Learn the Key Differences Between Instagram Posts, Stories and Highlights
Instagram can be fun and entertaining but may also be used as an ideal vehicle for brands to reach their target market in a unique and creative manner. Unlike many social media sites, Instagram is a little harder to fathom. In this blog, the differences between an Instagram post, Instagram story, and Instagram highlight will be explained and, in addition, we will show you the best way to use them and upload them to Instagram.
Table of Contents
- Regular Instagram Posts
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Highlights (Highlight Covers)
- Posts, Stories or Highlights
Regular Instagram Posts
A post is a square photo (or short video) shared on your Instagram account, remaining visible on your account. Text may be added to the photos but Instagram is mainly about images. To get a message across, appealing photos and posts are essential.
The image of an Instagram profile consists of the sum total of all posts shared, which makes up the desired identity or image a brand wants to convey. Ideally, the corporate identity is apparent throughout the whole Instagram profile, giving a professional and neat impression and contributing to instant recognition.
To upload a photo from your camera as a regular Instagram post, tap ‘Library’ (iOS) or ‘Gallery’ (Android) at the bottom of the screen and select the photo you wish to share. A new window will open where you can add text, tags and filters to your post before sharing it.
These are photos or videos which can be viewed for 24 hours only on someone’s profile. Posts are square images while stories are vertical in a 9:16 ratio. In case of several videos, these are shown one after another, like a slideshow.
Instagram stories are the perfect tool for a brand to involve the target group. Contrary to posts, these stories are shown for a limited period of time which accounts for their more casual approach. It is important to realize that a story can be viewed for a few seconds only - therefore it is crucial to convey a message in a clear and unequivocal way so that there is no need for the viewer to pause or rewind. Avoid crowded photos or texts so that the message is obvious at a glance.
To upload a photo from your camera as a story to Instagram, tap the camera icon in the top left hand corner of your screen or swipe right from anywhere in Feed. To select a photo or video from the library or gallery of your phone, swipe up anywhere on the screen. When you are ready to share, tap ‘Your Story’ in the bottom left hand corner.
Instagram Highlights (Highlight Covers)
A highlight, or highlight cover, is a story or several stories which can be viewed permanently on an Instagram profile, instead of the usual 24 hours. It is possible to add several stories to a highlight and these will be shown one after another, just like stories.
Highlights are useful to brands because this way they can share their messages in a certain order. They are comparable to the trailer of a movie. Highlights emphasize the main points of a brand. For instance, a series of ‘Work in Progress’ will keep your target group informed about where a brand stands at a certain point in its development, and a ‘Recent Work’ highlight with images shows what you have been up to recently.
To post a highlight on your Instagram profile you add a regular daily story as mentioned above and hit ‘Save’ to add the image to your Instagram library. Click your profile’s thumbnail and then the ‘New’ button to add a new highlight story. From your Instagram library select the highlight image you saved. You can zoom and drag the highlight to the place of your choice. Finally tap ‘Confirm’ to add the highlight to your profile.
Posts, Stories or Highlights
Whether it is best to share a regular post, a story or a highlight, and when to do so, depends on the desired goal. Regular posts serve well to inform or reach as many (new) followers as possible. Stories and highlights are meant for existing followers. Stories may result in more interaction and bonding between a brand and its existing followers.
Even though all three means of communication have their own advantages, a combination is the most powerful by far. A strategy needs to be developed to determine which combination works best in order to achieve the goal for a specific brand through an Instagram account. It is important that this strategy meets the requirements of the SMART method for the goal to be realistic and measurable. An example of such a goal might be: “Within 12 months I want my account to grow by at least 150 percent to a minimum of 4.000 followers”. Further reading about how to formulate goals and develop strategies you will find in “The Importance of Structured Planning + a Free Planner”. By all means do not create a goal for the long term only but make sure there is a clear message behind every single post, story or highlight.
It is important to consider not only the message conveyed by the content but also its timing: uploading content at regular intervals is vital to success. This can simply be achieved by making a schedule such as: Mondays and Fridays an inspiring post, Wednesdays an informative post, Tuesdays and Thursdays a story accompanied by a question addressed to followers as well as images of ‘Work in Progress’ meant for the highlights. What specific schedule works for a specific brand is hard to predict. Sharing content on a regular basis makes it easier to find out what works and what does not.
A regular Instagram post is a square photo (or a short video) shared on an Instagram account. An Instagram profile consists of the sum total of regular posts shared with the followers. To reach as many people as possible, posts are preferred - as stories and highlights are generally meant for existing followers.
Contrary to posts, which are permanently visible on an account, the viewing of Instagram Stories is limited to 24 hours. Therefore, stories are more suitable for a somewhat ‘casual’ approach and serve the purpose of bonding between a brand and its existing followers.
However, should the need arise to show stories for a longer period of time, it is possible to place them collectively in a permanent location on an Instagram profile. In this case, they are called Instagram highlights.
Characteristic of a good Instagram profile is one that shows the brand’s corporate identity, content with a well-thought-out strategy, and a clear message. Uploading content at regular intervals is of vital importance to build an optimal Instagram profile and will be helpful to discover what works best.
Q: Can I use Instagram highlights to share multiple stories permanently?
A: Yes, Instagram highlights allow you to group and share multiple stories on your profile permanently.
Q: Are Instagram stories suitable for reaching new followers?
A: No, Instagram stories are generally meant for engaging with existing followers and are available for 24 hours only.
Q: Can I add text or tags to an Instagram post?
A: Yes, you can add text, tags, and filters to your Instagram post before sharing it.
Q: Is it possible to view multiple videos in an Instagram story?
A: Yes, if you have multiple videos in a story, they will be shown one after another, creating a slideshow-like effect.
Q: How long can an Instagram story be viewed?
A: An Instagram story can be viewed for 24 hours only before it disappears.
Q: Can I share a combination of regular posts, stories, and highlights for a brand strategy?
A: Yes, a combination of regular posts, stories, and highlights can be used to achieve a brand's strategic goals on Instagram.
Q: Can I schedule my Instagram content to upload at regular intervals?
A: Yes, you can create a content schedule to upload content at regular intervals to maintain a consistent presence on Instagram.
Q: Are Instagram stories suitable for casual and less polished content?
A: Yes, Instagram stories are more casual and temporary, making them suitable for less polished and more informal content.
Q: Can I use Instagram highlights to showcase a brand's main points and recent work?
A: Yes, Instagram highlights are perfect for showcasing a brand's main points and recent work in a permanent location on the profile.
Q: Should Instagram posts be mainly focused on images?
A: Yes, while text can be added, Instagram posts should primarily focus on high-quality and appealing images.
Q: How often should I upload content to my Instagram profile?
A: Posting content at regular intervals, such as a well-planned schedule, is important to maintain an optimal Instagram profile and engage with followers.