In December 2017, Instagram rolled out Stories Highlights and Stories Archive, two new tools which enable users to hold on to their favorite memories from Instagram Stories. These additional Stories features offer up precious new opportunities for brands to promote their content and attract new customers.
In this post, I'll explain just how to do it, but first, here's a brief rundown of the new options:
To showcase Stories content that would otherwise disappear after 24 hours, Stories Highlights enables you to group stories you’ve shared into highlights and feature them on your profile. Highlights stay on your profile until you remove them, and you can have as many highlights as you’d like.
To edit or remove a highlight, just tap and hold that highlight on your profile.
"Stories Highlights appear in a new section on your profile below your bio. To create a highlight, tap the “New” circle at the far left. From there, you can choose any stories from your archive, select a cover for your highlight and give it a name. Once you’re done, your highlight will appear as a circle on your profile that plays as a stand-alone story when someone taps it. "
To prevent your stories from disappearing forever when they expire, all Instagram Stories will now automatically save to your Stories Archive when its initial 24 hour lifespan is up. This makes it easy for you to revisit your favorite moments later on, or bring them back to life in a highlight.
"To access the stories in your archive, tap the Archive icon on your profile. From there, you can easily switch between your Posts Archive and your new Stories Archive. In your Stories Archive, your stories will appear in a grid with the most recent stories at the bottom. The first story from each day will show a date indicator to help you navigate your archive as you scroll."
Tap on any story in your archive to watch it, and from there, you can add it to your story, share it as a post or add it to a highlight on your profile. Only you can see your archived stories.
How to Use Highlights and Story Links to Increase Conversions
Here comes the most interesting part, especially for businesses. Now, with Story Archive and Stories Highlights, you can re-surface the most popular parts of a previous Story, showcasing it to your audience as a "new" post - with promotional links included.
You can share a Story from your Stories Archive in a direct message or to your Story.
To share a story from your Stories Archive:
- Go to your profile and tap the 'Archive' (clock) icon.
- Tap the Story you want to share.
- Tap 'Share' at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap 'Your Story' or choose the people you want to share it with, then follow the on-screen instructions to finish sharing your Story.
You can add Stories to appear on your profile as highlights, even after they disappear. Highlights appear below your profile photo.
To add a 'Story' to a highlight:
- Go to your profile and tap below 'Stories Highlights'.
- Tap to select the Story (or Stories) you want to add to highlights, then tap 'Next'.
- Choose a cover photo and enter a Story name for your highlight, then tap 'Add'. You can add more photos or videos to your highlight at any time by tapping 'Edit Highlight'.
Other ideas for combining stories and highlights include:
- Drive web traffic - If you have the “Swipe Up” tap-to-view-a-link feature, users who visit your profile will see the highlight at the top, and hopefully tap to view it.
- Showcase Events - Re-cap the best bits of an event or occasion held by your company.
- Create round-ups of company or industry news - And other topics that interest your audience.
There's a range of ways you can use these new functions, adding a whole new perspective to the increasingly popular Instagram Stories option. If you haven't used Stories yet, it's definitely worth looking into for 2018 - Stories use grew by some 200 million daily active users in 2017, now up to 300 million, surpassing its inspiration in Snapchat (178m DAU). As that momentum continues, you can bet more businesses will be looking to tap in. It might be best to get ahead of the curve.
A version of this post was first published on Andrew Macarthy's blog.