Promote Events Using Instagram Story Highlights

Instagram Story Highlights one of the best things to happen to brands and universities? Why? There are several reasons. #ButFirst…

What are Highlights?

Instagram Highlights are a collection of curated Instagram Stories that live on your Instagram profile. Unlike regular Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, these “permanent” collections will stay on your profile until you delete them, and are automatically saved in the Instagram cloud so you don’t have to save them to your phone. Pretty neat. Just make sure the auto-archiving feature is turned on. Highlight icons are located directly above your Instagram feed and will play as stand-alone stories when tapped.

Why Use Highlights?

Instagram Story Highlights extend the life of your Instagram Stories for – well – forever if you’d like. Highlights also provide a clever place to promote events with a call-to-action without bogging down your photo feed. As we know from tracking analytics, #ColoradoState’s Instagram feed performs better when we post beautiful photos. Not graphics. Creating CTAs in your Highlights gives fans an opportunity to learn more about special events, increases engagement on your Stories and potentially increases clicks to your, or your partner websites.

Highlights are a valuable addition because they allow brands to showcase content they want users to see first. They are a creative way to promote events, show off specialty content and drive traffic.

Featuring Events

The first Instagram Story Highlight #CSUSocial created was to promote campus events. Every Monday, we select 4-6 campus events to feature. We highlight events from all corners of campus including music productions from our University Center for Performing Arts, to sporting events, to guest speakers on campus and career fairs. Our incredibly talented intern, Wisdom, creates beautifully animated videos to promote each event. At first, we curated our own list of campus events to highlight, which included finding art, text, and links we believed were accurate and appropriate. But as soon as we published the first few editions, our inbox was full of inquiries from campus partners about how they could have their event featured.

Google Form Application

#CSUSocial already uses Google Forms to create applications – we have one for students to apply for takeovers on Snapchat, and one for students to apply to host our student-run Instagram account, Proud To Be a CSU Ram. We have also used Google Forms to allow grads to enter a contest where four lucky winners would have a special guest, our mascot CAM the Ram, attend their graduation party.

Curating our own event listings worked, but there were some snags. We had to first select events we thought our students would be interested in, we often scrambled to find details for the events, and art representing each event was sometimes hard to find. Google Forms presented the perfect way to allow our campus partners the opportunity to supply us with the details, information, and assets needed to accurately promote their events. Not only is this a much more streamlined process for showcasing events for our campus partners, but it also eliminated a lot of the guesswork on our end. Once again, Google Forms to the rescue!

On our Google Form, we have entry fields for:

  • Date, time, location, and web link to the event
  • Who is the intended audience for this event?
  • What’s important for people to know about this event?
  • File uploader to allow for attaching photos and videos

You can see our Instagram Events Submission application here. 

Make it Manageable

Since creating and using Google Forms to manage event requests, we have had several campus partners submit events, sometimes too many in one given week. While we would love to be able to accommodate every request from every campus partner, sometimes it’s just not possible. We do make it clear that #CSUSocial has the capacity to promote 4-6 events each week, and use the following messaging to inform people of our process:

Hi! Thank you for your interest in having your event featured on CSU’s Instagram event highlights. To have your event considered, please fill out the online application found HERE. While we will try our best to accommodate every request, please know that events are featured based on availability and all event submissions are not guaranteed, so please be sure your event is listed on the university calendar found here –