I remember clearly the day Instagram stories arrived at the top of our feeds when we opened the Instagram app. Celebrities and influencers alike took to their stories immediately wondering if Instagram was starting to use stories as a way to compete with Snapchat… the app filled with fun filters, a 24-hour life, and a seemingly moment by moment play by play of what someone is doing as they go about their day.

Fast forward a few short years and Instagram stories require their own content creation and marketing strategy. As most social media goes, what began as a fun, new piece of the app has turned into a marketing tool to be mastered for an ROI social media strategists can use to prove their value.

Whether you take a strategic method with your Instagram stories or keep them raw and real to show a more authentic side to yourself than your curated feed showcases, there’s something we all love about Instagram stories these days… the good ol’ highlight feature.

The Highlight Feature

Being able to showcase stories for longer than 24-hours has been a dream-come-true for a lot of people on Instagram– especially influencers and business owners. Showcasing a new line of products for an upcoming season, highlighting educational tidbits for customers or showcasing the latest unboxing for a brand you are influencer for, allowing these stories to be available for anyone to view on your highlights is an awesome way to keep the stories you work to create alive for people to review for weeks, months and maybe even years to come!

One of the best parts of the Instagram Highlight Feature is the ability to decide what image you want to be your ‘cover’; the little image showing up in that circle on your profile. At first, you could only select an image that was once on your Instagram stories but now you can choose from your entire camera roll, making selecting a cover for your highlight a fun way to keep your entire profile consistent with your brand.

In our course, The Curated Grid, we often talk about how your Instagram profile is like your resume. It is quite curated and highlights the best of the best. Your stories, on the other hand, are like your interview– more personal and a little more personality shining through, while still being on brand. The resume and the interview match because there is a common thread– you/your business! Keeping this perspective in mind, it’s easy to understand why people everywhere often opt for branding their Instagram highlight covers. From solid colours in the brand palette to curated icons that tell you what the highlight is all about (again, probably in brand colours!), the cover is a place where you can keep everything you do looking consistent and branded.

How Do You Pick Your Highlights?

For myself, I have icons in our brand palette that we love to use. Currently, our highlights feature the following categories: Client Love, Education, and Influencer. So why did we select these categories? Simple; they reflect who we are and what we do as a company. WellCurated has shifted from being a marketing agency to now providing resources and strategy sessions for creative entrepreneurs who want to take their biz to the next level. Our highlight icons reflect exactly who we are and what we are about…

Client Love showcases love notes from our clients that we are working with either past or present. People want to read reviews– this makes those reviews accessible to people who just happen to be browsing our Instagram feed.

Education is pretty self-explanatory– we offer courses so sharing free educational tools, highlighting workshops and sharing a BTS look at our courses all make for great content on our Education story.

And finally, Influencer. It’s pretty cool to be able to use my previous skills as a photographer to take advantage of unique opportunities to be an influencer for companies. My team is creative and passionate so being influencers for companies is super fun!

So how do you decide what images to feature as your highlights? We love icons because people can get a visual right away for what the highlight will be about. People have been using icons for ages because it’s tried and true and, if you’re a business owner, they are clear which is helpful for customers coming to your page. Opting for straight up colours is pretty, but it can be less clear for people at a quick glance.