Instagram Story Highlights: A Social Media Secret Weapon
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Instagram Story Highlights
For over a decade, social media has been an instrumental tool for business owners and has revolutionized how many industries conduct their operations. Over the years, numerous platforms have emerged – each with their own business applications. At the cornerstone of these platforms are Facebook and Instagram, which have slowly evolved over the years by introducing new features for both individuals and businesses alike.
A big jump came when Instagram launched their ‘stories’ feature in 2016. This allowed users to interact with accounts they follow like never before, going behind the scenes on a more informal basis. Businesses began to capitalize on this feature, giving nearly real-time updates to their customers; especially those with brick-and-mortar storefronts.
In the past, these stories would last for 24 hours before being removed from an account’s timeline. Now, Instagram allows you to embed past stories onto your profile itself and making them more permanent fixtures for your social media presence. While this might seem like a non-value add to some users, for businesses, it can be their social media secret weapon. Here’s why.
It’s no secret that the hardships of 2020 have forced nearly every business to adapt in order to stay afloat. One industry hit particularly hard was the restaurant and bar industry, who were forced to close their doors for several months. However, as restrictions ease and indoor seating resume, many are hesitant to walk in for their next meal. But the reality is that many business owners, such as Dana Collins of Melzingah Tap House, are going above and beyond to make sure their customers are safe and comfortable. By using Instagram Story Highlights on their profile, Melzingah allows customers to see the space before ever leaving their house.
Their two highlights give customers a ‘virtual tour’ of sorts of both their indoor dining experience and their enclosed patio outdoors. By using videos in the stories, viewers can get more of a sense of place that a still image can’t always provide. In this case, it showcases the unique aesthetics of the building and how seating has been modified for a socially distant dining layout. By including photos, Melzingah is able to highlight some key details you might have missed in the video walkthrough, such as the hand sanitizing stations at each table and the space heaters in the outdoor pavilion. By viewing these Instagram stories, viewers can get a more accurate sense of the business and feel more comfortable going there for dinner and drinks.
Wondering if this can benefit your business? Here are a few tips to get you started creating Instagram story highlights:
Plan out what you’re trying to showcase in a story highlight on your business’s Instagram profile. Are you trying to show a space? A series of products? Your team? Etc. By planning the purpose for each highlight, it’ll be easier to curate high-quality content.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, just imagine what a video is worth! While your profile might be very photo-oriented, story highlights are a great place to host separate videos or behind-the-scenes content that potential customers may be interested in.
Instagram allows you to upload custom thumbnails for each story highlight. If you’re design-savvy, whip up a couple of simple icons to serve as thumbnails for each story and entice someone to watch your story highlight. Need a little extra help? Here are some free highlight covers you can use on your profile.
With all of these tips in mind, you are well on your way to taking your business’s social media to the next level!