How to Create Your Own Instagram Story Highlight Covers

Instagram highlights diy

A great way to step up your Instagram game is by adding some Instagram story highlight covers! There are plenty of ways to do this - you can pay someone to make them for you, you can purchase premade templates, or you can DIY it! Creating your own Instagram highlights is easier than you would think, so I have put together this step-by-step tutorial to walk you through it.

What are Instagram highlights?

Instagram highlights are stories that you choose to keep on your profile for more than 24 hours. Normally, when you post a story to Instagram, it stays visible for 24 hours and then disappears. But the highlights feature allows you to permanently save stories on your profile.

Instagram highlights are front and center on your profile - right below your bio and above your feed. They are a powerful way to choose what you want your visitors to learn about you or your business as soon as they come to your profile.

Why create highlight covers?

Because highlights are front and center on your profile, you want to capture your viewer's attention and entice them to click on your highlights. It is a way to brand your profile and keep it looking clean and organized.

Instagram Highlight Inspiration

Instagram highlights
instagram highlights

How to create Instagram highlight covers with canva

If you have read some of my other blog posts, you'd know that I love Canva. Canva is a free, simple, easy to use, web-based design platform.

If you are choosing to DIY your Instagram highlight covers, Canva is a great option.

1. Go to canva.com

2. Create a new design using custom dimensions - 1080px x 1920px

canva instagram highlights
 

3. On the left hand side, click on background

canva instagram highlights
 

4. Canva has some free backgrounds that look great on highlights. You can also purchase a premium background for $1 on Canva or purchase premium backgrounds on Creative Market. Some of my favorites are:

 

5. Once you have selected a background, decide what categories you are going to create.

6. Now it's time to select some icons. Canva also has a great selection of free icons that you can use for your highlights. You can also find icons on Creative Market.

7. Duplicate the page and change the text and icon for each category.

8. Save your highlights by clicking download in the top right corner.

canva instagram highlights
canva instagram highlights
 

9. Upload the highlights to your Instagram stories.

 
canva instagram highlight
Add to your story-2.png
 

I hope this was helpful!

Xx,
Katie

instagram highlights

How to Save Hours of Your Precious Time When Using Engagement Pods

If you have seen my post Instagram Pods: What? Why? How? then you know that engagement pods can be an extremely effective way to boost your engagement on Instagram.

But if you use engagement pods, you also probably know that they can take up a ton of your time! You want to be a good human being and like everyone's posts, but it can take up a good chunk of your time and you need to be very dedicated.

WELL MY FRIENDS, there is a plug-in for Google Chrome that will go through and like all of the links FOR YOU.

Yeah. It's super easy. Just install the plug-in, open Telegram in your browser, and scroll through. You'll see the links become highlighted in yellow, meaning they are added to the queue (the plug-in is even aware that you can be temporarily banned from Instagram if you like too many posts at once, so it adds them all to a queue and spaces them out just a bit). Once the link has been liked by your account, it'll turn green.

Plus, it's not a "3rd-party app" so you cannot be "punished" by Instagram for using it. You do not sign in to the plug-in or provide them with any of your information.

Instead, you just make sure that you are signed into your Instagram account on your Chrome browser, and the plug-in will open up each link in a separate tab and you'll see it "like" the post for you. It's actually kind of fun to watch! Haha!

It works for both Facebook and Telegram!

It was developed by a man who watched his wife spend her time going through tons of links and liking them all. He changed the game for not only his wife but also all of us lucky engagement pod participants! He gets a Pulitzer Prize in my book.

The investment for the plug-in is just $20 total. No monthly plan, just a good old one time payment!

Click here to download Like It All. 

Also, we'd love to have you in our Girlcrush Telegram Like Pod!

Just a little FYI, I will make a small percentage for each purchase of Like It All. I would never recommend an app or product that I do not personally use and love!

Happy engaging!

Xx,
Katie

Kick-Ass Instagram Feeds for Inspiration

IMG_2275_polarr.JPG

One of my favorite tips for Instagram is “a great post gets a like, but a great feed gets a follow.” Someone will decide whether or not they are going to follow you within a few seconds of looking at your Instagram feed, so you need to make a good impression. And today, with one billion monthly active users, 500 million of whom scroll through their Instagram feed every day, it’s crucial that you create a feed that sticks out from the crowd.

Creating a consistent Instagram aesthetic is one of the best and easiest ways to make your feed look fabulous so you can attract new followers with ease. By choosing a color scheme for your Instagram and picking out a filter or two, you can easily make all of your photos flow together with the click of a button.

