What Are Instagram Guides and How Do You Use Them?

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What Are Instagram Guides and How Do You Use Them - grin influencer marketing

One of the most recent Instagram updates is the Guide. It’s a remarkably simple (and fun!) way to add content to your feed and attract engagement from followers.

What are Instagram Guides?

Guides are collections of your favorite things on Instagram. You can create a listicle-style compilation of your favorite posts, places, or products on Instagram and share them with your fans.

There are countless ways to use Guides, including (but not limited to):

  • Create a listicle blog
  • Showcase travel highlights
  • Store artistic portfolios
  • Build wish lists
  • Display products
  • Create a step-by-step guide
  • And so much more

How long can an IG Guide be?

When creating an Instagram Guide, you may include up to 30 posts (photos or videos). If you are creating a Guide for places or products, there will always be a 30-item limit.

How do Instagram Guides work?

Many marketers believed that Instagram Guides would primarily serve travelers as a way to track their favorite stops and recommend locations to fans. But as COVID-19 restricted travel, Guides took on broader dimensions, to include the following three Guide categories:

  • Posts
  • Places
  • Products

Now, brands and creators can use this feature to build listicle-style collections for a variety of purposes. After publishing an IG Guide, followers can find them under “Guides” on the profile feed displayed immediately to the right of Posts.

instagram guides - grin influencer marketing

Image via Instagram

Guides for Posts

Technically, you can use the Posts option in Guides to show off places you’ve been and products you love, so long as you are pulling from your own images and videos. Otherwise, you can pull together a collection of your favorite posts within a specific category to build your Guide.

Guides for Places

When creating a Guide for Places, you can search among location check-ins on your feed; or for that matter, you can pick any location you like. Additionally, you can build your Places Guide using content from other creators. Instagram will take care of content credits, and you can focus on making your Guide just right.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ken Fortney (@kenfortney)

Guide via Instagram

Guides for Products

Similarly to Places, you can create a collection of your favorite Products from any brand you choose, including big name brands or individual Etsy shops. If you manage a business account, you can showcase some of your best-selling products or collaborate with an influencer to create a gift wish list for fans.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating an Instagram Guide

Step 1. Select the plus (+) sign to begin a new post.

You’d begin your Guide the same way you’d begin any post using the plus button at the top (Apple) or bottom (Android) of your mobile device. Note: you cannot create a Guide on your desktop computer unless you toggle the mobile mode on your browser.

Step 2. From the list of options, select Guide.

Guide is the last (and newest) post feature on your list.

Step 3. Choose whether to launch a post, place, or product Guide.

You will be prompted accordingly based on your Guide type selection.

Step 4. Create a title and description.

First, you will choose a Post, Place, or Product to start your Guide and add more as you go. With your first item added, you can edit your title and cover photo for the Guide.

To continue adding new Posts/Places, or Products, simply hit the + Add button at the bottom of your view.

Step 5. Add content.

As you add more items to your Guide, be sure to include a title and explanation for each item (if you wish). Including a title is important, but depending on what you’re listing, an explanation for each item may not be necessary.

Step 6. Save as a draft or share to your profile.

At any time, you may save your Guide as a Draft and return to complete it later. But even after publishing a Guide, you can edit it to include more items at any time.

To retrieve a Guide Draft, navigate to the Guides section of your profile and select the list of drafts just above your published Guides.

When you’re ready to publish, click the blue Share button at the bottom of your view. And you’re done!

Step 7. Announce your Guide as a Story.

After you publish your Guide, one great way to generate engagement right away is to share that Guide in an IG Story. If you have your Instagram and Facebook accounts linked, then you will be announcing your Guide on both channels.

You can also share a link to your Guide or embed it onto a webpage.

Instagram Guide Examples

One of the best ways to understand how Instagram Guides work is to take a look at some great examples. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Christmas Gift Ideas by @meghanorourkee


Guide via Instagram 

Travel influencer Meghan O’Rourke was one of the first IG influencers to leverage Guides for the holiday season in 2020. In this Guide, she collected her favorite gift ideas from lesser-known vendors online.

2. LEGO Furniture Friday by @brickdesigned

 

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A post shared by brickdesigned (@brickdesigned)


Guide via Instagram 

Jesse is a YouTuber, Instagram influencer, and AFOL (adult fan of LEGO). In this Guide, he shows off his intricate eye for LEGO furniture. Jesse currently has three Guides – all featuring original LEGO furniture designs.

3. Hair Tutorials by @prettyprogress23

 

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A post shared by Liz Claire 😜 (@prettyprogress23)


Guide via Instagram 

Liz Claire is a wellness, cosmetics, and beauty influencer. This hair tutorial is one of five how-to Guides on her page. Showing followers how to do something is a fantastic use of Guides, and Liz nailed it!

4. Pet Fashion Show for @derpydanas Etsy Shop


Guide via Instagram 

The only thing better than a pet photo is a pet fashion show. Chili the Golden Retriever no doubt created a shopping spree at Derpy ‘danas Etsy store after publishing this Guide.

5. Amazing Observatories by @astrophysicscommunity


Guide via Instagram 

This astronomy fan page collected its thirteen favorite observatories into a Places Guide. The pictures are so stunning that we hardly notice the absence of post descriptions.

6. Hightops Are Rad by @continuouscamper

 

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A post shared by Ronald Hope (@continuouscamper)


Guide via Instagram 

Instagram is filling with #vanlife travelers from North America, Europe, and Australia. Ronald Hope, a nomadic photographer, listed his favorite hightop builds in this Guide for serious roadtrippers.

Ways to Use IG Guides

Guides can help you promote your brand and offer you more options for your influencer campaigns. Here are among the top most powerful ways to leverage IG Guides for your brand.

Influencer Wish Lists

Influencers love building lists of their favorite brands and products. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to partner with your influencer community to show off your most popular products.

Recommended Travel Destinations

Instagram initially launched the Guides feature for traveling creators. That’s why creating a list of travel destinations works so well on Instagram. 

If your brand caters to travelers or is headquartered in a destination-worthy area, consider building a Places Guide to promote your brand’s favorite spots, give shoutouts to your top travel influencers, show town pride, or all of the above.

Product Best Uses/Practices

Since Guides allows you to use both videos and images, there is a lot you can do with FAQs and product best practices. This feature can be especially helpful if your products or services are mildly or moderately complicated for first-time users.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

If you’re going to create an FAQ or best practices Guide, why not go ahead and build a full step-by-step tutorial? These posts are easy for your followers to share and reference.

Product Bestsellers/New Product Announcements

If you’ve added Instagram in-app shopping for your business account, Guides can be one more way to showcase your products. Consider creating a Guide whenever you launch a new product line or feature. 

You can also create Guides specific to limited-time offers or product best-sellers.

Conclusion

Because you’re pulling from already existing content, building Instagram Guides is one of the quickest ways to build relevant content on your page. And if you have an influencer team, don’t be afraid to ask for their input on Instagram Guide campaign ideas. 

Lastly, IG Guides are perhaps one of the most overlooked ways to recycle top-performing content from your social media team, your influencers, or UGC for which you have the rights.

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