Top Tips for Creating Engaging Instagram Story Highlights: Mastering Instagram Highlights and Stories

By: Ellen Bartolino

Instagram has revolutionized the way we share and consume content, with Instagram highlights and stories standing out as dynamic tools for engagement and expression. Whether you’re looking to showcase your best content, keep your followers engaged, or highlight specific aspects of your product or service, understanding how to effectively use these features is essential.

Instagram story highlights are curated collections that appear on your Instagram profile, offering a permanent home for what would otherwise be ephemeral content. They provide a great way to capture the fleeting moments shared in stories and extend their life beyond the initial 24-hour window. From sharing tips, events, or daily activities, highlights can be strategically used to represent your brand’s story and values consistently.

Creating compelling highlight covers and organizing your stories into meaningful categories can significantly enhance user experience and reinforce your brand’s aesthetic. Instagram highlights are not just functional; they are also an integral part of your visual identity on the platform.

As we dive deeper, we’ll explore everything you need to know about creating effective Instagram highlights—from choosing the right cover image to using your archived stories in creative ways. This guide will equip you with the knowledge to leverage Instagram’s features for better engagement and a more appealing Instagram profile.

Tips for creating instagram story highlights

How to Create Captivating Instagram Highlight Covers

Creating captivating Instagram highlight covers is crucial for making your profile stand out and engage your audience. These covers are the first thing users see when they visit your Instagram profile, so it’s essential to make them appealing and reflective of your brand.

Designing Your Highlight Cover Icons

Start by considering your brand’s aesthetic. Use your brand colors and design elements consistently across all your highlight covers to maintain a cohesive look. This visual consistency helps users quickly identify your brand and adds to the overall appeal of your profile.

There are several tools available for designing custom covers, such as Canva, Adobe Spark, and Photoshop. These platforms offer templates that can be customized to fit your needs. When designing, keep it simple yet striking. Minimalist designs often work best; you want the icons to be easily recognizable even at a small size.

As an avid Instagram user, I’ve found that using Instagram Stories effectively increases engagement on my profile. Regularly updating stories with behind-the-scenes content and interactive polls keeps my followers interested and involved, providing real-time feedback that shapes my upcoming content.

Tools for Creating Instagram Story Highlight Covers

When selecting tools for creating your covers, consider the following features:

  • Ease of use: The tool should be user-friendly, even for those with little graphic design experience.
  • Customization options: Look for tools that allow you to adjust colors, text, and graphics to align with your branding.
  • Integration capabilities: Some tools integrate directly with Instagram, making the process of updating your covers smoother.

Canva is particularly popular due to its wide range of Instagram-specific templates and ease of use. It allows you to create custom covers quickly, and you can directly upload them to your Instagram account.

Once you have created your highlight covers, upload them to Instagram. To add them, simply go to your profile, tap and hold the highlight you want to update, select ‘Edit Highlight,’ then ‘Edit Cover,’ and choose your new image.

Remember, the goal of your highlight covers is not just to beautify your profile but also to make it more navigational and user-friendly. They should tell a story about what followers can expect to find in each highlight.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating and Managing Instagram Highlights

Creating and managing Instagram highlights effectively can help you maximize the impact of your Instagram stories by allowing them to live permanently on your profile. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process from start to finish.

Creating a New Highlight from Archived Stories

  1. Go to your profile and tap the ‘+ New’ button under your bio.
  2. You will be taken to your stories archive, where you can select the stories you want to include in your new highlight.
  3. After selecting your stories, tap ‘Next.’
  4. Enter a name for your highlight and tap ‘Add’ (you can also edit the cover of the highlight at this step).
  5. Tap ‘Done’, and your highlight will be visible on your Instagram profile.

Adding Stories to Existing Highlights

  1. View your active story or select one from your stories archive.
  2. Tap the ‘Highlight’ heart icon at the bottom right.
  3. Select the highlight you want to add your story to, or create a new one following the steps mentioned above.

By keeping your highlights updated, you ensure that your Instagram profile remains relevant and engaging. Highlights are a great way to showcase the different facets of your brand or personal life, whether it’s behind-the-scenes content, customer testimonials, or your products in action.

Managing your highlights also involves regularly reviewing them to add new content or remove outdated stories. This keeps your profile fresh and ensures that your audience finds valuable and relevant content each time they visit.

I use Instagram Highlights to keep my most important moments and events accessible. For example, I created a highlight for a recent workshop I conducted, which not only helped attendees revisit the sessions but also served as a promotional tool for future events.

Ensure that your Instagram profile remains relevant and engaging

Tips and Strategies to Maximize Engagement with Instagram Stories Highlights

Engaging your audience through Instagram stories highlights is more than just posting regularly. It involves strategic planning and using features creatively to maintain interest and interaction. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you maximize engagement.

Engage Your Audience with Effective Storytelling

One of the best ways to connect with your audience is through effective storytelling. Use your highlights to tell ongoing stories about your product or service, showcase customer stories, or share behind-the-scenes content. This approach helps create a narrative that your followers can follow and engage with over time.

  • Use your stories: Curate your content in a way that makes your highlights a serialized story. This can keep your audience coming back for more.
  • Add or remove: Regularly update your highlights to add new content and remove what no longer reflects your brand or is less engaging.

Over 500 million Instagram users access Instagram Stories daily, underscoring the feature’s popularity and engagement potential​ (The Tech Report)​.