Here at Girlcrush Collective, we’re obsessed with Instagram. Have you checked out our Instagram membership site, InstaCrush Society? We have both free and premium membership options and we will provide you with everything you need to run a successful Instagram account.

Our premium members pay $36/month and have access to all of our Lightroom presets, as well as hundreds of styled stock photos, graphics, Canva templates, hashtag library, fill-in-the-blank caption templates, and more.

Our free members (no CC info required) have limited access - each month our free members receive one Lightroom preset, 3 styled stock photos, 3 graphics, 2 Canva templates, 4 fill-in-the-blank caption templates, and discount codes for the Girlcrush shop.

All of our members, free and paid, are able to join our InstaCrush Society Facebook group where they can ask us questions directly and connect with other InstaCrush members! We’d love to have you, check out our membership options here!

 

Here are some of our favorite Instagram aesthetics and instructions for how you can achieve a similar feed!

Pink! Pink! Pink!

IMG_2615.PNG
PINK 2.PNG

girlcrush presets for pink themes:

 
 

VSCO Filters for Pink Themes:

Filter: P5 +1
Exposure: +3
Saturation: +3
Highlights: +12
Tint: +2

No filter
Exposure: +3
Temperature: -2
Contrast: +2
Tint: +3
Highlights: +6

H3 +6
Exposure: -2
Contrast: +1
Saturation: +2
Tint: +3


Black & White

@ROSES_N_ROSE

@ROSES_N_ROSE

@tiffanyvon

@tiffanyvon

Girlcrush Presets for Black & White Themes:

Black & White VSCO Filters:

Filter: A5
Exposure: +3
Contrast: +1
Saturation: -4
Tint: +2

Filter: A9
Contrast: +1
Saturation: -1
Tint: +1

Filter: HB2 +6
Exposure: -2
Temperature: -1
Contrast: +1


Warm Tones

@malloryonthemoon

@malloryonthemoon

@fellybee

@fellybee

girlcrush presets for warm themes:

warm tones vsco filters:

Filter: A4
Exposure:-2
Tint: -2
Temperature: +4
Skin tone: +2
Saturation: -1

Filter: E5
Exposure: -1
Shadows: +7
Exposure: +2
Temperature: +1

Filter: M5
Exposure: -1
Saturation: +3
Highlights: +6
Fade: +3


Dark & Moody

@malortandmoet

@malortandmoet

@mykennadorn

@mykennadorn

Girlcrush presets for dark & moody themes

dark & moody vsco filters

Moody Blue
Filter: P5 +12
Exposure: -2
Fade: +3
Contrast: +2
Skin tone: +1
Temperature: -3

Filter: A6 +9
Exposure: -5
Contrast: +2
Saturation: -1
Temperature: -1
Fade: +3

Filter: M3 +6
Contrast: -2
Exposure: -4
Saturation: -4
Temperature: -1


Tropical Vibes

@sessionswithstessie

@sessionswithstessie

@katgaskin

@katgaskin

Girlcrush Presets for Tropical Vibe Themes:

Tropical Vibes VSCO Filters:

Filter: C1 +8
Exposure: -1
Contrast: -2
Saturation: +1
Temperature: -3

Filter: C3
Exposure: -1
Contrast: -1
Saturation: +2
Temperature: -1

Filter: A5
Exposure: +2
Contrast: +2
Saturation: +2


Bright & Colorful

@awhimsywonderland

@awhimsywonderland

@space.ram

@space.ram

Girlcrush Presets for Bright & Colorful Themes:

Bright & Colorful vsco filters

Filter: F2 +6
Temperature: -2
Contrast: +2
Saturation: +2

Filter: A6 +9
Contrast: -2
Exposure: +0.5
Temperature: -2
Tint: +2

Filter: P5
Exposure: +1
Saturation: +2
Tint: -3
Contrast: +3
Shadow: +3


Minimalist

@homeyohmy

@homeyohmy

@emwng (minimalist AND puppies!!!)

@emwng (minimalist AND puppies!!!)

