How to Create and Brand Your Instagram Highlight Covers

 

As a follow-up to the 3 Ways To Use Instagram Stories post, Liese Gardner is back to share with us a step by step approach for how to create and brand instagram highlight covers! 

Instagram Stories and Highlights are the fastest growing feature on Instagram and provide a fresh way to reach and interact with your ideal client. 

While Stories are real-time glimpses into your life or business day and last for 24 hours. Highlights allow you to save and group selected content from Stories that then remain on your profile until deleted.  Both are great ways to connect with your followers and extend the message beyond a single image. 

Last week, I talked about Instagram Stories and gave you three ways to use them for business. Highlights are a great way to follow-up and turn them into branded Instagram Highlights.

There is a lot of information here, but I urge you to stay the course to see how to add another layer of professionalism and visual interest to your profile page!

ADDING A STORY HIGHLIGHT

So, why did I begin talking about Instagram Stories when I really wanted to tell you about Highlights? Because every Highlight begins with a Story, don’t it?! Apologies to Rod Stewart!

But seriously, Instagram Highlights are created from your Instagram Stories and take a little forethought and strategy if you want to pinpoint a specific topic.

First – See the AllSeated example at @allseated.com below. The arrow points out exactly where the Instagram Highlights are placed in your profile. AllSeated’s Highlights do not have branded highlight covers but there is no right or wrong here!

 

 

 

Actually, a plus in this case, is that the cover image gives you a sneak peek into the content!

Warner Bros. (seen below ) does go another way with fully branded Highlight Covers.

 

I am partial to branded Highlight covers because Instagram is very visual. Having them there lets viewers see all you do very quickly. For instance, Warner Bros. viewers can see all the various locations that are available for event rental on the lot.

I’m going to show you how to create these covers, but first, let’s go through how to actually create a Highlight!

STEP ONE: HOW TO CREATE A HIGHLIGHT

There are two ways to create a Highlight – from your profile, or from the Story itself.

To begin a Highlight from your profile, you will see several circles in gray with a “plus” sign in them. Tap on the plus sign and the archive list of your Instagram Stories will appear. Simply select the posts you want to add to that highlight album and tap next.

You can also create a new highlight from an active story on your Instagram profile. Open your story post and tap the Highlight icon with the heart.

STEP TWO: Name Your Highlight Album

Next, give your highlight album a name. Keep it short and sweet. It can be up to 16 characters long, but not all 16 characters will appear in the album name on your profile before getting cut off.

STEP THREE: Add or Delete Posts from a Highlight Album

Once you’ve set up a highlight, you can always add more story posts to it or even delete posts from the album.

To add more content, select the highlight and tap on the three-dot on the bottom right of the screen.

Select “Edit Highlight” and then tap the Archive tab to access your story posts. Any posts currently part of the highlight will be faded and designated with a check mark. Select one or more posts to add to the highlight and tap Done when complete.

As far as content strategy, the newest Highlight will appear on the far left, pushing the older ones over. If you plan to have five or more highlights, create the less-significant ones first, and the most relevant or important ones last.

And within the Highlight, pay attention to the order they are uploaded in, especially if it’s a tutorial that should be viewed in chronological order.

STEP FOUR: ADD A BRANDED COVER

Highlight covers are an effective way to extend your brand, as Anything But Gray did with color (see below), and streamline your Instagram profile, adding an element of professionalism and visual interest.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR HIGHLIGHT COVER

To brand your Highlights, you can use a logo, icon, script or image. These can be designed in Photo Shop, Canva or an online or offline design program. I love the “Over” app as it has templates that fit each platform (the Instagram Story size is 1080 by 1920) and a lot of font and design features.

Or you can design right inside of Stories. For demonstration purposes, I used AOO Events (@aooevents) and its Highlights to design covers made right from Stories. But it’s possible to go back and change them to something that is branded expressly for the company.

As you can see here, the Highlight is up, but not yet branded with a cover. To begin…

To create the cover using Instagram, swipe over to the “type” option. Choose the color you want the background and type in a simple one word name for the Highlight. Hit the arrow button and add it to Stories (note … all Highlights begin as a Story and need to stay up the entire 24 hours before being archived.)

This is what the Instagram Story looked like before adding to Highlights. When adding it to Highlights, the cover will automatically default to the first image, but you have the option to scroll through the images and choose which one you want for the cover.

Here is the progression of the Highlight covers. As the newest Highlight, “AOO Color” now appears on the left. You can have up to 20 Highlights, but only the first four will be full covers on the profile page. So a little strategy is needed.

When “Color” was the new Highlight, it came first in the line up. But when I then created a new cover for Oscars and added that to its story, then it came first.

So how to get Color to come first again? I simply added another Story entry to the Highlight and the Highlight moved to first again.

ONE LAST WORD

Remember how the Warner Bros. highlight covers all feature branded icons? To do that, we simply went in a design program such as www.canva.com and pulled icons that fit each location. They were added to each individual story and then chosen as the cover. Important to note: They have to remain in the Highlight Story! See example below.

SO THAT’S IT!

Not really! I’d love to be able to say “So that’s that!” However, there are many nuances to this process that can only be learned by doing. I encourage you to give it a try, knowing that the process is fairly intuitive and there is little chance of doing anything that can’t be fixed or reversed.

I hope this inspires you to use Stories and Highlights. Both are valuable real estate and a way to flex the power of Instagram as you build your brand, develop trust with your audience, and drive traffic to your website.

Liese Gardner is a brand strategist and content creator helping event professionals grow their businesses through social platforms, PR and marketing. Follow her on Instagram at @liesegardner and find her online at www.liesegardner.com. To reach Liese directly, feel free to email liese@liesegardner.com or call 323.633.5209.