How to Use Instagram Stories Highlights to Wow Your Customers

Instagram has just released it’s biggest update of 2017: Instagram Stories Highlights and Archive!

Now, you can create permanent collections of Instagram Stories that will live on your new Instagram profile.

These curated stories are called “Instagram Stories Highlights,” and brands are already loving this hot new feature.

But that’s not it! There’s also a new Instagram Stories Archive, which automatically saves your Instagram Stories in the cloud so you don’t have to save them to your phone. 

In this post you’ll learn how to use Instagram Stories Highlights and we’ll give you 10 ideas for how you can use them to make an impact on your business:

Sign up for our free Instagram Stories Course for tips on how to get more followers, traffic, and sales with Instagram Stories!

instagram stories highlights

Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Stories Highlights

Here’s a look at what’s in this post so you can skip to what you’re looking for:

  1. What are Instagram Stories Highlights?
  2. How to Use Instagram Stories Highlights
  3. 10 Ways to Use Instagram Stories Highlights

What are Instagram Stories Highlights?

Unlike regular Instagram Stories that vanish after 24 hours, Instagram Stories Highlights are curated clips grouped together by you and live permanently on your profile until you delete them.

They appear directly under your bio and above your Instagram feed and will play as a stand-alone story when someone taps on it, and this feature is literally front and centre on your profile.

instagram stories highlights

Instagram Stories Highlights are an extremely valuable addition to an Instagram business profile, because they allow brands to easily curate and showcase the content they want users to see first.

You can think of Instagram Stories Highlights like a movie trailer for your Instagram feed. They’re a creative way to express yourself, show off products, drive traffic, or market your business!


How to Use Instagram Stories Highlights:

Before you can start sharing awesome highlights on your profile, you need to learn how to create Instagram Stories Highlights! Here’s how to use them:

Step 1: Turn the Auto-Archiving Feature On

One major benefit of the new Instagram Stories Archive feature for brands is that it eliminates any anxiety around the loss of valuable content. 

Similar to the Snapchat Memories feature, the new Instagram Stories Archive will automatically save (or “archive”) your stories into the cloud, so they won’t be lost forever if you forget to save them to your camera roll.

As long as you keep the auto-archiving feature turned on, you can retain and re-share your very best Instagram Stories content after the 24-hour period has passed, without needing to set a reminder to save a story manually.

With the latest Instagram update (above), your Instagram Stories should automatically archive,  but if you aren’t able to view them in your Instagram archive, you can edit it in your story settings. 

Step 2: Create Your Instagram Stories Highlights

Now that you have your Instagram Stories Archive set up, you can create your first Instagram Stories Highlight!

To create Instagram Stories Highlights, go to your Instagram profile and click on the arrow next to “Story Highlights” and then click the “New” button.

Next, select the Instagram Stories that you want to add to your highlight. Remember: you can only add stories that have been posted since this new feature started rolling out (December 2017).

After you’ve selected your stories, you’ll be prompted to choose a title and select your cover photo. You can choose thumbnails from different stories and even move them around to get that perfect curated Instagram feed look.

To edit or remove a highlight, just tap and hold that highlight on your profile.

From here, you can change the name, edit the cover, and add/remove stories to your highlights. It sounds kind of confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few minutes! 

10 Ways to Use Instagram Stories Highlights to Wow Your Customers

Grouping your Instagram Stories Highlights together into various categories, events, or topics makes it super easy for your audience to watch Instagram Stories content that is of specific interest to them.

It’s also a great way to add value to your feed, explain what your business is about, and attract new Instagram followers with a curated Instagram aesthetic.

Here are 10 ways you can use Instagram Stories Highlights for business:

#1: Highlight Products or Collections

Fashion + lifestyle brands can use Instagram Stories Highlights to create separate channels for seasonal collections, new arrivals, or to share sales and other promotions.

The account Betches is using an Instagram Stories Highlight to showcase new products in their shop as gift ideas for the holidays.

Glossier is always an early adopter of new Instagram features, and they already have multiple Instagram Stories Highlights on their business profile:

Glossier is using one of their Instagram Stories Highlights to feature a specific product, Cloud Paint. At the end of the story, there is a call to action to swipe up which leads you to the online shop to actually purchase the product! 

