Social Media Management Agency / Marketing Specialists

IBSM BLOG

By: Chris | July 07, 2021

Instagram Highlights Covers: How to Get More Clicks for Your Stories Highlights

Want more people to watch your Instagram Stories highlights? Looking for tips that lead to more clicks and views of your highlights?

In this article, you’ll discover how to get more people to click on your Instagram highlights.

Why Optimize the Design of Instagram Highlights Covers?

Instagram highlights brought evergreen value to Instagram Stories—a separate feed to which people could post content that would vanish 24 hours later. By creating highlights, you can move your otherwise-vanishing stories down into the center of your Instagram profile.

Other than your profile photo, Instagram highlights covers are the first visual branding assets on your profile. As such, they have the unique job of both drawing your audience’s attention and inviting them to engage with your stories, as well as compelling your audience to continue scrolling down your profile to see the rest of your content.



#1: Structure Instagram Highlights Albums for Quick Content Discoverability

In many ways, your Instagram Stories highlights function the same as a menu at the top of your website functions; they serve to show your audience the types of content you have to offer. And just as with those primary menus, you can organize your Instagram Stories in several different ways—by content type, topic, or event.

The way you organize your stories by albums is crucial to helping people find past stories they’re looking for and new stories about what interests them. Here are three organizational structures to consider:

Content type: This is a popular choice for a lot of content creators who want to separate the type of content they create (podcasts, blogs, videos, etc.). This is useful if you want to highlight a particular channel or type of content. It’s also helpful if your audience prefers an easy way to find those channels if they’re searching for your podcast or event.

Topic category: This is a popular choice for a lot of businesses and content creators who prefer to organize their content into categories. This is helpful if you want to draw attention to one particular subject or product or if your audience wants to be able to find an answer to a specific question or shop for a particular item—both of which can be hard to do if the Instagram Stories highlights are organized by content type.

Event: If you run a lot of events, you might want to consider organizing your Instagram Stories highlights by event name or date. This is especially helpful if you want to make it easy for people to review your past events or find posts and stories related to an ongoing event.

You can create a new Instagram highlight by navigating to your Instagram profile and tapping on the +New icon.


You can also tap on the + button near the top of the screen to add a new story highlight.

#2: Create a Custom Instagram Highlights Cover for Each Album

Your Instagram highlights covers play a key role in engaging your audience and compelling them to click and interact with your content. Highlights covers are comprised of two major pieces:

  • The highlights cover image: the small, round graphic that appears in a row near the bottom of your Instagram profile right above your main feed.
  • The highlights cover name: the short label applied to your Instagram highlight.

These two attributes work together to draw your audience into your most engaging stories.

You’re not required to create a new cover for your highlights album. Instagram will allow you to set and save your new story highlight without designating a cover if that’s what you prefer. If you choose not to create a custom cover, Instagram will show a thumbnail view of your story in place of the cover.

The generated thumbnails Instagram sets up for covers can even look good on your profile. However, there’s less control over how your covers will look on your Instagram profile compared to designing and creating your own Instagram Stories highlights covers.

To create a custom cover, open or create a new document in your favorite graphics program and start with an image that is 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high. Create the background effect you’d like to use and add your icon, words, or photo to the center of your new graphic and save.

To edit an existing Instagram story highlights cover, tap and hold the existing highlight cover on your profile until the edit screen pops up, then tap on Edit Cover. On the next screen, you can choose from your existing Instagram stories or upload a new one and position it inside the small circle shown on your screen.


When you’re finished, hit Done and your changes will be saved.

#3: Add Visual Cues to Album Covers to Emphasize Content Organization

Of course, you can also create Instagram highlights covers using text instead of images. What’s more, you can use emojis in place of names. Using this combination, the highlights covers and names switch roles on your profile. Because the images you create for highlights covers have more room on them for words, this means you can fit more letters onto covers than you could the other way around.

Emojis have been making a name for themselves in marketing copy by making your brand more human and relatable. For one thing, humans are thought to consume and process visual data 60,000 times faster than they process text. Not only that, but the inclusion of visual data such as emojis in your text can raise the effectiveness of your text.

By swapping the text out for an emoji in your Instagram highlights covers, you can take full advantage of the power of emojis in a way that a normal graphic or icon can’t always offer. They’re small, easy to process, and add a relatable context to your highlights.

#4: Use Faces to Create a Human Connection

Everyone loves to see the face behind the brand: the person sitting behind the scenes working so hard to bring value and create content or the character behind the story—someone people can relate to and connect with. By using a photograph of yourself, your brand ambassadors, or your characters, you can greet people on your Instagram profile with a more personable look to your brand and welcome them to your profile.

