Instagram shows no sign of slowing when it comes to keeping users hooked and strengthening the influencer economy for which it has become notorious. The latest in the line of new innovations? Instagram Guides! So, what are these Guides, exactly? Earlier in 2020 (good riddance, we say) Instagram launched a feature called “Guides”, which enabled digital creators to share tips, resources and more long-form content in a dedicated tab on their user profiles. Sitting snugly alongside the platform’s other recent addition, Reels, Guides are essentially individual albums of content collected into a single resource, allowing users to group a mix of different content types into relevant categories. This makes it easy for followers to quickly find and view the posts of interest to them.
At first, Guides were made available to a select group of creators that were tasked with publishing content focused on mental health and well-being. As we enter 2021, Instagram has made the format available to all users as well as enabling them to categories their Guides into specific types of content: Products, Places and Posts. The feature has also followed an update to the platform’s Search functionality, which has been improved to better direct users to their interests.
It appears Guides are intended primarily to facilitate a move towards more long-form content that will complement media-focused content such as photos and videos. Guides are not too dissimilar from a blog post, allowing for the seamless integration of a creator’s content –from their ephemeral story posts, to their permanent posts and Reels, to their Guides, which can also include photos, galleries and videos to illustrate the subject matter at hand. Guides are of course shareable as well, with visitors able to post Guides they come across to their stories and in Direct Messages, expanding their reach even further.
As mentioned above, the Instagram Guides feature allows for three different types of long form content, categorised into Places, Products and Posts.
- Places: Intended to facilitate the creation of travel guides to one (or more!) locations, creators can spotlight their favourite restaurants, businesses, sightseeing spots, accommodation or even create a trip itinerary!
- Products: This one is fairly straightforward, as it allows creators to compile a list of products through Instagram Shop. You can create your own guide or curate your favourites from brands you like.
- Posts: This Guide allows you to create a collection of your own posts and/or curate from posts you’ve saved! This is useful for sharing tips, thoughts and resources regarding a specific topic (such as mental health and wellbeing from when Instagram first launched the feature).
So, how do you set up a Guide for yourself? It’s simple –just make sure you have the latest update!
All you need to do is open up the Instagram app and navigate to your profile, then tap the “+” icon in the top right corner and select ‘Guide’ from the menu. Then, choose your Guide type (Places, Products or Posts) and set about selecting the locations, products or posts you would like to curate. Click “Next” and add your title and description, as well as a blurb for each curated post (explaining what it’s about, why you recommend it, etc.). By clicking “Next” again, you can preview your Guide, and once you’re happy with it, you can hit the Share button to save it to your profile!
Instagram’s introduction of Guides is a strategic decision aimed at keeping users on the app for longer as well as saving them from having to click through to links that take them to external sites and away from the platform itself. It’s yet another addition to the platform that is becoming increasingly a one-stop shop for shopping, inspiration, news and socialising. Stay tuned to see what comes next!