Sometimes, managing an Instagram account can seem like a lot, right?
While you obsess over the algorithm, brainstorm ideas for reels, or try to figure out the best way to increase engagement, you also have to make time for content creation, keep up with influencers or brand collaborators, and ensure that you consistently publish amazing content.
For all that hard work you put into building a fantastic Instagram page, it’s not right that, over time, lots of really good content gets buried in your feed.
Say hello to Instagram Guides — an excellent way to curate, showcase, and organize existing content on Instagram. Now, all your best content can be in the spotlight!
This is an essential guide to Instagram Guides (no pun intended)! If you are unfamiliar with Instagram Guides or don’t know exactly how to use them, take this post as a crash course and a chance to learn both the basics and best practices. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
What are Instagram Guides?
Instagram Guides are a collection of already-published content in a format similar to a blog post. Like a mini blog entry, Instagram Guides let you curate content tied to a specific topic or theme using images, videos, and blocks of text.
Let’s say you’ve previously shared multiple posts on seasonal skincare. You can now create an IG Guide titled “Winter Skincare” or “10 Tips for Summer Skincare” where you list posts or products related to that topic.
If you manage social media for a software company like Squarespace, you can create a Guide featuring the latest product updates or examples of websites designed with Squarespace.
Each Instagram Guide includes a cover image, title, and introduction with a list of your entries. People can scroll through vertically, read, and explore all the content linked to that Guide.
View this guide on Instagram
The content linked in Guides can be pulled from your Instagram feed, your saved posts, location-tagged places, or products listed on Instagram shops. Want your audience and new followers to find your most important posts or products easily? Group your content into different categories using Instagram Guides!
This feature is a fantastic way to curate and organize existing content on Instagram.
What kind of content can you include in an Instagram Guide?
- How To guides
- existing Instagram feed posts
- step by step instructions
- long-form content
Types of Instagram Guides and when to use each one
There are three main types of Instagram Guides. Each one serves a different purpose and has its benefits.
Just as you curate your best Instagram stories into highlights, you can use Guides to curate the best content from your feed or recommend products and posts from other brands you love. Adding other people’s content to a Guide triggers an Instagram notification to inform them that you’ve used their content. You can use up to 30 photos or videos in a single Instagram Guide.
Now, let’s dive into some examples of IG Guides and when it’s ideal to use each one.
1. Instagram Post Guides
With Instagram Post Guides, you can add posts from your feed or “saved posts” from other Instagram accounts. That means you can gather old posts on a particular topic or share content from other creators, collaborators, and brands.
See how Sqaurespace, Depop and Instagram’s design blog use post Guides to curate helpful content and tell stories.
Best used: when you want to tell a story about your brand, share user-generated content, or educate your audience on a topic.
2. Instagram Product Guides
This is designed for businesses that sell products online but can also be used by influencers partnering with a brand. Since you can link to products listed on an Instagram shop, Product Guides are perfect for highlighting products you sell or recommending products you love.
Bushbalm, a skincare brand for tackling dark spots and razor bumps, has routine-focused Product Guides featuring different products they sell. Likewise, the influencer Monikh created a Product Guide in collaboration with Instagram where she featured several small businesses in a series called #TheInstagramXmasEdit.
With Product Guides, you want to feature a specific product used in different ways or a group of related products. Whichever you decide, just remember that linked products can be purchased directly from Instagram shops. So, it’s best to use products that can be bought immediately, especially if you have an affiliate code or own a shop.
Best used: when you want to create gift guides, reviews, or tutorials.
3. Instagram Place Guides
When you choose to create a “Places” Guide, you get access to content from Instagram posts with geo-tagged locations.
For businesses like retail stores, restaurants, and bookshops, Instagram Place Guides can be used to curate user-generated content from location tags. Recommending interesting places to visit around your location is also a great way to use this type of Guide.
Travel bloggers typically use this to share city guides or a list of their favorite travel experiences.
Examples from @theufuoma, Away and @newyorkcity.explore
Best used: when you want to share travel guides, recommend places to shop, where to eat, or hidden gems in different cities.
How to create your first Instagram Guide
Now that you know the basics let’s show you how to create your first-ever Instagram Guide.
Step 1: choose the type of guide you want to create
- Go to your Instagram profile.
- Tap the “+” icon at the top right.
- Select “Guide”.
- Choose your Guide type: either Places, Products, or Posts.
For this example, we’ll choose the “Posts” Guide type.
Step 2: select posts to add to your guide
- Choose a post or multiple posts from “All Saved,” which is a collection of all your saved posts.
- Choose posts from “Your Posts”, which is a collection of posts from your own feed.
- Tap “Next” after selecting posts you want to add.
You can choose posts from both collections, but remember there’s a limit of 30 items per Guide.
Step 3: add a title and introduction
Now it’s time to edit your Guide. There are many editing options to make your Guide as engaging as possible.
- Tap “Add Title” and write the title of your Guide. Think of this as a blog post headline. It should make people interested in reading your Guide.
- Write your introduction in the text box that says, “What is this Guide about?”. While this is optional, we recommend you use it to summarize the content you’ll be featuring in your Guide. We also recommend that you keep it short, about 3 to 4 lines.
- Add titles and descriptions for each featured post. This provides context that explains why a post has been included and what the post is about.
Step 4: share your guide
- Tap “Next” once you’re done adding titles and descriptions.
- “Preview” your Guide to see what it will look like to other people.
- Tap “Share” to publish your Guide or “Save as Draft” if you’re not ready yet.
- If you don’t like the default cover image, you can change it. Make sure to choose a cover that stands out and offers the best preview for the Guide you’re creating.
- You can reorder or delete items by tapping the three horizontal lines at the top-right of each section.
