A Guide to Instagram Stories & Story Highlights for Business

Thanks to consistent Instagram updates, ways to use Instagram for business are ever evolving – there is always a new Instagram business idea to put your brand on the social media map. We’ve already talked generally on the blog about utilising Instagram for business, but there’s a mistake many businesses are still making, and its to do with Instagram stories and story highlights. Many brands consider their Instagram story as a place to publish any random content that isn’t quite post-worthy. In reality, there are much more effective ways to use Insta stories, and with the latest addition of Instagram story highlights you have more opportunity than ever to make the most of such great features. First, we will run through our guidelines for making the most of your business Instagram story, then we will talk about how Instagram story highlights work, and how these story highlights are perfect for increasing engagement with your brand.

Instagram Stories for Business: Guidelines

When planning to post something to your Insta story, you should consider what you will post as a form of Instagram marketing that should be in keeping with your Instagram brand. As we’ve mentioned, many businesses post to their story without much careful consideration, but in order to optimise your story and take advantage of the benefits that come with it, we recommend only uploading an Ig story that is doing one of these 6 key things:

1.       Telling a story

Instagram stories are called ‘stories’ for a reason. If your story has a simple narrative that you know your audience will enjoy, your followers will associate positive feelings with your business and therefore will be more likely to support your brand. A simple yet effective story narrative example would be following a product’s journey from start to finish e.g. from the manufacturing process right through to when it arrives with the customer, including their reaction.

2.       Keeping viewers up-to-date

Using your business Instagram story to share relevant, interesting updates such as business news, local news, and events taking place in your location boosts your image as an expert in your field and shows your audience that you care about the industry. Sharing relevant news instead of constantly promoting your own brand will make your audience feel like you care about their interests too, not just your own, and it will consolidate your brand within the community.

3.       Entertaining or challenging your audience

Competitions, games, and challenges entertain and stimulate your followers in a way

that conventional posts don’t. As people are naturally curious, presenting them with a quiz, contest, or treasure-hunt style challenge will tempt them to rise to the occasion and engage with your business, especially if you include some kind of incentive!

4.       Giving viewers an “exclusive” insight

If your business can feature authentic and organic ‘behind the scenes’ content

that is happening in the moment rather than just recycling content from Instagram or Facebook feeds, story viewers will feel they are getting more of an ‘exclusive insight’ into the day-to-day life behind your brand. Exclusivity allows your community to feel more connected will ultimately increase audience engagement.

5.       Creating a sense of urgency

Making the most of the 24-hour time limit with Insta Stories to promote limited-time opportunities (such as special offers that are only available that day) creates a sense of urgency, encouraging a reaction from your audience.

6.       Promoting a Call to Action

Using ‘Swipe up to see more’ ads on your Instagram Stories is a great way to make your

audience take action by immediately acting on their first impulse. In order to enable clickable ‘Swipe up’ story links, you must have a business profile with over 10,000 Instagram followers. Start your story as normal by taking or adding your selected photo or video, then simply click on the ‘chain link’ icon at the top of your story. Here you can add in the destination link, and once posted, viewers can swipe up from your story to visit the URL – if possible, link to a page on your site with a high conversion rate!


Instagram Story Highlights for Business: Guidelines

As the Instagram app has developed, it has recently introduced an Instagram Story Highlights feature, which allows you to mark some stories as ‘highlights’, essentially ‘pinning’ them to your profile. Optimising your use of these story highlights for business Instagram requires the consideration of the following four aspects:

1.       Permanency

Unlike regular Instagram Stories that vanish after 24 hours, Instagram Stories Highlights are

curated clips grouped together (that play as stand-alone stories when tapped on) and they live permanently on your profile until you delete them.

2.       Location

Due to their permanency and where they appear (directly under your bio and above your Instagram feed) your Insta story highlights feature at the front and centre of your profile and will most likely be one of the first things new visitors discover.

3.       Categories

As such, it is important for your business Instagram that you establish four or five specific categories for story highlights (only four or five are visible at once on most mobile devices, but there are no limits to how many you can create). We suggest you think of each of these categories as representing a different principal element of your brand. For example, making sure to still the previous story guidelines in mind, you could use one story highlight for brand values, one for latest offers, one for recent events, and one for weekly quizzes or contests. This gives structure to your profile and your business, allowing newcomers to immediately understand the layout of your business and the ways in which they can interact with it.

4.       Story Highlight Covers

Lastly, the Instagram story highlights thumbnail or ‘cover’ is more important than you’d think, especially if your business or brand has a particular aesthetic to uphold. Using a cover for each highlight category that is visually appealing and consistent with the aesthetic of the rest of your Instagram feed will make your brand is instantly coherent and recognisable.

By using these guidelines, you will transform your Business Instagram stories and story highlights into powerful Instagram marketing tools. Marketing on Instagram is a piece of cake, and made even easier when a dedicated social media manager can handle it for you. We at SEM Consultants have excellent in-house social media managers who can keep on top of your Instagram for you, ensuring your content marketing strategy never slips and your audience just keeps on growing. Contact us below for more information.