instagram story highlights

What do people see first when they open your Instagram profile?

Your bio information and of course right below one of the most useful Instagram features, the Instagram stories highlights!

They are front and center on your profile, serving as the perfect indicators to show users what your brand is all about.

Unlike Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, Instagram Stories Highlights can live permanently on your profile. 

This is why you should consider spending some time planning on how to apply them to showcase and promote your brand.

We got you covered!

In this guide, you will learn all you need to know to create Instagram Highlights that will help you stand out from the crowd.

1. What are Instagram Story Highlights?

We all know that Instagram stories disappear in 24 hours. And, in order to give the option for the users to save some of the stories and make them visible as a pin in their profile, Instagram has provided a feature called Highlights.

Instagram Highlights are groups of stories that you can create as folder sections on your Instagram profiles.

This means that once you post a story you can save it in a Highlight (like a folder) that will display on your Instagram profile, or you can activate the Archive option that will automatically save Instagram stories and in future create highlights from the saved stories in your archive.

The main attributes of the Highlights are:

  • Highlights covers – option to add a custom image or an icon that will represent the topic of the stories that are saved inside;
  • Highlights name – option to name the Highlight the same as you do with naming folders.

Note that, once you create the Highlights they appear in your Instagram profile screen right below your bio text and profile photo.

Get started

Instagram Stories Platform

Generate, analyze and embed Instagram stories on any website.

2. How to Create Instagram Highlight?

As mentioned above, you have two ways how to create an Instagram Story Highlights:

  • Create Highlight from the active story – Post a story and manually save it in a Highlight
  • Create Highlight from archived stories – If you have the Archive option activated, your stories will save automatically in your archive section, and in the future, you can choose which stories to be organized in a Highlight.

Let me show you how to create a Highlight with the first option:

Create Highlight from the active story

If you have an active story and you want to make sure this story is added to a Highlight just follow these steps:

  1. Tap on the active story to view it
  2. Tap the bottom option Highlight
  3. Tap the plus icon to create new Highlight
  4. Enter the name of the new Highlight
  5. Tap the blue buttons Add
create highlight from active story
Create Highlight from an active Instagram Story

Once you do this, your new Highlight will appear on your profile photo and your followers will be able to view it even after the 24 hour story lifetime.

Create Highlight from the archived stories

To add Instagram stories from your archive to a highlight and pin them on your profile, follow the steps below:

Create new Instagram story highlights
  1. Go to your Instagram profile and tap Story Highlights below bio
  2. Tap the plus icon
  3. In the new window, tap and select the stories you want to appear in the Highlight and tap Next.
  4. Tap ‘Edit Cover’ to choose which story will appear as a Highlight icon or just upload an icon
  5. Enter a name for your Highlight
  6. Tap Add (iPhone) or Done (Android).
Create highlights from archive

How to add more stories in a current Highlight

You can add more photos or videos to your highlight at any time by following these steps:

  1. Go to your profile and hold your finger pressed on the Highlight you want to edit
  2. Tap Edit Highlight
  3. Choose the stories you want to add and tap Done
Edit Instagram Highlights

Also in this ‘Edit Highlight’ screen, it’s text and it’s the cover image. And if you want to delete the Highlight, just press and hold on the Highlight you want to delete and choose the option ‘Delete Highlight’.

3. Why Instagram Highlights are so Important?

The Instagram Stories have become one of the main channels for brands to connect, engage, and gain real results from their digital marketing activities. Understanding Instagram stories for business can be one of your main competitive advantages for your 2020 marketing activities.

Therefore, having hard-produced story videos or images, saved for future followers to view at any time, make the Highlights feature very important for the community managers and digital marketers.

The main reasons why you need to use Instagram Highlights, are the following:

  • Use this new format to tell an ongoing story
  • Make the content of your stories accessible to new followers
  • Educate them about your previous activities posted in the stories
  • Showcase your products or services, in a structured and categorized way
  • Provide library format of useful content that you’ve already shared

4. How to add Instagram Highlights covers or icons?

The covers and the text of the Instagram Highlights are gaining huge popularity due to the fact that these small icons are the first thing a new visitor to your Instagram profile will see.

You will notice that the cover images are usually the images in the stories that you’ve selected for that particular Highlight. But, in this tutorial, it will show you how to change the Highlights covers without sharing them in a story.

Before you start, please add the icon images in your phone’s camera roll and follow these steps.

  1. Go to your profile and hold your finger to the Highlight you want to edit
  2. Tap Edit Highlight
  3. Tap Edit Cover
  4. Choose the photo from your camera roll
  5. Tap Done
change highlight cover

5. How to design Instagram Highlights Cover Icons

For this challenge, I will definitely recommend Canva.

