Y’all know I have a love-to-hate relationship with social media.
It’s mainly derived from my definition of social media–RENTED land–versus your blog/website, which is land you OWN. (Unless it’s on Blogger or another similar platform: in that case, you DON’T own anything.)
And with social media changing the rules almost every day and making some accounts’ valuable content practically disappear from News Feeds, it’s no wonder I’ve been losing interest by the minute. My personal account hasn’t seen a new post in months, and my blog’s account gets the occasional post. (Fortunately, blogging helps me update that feed more regularly.) Why? Mostly because I’m frustrated at how inaccessible it’s becoming.
(A big HIP, HIP, HOORAY to RSS readers for always displaying content chronologically!)
<shameless plug!> Which is why I launched a group on Facebook on blogging (#IsntItIronic, haha) called Blogging for Success. Go ahead and join! </end of shameless plug!>
Anyways, despite my feelings toward social media, some of us still decide to play the game. I do it to not stay behind. One thing that I finally did to not lag behind several other bloggers’ accounts was adding covers to my Instagram Story Highlights.
Let’s backtrack for a sec!
What are Instagram Stories?
Stories are Instagram’s solution to Snapchat–short, raw video clips you film in real time that get saved for 24 hours. They’re meant to be more real and less stylized than your average photoshopped Instagram post. I prefer this over Snapchat because it means I only have to interact with one app.
(Technically IG also shares my Stories automatically on Facebook. This is a setting that you can turn on to help make your life easier.)
What are Instagram Stories Highlights?
These are Stories that you’ve decided to keep on your cover for longer than 24 hours–or forever, if you’d like. They reside at the top of an IG user’s profile:
The image above shows the IG profiles of three accounts. Right above the Contact options for each you can see their Stories Highlights. Some accounts have customized their highlights, while others haven’t.
Today I’ll show you how you can customize yours!
(The funny thing about this process is that it isn’t intuitive at all, but doing it repeatedly for a number of times teaches you to do it very quickly!)
Steps 1 & 2
Make a new Story for today or select an existing Story.
Then add that Story to your Highlights, if you haven’t already.
See my “Minestrone” Story Highlight above? Let’s make a Cover for it!
Open your favorite photo editing software and start designing!
I use Photoshop at work so I’ll go ahead and stick with that, but any other program works here. (I hear Canva has templates you can use, although a lot of people use them.)
Making these via an app on your phone is also not an uncommon solution. I didn’t do this because the app I had in mind costs money (so why pay for it if I already have Photoshop?) and the font I like for these covers isn’t available on most apps.
The dimensions you want to use = 1080 x 1920.
This is the template I designed:
If you’ve seen my other profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc), you’ll recognize the flower pattern. It’s from a picture I took years ago and I just love the colors so much, that I use it any time I can becase it also lets me keep a consistent brand presence throughout.
You want to have the text towards the center of the image so that it fits more easily in the circle cover (I’ll show you this later). You also want to stay away from the edges because any text near them will get cut off because of said circle.
PROS & CONS of using your computer:
+ Way more flexibility: For example, if you use a picture as your background, you can move the picture itself to “make” different backgrounds. Notice how my first cover above is slightly different from this last one. I did that on purpose because while I wanted to ensure a consistent brand image across my profiles and Stories Highlights, I also wanted to introduce some variance for kicks and giggles.
– It takes a bit longer: If you tend to get sidetracked easily, you can start to focus more than you should on fonts and backgrounds. Plus, you’ll also get an additional step of having to send your image to your phone.
PROS & CONS of using your phone:
+ It’s quicker and more convenient: Because the picture is already on your phone, it eliminates that extra step–and even some of the potential time it’d take you to design it as you get fewer choices on phone apps.
– It’s not as flexible: You simply won’t get as many options. On your computer, you can download and use practically any assets you need for this. This isn’t the case if you want to limit yourself to what an app has available.
Step 4: Send it to your phone
I will usually share images from my phone to computer and vice versa via AirDrop or text.
Whatever image you end up making, send it to your computer when you’re done!
Step 5: Add the image to your Story from TODAY
Open your Stories camera, slide your finger up or down to open your Photo Album, and select that image.
Then press the “+ Your Story”” icon.
Step 6: Add the image to the Story you want to add the cover to
This has a few “sub-steps” that I’ll illustrate below:
Step 6A: Open the Story you want to add the cover to
Step 6B: Click on the three dots on the bottom-right corner and select EDIT HIGHLIGHT
Step 6C: Tap on ARCHIVE
Step 6D: Select your newly designed Cover, then click DONE on the upper-right corner
Step 7 (Almost done!): Change your Highlight Cover
Go back to that Highlight, tap on EDIT HIGHLIGHT, then tap on EDIT COVER.
There you’ll see all your available images from that Story to choose from. Since you just added this image, it’ll be the last one in the rotation:
Move it, pinch it, and zoom out, etc. to make any necessary adjustments, and tap DONE twice.
CONGRATS! You now have a new Cover for your Stories Highlight!
By the way!! If you’d like to make your Cover right on Instagram (meaning no other software or app needed!), check out this tutorial. Once you have the image and posted it to your Story, you’ll only need to follow steps 6 and 7 from above.
Now it’s your turn to “rinse and repeat.”
And also tell me: Do your highlights have covers? What tools do you recommend to make them? (My personal IG account doesn’t even have any Highlights so lacking covers is OK :).)