In a slew of new features launched by Instagram in 2020 ‘Guides’ seemingly flew under the radar as ‘Reels’ took the social media platform by storm. But what is this new feature’s purpose and what benefits does it provide for brands? We thought we’d shed some light on the conception of Guides and what role they can play in a social media content strategy. Take a look!
What is a Guide?
Instagram Guides give users the chance to create long form content, reminiscent of a blog or Instagram carousel, in which they can share pre-published posts, places, or product listings from the creator’s account or public accounts. Each guide includes a cover image, title, introduction, and optional descriptions for entries.
Located in a separate new tab on a user’s profile, they offer a new way to group together posts, places and products thematically, as well as providing an opportunity for further commentary alongside the media. Topically, guides can be about any subject that the user desires- from travel to product recommendations to favourite accounts- they can be tailored for any niche.
Why was it launched?
The original idea behind Guides was for it to be used mainly by Travel bloggers, however Instagram pivoted as the COVID-19 pandemic stalled travel opportunities. Instagram Head Adam Mosseri decided instead for Guides to focus on wellness, something many users were grappling with at the time of launch in May 2020. As such, one of the first Guides promoted was from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, called Mental Health and COVID-19.
Whilst wellness was the topic that Guides were launched with, Instagram’s wider aim was to offer ways for its users to "easily discover recommendations, tips, and other content" from their favourite creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers. As of 17 November 2020, the format was made available to all users and Guides became a new exciting way to share content.
As is often the way, this new feature is a reactionary act from Instagram as it tries to maintain its supremacy amongst the social media platforms. With Pinterest’s recent foray into aggregating content for longer-form storytelling with its ‘Story Pins’ feature, as well as Tik Tok’s recent journey into the educational realm, Guides are Instagram’s new answer to longer-form content.
But how can it help?
As with all new features, it can take a while to work out just what it can add to a social media content strategy, but there are actually a whole host of advantages that Guides provide. Notably, as long form content, it provides brands the opportunity to go into more detail and offer more information on the topics they want to share.
It also gives a wonderful opportunity to recycle content. A frustrating element to Instagram is that creators can spend time devising an exciting piece of content, only for it to be used once and promptly forgotten about. With guides, that content can be reshaped and repackaged for further use!
The ability to gather content thematically can also aid with the construction of longer campaigns, as well as the chance to offer step by step instructions for more complicated topics.
Another key element in which Guides can aid your marketing strategy is in community building. It can be difficult to foster engagement and real connections with other users on Instagram, but creating a Guide in which you feature other users can help your brand gain some active followers. If you’re a company that promotes Sustainability, why not create a Guide featuring your favourite climate change activists?
So there you have it!
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about Instagram Guides. But don’t worry if all the new features feel a tad overwhelming, here at Roland Dransfield we keep ahead of the curve, so you don’t have to. If you would like to discuss your own PR and marketing activity and find a way to use social media effectively, get in touch with us at Roland Dransfield and we’ll be able to help you out.