The power of a smiling face on Instagram is not new. In fact, Instagram posts showcasing faces have been proven to receive more likes and comments than posts without a face.

Above your Instagram Stories highlights, your profile shows only your photo and your bio, which may contain one clickable link. This means that, for all intents and purposes, your highlights covers are the first chance that visitors to your Instagram profile have to really engage with your brand. Showcasing real people in your Instagram Stories highlights covers allows you to harness that power of increased engagement in a way that gets them tapping on your highlight to see the content underneath.

#5: Use Color in Your Highlights Covers to Draw the Viewer’s Eye

This is probably one of the most popular strategies for creating Instagram Stories highlights covers: By using brand colors, you’re able to create a cohesive look to your Instagram profile that connects your bio and links above to your content below.

In some cases, a person may be visiting your Instagram profile before they’ve really interacted with your brand and gotten to know you. By using branded colours and icons in your highlights covers, you’re able to provide them with a snapshot preview.

The cohesive look and feel of your Instagram Stories highlights covers will also help set your audience’s expectations for the rest of your content.

Using branded colours is another way that your Instagram profile acts a lot more like a landing page to your website than a social media profile.

Using branded colours is nice because they can flow seamlessly into the rest of your Instagram content, but using contrasting colours can really help make sure those Instagram Stories highlights covers stick out to your audience.


Conclusion

Instagram stories started out as simple, ephemeral content that would vanish after 24 hours. And because of this, earlier stories did not need to focus on a long-term strategy. With the advent of Instagram Stories highlights, your stories became evergreen, which meant putting together a long-term strategy for your content (even for those stories you don’t plan on turning into highlights). In fact, Instagram Stories has now grown to be so large and complex that it can be treated as a separate entity from your primary Instagram profile.

What do you think? What are you doing to help your Instagram Stories highlights covers draw attention? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Category: Instagram 

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By: Chris | April 06, 2021

Are you using your Instagram to stand out from the rest?

Are you implementing these top 10 tips for exponential Instagram growth?

 - Post consistently

 - Study and use correct hashtags

 - Share other valuable content in niche

 - Posting at the correct times 

- Engage more than you publish 

- Share others valuable content

 - Update a story 1-3 times per day

 - Use Instagram insights to analyse audience 

 - Try out Instagram live stream

 - Create visual eye-catching content 

If you are struggling with growing your business presence on Instagram, at IBSM we can help make your Instagram stand out.


 Lets talk Today. 

Category: Instagram 

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By: Chris | January 23, 2021

How to Use Visual Storytelling in Your Marketing: 5 Ways

Want a deeper connection with your audience? Have you considered communicating stories visually in your marketing?

In this article, you’ll discover five ways to use visual content to tell stories that engage your audience.

What Is Visual Storytelling?

It’s common knowledge among psychologists, visual marketers, and behavioral specialists that around 93% of communication is nonverbal, hence the cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Visual storytelling is a strategy for using visual content to communicate a narrative. An effective piece of visual storytelling inspires an emotional response, educates the audience, and/or guides them to a particular conclusion. Visual storytelling can take place in a single piece of content—such as a motion graphic, infographic, or social media post—or it can be achieved over the course of several connected and complementary pieces of content.

Some businesses will share the story of their founding—the inspiration for their product or service and their leaders. If your business doesn’t have this kind of history to share, you may think your brand doesn’t have a compelling story.

Don’t worry; of course you have a story worth sharing. How will your product or service make the world a better place? How does it make life better for your customers? Tell the story of a real or hypothetical client using your product or service.

Your business has a story to tell but that story can no longer be told in long blocks of text. If you want your audience to listen, you need to harness the power of visual storytelling. Here are five ways you can do that with your visual content.

#1: Share Your Origin Story

As we’ve already established, there are lots of potential stories that your brand can tell. One of those narratives that holds a lot of potential for many businesses is their origin story.

This story may be about how your company was founded, why it was founded, or some combination of the two. What problems did the founder(s) see that they wanted to solve? Was there an epiphany? What challenges did the company have to overcome to get to where it is now?

The origin story is particularly suited to appearing in the form of a video or motion graphic, which can guide the viewer through a linear narrative in a more controlled way than interactive media, which tends to prioritize self-guided exploration.

That said, there really are no limits to the style in which such a video can be produced. The important thing is to find an approach that’s consistent with your brand.