Girlcrush Presets for Minimalist Themes:

MINIMALIST vsco filters

Filter: HB2 +3
Exposure: +1
Contrast: +1
Temperature: -1

Filter: A4
Exposure: +2
Temperature: +1
Contrast: +2
Saturation: -4

Filter: A6
Exposure: +3
Temperature: -2
Saturation: +2
Shadows: +2


Pastel

@jayde_archives

@jayde_archives

@underthesakura

@underthesakura

Girlcrush Presets for Pastel Themes:

pastel vsco filters:

Filter: K3 + 8
Exposure: +1
Temperature: -1
Skin tone: -2
Fade: +1

Filter: A5
Exposure: -1
Contrast: +2
Saturation: -1
Temperature: +1
Tint: +6
Skin tone: -3
Fade: +1

Filter: C1 +6
Contrast: +2
Saturation: -2
Temperature: -1
Tint: +3
Skin tone: +2
Fade: +4


Patterns

@blogdoo

@blogdoo

@katiemandersocial

@katiemandersocial



Does your Instagram have a theme? Let us know below! xx


Did you enjoy this post?

Check out our free InstaStory Challenge to learn 5 ways to drive engagement to your Instagram by using stories!


2.png

3 Must-Have Apps for Twitter

 

Twitter is a very social social media platform. This means you're probably posting on Twitter much more frequently than you are posting on Facebook or Instagram.

But this does not mean you need to spend more time and energy on it! These three apps have helped me take control of my Twitter accounts. You can put your tweets on auto-pilot and monitor your mentions or keywords so you never miss an important tweet or message!

Copy of How to send your post to your pod.png

Crowdfire is my best friend. Really! It's like a little Twitter robot friend that sends you messages telling you what to do on Twitter to help grow. 

Every day I get a message from Crowdfire telling me how I did on Twitter the previous day. I can see how many followers I got and how many I lost. Then Crowdfire finds some posts that they think will do well on my feed and I can set them if I agree. You can have the tweets post now, or schedule them for later. Crowdfire will autoschedule your posts for the time they think will perform best.

They also find some users they think I should follow. This is based on my competitors. Yeah, you can "copy" your competitors followers. By telling Crowdfire what accounts are similar to yours, you can see a list of their followers. Following those followers is a good idea because if they are following your competitior, they are pretty likely to be interested in your account as well. And if they aren't, you can unfollow them. Crowdfire shows you your "nonfollowers" or the people you follow that do not follow you back. WIth Twitter being such a social platform, it's okay to unfollow the accounts that don't seem to be interested in you.

Another cool feature is "inactive followers". Crowdfire will show you the accounts that haven't been active in over a month (or whatever time period you set). You can unfollow these accounts and follow some more active accounts instead.

There are a lot more things you can do on Crowdfire, I could write a whole post just on Crowdfire. But go download it - it's free (with optional upgrades) and start messing around with the different features! It's available on your internet browser as well as on your smart phone.


post planner

Post Planner

Post Planner is a website that provides you with the very best content to post to Twitter.

You tell Post Planner how often you would like to post to Twitter each day and at what times. Then you can see a list of popular articles on Twitter that you can add to your schedule. There are different categories of popular articles, such as marketing, technology, funny, news, engaging, etc.

You can also view articles and photos based on your industry. For example, I usually search through the articles under Small Business, Internet & Software, and Design & Photography.

Other industries include Health & Wellbeing, Entertainment, Travel, Fitness, Retail, Food & Beverage, Fashion & Beauty, and several more.

Post Planner also has status ideas to help you with your engaging text posts. These statuses will encourage engagement with your followers by asking questions or posting inspirational quotes.

I like to go on Post Planner every other week or so and schedule several weeks worth of tweets. This ensures that I have content being posted even on days that I don't go on Twitter at all.


Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an amazing app for all of your social media accounts, but for the purposes of this blog post, I am going to focus on Hootsuite for Twitter. 

Hootsuite rocks because you can create different streams of tweets. Once you start following thousands of users on Twitter, your timeline can become overwhelming. This is where Hootsuite swoops in and saves your life. You can set up your streams however you'd like. Here's how my streams are set up for my @girlcrushco Twitter account:

hootsuite twitter streams

Okay, I know this looks complicated. And honestly, I waited a long time before I started to use Hootsuite because I looked at this and said okay wtf is going on there. But it takes just a few minutes to figure out how to use Hootsuite and as a result you save tons of precious time.

So the first stream I have is "home" which is the first stream you see on the left side of the page. This is exactly what you see when you go onto Twitter on the app - a stream of tweets from everyone you follow in chronological order.

The next stream is my Twitter list, TSC Bloggers & Biz Owners, which is a stream of tweets from the accounts that are in that Twitter list. These are tweets from the members of our Facebook group that I want to be sure to engage with, so this stream helps me to be sure I don't miss them.

