I am returning to my ongoing series about the book 52 Assignments, Instagram. I have enjoyed sharing the challenges so much that I carved myself some time in the schedule to showcase ‘Instagram Highlights’.
I didn’t know anything much about these for a long time so was glad to find them and make use of the advice on my own account. I was clueless myself for a while, so I hope you find this helpful too.
What are Highlights?
Highlights lets you curate items you like in a way that doesn’t make your timeline look like a scrapbooker’s worst nightmare. You might not want a cat water fountain or a short video of cat toys to pop up in the middle of your feed if you are aiming for a certain look such as special cat portraits.
Remember this post on branding in the 52 Assignments series? It advised on how to give your IG account a focused look that people will recognise as uniquely you. Highlights helps you feature friends, cat toys you like, or favourite sellers in a highlight and keep things looking smart and cohesive.
A great example of focus is the account of friend Adventures With Friday. Check out the Instagram Highlight covers in matching colours.
Check out our friend Adventures With Friday for a cohesive visual button look (left) and the Highlights Editing Screen (right)
The Impact Highlight Buttons Can Make
Here you can see my most recent Highlights buttons. I have aimed for a cohesive look by using one cat photo and changing the filter used for each one. I used Photoshop Camera for the image treatment. Yes I have used one image twice, juse because I like it!
I recently added a new ‘Shopping’ highlight so I can share cat friends’ cat costumes and bandanas, art and graphics and beside that button I introduce friends, and then showcase Instagram ‘security’ advice. You can see that each Highlight covers a different interest or feature.
- Adam Juniper (author) also suggests you use the Highlights option when you want to collect some of your best posts and stories.
A rescue has a different use for Highlights
Check out OCShelterCats who use their highlights for very specific purposes allowing them to focusing their time on essential rescue. These buttons are perfect for handling common queries and adding links to important people.
The Highlights for this rescue answer questions, and point people in the right direction for common answers (FAQ’s/FYI’s) and also spotlight urgent rescue pets.
How to add a Highlight
For you to be able to use an Instagram Highlight you need to have posted images or video in your Stories already. You can’t upload them directly to a Highlight. This means your Highlight may need a bit of planning so you include all the things you want.
Here’s an idea of how to start:
- Post the material you want to use to Instagram Stories. (You will find Stories that are a long way past their 24 hour date here).
- Set up a Highlight and give it a name. You will be asked to add an image too.
- NOTE: If you want to use a special set of images for your highlights post these in Stories too. I have tried to develop a certain look using a particular photo or pose (I had to add this even though it isn’t relevant to the button’s contents). Some people buy or commission a custom made set of buttons.
- Start to add items to your Highlight by tapping on the circle with the plus sign below your biography. Then scroll back through your Stories until you find the things you want to include.
- NOTE: You can add to and edit a Highlight at any time. See this image from my new ‘Shopping’ Highlight which I will add to over time.
If I created a Highlight that I really liked, I have the option to make it into a Reel.
Tags for Highlights
Adam Juniper recommends that you tag your location (optional if privacy is an issue) and use the hashtags you would use on a standard IG post. It is no longer essential to use 30 hashtags.
You are better off focusing on highly tags relevant to you and your niche. I might use #catphotography not just cats or catlovers. You might want to add hashtags for an American State, part of New Zealand, or country in Europe as well as a specific cat breed, action or event like #wickedcatwednesday!
Highlight Naming Tip
Keep your Highlight name to 12 letters or less. This way IG will not cut it short.
An example of what happens you can see on my Highlight line. I called my Toulouse series Pencil Fun but you don’t see it all so I need to rethink the title. It’s a tough one as I want to include pencil and ….. silly right?
There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many Highlights you can make, although you will want to be selective not silly and add too many. Highlights let you focus on activity, interests or places you love but that may not have a place in the middle of you Instagram feed. Browse the accounts of some of your favourite people to see how they handle Highlights.
Other Resources You Might Find Helpful
Highlight Button Resources
- DesignShack has examples of how custom buttons can look.
- Etsy has lots of sellers who make custom buttons for good prices.
- The 52 Assignments series.
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.
She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.