As Reels have been taking the spotlight on Instagram, a new feature has gone undetected in the last couple of months: Instagram guides.
To me, that is a shame because I do believe that Instagram guides are something that could be explored, and also is incredibly easy to set up.
Initially, Instagram enabled the Guides feature for a select number of health and wellness advocates, to provide resources for people who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“a way to more easily discover recommendations, tips, and other content from your favorite creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers on Instagram.”
Now rolled out to everyone, the new feature gives users an easier way to share recommendations and tips in an easy-to-digest format.
Instagram is highly capitalising on video content, including Reels, so guides have not been heavily pushed. However, this also means brands can start exploring guides without much-added pressure.
The importance of video content should not prevent you to look at how you could use other features to drive some traffic to your content and products.
How to set up your guides
First of all, it’s important to understand how do you set up your guides.
When you’re deciding to post a new piece of content, alongside options for live broadcasts, posts, and stories you will be able to find guides – these will then live on their tab on your feed (which means that your tabs may become slightly crowded).
A guide is literally what it says in the tin, and allows users to follow a curated flow of posts with commentary.
It can be a collection of posts with tips regarding a specific topic, which means you can also link back to some specific pieces of content that you created to guide your audience and potentially then drive traffic.
When getting started, you can choose from 3 different Guide formats:
- Places: Recommend places in your city and beyond
- Products: Recommend your favourite products
- Posts: Recommend posts you created or saved
When creating the Places guide, though, share information based on content posted about a specific location. Guides are great for step-by-step guides, tips, and recommendations – so I thought I’d highlight three ways that you could use guides effectively, especially right now.
You can use guides for brand awareness. For this goal, I would focus on the Posts format, as it can be used to curate a thread of Instagram posts (that you’ve created or saved) with custom headlines and commentary.
A really fun way to use guides could be to create a collection that introduces people to yourself, who you are, what your company does.
If you’re a personal brand, that could be a simple ‘about me’ collection, but if you are a bigger company, that could be a different way of presenting your mission, your values, your core products, as well as people behind the team.
This could be a great way to spotlights, a couple of posts, and spotlight people behind your brand over the curated experience of the feed.
Another great thing that you can do with guides is engaging with your current audience by spotlighting a specific series of posts or a specific topic in a step-by-step resource.
You could create a specific guide to bring together visual campaigns, which may get lost in the feed. The collection can include a selection of posts and a specific topic, or a specific series of spotlights or interviews.
This can be a great way to educate your audience on a specific element of your brand, as well as focusing on bringing a new life to posts that may not have had as much success.
Conversions for guides
Last but not least, you can also use guides for the good old conversion purposes.
Products format for guides can only be used to curate products available in an Instagram Shop.
This is a great tool for brands or businesses looking to add extra context or commentary to their shoppable products on Instagram.
This could be in itself a really fun way to make the most of shoppable feeds and shopping posts. When it comes to this type of guide, I would recommend looking into first and foremost, setting up your own Instagram shop as that is going to be a key part of being able to use the guide as a catalogue for specific products or services.
You could even get creative and niche down, almost creating a virtual booklet for your Instagram for specific occasions – think Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and much more.
This type of guides can also focus on advocacy by curating stories from your customers, or the community that is behind the brand.
Should you invest time in Instagram guides?
When getting started with guides I would recommend, first and foremost, focusing on the brand awareness piece.
Remember, just like posts Guides can be shared on stories, maximising the impact and driving awareness for your audience (yet, I cannot see them getting their dedicated tab anytime soon)
However, all of these three examples could be easily used, especially depending on how comfortable you get when it comes to using the guides for yourself. What I encourage you to do is take some time to play to fully understand how guides could be working out for you.
Think of guides as what highlights are for Instagram stories – a way to collate and better present curated content for our audience.
What's Your Reaction?
My name is Fab Giovanetti and I am a writer, author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional troublemaker. I help people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.