Instagram’s new Stories Highlights: Brands listen up

social media marketing agency
Instagram’s new Stories Highlights: Brands listen up
Behlul M
December 11, 2017

Instagram continues its evolution into a marketer and influencer’s dream by allowing all profiles to save certain stories for more than 24 hours. Dubbed ‘Highlights’ – if you have your Instagram app updated, check your profile page and you’ll see a Highlights feature just below your bio. Here you can click through your archive and choose to highlight your previous stories.

The Highlights are a horizontal carousel where each Highlight thumbnail can be a collection of Stories you choose from your archive. You can choose a thumbnail photo for it, name it and you’re ready to go. Worth noting, Instagram has only archiving your Stories since you updated the app. You can turn it off of course and the archived folder can only be viewed by you.

You won’t see ads in Highlights and brands can’t save an ad to their Highlights, according to Instagram spokesperson. For now.

How are brands and marketers going to use this feature? Here’s our initial thoughts on how to do it right and what to avoid.

1)Keep it relevant

As a brand, you’re going to be tempted to put every story you think looked good or feel is “important information” for the consumer. Be mindful to not overdo it. You need to drive users to your profile and get them to click on it, so there’s a lot of steps they need to take. Once they get there, make sure your Instagram Highlights are the most relevant and most engaging pieces of content.

2)Keep it specific

Because each Highlight acts as a collection of Stories, you can create generic collections such as SALES or FESTIVE DEALS that can keep aggregating related Stories. This way when a user stumbles across your profile, your media aside, you’ve hooked them with a nifty promotion.

3)Avoid being too needy

Don’t over-promote yourself. Though that’s a rule to be followed in all marketing but since it’s a brand new arena – it’s very important to not get carried away and inundate users that come in to your Highlights. When any user posts too many Stories, our low attention span-selves are inclined to swipe right, which is fine. But when they’re in your Highlights, make them want to see each of them.

4)Highlights worthy of the name

Stories that aren’t created to be ads are made with a very specific mindset – it’ll be lost within 24 hours so how much effort should really go into them? Highlights are prone to change this mindset for brands. It gives you a reason to invest more time and resources into creating your Stories because you know it can eventually be a mainstay of your profile.

5)Don’t become Snap chat’s Discover

Instagram’s Highlights can easily become like Snap chat’s Discover for brands where collections can become channels within a brand and each can act as it’s own show or just one episodic collection after another. There’s nothing specifically wrong with this but I feel an overdose of a particular kind of content on a social medium that isn’t originally meant for it, is just overkill. So don’t do it. Or maybe someone will do it right and prove me wrong.

6)Be Creative!

Marketers and brands do wonderful things on social media. Remember when Facebook’s cover photos first became popular spots for creative interpretation by brands and even users? Instagram’s Highlights should be that. I’m excited to see what brands roll out in the early stages and hopefully continue to innovate.

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