February 13, 2019

How to Use Instagram Highlights to Engage Consumers and Elevate Your Brand

How to Use Instagram Highlights to Engage Consumers and Elevate Your Brand

Whether you are a marketing manager for your product or you are branding for yourself, Instagram Stories Highlights is an incredibly valuable tool that should be in your influencer marketing arsenal.

Instagram Highlights, just over a year old, grew out of the Stories Archive feature—also rolled out in 2017—that allows you to archive your Instagram Stories so that they do not disappear into the ether after 24 hours. This means that brands can now create Stories content without losing the fruits of their creative efforts the following day. The content can even be resurrected again at a later date.

Highlights are the first thing you see when you look at an Instagram feed—they are the little circles right below the bio and right above the feed. This appealing feature has been likened to a movie trailer; it enables you to curate a ‘tour’ of your brand and its features, giving potential customers a quick and engagingly packaged set of virtual bullet points that introduce your product.

If your brand is not yet making use of the Highlights feature in Instagram, it’s time to regroup, reconsider and take a good look at how this innovative tool can elevate your brand presence and create an Instagram experience that puts your products center stage, drives traffic and converts shoppers into buyers.

How to Create Instagram Stories Highlights

Instagram Stories Highlights provide a lot potentials to your Instagram account.

The Highlights feature is easy to implement, so don’t pass up the opportunity it presents to showcase your brand.

First, turn on the auto archive feature to prevent any future loss of valuable content. The auto archive feature saves your stories to the cloud automatically—there’s no further action that you need to take in order to archive your stories and keep them for as long as you like.

To create highlights just go to your profile and click on the arrow next to “Story Highlights.” Click “New” and add the stories from your archive that you’d like to highlight. After that, choose a title, select a cover photo and voila, you have a mini marketing campaign in each curated slideshow. After Highlights are created, they are easy to edit any time you want to make changes.

Ways Brands Are Using Instagram Highlights

More and more brands are using Instagram Stories Highlights

Grouping Stories by topic is a great way to make specific content easily accessible to niche demographics within your brand audience. It’s an introduction to your brand, but also a way to deepen the connection with potential customers, drawing them in, engaging them further and letting them know what you have to offer that’s of specific interest to them.

You can group your Highlights into categories of your choice, highlighting different topics like one of my favorite brands, Anthropologie. Anthropologie’s Highlights are currently arranged into 11 categories, ranging from “Commuter Closet,” which is clothes that transition well from work to downtime, to categories like “July Somewhere” (resort wear) and “What’s New.”.

Categories can include groupings to promote items for holidays, different seasons and specific brands, among other options. There are all kinds of possibilities for brands from highlighting sales and promotions to showcasing special events in their Highlights, like wellness activist Kris Karr did when she promoted a Cancer Summit in her Highlights.

Another favorite, second-hand clothing brand ThredUp has categories for “Finds,” “Style Inspiration” and “Q&A.”

Home décor magazine Domino Mag is yet another great example of how you can use appealingly curated groups of Stories to engage your customers. Their Instagram has Highlights that include “Color.” “Trends” and “Home Tours.”

Highlights are also a terrific way to drive traffic to your website. Users can swipe up on a Story Highlight to “See More” and go right to your website within Instagram.

Highlights can contain links to websites or to Instagram accounts of featured Influencer partners, like this link in the “Home Tours” Highlight of Domino Magazine’s Instagram, which leads us to the topic of how Highlights can inspire some wonderful, mutually beneficial brand-influencer partnerships.

Instagram Highlights For Influencers

Influencers use Instagram Highlights to drive more engagements

Influencers can make wonderful use of Highlights on their Instagram feeds, like Kris Karr who has tabs that cover topics like recipes, wellness, beauty and another that takes you straight to some of her blog posts, like this fun post with a video on “How to Make Meditation Super Easy.”

Brands Like Anthropologie and ThredUp can create thriving partnerships with influencers that will make engaging Highlights. For clothing brands like these, it makes sense to partner with stylists and fashion bloggers who they can they feature in Highlights giving customers inspiration on how to style their own wardrobes.

ThredUp’s “Style Inspiration” Highlight has links to the Instagram feeds of influencers like Tracy-Ann Frazier, Bethany Everett and body positive fashion blogger Kristina Zias.

Home décor brands like West Elm, Domino Mag and Article can partner with interior decorators and design bloggers.

Article has a Highlight on their Instagram about a recent shoot on Pender Island in British Columbia that has a link to the Instagram feed of Sea Star Farm and Vineyard, a vineyard where some of the shoot took place.

The Article shoot was a win for Pender Island tourism, since the entire island was featured in the shoot. You can swipe up on one of the Stories about the shoot to go to the Article website and read “The Article Guide to Pender Island.”

Make Some Magic on Your Instagram Feed

Not only is Instagram Highlights fun to implement, but the possibilities for engaging cross-promotions using this feature are innumerable for both brands and influencers.

Highlights are ridiculously easy-to-use and so appealing that just a cursory exploration of how brands are integrating this wonderful Instagram tool into their marketing plans will likely inspire you to follow a number of new brands in short order—this feature is that good at engaging customers.

If you are a marketer promoting a brand, it’s simple to find influencer-partners who will appeal to your audience using a handy vetting tool like socialbook.io. Just select your preferred channel (in this case, Instagram), and you can then narrow down your influencer choices by different categories like type of content, language, audience and reach after that. You will also be able to see their top performed posts and get an idea of what posts can generate the most likes or comments.

Link to your chosen influencers in Highlights on your brand Instagram and they can link back to you in Highlights on their Instagram feeds, creating wonderful win-win cross-promotions for their brand and yours.

Want to find out how to find the best Instagram influencers for your target demographic? Head on over to SocialBook for a free demo and trial to find out how!