Innovative Ways to Use Highlights for Business and Personal Profiles

Highlights are a great way to showcase different aspects of your business or personal life, providing a rich, immersive experience for followers:

  • FAQ Highlight: Create a highlight where you answer frequently asked questions. This is particularly useful for businesses looking to address common customer inquiries.
  • Event Coverage: Use highlights to document events, giving those who missed the live events a chance to experience them.
  • Tutorials and How-tos: Share tips, tutorials, and how-to guides relevant to your products or services. This not only educates your audience but also adds value, making your profile a go-to resource.

By strategically utilizing Instagram stories highlights, you can enhance your profile’s attractiveness, encourage longer visits, and foster deeper engagement. Remember, the more you engage your audience, the more likely they are to interact with your content and follow your calls to action.

Instagram Stories have an engagement rate that includes metrics like tap forwards and tap backs, providing insights into how users interact with content. Interestingly, stories with more frames tend to maintain viewer interest longer, suggesting the value of more comprehensive storytelling​ (Rival IQ)​.

Utilizing advanced features and following best practices for Instagram highlights

Advanced Features and Best Practices for Instagram Highlights

Utilizing advanced features and following best practices for Instagram highlights can significantly improve how your content is perceived and engaged with on the platform. Here’s what you need to know to use these features to their fullest potential.

Using Bio and Profile Features to Enhance Highlights

Your Instagram bio and profile features play a critical role in how users interact with your highlights. Ensure your bio is clear, concise, and directs new visitors to your highlights for more information. Consider linking to a specific highlight in your bio that introduces new followers to your brand or top content.

  • Highlight Icons: Design custom icons for each highlight to improve visual appeal and make your profile stand out.
  • Brand Colors: Use your brand colors in your highlight covers to maintain consistency and brand recognition.

How to Update and Maintain Highlights Over Time

Regularly updating and maintaining your highlights ensures that they remain relevant and engaging:

  • Review and Refresh: Periodically review your highlights to remove outdated content and add new stories that reflect current trends or marketing campaigns.
  • Engaging Content: Always aim to post high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your audience. Quality over quantity will keep your followers interested and engaged.
  • Add Links: Where applicable, add links within your stories that direct users to your website, blog, or product pages to increase traffic and sales.

By following these advanced strategies, you can ensure that your Instagram highlights not only capture attention but also drive interaction, enhancing your digital presence and helping you achieve your marketing objectives.

In a notable 2023 case, a brand used Instagram Stories to launch a new product line. They utilized multiple frames and interactive elements like polls and swipe-up links, which not only boosted engagement but also directly increased their web traffic and sales. This case study highlights how effectively leveraging Instagram Stories can translate into tangible business results. You can read more about various strategies and outcomes from Instagram’s own reports and analyses here.

Instagram highlights and stories


Instagram highlights and stories offer powerful ways to engage and connect with your audience. By effectively using Instagram highlight covers, organizing your content thoughtfully, and continuously updating your highlights, you can significantly enhance your profile’s impact and appeal. Remember, each highlight is an opportunity to showcase your brand’s unique story and interact with your audience in a meaningful way.

To maximize the benefits of Instagram stories highlights, focus on creating engaging content, utilizing strategic storytelling, and incorporating your brand’s visual identity consistently. Keep your highlights fresh and relevant by periodically reviewing and updating them, and always look for innovative ways to captivate and engage your followers.

As Instagram continues to evolve, so should your strategies for using its features. Stay up-to-date with new updates and creative ways to use the platform to ensure that your Instagram profile remains an effective tool for personal branding or business marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I create Instagram highlights, and what are some effective tips to consider?

Creating Instagram highlights involves selecting stories from your archive or directly from your active story feed. Tap ‘Highlight’ after posting a story, then ‘New’ to create a highlight. For effective highlights, ensure your cover photo is visually appealing and aligns with your brand. Customize your highlights by categorizing them into themes like events or tips, making them easy to navigate for your followers.

What should I know before posting stories to ensure they are effective when used as highlights?

Before posting stories that you intend to use as highlights, consider the longevity and relevance of the content. Make sure the stories align with your overall Instagram content strategy and are likely to be engaging over time. Use high-quality images or videos, clear captions, and engaging visuals. Remember, these highlights will be visible on your profile and can influence new visitors’ perceptions of your brand.

How can I use Instagram story highlights to engage my audience more effectively?

Instagram story highlights can be used to engage your audience by consistently updating them with new content that adds value. Consider creating highlights for tutorials, FAQs, special events, or behind-the-scenes content. Engaging your audience also involves interacting with them through story reactions and responses, which can be highlighted to show community involvement.

What are some creative ways to categorize my Instagram highlights to attract more followers?

Creative categorization of Instagram highlights can significantly attract more followers. Some categories might include ‘How-To Guides’, ‘Daily Tips’, ‘Customer Love’, and ‘Event Recaps’. Each category should reflect the core aspects of your brand or personal Instagram feed, making it easier for users to find content that interests them. Using custom cover images for each category enhances the visual appeal and helps with brand consistency.

Can I add or remove content from my Instagram highlights after they are created, and how?

Yes, you can add or remove content from your Instagram highlights at any time. To add a story to an existing highlight, go to your active story, tap ‘Highlight’, and then select the highlight to which you want to add it. To remove a story, go to your profile, press and hold the highlight you want to edit, and then tap ‘Edit Highlight’. Here you can uncheck any stories you want to remove or tap ‘Delete Highlight’ to remove the entire category.

Author Bio

Ellen Bartolino

Ellen is a seasoned author and communication expert, with a particular focus on Instagram. Her extensive knowledge of the platform has allowed her to create engaging and effective content for businesses and individuals alike. Ellen has a proven track record of crafting compelling Instagram captions and influencer marketing.