Instagram marketing

How to Create and Add Instagram Highlight Covers

  • 9 Minutes
Grab eyes with highlights, and get more engagement!

As you are probably aware, posting onto Instagram stories is one of the best ways to engage with your audience, boost your following and share the fun day-to-day aspects of your business. 

But there’s a catch, stories disappear after 24 hours. Ah! You may have put a lot of effort into answering questions, wanted more people to see a BTS or even had a new product launch that didn’t get many views. 

Don’t worry, we’ve been there! There is a way you can save your stories forever, yep, forever…well, that’s at least until the internet stops working. You’re able to save selected stories to their own pinned spot and bring them back to life with Instagram Highlights.

Instagram Story Highlights is a feature on your profile that lets you ‘Highlight’ any stories you’ve shared from the past. An Instagram Highlight will sit at the top of your profile underneath your bio. And can be a collection of similar stories or a memory you’d like to save; with Instagram Highlights, your stories always have a home to live.

We’re going to dive into why highlights are important for your business, a tutorial on creating your own customised covers and the best practices to keep your profile updated and fresh.

Why should brands be using Instagram story highlights?

Using Instagram highlights is a fantastic way for brands to add value to their profile and optimise customer experiences. You’ll never lose valuable content as long as you have the auto-archiving feature switched on. So, what are the key reasons you should be using Instagram highlights for your business?

  • Longevity – Group, arrange or showcase areas of your business that you couldn’t previously. Highlights allow content to exist much longer than 24 hours, giving your business a chance to show older content to current and new followers.
  • First impressions: Having an aesthetically pleasing feed, along with informative highlights, will make a good impression on any potential followers. You’re setting a good-practice standard and letting people know you mean business.
  • Branding: Highlights can be customized and added to reflect different aspects of your business. By maintaining your brand colors on Instagram highlights, you’ll humanise your business, giving your audience a more personal look into your fun operations and BTS!
  • Eliminate clutter: Content is king, as they say! But when it comes to posting regular content, sometime multiple times a day, your Instagram can become cluttered and confusing. Instagram highlights allow you to organise your past content, keeping it sleek and presentable.
  • Easy navigation – Not many of your customers will scroll to the bottom of your page to find your services, testimonials or other key information. Still, with highlights, you can present your most valuable content front and centre, keeping your audience happy!

What are Instagram story highlight covers?

Instagram highlight covers are an image much like a profile pic that will be the first thing your audience sees when they arrive at your profile. A highlight cover can be customised to align with your branding and give a quick insight into what the highlight may contain. 

How to upload custom Instagram Story Highlight covers

Now that you have more insight into the benefits of Instagram highlights let’s look at how you can create and upload custom highlight covers!

As with any social media platform, you can be as creative as you’d like with your highlight covers, but there is a creative boundary when it comes to your creations. 

This is because the highlight icons are about the size of a fingernail, yep, pretty small! So there’s not a whole lot of room to play with. But this doesn’t mean you can’t create an eye-catching graphic that speaks true to your brand. 

There are a few different options for creating highlight covers, and our favourite option is Canva. But you can use Photoshop or Picmonkey if you prefer. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your very own custom Canva covers. Let’s do it!

Step 1. Open Canva and type ‘Instagram story’ in the search bar (you’ll need to create an Instagram story to set a highlight cover – the dimensions should be 1080px by 1920px)

Step 2. Once you have a story in the editor, you can create your custom cover! You can add different coloured, pastel or gradient backgrounds; we suggest using a solid background color from your brand color palette. 

Step 3. After you have your background, click on the purple plus button on the left-hand side, this will bring up different templates, text and elements. You want to click ‘Elements.’ 

Step 4. You can search for different graphics, shapes or lines from the element tab. Canva offers a huge range of free icons and stickers to choose from. Type in an icon that you’d like to represent your story highlight. This could be a question box, travel icon, lightbulb, or anything you’d like! 

