When Instagram launched in 2010 with its visually-focused platform, it disrupted the social media scene. So big was its success that it sparked a whole movement in photo styling.
Fast forward ten years and Instagram is finally getting into the long-form content game.
Instagram introduced Guides as “a way to more easily discover recommendations, tips, and other content from your favorite creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers on Instagram.”
The scrollable lists provide text and visuals that come together in a listicle. You can either use new, saved, or older posts to deliver helpful how-tos on almost any topic.
It’s one more opportunity to put your brand forward as a subject matter expert and influencer in Instagram’s space by engaging its users with more in-depth content directly on the platform.
What Are Instagram Guides?
Instagram Guides are a string of consecutive Instagram posts curated to share helpful information with your audience. Each post in a guide links to a traditional Instagram post or a product page where users can complete a purchase.
Here is an Instagram guide my agency, NP Digital, created to promote mental and physical well-being while everyone works from home.
It starts with a cover image that includes a title and a brief description.
As you scroll down, you find six posts put together to provide tips on taking breaks during work, communicating with coworkers, and maintaining a routine, among other tips.
Each tip is clickable and leads your users to the original Instagram post.
Six months later, Instagram opened up Guides to all users, expanded it to other topics, and rolled out three different types of guides: Products, Places, and Posts.
In particular, they’ve focused on travel and shopping, linking Product Guides directly to shops on Instagram.
Now that Instagram has expanded its guides, there are all kinds of content possibilities to promote your brand. Home improvement brands could create repair and renovation guides. Cosmetics brands might have step-by-step guides for different makeup looks, and cooking brands can include recipes in their guides.
The possibilities are endless.
How to Find Instagram Guides
To access Instagram Guides, go to a creator’s main Instagram page and look for the “Guides” icon.
That will lead you to the Guides page, where you can view her guides:
From here, you can browse and click on Guides to view her content. Waldorf has created Places and Product Guides for her followers.
In the Product Guides, you can click on her featured products and shop them from the website or directly from Instagram Shopping.
As I mentioned, scrolling down from here shows users related products so they can keep shopping.
How to Create Instagram Guide
To create a guide, click on the little plus sign like you would for a regular post, video, or live content. In the dropdown menu, choose Guides.
From here, you’ll be able to choose between the three kinds of content:
- Places: Places is perfect for location-based tips. If you’re a travel or local influencer, Places is where you’ll create restaurant recommendations, tour guides, or a curated list of hidden gems off the beaten path.
- Posts: Use this option to curate saved or previous posts you’d like to recommend. This option allows you to create new content by assembling older posts on the same topic.
- Products: Product Guides link directly to Instagram Shop, and you can only curate products that users can find there.
Once you choose your content format, place your images, posts, and links. Keep in mind that this is Instagram, so images and content should be formatted for mobile.
Examples of Instagram Guides
As we mentioned, you can create three kinds of guides on Instagram right now: Posts, Places, and Products. You’ll know which one you’re looking at by checking the lower-left corner of the guide.
A post lets you curate past and saved posts. It’s the most flexible in terms of the kinds of content you can include.
For example, the NBA uses Instagram Guides to share recent news and updated merch:
Notice how each guide tells you exactly what it is (a post, product, or place Guide) and how many Instagram posts you’ll find in each one, right above the title.
Product Guides link directly to Instagram Shopping, allowing users to buy from your guides.
Stuck in the Book, a book blog run out of Manchester, England, created these guides.
Two of the guides in the example above are Product Guides. If you click on any of the products in these guides, you’ll be directed to a page where you can buy the books.
Finally, Places Guides focus on travel. Users can build guides for travel tips or recommendations.
Brands have a lot of room for creativity within these categories. They let marketers tell a story around products, repurpose older posts into new content, or add context to new posts.
How to Use Instagram Guides for Marketing
With Instagram Guides, brands can build long-form content for the first time on Instagram. There are many excellent reasons you might want to do that.
Keep Users on Your Page
Longer-form, scrollable guides keep users on your content longer, allowing them to get to know your brand and your products. They won’t have to click away to another site for more information, as they would with regular Instagram posts.
Harness the Power of Keyword Searches
Because Instagram is now offering longer-form content, it also updated its search functionality. Users can search for content by keyword, which will surface Instagram Guides. That means content discovery just got a whole lot easier on Instagram. Users no longer have to know your brand name or search by hashtag.
Extend Your Reach
Now that users can find you using keywords, you can create guides that target your brands’ new audiences. Guides also help you put your brand forward as a subject matter expert in your vertical. By creating content that addresses micro-moments, you can focus on the solutions people are searching for, even outside your target audience.
Build Brand Loyalty
This feature is yet another opportunity to build loyalty through useful, trustworthy content. Tips, tricks, step-by-step instructions, and any content that would be valuable to your target audience will keep them coming back for more.
You can foster loyalty even further by offering the first crack at content, product deals through your guides or by announcing new guides through a newsletter.
Product Guides let users shop directly from Instagram, shortening the buyer’s journey. Users can see product descriptions and prices, as well as more products from your shop.
Create Shareable Content
Guides are shareable in stories and through direct messages. If your audience likes your guides, they can spread the word.
Share and Get Shared
Much like you would share articles on LinkedIn, sharing guides from other users on Instagram shows your expertise in your vertical, and makes it more likely your guides will be also viewed and shared.
Extend Partnerships with Influencers
Guides give you another format to explore with influencer partnerships. Work with influencers in your space to create guides that include your products or services.
Instagram Guides FAQ
How do you create an Instagram Guide?
Head to your profile, tap the + icon, then choose Guides from the list of options. If you don’t see it there, try visiting a page with a guide (we listed a few above!) and reading the whole guide. You should see an option to create a guide at the bottom.
Why don’t I have access to Instagram Guides?
Instagram Guides are available to all users, but not everyone will see the option when they go to create a post. If you don’t see it, find an account with Guides and read a full Guide.
You should see an option to create your own at the bottom.
How are Instagram Guides good for marketing?
Guides allow you to share longer-form content and engage with your audience. They can also link directly to product pages, so they’re a great way to drive sales, not just share content.
What should I put in Instagram guides?
The type of content you post in Instagram guides depends on your audience and your marketing goals. How-to guides, listicles, product suggestions, and tips are all ideal content for Instagram Guides. If you focus on providing value to your followers, you won’t go wrong.
Conclusion: Instagram Guides
Instagram Guides are another great tool for a brand’s marketing arsenal to build its following and increase conversions.
The new long-form format allows marketers to provide valuable content to their target audiences while reaching new audiences at the same time.
You can even use them to deliver shopping opportunities directly to your users through Instagram Shopping.
How are you going to use Instagram Guides in your marketing?