It is a very easy tool and it already have predefined icons that you can easily re-use to make Instagram highlights covers.

You will only need to follow the steps below, and in a very fast time you will be able to create your highlight covers:

  1. Open Canva and click Create a design
  2. Choose the Instagram story format instagram story canva
  3. Choose any template, delete its content and change the background color instagram highlights bg icon canva
  4. Go to Elements and in the search field type icon. Choose the preferred icon, set it in the middle and choose its color idesign highlights icon
  5. Share this design to your email and save it to your phone’s camera roll

Once you want to change the cover, just choose this icon from your phone’s camera roll.

6. Instagram Highlights examples to get inspired

Once you know how you want to create the icons, you will need to make a plan for the overall design of the Highlights section. 

This is a current trend, and as you are probably aware you want to make sure people coming to your profile click on these icons and check your great Instagram stories.

In the following section, you can find some interesting ideas on how to organize the Instagram stories and design the Highlights covers.

Here are few Highlights covers for inspiration:

1. Glossier Inc. a people-powered beauty ecosystem – they use pink color only for their profile image (not a logo) and for the Highlights covers they use only blank – white images. Very minimalistic and very different than other accounts, who usually use icons or some product images.

Glossier Instagram

2. Carrots n Cake Flexible Macro Plans & Coaching – provides a very indebted structure about their content published via Instagram stories and use all green icons with the same layout to represent all different categories of the Highlights.

carrotsncake highlights

3. Starbucks Coffee – they use real people photos as cover icons for the Highlights. This appeal brings the design of their profile to life and it makes the visitors feel the user-friendliness of the profile.

Starbucks highlights

7. Tips for creating effective Instagram Story Highlight covers

Instagram highlights popularity has definitely resulted in them being an essential element of every Instagram profile.

So, to make sure you keep up with the latest trends, we combined some tips with real examples to showcase how you can design the Highlight covers to get the best of this Instagram feature.

Tip 1: Be innovative. Use words instead of icons or vice versa

When creating Highlight icons, make sure it is in line with your brand identity but still have fun, and try to be as innovative as possible to make that small space eyecatching.

For example, see how Instagram for business is doing this.

They use their colors but not for designing the cover icons.

They’ve literally swiped the spaces.

Instead of the cover icons, they use text and as the Highlight name, they use emoji. Cool right?!

instagram for business cover icons

Tip 2: Use bold icons and text to emphasize your highlights

Take a look at how the French beauty chain Sephora is doing this.

They use simple, but cute icons to demonstrate their activities on Instagram, from posting stories about new products or categorizing these stories by a product type.

Sephora Instagram cover icons

Tip 3: Use your brand colors

To make your profile have a cohesive look and keep your brand voice, try including your brand kit in your Instagram highlights covers.

See how the American chain of restaurants Shake Shack is doing this.

They use simple icons with their predominant black color as a background and green graphics to present their company activities. 

highlights covers by shakeshack

Tip 4: Showcase your product/services

Highlights are a good way to show Instagram users what you offer.

Check out how Florence by Mills does this. The cosmetics brand crafts eye-catching highlights (that also match their brand colors) to present their products and services.

florence by mills instagram cover icons

Tip 5: Use your brand ambassadors

See how Nike Women does that in practice.

The famous footwear corporation includes famous athletes as their brand ambassadors in their main story highlights covers.

The actual covers are a photo of the athlete and the name of the Highlight is her name.

Nike Instagram cover icons

8. How to display Instagram Highlight on your website?

Once you are done crafting your unique Instagram highlights, why not show your creativity on your website too?

Please note that at this moment Instagram does not have an API that will allow third-party tools to directly sync the websites with your Instagram Highlights.

The good news is that there are tools like EmbedStories that can display Instagram stories on any website.

This means that you can embed Instagram Highlights but only for the stories that are already generated in the EmbedStories platform.

The archived stories can be uploaded manually by using the upload option for a custom story that you can later add in your stories Highlights menu.

For any information on how to embed Instagram Highlights on your website, feel free to chat with us.

As a summary, Instagram highlights help brands catch the eye of their followers and keep them engaged in a more creative way. 

And from the looks of it, Instagram highlights popularity isn’t going to vanish anytime soon.

Use that wisely!

Instagram Stories Platform

Generate, analyze and embed Instagram stories on any website.

Avatar for Nikola Bojkov
Nikola Bojkov

CEO of EmbedSocial | Facebook ads craftsmen | Previous founder of a Facebook Partner Company | Lena's Dad.