The Ultimate Guide to Guides: Elevating Your Brand with Instagram’s Latest Feature
As the world halted last year and people began spending more time than ever staring at their phones, social media platforms wasted no time releasing new features. Some provided new ways to give back, like Instagram’s Support Small Business button, and some were launched early to test features while platforms had a captivated audience, like Twitter’s Fleets. Amid the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram launched Guides, a feature designed to provide mental health resources and aid exclusively for health and well organizations.
Fast-forward to 2021, and Guides are now available to all users on the platform. We’re giving you the ultimate guide to Guides so you can incorporate this feature into your social media strategy.
So, What Is Guides Anyway?
Instagram Guides was designed to share information, tips and recommendations in a blog or catalog-like format. Instagram describes 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 feature combines information from the app, including places, products and posts that can be compiled from both your own Instagram profile and other users’ profiles to create a round-up of recommendations.
Guides was ideated and implemented to provide necessary resources for public consumption in a way that was previously unavailable on the app. Prior to this new feature, the only way to group content together was through a carousel post that gets lost within your feed or an Instagram Story highlight.
Now, users can turn to their favorite Instagram profiles as trusted resources for more information and recommendations, whether that be mental health advice or simply the latest trends users want to follow.
This feature adds dimension to social media strategies because the platform can now host information greater than just aesthetically pleasing photos and Stories. There is now a dedicated space for brands and creators to share content that is not solely focused on selling, but also providing information that people are seeking, which can elevate your brand authority as an expert in your space.
How to Create a Guide
With Shops, Reels, stickers and so many other new features on Instagram, the biggest obstacle to Guides is, well, finding it. The app’s increasingly congested interface can make it difficult, so here are step-by-step instructions on how to create a Guide.
Step 1: Go to User Profile
Step 2: Select the “+” button in the top right corner
Step 3: Select “Guide” under the Create tab that pops up
Once a Guide has been created, it will live on an Instagram profile as a separate tab between user’s posts and tagged posts. It’s lumped into the area where you will find IGTV videos or AR filters if that content has been posted on your Instagram account previously.
Step 4: Choose Guide Type
Each Guide can only be created under a single category: places, products or posts. Currently, you cannot create a Guide that combines all of these categories in one compilation.
- Places Guide: When creating a “Places” Guide, you can select any post tagged at that location from public profiles
- Product Guide: For a “Product” Guide, you may select to feature any shoppable product from any account with a shopping catalog
- Post Guide: For a “Post” Guide, you can select any of your account’s posts or other public users’ posts which your Instagram account has saved
Step 5: Compile places, products or posts to be included in the Guide
Guides allow you to compile round-ups of any post or product from public accounts, as well as your own profile.
Step 6: Add titles and descriptions to each feature
This is required to add and your Guide will not publish until this is complete. You can also change the cover of this guide during this stage, or it will automatically select an image as the cover.
Step 7: Publish Guide 🎉
Guiding Guides into Your Social Strategy
Adding new elements into your ongoing social strategy can be daunting. It often feels like there is an overwhelming amount of new features and updates that you need to stay on top of to stay relevant, some which provide little value to a brand for the time and resources they require — like that company TikTok page you think you need to create.
However, Guides provide value by bringing more long-form, image and product-based content to Instagram. One major consideration to implementing this new feature into your social strategy is that, as of right now, Guides cannot be shared in the main Instagram feed. They can, however, be shared via Instagram Stories and are easy to discover directly on an Instagram profile.
This means the users discovering your Guides are likely new followers, potential customers trying to find more information or followers who frequently visit your profile. It’s important to keep these audiences in mind when building out your content.
Tell your brand story and values, provide education about products or inspire followers on trends they should follow all alongside high-quality, user-generated content or with Instagram’s product catalogs.
Now that you have all the knowledge to elevate your social strategy with Guides, here are some of my favorite examples of brands doing it right.
Best Instagram Guides
This Guide utilizes Article’s owned posts by showcasing different leather sofas. Throughout the Guide, the Article provides education on different features in each leather couch, while also providing major design inspiration for followers. ✨
The next Guide comes from a local photographer, who I discovered during my own wedding planning adventures. It utilizes the “location” feature to show wedding venues with stunning imagery that was publicly tagged in each location by herself and other photographers. This Guide strongly caters to its audience by providing guidance to brides who are likely looking at both photographers and venues simultaneously. 💍
Spanx took its holiday gift guides to Instagram this year, creating this Guide showcasing its products in a roundup that is easy to browse and shop for any followers looking for their next purchase. 🎁
Lastly, Dolce Vita recently posted this Guide at the beginning of Black History Month to highlight Black-owned businesses. It emphasizes the fact that Guides are designed to be a point of discovery so you can follow all of these stellar brands. 🙌