#2: Communicate Your Company’s Aspirations

Even if your business doesn’t have a particularly compelling origin story to share, you can still use the power of visual storytelling by illustrating what your business hopes to achieve. These aspirational narratives look beyond the goal of selling a product or service and focus on how that product or service or the business as a whole will make the world a better place.

So if your company is doing something inspiring that will make the world a better place, it’s time to share that story.

#3: Deliver Educational and Instructional Content

If you want to both capture and keep your audience’s attention, you need to offer something of real value to them. That’s why educational and instructional content can drive huge engagement on social media. In fact, 77% of B2B marketers are already using educational content to reach their audiences.

#4: Illustrate Product Creation From Start to Finish

For some businesses, the production of their product is a whole story by itself. And there are a lot of potential reasons for sharing this story. Perhaps it involves an innovative technique or strategy. Perhaps you’re sourcing from sustainable materials or focusing on fair trade or other socially conscious practices. The possibilities really are endless.

#5: Highlight Customer Stories

Visual storytelling isn’t always about putting your brand in the spotlight. Sometimes you want to empower your audiences and customers to tell stories of their own.

There are many ways to encourage and share UGC across social media. Visual content of this type seems to be the most effective by far, as photos of real people, cute pets, and real examples of your brand out in the world create a more human experience.

Conclusion

Today’s businesses need to tell compelling stories and this is achieved most effectively through the use of visual content. These stories can take place in an instant—in a single, compelling social media post—or over time via multiple interwoven visual assets that together form a larger narrative arc.

The right approach for your business depends on what you want to achieve for your brand as a whole and in particular campaigns. Set clear goals and define your target audiences and you’ll be able to find the right visual medium to bring your story to life.

What do you think? How might you use these visual storytelling techniques in your own marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.




Category: Instagram 

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By: Chris | January 23, 2021

Want to share your customers’ posts on Instagram? Wondering how to find and use their content without breaking Instagram’s Terms of Service?

In this article, you’ll learn how to encourage people to create user-generated content (UGC), how to find UGC, and how to legally share it.

To learn how to use user-generated content on Instagram, read the article below for an easy-to-follow walkthrough

Why Use User-Generated Content on Instagram?

Before diving into how to take advantage of UGC on Instagram, let’s quickly break down what it is exactly. UGC is simply content created by other people that’s about your product, service, or brand. On Instagram, you may be tagged in, @mentioned in, or sent the content created by somebody else. It’s usually your customers creating the content but it could also be potential customers or your audience in general.

So why should you use UGC? First of all, it’s content you don’t have to create. Someone else does the work and you get to add it to your content calendar. Second, UGC shows your brand from your customer’s perspective, not yours, which can be more validating and trustworthy to your audience.

How do you determine what makes good UGC content for your brand? When the content matches your brand’s tone, style, and colors, it’s a winner. And when the content highlights the benefits of your product or positive aspects of your brand, you definitely want to use it.

#1: Encourage Your Instagram Audience to Share UGC

To get people to create UGC for you, you want to encourage them to use your branded hashtag and/or @mention you in Instagram content about your brand.

Footwear company Allbirds includes their branded hashtag #weareallbirds front and center on their Instagram bio to make it more visible to their audience.

In addition to your bio, you could include the hashtag and/or your username on receipts or packaging with a little reminder to your customers to post to Instagram and tag you.

If you have a physical location for your business, use signage or even set up selfie stations to encourage people to take photos and tag you. You can also run contests or giveaways with UGC as an entry requirement to qualify.

#2: Select the Right UGC to Share on Instagram

Once people start sharing UGC on Instagram, you may be wondering where to find it. If you use a branded hashtag, check the hashtag regularly to see what content people are creating about your brand.

If your customers @mention you, you’ll have an immediate notification that someone has created content about your brand. You may also want to use a social listening tool that will source your brand name, mentions, or hashtags across social media to find content that people are creating.

When it comes to choosing what UGC to share, be selective. Choose the right content that works for your brand and conveys the message you’re creating and edit colors or add filters if needed to match your account aesthetic. Don’t share things that aren’t aligned with your brand voice, tone, and style.

Also be wary of sharing posts with children in them, unless your brand is targeting parents of children. Many parents don’t like the idea of their children’s images being shared online publicly.

If the content includes alcohol or any other controlled substance, make sure you have confirmation that everyone in the post is over the legal age of use.

#3: Request Permission to Share UGC on Instagram

Once you’ve decided what UGC you want to share, you’ll need to get written permission before reposting it. If you don’t, you could get sued for any revenue proven to be generated by that post.