The third stream is a stream of my tweets - I can see all of my most recent tweets and their statistics (likes, retweets, replies). This stream just helps me monitor my most recent posts.

The last stream is my direct message inbox. These are all of the most recent messages I have received so I make sure I don't miss anything important!


wait just one second little twitter bird!

Are you Ready to continue improving your Twitter strategy?

Grab the FREE eBook, Find Your Tribe on Twitter!

download now!

 

 


So there ya go, those are my three favorite apps for crushin' it on Twitter!

Do you use any other apps for Twitter?

Peace out,
Katie

 

Instagram Pods 101: What? Why? How?

 
How to send your post to your pod-6.png

Everyone on Instagram seems to be frustrated with "the algorithm" these days. There are hundreds of theories out there and unless you've tested it, you can't be sure what is true, as Instagram has not specifically addressed anything. But no matter what Instagram expert you talk to, they will ALL tell you that engagement is key.

There are a number of ways to get engagement on your posts. A popular, successful strategy is to participate in Instagram pods.

What is a pod?

An Instagram pod is a group of Instagrammers who like and/or comment on each other's posts. This benefits each account that is in the pod because it provides engagement to your post from accounts with similar a audience.

why join a pod?

When an account likes your post, it's very possible that your post will show up on the explore page of people who frequently engage with the account that liked your post (you might need to read that sentence a few times...).

Basically, your reach grows each time an account engages with your post. Getting accounts to engage with you will only bring success. Plus, Instagram likes when a post gets a lot of engagement right away as it tells them that it is a quality post.

How do you join a pod?

There are a number of ways to join a pod. The most basic pod is an Instagram pod that exists within the Instagram direct messaging platform. This is usually 10-20 accounts with a similar target audience and similar size following. You can ask around on Facebook to see if anyone has a pod with available spots.

The best way to join a pod is really to start your own. This is because you can hand-pick accounts that are closest to yours and will ideally attract more users in your target audience. It's best to reach out to several accounts and tell them that you are starting a pod for x niche and would love to have them participate.

If someone reaches out to you and asks you to join their pod, check out their account and make sure that it relates to yours, otherwise you are not doing either one of you a favor. Pods are time consuming and you don't want to be engaging with accounts that are completely unrelated to yours.

If you have 1,000 followers, you should look for people to join your pod that have no more than 5,000 followers. As your account grows, you can look for larger accounts to engage with. Having an account with thousands of followers comment on your photos gives you the potential to show up on their follower's explore page, which can be huge for your growth. So larger accounts are not going to be enticed to join pods with smaller accounts because it won't benefit them as much. You want to give as much (if not more) than you receive!

I'm in a pod...now what?

A pod can be for likes or for comments or for both. This means that users will post their new photo in the group, then everyone in the pod will go like or comment. Of course, comments are better than likes, but comment pods take more time and energy. Do not overcommit to several comment pods.

A like pod can be larger as it's easier to go through each account and like their new post. 

Each pod will have it's own rules. If you are creating a pod, it's important to set a few ground rules to keep the pod running smoothly.

Examples of pod rules:

  • Must follow each member of the pod
  • Only post one photo to the pod each day
  • Comment at least 3 words on each post (nothing worse than a group member who only comments with an emoji or with a "love this!")
  • Share link to photo OR post "NEW" when you've added a new photo (it's easier to add the link to the group because it makes it easier for everyone to get to the photo)
 
How to send your post to your pod-2.png
 

What is telegram?

Telegram is a messaging app. Instagrammers use Telegram to create huge pods. There are Telegram pods that range from 10 people to thousands of people. There will usually be an admin who monitors the pod because as you can imagine, it can get pretty crazy when there are a huge amount of members.

In most engagement pods, you have to like/comment on all of the posts before adding yours. There is also a popular type of pods that are referred to as "rounds".

Rounds are pods that have "drop" times throughout the day. For example, there will be "drops" at 9am, 3pm, and 9pm.    This means that 30 minutes before the round time, members will start dropping their links. Once it hits the round time, no one can drop any more links. Then, everyone who shared a post has to engage with the rest of the posts, usually within the hour.

Rounds are a good way to go about getting engagement because this ensures that you get engagement immediately!

A benefit to Telegram is that it can be used on your phone or on your computer. It can be much quicker to go through all of the posts if you're doing it on their website vs. on your phone. But you'll figure out what works best for you!


Alright that was a lot of information. You will want to determine how dedicated you are to engagement pods. Start small and see if you can handle more to keep you from getting too overwhelmed. 

Happy engaging!

Katie