April 9, 2021Published by: Kayla Snyder

Getting started with Instagram Guides

Last November, Instagram announced its latest feature, Guides, which enables users to share curated, scrollable content. The feature has been gradually gaining traction ever since, with corporate and consumer brands finding creative ways to use it to broaden their current social offering.

Instagram already offers a wealth of popular features we all know and love: feed posts, ephemeral Stories, IGTV videos for long-form content, and TikTok-rivalling ‘Reels’. But with its latest Guides feature it offers something a little different for audiences seeking advice, tips and recommendations. 

If you’re wondering why you’ve missed this under-the-radar rollout, it’s probably because Guides aren’t shared directly on a feed. Instead, your Guides sit behind the little book icon on your profile page, but they can then be shared easily to Instagram Stories and added to your highlights. 

We’ve been using them at Battenhall recently and have found them to be a great way to create longer-form content that has a magazine-type feel. Here are some of the key benefits it offers, starting with the three main types of Instagram Guide:

1. Post Guides

Likely to be the most commonly used, Post Guides enable users to select from in-feed posts or posts that have been saved to create a guide. This could be useful for brands looking to create a round-up of posts around a particular product. Red Bull, for instance, has already used Guides to showcase creative ways to consume its drinks, using existing content. 

Essentially, Post Guides enables users to create a visual blog post for their feed.

2. Place Guides

This option gives users the ability to share favourite recommendations based on search, saved locations, or locations tagged in posts. American Express used this type of guide to create a timely Guide around Mardi Gras, offering takeout suggestions during the much-loved holiday.

Users can choose between selecting their own feed posts, or any post on Instagram that tags their desired location. This means content can be shared far and wide, and will attract more interaction with posts. There’s also the option to add a personal touch and share what users particularly like about their selected posts.

3. Product Guides

This new-age Pinterest-style board brings product recommendations into 2021. Consumer brands can use it to share shoppable products from their range, while regular Instagram users could use it to create a personalised list of must-have products. You can browse your favourite products from Facebook Shops to curate a list – but be mindful that product photos can be poor quality, so using the tag feature ensures a more aesthetically-pleasing and satisfying Guide.

Why you should use Guides

Now you know all about the different types of Guides, let’s look at some of the ways it could help transform the way you use Instagram – and encourage more interaction with other users... 

  • Guides enable users to share more information around their posts. 
  • They create a more text-driven option for a photo-based social media platform.
  • Guides can allow brands/users to share their content and give it an extra ‘boost.’ 
  • Creating these round-ups enables users to have organised information about any number of topics on their feed. 
  • Guides help to extend the longevity of a post by housing it in a different, curated way.
  • This type of content gives brands the opportunity to create content around certain national awareness days. 
  • Arguably any brand can use Guides to their advantage. 

The future of Guides

This feature is still relatively new and has the potential to become much more widely used in future, with plenty of untapped areas to explore. 

Will we start to see influencers emerge from Guides? How will the top social platforms react? Instagram mimicked TikTok with the addition of Reels – could we see Twitter replicate Guides next in threads?

Only time will tell, but the feature is one to keep an eye on and something new for brands and creators alike to experiment with.

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