For a feed post, you can ask for permission via a comment on their post or send them a direct message (DM). Let them know that you like their post and would like to share it to your Instagram account. Then ask, “Do we have your permission to use it?” Once you have permission, you can post the content to your account but you should still @mention and/or tag the original creator.




Sharing stories is a bit of a gray area but considered safe because it retains the original content in the share so explicit permission isn’t required in the same way. However, I still encourage it.


#4: Share UGC to the Instagram Feed and Stories

Now let’s talk about some of the tools you can use for sharing UGC in both Instagram stories and the feed.

For the feed, there are a number of free apps for reposting. These apps snag the original post, image, and caption and allow you to post the content to your own Instagram profile. They’ll also add a watermark with the original account’s username.

Using a screen capture for sharing UGC is increasingly common and easier than most reposting tools. This is perfectly acceptable as long as you have permission and still tag the original user.

As for Instagram stories, there’s the built-in sharing feature that allows you to share stories you were tagged in directly to your own stories. If you weren’t tagged in the story, it’s not easy to simply repost that story to your own. Or you’d have to do a screen grab of the photo or video and get explicit permission from that content creator to post it since you’re not using the native in-app sharing tool.

Conclusion

Content creation is hard and can be time-consuming, especially on visual platforms like Instagram. That’s where UGC can help. Sharing content from your customers and prospects can be an amazing way to share valuable content with your audience, showcase customer stories, and connect with your audience.

What do you think? How often do you use UGC on your business’s Instagram account? Share your thoughts in the comments below.




Category: Instagram 

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By: Chris | October 15, 2020

Instagram Reels:Everything you need to know about Instagram Reels.

Want to create engaging short-form video on Instagram? Have you heard about Instagram Reels?

In this article, you’ll discover what Instagram Reels is, learn how to create a reel on Instagram, and discover how to use Instagram Reels for business.

What Is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels rolled out to the majority of users in August 2020. The feature is touted as a response to the popularity of TikTok and a way to create similar content within the Instagram platform.

Unlike IGTV, Instagram realized that for Reels to be effective and used regularly, the feature had to be built into the existing Instagram interface. In this way, Reels is very similar to Instagram Stories—and you even access the Reels camera from the same Stories camera.

Here are some quick highlights about reels:

  • They’re short-form video content in full 9:16 portrait mode.
  • They can be from 3–15 seconds in length.
  • They can be filmed directly within the Reels camera and/or uploaded from your camera roll on your mobile device.
  • They can be filmed as one full take or a series of takes stitched together.
  • They’re mobile-only. They can only be uploaded on mobile devices.

Chances are you’ve seen reels on Instagram already, even if you didn’t realize it. Reels can be uploaded to Stories or the feed in addition to a Reels gallery on your profile, and they can even appear on the Explore page. They’re pretty much everywhere!

You’ll recognize an Instagram Reels video by the icon in the lower-left corner of the video when scrolling through your feed, or in the upper-right corner when looking at someone’s Instagram profile. If someone you follow uploaded a reel, you’ll see that video in your home feed as you scroll through.


You can also see the reels for an account by going to their profile. If they’ve uploaded a Reels video to their feed, you’ll see the cover image in the grid on their profile like any other post. In addition, the Reels tab on their profile will display any reels they’ve uploaded, including those they didn’t share to their feed.


You can also discover reels from other accounts on the Explore page on Instagram. The top of the Explore page will show a big Reels video selected for you. As you scroll through the Explore feed, you’ll see more Reels videos interspersed as vertical videos and labeled as Reels.


Businesses Uses for Instagram Reels

Now that you know what Instagram Reels is, you may be wondering how to use this feature for your brand or business.

It’s worth pointing out that not all reels (or TikTok videos for that matter) are just dancing or music. In fact, because business accounts don’t have the music option, you’re most likely going to have to find other ways to use these videos.

If you do tutorials or step-by-step videos for products or tips in your industry, you can definitely create similar-style videos for Reels. You could do some quick behind-the-scenes or meet-the-staff videos to showcase what your company is doing.

If you’re in the fashion industry, there are lots of fun ideas out there for showing off clothing combinations and styles.

Stop motion videos, where one scene ends and jumps into the next, are really popular. If you have a product that requires assembly, you could create a fun video that shows the progression of building the product from start to finish.

It’s worth noting that most people watching reels aren’t going to read a caption, especially a long one. If you have a call to action (CTA) or key point to stress in your post, make sure it’s in the audio and any text overlay on the video so the viewer does see and hear it.

