Written byJulia Cohen
Learn how to use Instagram Guides – the new feature on Instagram that could help brands and creators see more organic, targeted growth.
Instagram is on a roll with its new releases, and whilst Guides were teased before and only visible on specific, selected accounts, they are now available for all users. Guides are a really great way to add another layer of discoverability to your profile, but also an interesting way to compile relevant information to help people who are interested in your niche. You can use Instagram Guides to troubleshoot what your audience is already asking, using new or repurposed content in a guide format. So, let’s get to know Guides, and how they can be useful for your account growth.
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What are Instagram Guides? 🤔
Think of Instagram Guides as blog posts. They are a cool way to curate content, share information, and put more of an editorial spin on your posts and videos. They have different benefits depending on whether you are a brand or a creator. There are three types of Instagram guides:
- Places – a guide of your favorite places based on location, saved posts, or your own existing posts.
- Products – search for brands and add their products into a ‘gift guide’ or ‘wishlist’ for example.
- Posts – share your existing posts in a guide around a specific topic.
In a similar way to hashtags, Guides are another way to categorize content, because you can put related posts to one topic in a guide for your followers to look through. For example, if you are a life coach, you might create a guide around ‘confidence’ and put all of your posts, carousels, or videos related to confidence in this specific guide. You then have the option to add text, a title, and more advice to accompany your individual posts.
What are the benefits of Instagram Guides? 📖
Before we get into how you can use Instagram Guides, let’s take a look at why they can help your account grow, in an organic way.
- They give your audience a deeper understanding of your own voice, as they give you the option to add personal commentary to your posts in a format that is different from a caption. Because Guides look more like blog posts or articles, the flow of reading is much more natural and the commentary feels a little rawer. Authenticity makes followers stick around, and this could be a great way to retain followers.
- They are much more tailored to your audience. Instagram has dedicated a whole new tab to Guides, so when users click on this section, they can see all of the Guides a person has made. They can then select the guides they want to view based on their personal interests and have a ‘tailored-to-them’ experience, which features the posts they are most likely to resonate with.
- They can increase your discoverability. If someone is looking through a Guide you have created, they may have the opportunity to discover some of your older content that isn’t fresh on your feed. This almost repurposes your content for you and could drive more conversions on your page.
- As a business, the option to create guides based on products and locations is a real win. If you partner with an influencer to create a gift guide, for example, this could be a natural and relevant way to place your products in front of your target audience’s eyes.
- You can continue to build on them. Just because you’ve created a Guide, doesn’t mean you can’t come back to it. They are editable, so if you create fresh content that fits in with one of your Guide’s themes, you can directly add it in there – almost like a Pinterest board!
- If Instagram rolls out a new feature, it is usually beneficial to take advantage of it from the get-go. Users claim that you may get rewarded by the algorithm by trying out new features when they first launch, as they are a lot less competitive in the initial stages of introduction.
How to use Instagram Guides 📲
Now that you know why you should be using Guides to up your chances of growth, even more, let’s talk about how to use Instagram Guides more specifically.
If you want to create a Guide, just go to your profile and click the ‘+’ button in the top, right-hand corner.
Select Guide, and then select whether you’d like to create a Guide based on ‘places’, ‘products’, or ‘posts’.
Select the products, places, or posts you’d like to add to your guide.
Add a relevant title, select a cover photo, and add a brief description for the overall guide.
How to find Instagram guides
Whether you’re in the mood for a rabbit hole or you want to see some live-action Instagram guide examples on your own time, let’s go over how to find these guides since they’re still a pretty new and less-used feature.
It’s real simple. Guides are made by creators. So simply visit any creator’s Instagram profile and look for the guides icon on their page. If you don’t see one, either your Instagram app is really outdated, or, chances are they haven’t created any yet (you should send them this article!).
9 ways your business can use Instagram guides
1. Deliver how-to instructions
How-to content isn’t only limited to explainer videos and 2000-word blog posts. They can be power-packed into an Instagram guide that combines the power of visuals and text into one easily accessible thread of posts. You can even use the Instagram content as a preview of a more in-depth guide on your blog or YouTube to drive traffic, like one may treat a Twitter thread.
When fleshing out your how-to guide, you’ll want to map out the essential steps to include. You may find that you already have existing content that relates to some steps, feel free to link or add those posts to your guide as a way of filling in the blanks. For the finishing touch, of course, you’ll want to add numbers and step-by-step titles and captions.
HubSpot, for example, set up an Instagram guide on remote work tips for their target audience: small business owners and marketers.