- After sharing your Guide, you can add posts in the future if you wish to update your Guide as you create new content.
Top benefits of using Instagram Guides
Instagram Guides serve as a great content discovery tool. Suppose you publish evergreen content such as educational posts, product reviews, tutorials, tips and tools, and tricks, or important brand information. In that case, there are so many interesting ways you can use Guides to keep those posts visible and drive traffic to them.
Here are a few benefits of using Instagram Guides:
Highlight and promote your best content
She also adds that “people can find the answers to their frequently asked questions and “if they’re looking for content related to specific topics or categories, they can easily find it on that tab in your profile.”
You already put a lot of effort into creating great Instagram content, so why not use Guides to promote it?
See how the crypto community @breach_club uses Guides to promote old content on key topics.
Increase conversions for Instagram Shop with product guides
If you run an Instagram Shop, you can use Guides to create product recommendations, feature customer reviews, and highlight influencer partnerships that can help you build trust and land sales.
Skincare brand, Cocokind, uses Guides to promote products for different skin types and routines.
Build credibility by showcasing influencer partnerships and UGC
Whether you sell physical products, deliver digital solutions, or provide online services, you can leverage content shared by customers and users to show prospects real-life use cases of your product and build credibility for your business.
You can also feature key influencer partnerships that elevate your brand.
The photography mobile app, VSCO, created a Guide to feature images of members who used their series of infrared filters.
View this guide on Instagram
Likewise, RedBull showcases extreme sports influencers using this “10 ways to drink a RedBull” Instagram Guide.
View this guide on Instagram
If you haven’t started using Instagram Guides, now is the time!
8 Best practices for utilizing Instagram Guides to grow your business
Creating excellent Guides begins with understanding the best practices used by top brands and influencers. This is a major way to repurpose existing content on Instagram, so you need to handle it with finesse and creativity.
It can be part of the marketing strategy of furniture brands too. Just like West Elm’s “10 best living rooms” Guide, a post about a customer’s sofa arrangement you shared two years ago can be part of a that people can find easily without scrolling through hundreds of posts.
Ready to get the most out of Instagram Guides for your business? Review these best practices and incorporate them into your Instagram growth strategy!
1. Make it findable using stories and highlights
Guides are still relatively new to the larger Instagram community. This means that you need to make it easier for people to discover your Guides by sharing them in your stories and creating a dedicated story highlight at the top of your feed.
Driving traffic to your Guides also drives traffic to all the linked content. A win-win for your post impressions and reach.
In addition to that, when people spend more time reading a long-form Guide, just as they would read a detailed caption, it shows the algorithm that people are engaged which helps your overall content perform better.
2. Increase shareability by spotlighting other brands and creators
When you feature other brands and creators in your Guide, Instagram sends them a notification. If you’ve created an excellent Guide, the creators/brands you featured might reshare it to their stories.
The more brands and creators you feature in your Guides, the more likely your Guides will be shared with multiple niche audiences. If their audience likes your Guides, they could also help spread the word. Again, it’s a win-win.
See how Beats by Dre features Black women-owned businesses and how The Quality Edit features different brands in this “reviews” Guide.
3. Partner with niche influencers
Speaking of niche audiences, did you know that micro and nano influencers on Instagram drive higher engagement than any other influencer group? This is because they have a small but strong community that actually trusts them.
This graph from HypeAuditor’s influencer marketing report clearly shows that super-niche nano influencers have the highest engagement rate.
So, not only is it smart to partner with niche influencers for Guides, but it’s also a great marketing strategy for your business. See how this British Columbia travel organization partnered with influencers last December.
4. Emphasize your expertise
Many creators and entrepreneurs prefer using blogs or LinkedIn to share thought leadership and repurpose that content for Instagram using carousels and reels. Now, you can use Guides to deliver longer-form content directly on your Instagram page, leveraging all the expert content you have shared over time.
Whether you’re a fitness coach, marketing nerd, sous chef or you sell custom footwear, you can use Guides to prove or teach your audience about your expertise.
5. Address Frequently Asked Questions
If you have customers or clients, it is very likely that they’ll have questions. If any of the posts you’ve shared on your feed helps answer any of those questions, now is the time to curate them into a Guide.
See how the social rental app, By Rotation shows newcomers how to list products.
6. Curate helpful and educational content
While how-to’s and tutorials are great examples of helpful content, you should take a more innovative approach to educational content by telling your customers about some of your brand values.
In this Guide, Grove Collaborative educated their community on exactly how they plan to solve the single-use plastic problem. This also served as a chance to promote their sustainable products.
View this guide on Instagram
7. Share inspiring content
Community-focused stories, gift guides and travel recommendations are the best type of inspiring content you can share.
The good news about this is that there are multiple examples of how brands and creators currently use Guides to share inspiring content. Here are some examples from the social media app Instagram, beauty publication Byrdie and tourism organization Hello BC.
8. Update your Guides
Publishing your Guide doesn’t mean you should forget about it. Every couple of months, look through your Guides and see which ones can be updated with content you have recently shared.
Remember, Guides help you repurpose and revive your old content, so it makes sense to keep updating existing Guides. However, if your Guide features products or posts that have been taken down from Instagram, you should consider removing the Guide to avoid showcasing blank spaces.
Use Planable to organize and collaborate on Instagram
Many brands are still not leveraging the marketing and engagement tool that is Instagram Guides, so if you’re here, you’re definitely ahead of the curve. Kudos!
Keep up that pace by working with a social management tool like Planable to improve your social media management process. Collaborate with your social content team in one virtual space, stay extremely organized and spend half the typical time on content.
Alex Birkett is the co-founder of Omniscient Digital, a premium content marketing & SEO agency. He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog Biscuit and writes at alexbirkett.com.