How to Use Instagram Highlights to Drive Traffic to Your Content
How can you make Instagram Highlights convert your audience into readers, subscribers and paying customers?
Unlike regular stories, highlights are specifically curated by you and will remain on your profile indefinitely – which, in case you didn't realize, is kind of a big deal. If you're a blogger, a podcaster, or a creative online business owner, this feature opens up a whole new realm of possibilities when it comes to promoting your content and generating new leads for your business. I don't know about you, but any feature that will allow you to deliver even more value to your audience is a must-use in my books.
In this post, I'll give you some ideas as to what type of content you could add to your Highlights, and how to set 'em up on your profile.
The best part about Highlights is that while the images you post will drop lower and lower on your feed, Highlights will stick around for as long as you want. And because Highlights are a key component of your profile, their contents will make an impression on new and potential followers – which is why you'll to want to take your brand into consideration when you're building content for your Highlight reels.
The most efficient way to post stories and highlights that are on-brand is to have a set of standard templates on hand. Your templates should be the ideal size for a smartphone (1080x1920px) and should give your plenty of space for live text that you can add on Instagram stories, or in a program like Canva.
I have a handful of JPGs saved to a folder on my iPhone so I can access them whenever I want to post a blog or product announcement. That way, my text-based content looks different from the standard gradient background that Instagram gives you, but I'm not spending a ton of time building something from the ground up every time.
Instead of making your own templates from scratch, you can swipe mine for FREE – no editing required! – then add them to your Highlights reel with text.
How do highlights work?
Before posting a story that you want to turn into a highlight, you’ll need to make sure that your Instagram Stories Archive feature is turned on. You can find it under “Story Settings” when you click the gear button on your profile. This feature will allow you to store all of your stories in the cloud automatically, so if you post something and want to go back and watch it a week later, you can. It will also allow you to select any story from your archive and highlight it, whether it was posted a day ago or three weeks ago.
After turning on the archive feature and sharing your story, you can turn it into a highlight in one of three different ways:
To highlight a story that is less than 24 hours old and is still active on your profile, you can click the button in the bottom right-hand corner of the story that says “Highlight.” From there, you can add it to an existing highlight, or create a new one.
To highlight a story that has expired, you can navigate to your archive via the counter-clockwise arrow on your profile, select a story, and click the same button in the bottom right-hand corner that says “Highlight.”
To create a new highlight, give it a title, and modify it’s thumbnail (more on this below), go to your profile and click the grey button under Highlights that says “New.”
A few things that are important to note about highlights...
When you create a brand new highlight, you are able to give it a title. However, only the first 8-10 letters will fit in the space below the highlight on your profile. If possible, select a one-word title that will attract attention, instead of a multi-word title that will get cut off.
You can customize the highlight’s thumbnail, so your viewers will only see the piece of the story that you've focused on, such as a title or a certain chunk of an image. Simply add your highlight via the “New” button on your profile, and click “Edit Cover.”
Adding multiple stories
You can add more than one story to a highlight. For example, if you explained a step-by-step process in three parts on your story, you can add all three to one highlight, and they'll play back-to-back. But here's the catch: If you try to add stories to your Highlight in a different order, it won't work. All of your stories will get added to your Highlight in the order that they were originally posted.
You can add up to 100 stories to one highlight. After that, the first stories in the sequence will be archived to make room for the most recent.
The "Top 5" highlights
Only five of your Highlights will show up prominently on your profile. Although you can add more, your audience will need to scroll to see the rest. The five Highlights that will show up most prominently on your profile are the ones that were most recently added to. So, if you always want your Blogging category to show up front and centre, you'll want to add to it after you've added to any other Highlight to force it back to the beginning.
How to drive traffic from Highlights
Your Highlights will live just below your bio, and because of their prominence, people will generally skim your Highlights whenever they land on your profile. When you're choosing which content to highlight, think about what you would want new visitors to know about you and your business. What would encourage them to hit the "follow" button, click the link in your profile, or check out your services?
If you don't want to bother maintaining your Highlight reel, promoting your evergreen content – like blog posts or digital products – is a great idea. That way, you don't need to remember to delete something when an offer expires, an event is over, or your strategy shifts.
Instagram Highlights can also be used as a point of contact. For example, instead of writing “link in profile” in all of your captions, you can direct your audience to a specific highlight where they'll get more detailed information, see an example of your work, or – if you have 10K followers – swipe up and be directed to a sales page.
This strategy can work especially well for service-based businesses who want to share their portfolio without overwhelming their feed. Instead of waiting until it's appropriate to share yet another logo concept or testimonial in your grid, pin an Instagram story to a Highlight labelled "portfolio" or "kind words," then refer to it when you get client inquiries in your comments or DM's.
If you rely on e-mail marketing in your business, highlights may also help you build your e-mail list. In the same way that you could highlight evergreen content to increase it's lifespan, you could also highlight an amazing opt-in that is available on your website. If your goal is to get your audience off of Instagram and onto your e-mail list, your best bet is to ensure that the call to action on all of your Instagram highlights is to sign up for something on your website.
Lastly, highlights are a great place to store time-sensitive announcements, like discount codes with an expiration date, sales that will last just a few days, or giveaways with an upcoming deadline. Rather than spamming your Instagram story with reminders every 24 hours, you can use highlights to share the details with not only your audience, but anyone who lands your profile.