can use it for your business!
What are Instagram Story Highlights?
Instagram Story Highlights are collections of pictures, videos, and posts that you’ve posted to your Instagram Story in the past. These curated collections are often referred to as “albums,” and these albums are usually different categories of topics.
Unlike Instagram Stories that vanish after 24 hours, Instagram Story Highlights live permanently on your profile, allowing you to add or delete content from them at any time. These albums sit right underneath your profile bio section and above your regular feed.
Google’s Instagram Story Highlights. Here you can see where Highlights appear.
How do you create an Instagram Story Highlight?
Before you can start sharing great content on your Highlights, you must first learn how to create them! The first step to this process is to make sure that Instagram’s auto-archiving feature is turned on. This feature automatically archives and saves each Story you post to your Instagram feed or story to the cloud, eliminating the worry of losing any valuable content. Once this feature is turned on, you can share and repost any content that you’ve posted even after it disappears from your Instagram Stories. To locate the archive feature, follow these steps:
1. Navigate to the settings of your Instagram account.
2. Click on the “Story” button.
3. Make sure the “Save to Archive” button is turned on.
After you’ve made sure the “Save to Archive” button is turned on, your next step is to create an Instagram Story Highlight! To do this, go to your profile and tap the “Story Highlights” button below your username and bio. Then, tap the Stories that you want to add to your highlight. To continue, pick a cover photo for your Highlight, as well as a title. And after tapping “Done” or “Add,” you’re all set!
The best ways to use Instagram Story Highlights for your business
You could just include all your Instagram Stories in an Instagram Story Highlight, but that isn’t very appealing to your followers, and it certainly won’t encourage engagement. This feature is much more effective if you have multiple highlights that feature the different types of Instagram Stories you create. So here are nine Instagram Story Highlights ideas you can use to get your followers and customers engaged.
1. Showcase your products
One of the best ways to promote your business and engage with your customers is by creating an Instagram Story Highlight promoting your products or services. According to Instagram, 75% of users take an action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase, after looking at ads on the platform. Whether or not active Instagram users have engaged with your business before, if they’re browsing your profile and see a highlight dedicated to “Products,” they might be more likely to click through the content included in your highlight versus scrolling through your entire feed. Your highlight will be an easier and faster way to find information about your offerings, and you can direct customers to your website, to sign up for a newsletter, or, ideally, to make a purchase via Instagram. By tagging products in your highlights with the Instagram Stories stickers (interactive elements that you can add to engage with your followers), you can showcase your products more creatively and in less direct or salesy ways.
Let’s take a look at how Letterfolk, a home decor company that offers unique paper goods and gifts, showcases its products.
Letterfolk organizes its Instagram Story Highlights to showcase different products they offer—tile mats, calendars, ABC prints, and more. This allows users to find more information about the specific products they’re interested in. This is a good way to make separate product highlights focused on seasonal collections, new releases, product promotions, and more. Using a similar approach, depending on how many products your business offers, you might combine all product-related stories into a single album. A great way to include a CTA in these stories is to use the “See More” link, engaging with your followers and directing them to find more exciting information about your offerings on your website.
Lettfolk uses the “See More” link on their “New” Highlight.
2. Promote events
As we all know, social media is a great place to promote events and build brand awareness, especially because users look for information there. Although we’re restricted from gathering in large groups right now and your business might not be hosting in-person events, you can still use the Stories feature to showcase past events, promote upcoming ones, and help raise awareness about others. This will allow followers to get a better idea of what the events your business actually hosts are like—and increase interest for future ones!
Boston Business Women has a highlight showcasing all events organized by the group.
If your business hosts events, workshops, or training experiences (all can be virtual, too), dedicating an Instagram Story Highlight exclusively to event promotion is a strategic, fun, creative way to share more of your brand’s personality while also increasing brand awareness.
3. Show what you’ve been up to
Keeping clients informed is always one of the most important objectives of businesses, and offering a behind-the-scenes look at what your business has been up to while #WorkingFromHome is a great idea for an Instagram Story Highlight.
Chobani’s #chobaniathome Instagram Story Highlight
With Stories like these, your followers—and your customers—are able to picture people at your company or new initiatives, and both of these help humanize your brand.
Here are some great ways your business can do this today:
- Tease viewers by giving them an inside look at some of your new products.
- Share pictures, videos, or screenshots taken during company meetings.
- Show where your employees have been working recently.
4. Interact with customers with interactive polls
Using ad interactive polls on your Instagram Stories not only allows you to engage with customers, it also allows you to collaborate with customers. You can gain a greater understanding of your audience and insight into their pain points, as well as ask them fun, different sorts of questions, inviting them to interact with your brand.
