I’m right there with you… The holidays are in full swing and yet another feature of Instagram is rolled out in the midst of it all! If you hadn’t heard, Instagram just introduced Instagram Story Highlights. How is this different than regular stories? How should you be using this new feature? That’s what this blog post is here for!
What are Instagram Story Highlights?
Instagram Story Highlights is a relatively new addition to Instagram. You know how normal stories disappear after 24 hours? Anything that you post to your story you now have the option to “highlight.” When you highlight a story, it will also appear in a section at the top of your Instagram profile. This is great because whenever someone comes to visit your profile, or new people checking your profile to see if you’re worth following, these are the stories that they will see first!
You can either do this by viewing your Instagram Story directly and clicking the Highlight button in the lower right hand corner, or you can go to your profile and click the “New” button and choose from stories that you have previously posted even if they’re not active right now!
How Should I Be Using Highlights?
When thinking about how you should be using Instagram Story Highlights, this should be story posts that you absolutely want people to be seeing and that help build your brand. These stories should be posts of yours that are engaging and help differentiate you from every other photographer out there.
Tip 1: Use VIDEOS for your Story Highlights
Video, video, video! The reason that this should be video based is because video is much more engaging than a still image. Videos keep people in your feed for longer than consuming a still image. Plus, there are some things that you can communicate better through video than still images like helping to put a face to your brand and doing something different than other photographers in your area since very few people are using professional quality videos to market and brand themselves right now!
These Story Highlights are a great way to show that you are different than your competition and there’s no better way to do that than micro video content that looks like it was produced by a professional.
Tip 2: Highlight Your Differentiating Factors
As photographers, we should always be paying attention to what makes us different from other photographers. When clients are looking into what photographer they want to photograph this milestone in their life, we need to be educating them about how we’re different from other photographers they could choose and why we other the premier experience.
I have begun using my Instagram Story Highlights to showcase those differentiating factors. Figure out 3-5 of the top experiences that you offer in your business and begin to showcase these on your Story Highlights. This can be anything from offering amazing, archive quality products that you know your local competition isn’t offering or as simple as showing that you use professional hair and makeup with every session.
By posting your differentiating factors, this helps your brand become synonymous with doing things that are different and therefore helping to brand you as a photographer that people want because you will make sure their experience is one of a kind.
Tip 3: Only Highlight Your Best Work
I am a strong believer that you attract what you show. Therefore, I believe you should only be highlighting your absolute best posts or posts that resonate with your ideal clients.
While the latte that you drank that had the coolest latte art might be perfect for your Instagram Story, this doesn’t mean that you need to highlight this on your story. Why? Because they’ve probably seen it from a dozen other people and doesn’t help to differentiate you from others. Plus, it doesn’t necessarily brand your business (unless coffee is a huge part of your brand in which case go for it!).
Content that is centered around what clients want to see such as before and afters, educational posts like what Prom styles are in this year, or anything else that you do as part of your client experience that you want people to know about is perfect.
For me, I have chosen to go more polished with the content that I present in my Instagram Story Highlights. The reason for this is because I want my brand to have a high-end, luxurious feel and therefore curate my feed to do that. While my Instagram Stories that aren’t highlighted might showcase a more personal side to it like cool places I’m traveling to, events I’m attending or what I’m doing in my day to day, this is content that I don’t need people who are visiting my profile to see right away.
With that said, everyone’s brand is different! Do what you feel is best for your brand. If you want to include content that is more candid and spontaneous, do it! The only caveat that I’ll say is to be intentional and know why you’re choosing to highlight the content.
The old phrase “less is more” holds true. You don’t want to bog people down with too much content and always want to focus on the stories that will make people need to have you as their senior photographer.
Now, go out and make it happen!
This is such an underutilized feature! As photographers, it’s up to us to make sure we’re using these social media features to help grow and maintain our client bases and there’s no better way to help take your Instagram profile to the next level than Instagram Story Highlights.
Sean Brown is a photographer based out of Vancouver Washington and Portland Oregon specializing in high school senior portraits. His goal is to bring out every senior’s personality in their images and is dedicated to making sure that every senior session is different so that no two seniors’ images are alike.