2. Introduce team members
As a marketer creating Instagram guides, you have to get creative. While the feature’s name may be “Instagram guides,” you don’t have to use it as such, as you’ll see in the coming examples as well.
Showing the faces behind your business adds a personal touch that can make your brand feel more approachable – especially if you’re a brand that relies heavily on friendly interactions involving people, like a daycare center, wedding planner, or catering company.
Think of it as an “about us” page, but on Instagram. You could even combine this type of guide with an FAQ section to kill two birds with one stone. You can use an Instagram guide to do quick intros for your team members, whether it’s the whole company or just a new hire. Be sure to include a headshot, name, and role in each post of the guide.
3. Showcase customer reviews and testimonials
Social proof – like customer reviews and testimonials – is essential for any business. It helps show timid strangers that your product or service is valuable and worth a try, which can be the difference between a conversion and an Instagram scroll.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to use Instagram guides, consider curating a guide with some of your favorite customer reviews. Include results and numbers wherever you can.
4. Promote a new product or service
If you’re rolling out a new feature, product, or service on the block, provide a list of reasons why your product or service is amazing and worth trying. Got 10? Great, that’s enough for an Instagram guide!
You can use the guide as a way to introduce the benefits and perks to your audience in an easily digestible format. Make sure to tie everything with a compelling offer – perhaps a trial or a discount, along with a clear call to action.
For example, Hotforfood used an Instagram guide to show off their new dessert recipes in their latest cookbook. They’ve added enticing descriptions to each item along with drool-worthy photographs that would catch any foodie’s undivided attention.
5. Make a gift guide
Answering the age-old question of “what should I get them for their birthday/Christmas/anniversary?” is tough. But it’s a whole lot easier when you’ve got a guide to direct them to. Your guide.
This is where an Instagram guide comes in handy. You can use it as a way to showcase some of your best-selling products in one holiday-themed thread. As the product experts, feel free to add some commentary on how your stuff should be used, or who it’s perfect for to help your audience understand how to gift your goodies.
Meghanpatriceriley rounded up a bunch of their products recently for Valentine’s day campaign. They included a mix of fashionable jewelry that the ladies could rock on their dates.
The thing about guides is it depends on your product. Get creative with it. Swarovski is another example. Instead of a gift guide, they armed their customers with a style guide for different colors.
6. Answer common questions
In a way, when you create Instagram guides, it lets you create dedicated sections on your account page like you would on a website. With that in mind, an FAQ thread can help your audience gain clarity on your services, way of operations, and policies all in one go.
You can use this guide to answer common questions that you get from your followers. This will help reduce the number of DMs and comments you get asking about the same thing over and over again. Plus, it’s a valuable resource for new customers to consult before they purchase from you or engage with your brand.
7. Curate a list of resources
If you’re in a service-based industry or have an online course, then you know that providing valuable resources is essential to your audience. After all, they’ll need something to reference after they finish reading your guide!
You can create an Instagram guide to curate a list of helpful resources for your followers. This could be articles, blog posts, eBooks, infographics, or even just a list of your favorite websites and organizations. This kind of thread can also be used as a networking and promotional opportunity with fellow brands as well.
For example, if you’re a web designer, you can put together a guide of your favorite design resources. This could be anything from stock photos to copywriters, to website templates. By doing this, you’re not only providing value to your followers, but you’re also promoting other businesses in your industry – it’s a win-win!
But it’s important to remember that you want to put meaningful content at the forefront. A great example is by Teen Vogue, which put together 26 posts of Black Lives Matter awareness and educational content:
8. Create a ranked list
Who doesn’t love a good list? And what’s better than a list on Instagram? An Instagram guide, of course.
You can use an Instagram guide to create a ranked list of pretty much anything. This could be your top 10 favorite products, your most popular blog posts, or even your most-liked Instagram photos. The options are endless!
9. Make a travel guide
If you’re a travel blogger or constantly on the go for work, then you know that putting together a comprehensive travel guide can be a lifesaver – both for you and your followers!
You can use an Instagram guide to document all of your travels in one place. This way, your followers can easily reference it when they’re planning their own trips. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your beautiful photos and give your followers some major travel inspo!
Packing lists, itineraries, and even maps are all fair game when it comes to creating a travel guide on Instagram. So get creative and have fun with it!
Blogto has dozens of guides on the best places to go in Toronto for just about everything.
We hope you learned a little more about Guides, and how to effectively use them! We’re excited to see how the feature expands to include things like Insights, analytics, and more. If you’d like to continue learning about how you can improve your Instagram strategy and see organic growth, click on the banner below.
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