Do's and Don'ts of Instagram Stories + Highlights + Cover Images | Why They Are Important & How to Create Them

February 28, 2018

Do’s & Don’ts of Instagram Stories, Instagram Story Highlights, 

Instagram Story Cover Images

It’s all the rage and craze right now… 
So, I will cut to the chase on this one and get straight to the point, cuz no one’s got time for my ‘whole life story’ #punintended so I will skip to the ‘highlights’ ;)

Now that we have all gotten over the fact that - Snapchat is amazing, why the heck did Instagram copy them and introduce stories, and oh! we have another thing to keep up with on social media, so on and so forth! Trust me, I was right there with you, I just hated that IG came out with stories, but I quickly embraced IG stories, though I do not use it as regularly (or as strategically) as I should like some rockstar Instagrammers do, but you bet I sure know it’s importance and what it can do to you and your brand…

Head over to my Instagram to see all the different IG Story Highlight collections, there's a ton more...


  1. Instagram Story is THE BEST WAY to directly connect with your audience, readers, followers, internet friends, or whatever you call them! It’s like you have this 1:1 relationship with them. And I love that about stories, because, so many people who never like and/or comment on a single photo on my IG feed will send me messages, sweet compliments and ask questions all the time. The more I share, the more they reciprocate! It’s a great way to grow your engagement.
  2. Pretty IG aesthetic and feed are all well and good but people really want to, and love to see #BTS (Behind The Scenes), i.e, not just pretty staged IG stories but also real-life happenings. It just makes the person on the other side of the story more relatable and approachable! And it brings us all closer, I mean, if I am able to send a DM (Direct Message) to an Instagram celebrity about their food and get a response within the next few minutes, how awesome and powerful is this feature!?
  3. Be more authentic, real, raw and get creative - if you can, do all at the same time, you got the trick girl! Those are the kinds of stories that people love and want to watch. I completely steer clear from the stories that are just fluff and not much else to offer. I see so many people use IG stories as just another way to market and sell more of their stuff and that’s just off-putting. Don’t come on stories JUST to show off that #bloggermail you got or to promote that blogpost you wrote, they are great, yes, and I post them too, but that should not be all you talk about. Come on, you and your life have got to be more interesting and inspiring than that, no?
  4. If your goal is to really connect and engage with your followers, then your stories should be helpful and inspiring in some way to the people watching them. Even if they are just funny tidbits, they at least bring a smile on someone’s face, and that smile is everything! And please-oh-please, DO NOT post the same thing a bazillion times in the same week, post a variety of content to keep people more interested in you, and your life!
  5. It is a great platform for you to talk about all the things you care about, about things that are important to you, and things that you are passionate about, even if it isn’t an aspect of your life that you share on your pretty IG feed, even if it’s not a part of your ‘niche’. But just like you would on your IG feed, have a strategy in place and be more intentional in what you share.

Head over to my Instagram to see all the different IG Story Highlight collections, there's a ton more...


‘Instagram Story Highlights are curated clips grouped together by you and live permanently on your profile until you delete them.”

This is the most powerful feature yet and it is kind of a big deal if you are a blogger (brand/business). Instagram Story Highlights helps you showcase a summary of your work, a trailer if you will. If used correctly, it can help you land some amazing collaborations with brands that you would love to work with! And there’s no denying that brands too love to promote their marketing campaigns through stories, so the more creative your stories are, the more collaborations that potentially come your way! 

Head over to my Instagram to see all the different IG Story Highlight collections, there's a ton more...


And to talk a bit more about Instagram Story Highlight Cover Images, we all noticed that bloggers, brands, and businesses went crazy a few weeks ago when they all started to upload their Story Highlight Cover Images, all at once, like there’s no tomorrow. Personally, it was both funny and annoying to watch them, I mean, why would you not share them over a period of time? with content that actually fits within the Story Highlights Cover Image, I mean, seriously? And that craze is still continuing, it’s like the herd mentality…

I silently sat back and watched the trend, and made mental notes to NOT make these mistakes, like for example, DO NOT simply use text in your Story Highlight Cover Images - because, you are then missing out on this perfect opportunity to showcase your creative side and your brand image... it is highly valuable real estate that you are wasting, people! I see some of the big Instagrammers make this very mistake, and I am over here like, wow, how come you haven’t thought this through? Especially when you use the same text at the bottom to categorize these Story Highlights by different topics? Now that’s some food for thought for you when you design yours… 

Anyhow, let’s review some things to keep in mind while creating awesome Instagram Story Highlight Cover Images because 1. they are super important for your brand (if it’s already not very evident) 2. it’s a question I received a lot lately from followers when I started to upload Story Highlight Cover Images to my Instagram.
  1. Branding: Stick with your branding! We all know that branding is everything, so choose colors and designs that are an extension of you, your blog and/or your business!
  2. Personality: It’s another way to let your personality shine. So show off your personality through fun patterns, icons and emoji’s while still staying true to your brand. 
  3. Collections: Be strategic and categorize your story highlights and cover images by different topics in a manner that makes sense to those watching them. Plus, it makes it easy for people to go directly to that category on your feed based on what they are looking for, no one likes to waste time. 
  4. Make Custom Cover Images: DO NOT simply copy what everyone else is using, make (or even buy) custom cover images to reflect everything we talked about above. Again, DO NOT simply use text in place of icons, just DON’T!
Though making an Instagram Story Highlight Cover Image should not take you more than a few minutes, I played around a lot with different apps and finally settled on something that I really like, something which is colorful (I, of course, went with shades of my blog colors, because using the exact colors wasn’t easy... notice that my office is painted the same colors as my blog? that's how obsessed I am with the colors :)), and something fun at the same time. I might even end up updating them in the future if I find something else that is even more appealing to my eyes and personality, but for now, these are it!

Apps That I Used To Create 


  1. Canva: The best tool there ever is, period! It is my go-to tool to create all custom backgrounds, marketing materials and more. Most of all, it is FREE, and it is easy to create everything on the computer rather than on my phone. 
  2. Rhonna Designs: At first, I liked this app, but once I started playing around with it, it seemed a bit limiting for what I wanted. It is still a good app though if you want to give it a go. 
  3. A Design Kit: This is the app that I used to create my current Instagram Story Highlight Cover Images. I do wish they had more icons available but hopefully, they will introduce a few more popular ones soon. 
  4. Typorama: Another easy-to-use free app. The best thing about this app is that it allows you to resize the image based on the platform, in this case, Instagram Stories / Highlight Cover Images. 
  5. Instagram Story Feature: With the latest introduction of a few new fonts and background colors on stories, you can simply use the native Instagram app itself to create your highlight cover images. 
  6. Good Old Google: Do it the old-fashioned way… Google search your favorite backgrounds, templates, and icons (choose the ones with transparent background), save them to your phone, and create story highlight cover images in minutes, BOOM!
If creating your own highlight cover images is not your thing, then you could also pay someone to create them for you, or even buy them on Etsy (they are available for as low as $5). 

Head over to my Instagram to see all the different IG Story Highlight collections, there's a ton more...

So off you go, create eye-catching IG Story Highlight Cover Images that tell a story even before people click on it, and make them want to click on it!!!

Hope this post was helpful in making you think a bit more about your content and strategy for your IG stories, and if it was, then please do share this with anyone who might find it useful too! And let me know how you use IG Stories and Highlights, and if there is an app that you love and use to create stories/highlight cover images. 

“Design is more than a logo. Design is a strategy made visible.”

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