#1: Create an Instagram Reel

Before you jump headfirst into creating reels, I recommend scrolling through the Reels feed on the Explore page and looking at the reels of other accounts or brands you like. Get a feel for what works, what you like, and what inspires you to create.

When you’re ready to get started creating your own reels, here’s what you need to know.

You access the Reels camera from the original Stories camera. You can get there by swiping right from your Instagram home feed (not from your profile). At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see three options: Live, Story, and Reels. Scroll to Reels to open the camera.




Once the Reels camera opens, you’ll see navigation tools on the left side of the screen. At the top left is the Settings gear icon, which retains the same settings as for your Instagram Stories. The icons in the middle of the screen are for shooting and editing your videos.

If you want to add creative effects to your clips, you have to select them before you record. You can’t go back and add or edit clips for these features after you’ve recorded a reel.

Instagram business profiles will have access to these three features along the left edge of the screen:

  • Speed: Tap on Speed to select faster or slower recording speeds.
  • Effects: Tap on Effects and scroll through the filter options at the bottom where the shutter button is. If you don’t find the right option in the effects provided, there’s an option to browse effects at the end of the scroll.
  • Timer: Tap on the clock icon to set a timer for recording so you can do hands-free recordings.

Instagram personal and creater profiles will have access to the same three features plus the audio (or music) feature on Reels. You can search through suggested audio clips, popular music, or genres to use in your video.


Once you’ve selected your effects, it’s time to record an Instagram Reels clip. Press and hold the large shutter button at the bottom of the screen to record.

You can record multiple clips, up to 15 seconds total. As you record, you’ll see a progress bar move across the top of the screen (from left to right) as you approach 15 seconds. After you record your clip, the progress bar will indicate the total length of your video and the number of clips you’ve recorded so far.

Once you’ve filmed your clip, you’ll see two arrows on either side of the shutter button. The left-pointing arrow is a replay of the clip you just filmed.


If you tap on the left-pointing arrow, you can trim or delete the clip.

To trim the clip, tap on the scissors icon. You’ll see a timeline for the clip on the next screen. Drag the start and end bars of the clip to mark where you want the video to start/stop. When you’re done, tap on Trim in the upper-right corner.


If you want to discard the clip, tap the trash can icon and confirm your choice to discard the clip. Tap the right-pointing arrow to return to the Reels camera.


In addition to filming with the Reels camera, you can upload videos from your camera roll. The platform only supports videos so you can’t upload images.


#2: Post Reels Content to the Instagram Reels Feed, Your Feed, and Stories

When you’re done creating your reel, tap on the right-pointing arrow at the bottom of the screen next to the frame-by-frame player of your video. You’ll be taken to the Share screen to format your video for sharing to Reels, your feed, and/or Stories. You’ll see two tabs at the top of this screen: Reels and Stories.


Important: If you want to share a reel to your story, you have to share it to your story first  from this Share screen. Once you share it to your feed or Reels or save the video as a draft, you’ll no longer have the option to share it to your Stories.

To share an Instagram Reels video to your Stories, tap on the Stories tab on the Share screen and tap the Share button next to Your Story. You can also share it to your Close Friends list or as a direct message to an individual or group.

#3: Delete an Instagram Reel Video or Remove It From Your Grid

Once you’ve uploaded at least one Instagram Reels video to your profile, you can tap on the Reels icon on your profile to access the videos. They’re displayed chronologically and the view counts for each video are shown on the cover image. The view counts are visible to anyone looking at your account or Reels videos.

If you tap on the three-dot button next to the like/comment/share icons at the bottom of your video (in the full video player mode), you can access additional functions for that video. From here, you can:

  • Delete the video from your Reels tab.
  • Remove the video from your grid (but leave it on the Reels tab).
  • Grab/copy the video URL to share with others.
  • Share the video URL to another platform or delivery option (like email).
  • Save the video to your mobile device.

Conclusion

Instagram Reels was much anticipated and a lot of brands are looking for ways to capitalize on this platform. While many people are repurposing their TikTok videos to Reels, if you really want to stand out, focus on creating unique content for Reels that works within the scope of your brand voice and style.

Make sure to test creating content and get used to the limitations of Reels before you’re too committed to creating your brand content as well. Once you have a grasp of the process to film, edit, and upload videos, have fun!

What do you think? Have you created any Reels videos yet? Are you going to give it a try after reading this? Please share your thoughts or tips in the comments below.



Category: Instagram 

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