Mother Juice, located in Boston, interacts with followers by asking them what they miss most about their company.
Even more, the results you get from Instagram Story polls can help you reframe your marketing and advertising campaigns more effectively. Creating a highlight including all the ad polls you’ve posted on your Instagram Stories is a great way for followers and users to see that you’re interested in their opinions and feedback on your products or conversations.
If you want to learn more about ways you can use ad interactive polls to drive engagement with your customers, we’ve got a whole blog post on this topic waiting for you!
5. Answer your followers’ questions
Another interactive feature you can use to capture your followers’ attention is an Instagram Story Highlight with answers to common questions.
Remote Year’s Q&A Instagram Story Highlight
In 2018, Instagram introduced the “Questions” sticker, which allows your followers to submit questions to your business when you add this to your Instagram Story. A unique feature of the Questions sticker is that you can view the profiles of the users who responded; you can share someone’s questions or comments, but their photos and their profiles and usernames won’t be disclosed. This allows you to share the questions that users have asked, or their responses to questions you’ve asked, and their profiles won’t be shared publicly.
Our own Story Highlight answering customer questions.
A good place to start is by asking common questions about business hours, new products, features, or location, and begin by answering those. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think of what you’d like to know if you clicked through your business Q&A highlight. A restaurant may ask, “What’s something you’d like to see on our menu? Or an agency might ask, “What’s your favorite social ad we’ve created for you?” Or a realtor could ask, “Is proximity to mass transit important to you?” Users can also type an answer instead of asking a question.
6. Feature product tutorials
Creating an album specifically for tips and tutorials for using your product or service helps to establish your credibility and build trust in your brand. Part of the album can be showcasing actual customers using your product or service to demonstrate the ease of product use. This Instagram Story Highlight also allows you to show a more in-depth look at the functionality of your product or service and gives customers an inside look, an idea of what to expect when they (hopefully) make a purchase.
Tagwalk has a collection of “How to Guides” in one of their Highlights.
For businesses selling higher price points or lesser-known brands, there’s a longer consideration phase before people buy. You can cut straight to the chase with your prospects (or at least try to) by giving them a sneak peek of what they get when they buy!
7. Highlight your customer testimonials
We all know the importance of sharing customer reviews, so be sure to share your company’s reviews with your followers, too! Creating a highlight dedicated to reposting screenshots or testimonials of your customers’ experiences using your product, service, or brand, and highlighting these on your Instagram account is a great way to share the stories of your happy customers. Customer testimonials are valuable to emphasize the benefits customers have received from your products or service.
These customer testimonials are also a great opportunity to use the “See More” button, allowing followers to swipe up and shop the product your customers were raving about.
Just be sure to ask customers if they’d be willing to be featured on your business’s Instagram profile, but hopefully you’ll have trust built with them already and they’ll say yes!
8. Share sales and discounts
One of the most effective ways to boost sales on Instagram and attract followers to engage with your content in some way is through offering discounts or giveaways.
Offering discounts and sales on your products provides greater visibility to your brand and has the potential to increase sales, generate leads, and boost traffic to your website.
Creating an Instagram Story Highlight dedicated to sharing current sales, discounts, and promotions is a great idea. Discounts or giveaways naturally attract prospects, prompts them to engage with the content on your Story, and then encourages them to buy your product or services.
9. Start a series
You’ve now read many tips on how to promote your products and services, advertise your events and highlight past ones, and communicate sales and discounts you’re having right now. Another creative way to engage with your customers on Instagram Stories and earn extra visibility is by creating a highlight dedicated to posting fun, relatable content. This can be related to your company’s offering, your company’s mission—or, it doesn’t necessarily have to be related with your particular business or industry.
Califa Farms has a Story Highlight named “Smile” dedicated to sharing daily moments of joy.
You can do this is by creating a story album dedicated to sharing motivational quotes related to your business, jumping on current trends happening on social media, or dedicating a highlight to sharing about your content, like a blog or video series.
Curds & Co. has a Story Highlight created for their website blog.
You can also share with your followers’ non-business motivational quotes, and funny quotes (humor goes a long way in engaging an audience). The key here is to stay consistent. Post those quotes regularly for the duration of your campaign or make a story every time you’re posting a new blog or video. This consistency keeps your customers coming back!
Put these Instagram Story Highlight tips into practice
As we know, social media is constantly evolving, and Instagram and the many features it offers are growing with it. I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to use Instagram Story Highlights to add a whole new dimension to how your business interacts with followers on Instagram. If you are looking for ways to grow your business, experimenting with the unique Story Highlight feature on Instagram is a great way to do so!