#2: Highlight Categories & Topics

Brands who regularly publish content, like magazines or blogs, could create Instagram Stories Highlights based on the same categories they write about.

Each time a story is created based on that topic, it can be filed into the appropriate highlight category — making it simple for followers to view the content they’re interested in.   

#3: Highlight Based on Audience or Interest

You could also organize your Instagram Stories Highlights based on your follower demographics.

For example, a department store could have various channels for its target customers: children, women, men, home goods, electronics, etc. A television network might choose to organize content based on genre like sci-fi, drama, comedy, or action.

If you were creating gift guides, you could organize your Instagram Stories Highlights based on gift ideas for each recipient, like gifts for besties, gifts for mom, or gifts for the boss.

#4: Highlight Tutorials or How-To’s

If you’d like to use your social media channels to educate your audience, you can organize your most helpful tutorials, tips, and tricks into your Instagram Stories Highlights.

For example, the skincare brand Glossier uses one of their Instagram Stories Highlights to share Makeup Tips:

#5: Highlight Your Customers

If you have a product or business that people are consistently tagging in their own story content, you can repurpose it and post to your own Stories. This is not only a great way to give your customers a virtual shout out, but it also showcases your business in an authentic way through UGC (user-generated content).

This Chrome extension will allow you to save another user’s story so that you can add it to your profile. Just make sure that you get permission first and give proper credit to the original creator by tagging them in your story when you post.

#6: Highlight Your Partners & Influencers

If you work with influencers, brand ambassadors, or host regular Instagram Stories takeovers, you can organize all of your partner content into an Instagram Stories Highlight.

Refinery 29 recently did this with their “A-List”, which showcases events, interviews and various takeovers from partners over the last few months.

#7: Highlight Your Campaigns

If you have a promotion or campaign that you’ve put a lot of work into, it can be pretty sad to watch it disappear after only 24 hours! With Instagram Stories Highlights, you can ensure it can be viewed by as many people as possible by pinning it on your profile for as long as that specific campaign is active.

By adding links to Instagram Stories, Anthropologie is also using their highlights to sell on Instagram.

#8: Highlight Your Affiliates + Ad Partners

Influencers and businesses who employ affiliate marketing strategies on social will be able to give their affiliate and #ad posts a much longer shelf life than they could via Instagram Stories alone.

You can choose to organize your affiliate posts based on specific brand partnerships or create  categories based on the audience who the information will best serve.

#9: Highlight Your Events

Musicians can create Instagram Stories Highlights for live shows, and sports teams might choose to create highlights for big games.

If you’re a brand who regularly covers events in your Instagram Stories, create an Instagram Stories Highlight category for them and keep all of the action in one place!

#10: Highlight Your Reviews

If you want to share your stellar customer reviews with your followers, you can create an Instagram Stories Highlight for that! Glossier did this by taking screenshots of customers reactions to a specific product.

After sharing 10-12 reviews from happy customers, they finish the story by adding a link at the end to swipe up and shop the product everyone was raving about.

Things to Know About Instagram Stories Highlights

Creating amazing Instagram Stories content is more important than ever before. 

While you can obviously continue to share in-the-moment, ephemeral content on a daily basis, Instagram Stories Highlights urges you to plan ahead and become more strategic with your Instagram Stories.

Here’s some of the finer details:

  • You can only add stories to your highlight that have been posted to your Instagram Stories since the latest update in December 2017 (or since you started archiving)
  • You can add up to 100 photos or videos to your Instagram Stories Highlights and there’s no limit to how many Instagram Stories Highlights you can create
  • If you add more than 100 clips to your current story, the first one will be removed and added to your Archive
  • Just like the regular Instagram posts that you can choose to archive from your feed, only YOU can see your Instagram Stories Archive

Sign up for our free Instagram Stories Course today!

Written By

Stephanie Gilbert

Stephanie is the Content Marketing Specialist for Later. She loves chatting about all things social media 🤳, exploring her neighborhood in LA🌴, and long walks to the fridge for more wine. 🍷 Follow along @stephjgilbert