Step 5. Once you have loaded the icon onto your background, you can adjust the size; make sure that the icon isn’t too big as it will be cut off by the highlight circular cropping. 

Step 6. Excellent, you’ve just made your first custom Instagram story covers! Click download and save your highlight cover to your phone or desktop. 

Quick tip! Save your first background as an Instagram story template to speed up the process of creating highlight covers.

Now it’s time to upload your cover to IG Highlight Covers.

Step 1. Open your Instagram account and click on your profile. You’ll see a plus button on the left-hand side with ‘New’ underneath (if you have a highlight already there, it’ll get pushed to the right-hand side).

Step 2. You’ll be prompted to add your previous stories sitting in your archive. Select as many or a few you’d like to feature in your highlight. Click ‘Next’.

Step 3. This will take you to the ‘Title’ and ‘Edit Cover’ sections. Click on ‘Edit Cover’, select your new highlight cover, and adjust to ensure the icon is sitting nicely in the middle of the circle. Change your title. Quick tip! You can only see the first 12 characters of your title, so keeping it short and sweet will ensure your followers know what your highlight is all about.

Step 4. Click ‘Add’. You’ve just uploaded your highlight with your very own custom cover!

Quick tip! You can edit highlights by holding down your highlight from your profile, you can edit or delete the highlight from here.

You can also edit specific content within the highlight by tapping into the highlight, click on the three dots in the bottom right corner. This will bring up a little menu, you can add or remove content, change the cover photo!

Here are 3 Best Practice Tips to Creating a Custom Highlight Cover.

Make sure to stick to your branding.

Whilst it can be fun making wild, out-there content, sticking to your brand colours and fonts on your cover design will make sure that your business looks professional (and it’s also aesthetically pleasing, don’t we all love that!)

Stick to one consistent template 

Once you have your first template, you can save it to your Canva account and simply edit it with different icons to suit the highlighted context. This way, you’re not starting from scratch and maintaining a solid brand identity.

Make your covers simple.

Keep in mind that highlight covers are incredibly small. Having too many graphics, elements or text will confuse your audience. A simple layout always appeals to viewers, and it saves you time during graphic design and makes your profile look sleek as well! It’s a win-win. 

Take a Look at These 4 Beautiful Examples of Instagram Highlight Covers

Need some inspiration? There are hundreds of different highlight variations, and it can get confusing if you’re unsure what covers will look best on your profile. We say, ‘Simplicity is key!’. It helps you organise your content and maintain your brand identity. The profiles below have used highlights to their advantage, and they’ve done a great job of it as well. Take a peek!

Spell, Byron: Instagram Highlight Covers #

Simple, on-brand and eye-catching Spell Clothing has created their highlights to reflect its beautiful branding, capturing the attention of their female audience. They’ve also used their highlights as a place to showcase some dreamy clothing collections. 

Lonely Planet: Instagram Highlight Covers #2

Lonely Planet offers travel guides to their customers worldwide; they’ve stuck to a simple icon and brand colours to give their audience a look into their product features and the latest travel updates without making it feel cluttered. 

Goal Diggers Podcast, Jenna Kutcher: Instagram Highlight Covers #3

Jenna Kutcher is the host of the ‘Goal Digger’ Podcast; she has created some stunning highlight covers that showcase her bright branding. The icons reflect the contents of the highlight, and the one-word title gets straight to the point, so there’s no confusion for her followers.

Vitable Vitamins: Instagram Highlight Covers #4

Vitable is a personalised vitamin brand; they’ve used elegant yet straightforward icons in their highlight covers to convey the best parts of their brand. And they have also stuck with their brand colours for consistency, this helps to maintain brand identity, and it’s also aesthetically pleasing!

And that’s a wrap! Now you’re ready to add some amazing highlights to your profile and give your audience an insight into your business, the incredible services you offer or the awesome products you’re about to launch.

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Photo of Photo of Kyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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