When Instagram launched its visually focused platform in 2010, it disrupted the social media scene. The success was so great that it triggered a whole movement in photo styling.
Instagram has since added videos, but its focus has always been on unique visual experiences that can be shared but sometimes lead marketers to figure out how to provide the context.
The answer has usually been super long subtitles, stories, or creative posts that make up a series. Still, Instagram was never really the place for long-form content.
Fast forward ten years and Instagram is finally getting into the long-form content game.
Instagram introduced guides to “make it easier to discover recommendations, tips, and other content from your favorite creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers on Instagram”.
The scrollable lists contain text and graphics that are combined in a list. You can use either new, saved, or older posts to provide helpful guides on almost any topic.
This is another opportunity to showcase your brand as a subject matter expert and influencer on the Instagram space by engaging the users with more detailed content directly on the platform.
What are Instagram guides?
Instagram guides are a new content recognition tool. It’s a series of back-to-back Instagram posts curated to share helpful information with your audience. Each post in the manual links to a traditional Instagram post or product page where you can buy what you see.
Here is an Instagram guide my agency NP Digital created to promote mental and physical wellbeing while everyone is working from home. It starts with a cover picture that contains a title and a brief description.
If you scroll down you will find six posts that offer tips on taking breaks while working, communicating with colleagues, and sticking to a routine, among other things.
Each tip is clickable and will take your users to the original Instagram post.
Half a year later, Instagram opened guides to all users and expanded them to other topics, which were grouped into three different types of guides: products, places, and posts. Specifically, they have focused on travel and shopping, linking product manuals directly to stores on Instagram.
Now that Instagram has expanded its guides, there is all kinds of content to promote your brand. Home improvement brands could create repair and renovation guides. Cosmetic brands may have step-by-step instructions for different makeup looks, and cooking brands can include recipes in their guides.
The possibilities are endless.
Other Instagram tutorial examples
As mentioned earlier, you can now create three types of guides on Instagram: posts, places, and products. You can tell which one you are looking at by looking in the lower left corner of the manual.
A post allows you to curate past and saved posts. It’s the most flexible in terms of the types of content you can include.
Nordiska Kӧk is a manufacturer of bespoke worktops that are imported from Sweden. This brand’s Instagram guides offer tips on choosing and maintaining a meter.
Notice how each guide tells you exactly what it is (a post, product, or place guide) and how many Instagram posts you can find in each guide just above the title.
Product guides are directly linked to Instagram Shopping so users can shop from your guides.
Stuck in the Book, a book blog based in Manchester, England, created these guides.
Two of the guides in the example above are product manuals. If you click on any of the products in these guides you will be taken to a page where you can purchase the books.
After all, the Places Guides concentrate on traveling. Users can create travel guides for travel tips or recommendations.
Brands have a lot of room for creativity in these categories. They allow marketers to tell a story about products, turn older posts into new content, or add context to new posts.
Why you should use Instagram guides
Instagram Guides allows brands to create long-form content on Instagram for the first time. There are many good reasons you might want to do this.
Keep users on your side
Longer scrollable guides keep users on your content longer so they can get to know your brand and products. You don’t have to click on another website for more information like you do with regular Instagram posts.
Use the possibilities of the keyword search
Since Instagram now offers content in a longer form, the search function has also been updated. Users can search for content based on keywords displayed in Instagram guides. That means discovering content on Instagram just got easier. Users no longer need to know your brand name or search for hashtag.
Expand your reach
Now that users can use keywords to find you, you can create guides that target your brand’s new audiences. Guides also help you present your brand as a subject matter expert in your industry. By creating content that addresses micro-moments, you can focus on the solutions people are looking for, even outside of your target audience.
Build brand loyalty
This feature is another way to build loyalty through useful, trusted content. Tips, tricks, step-by-step instructions, and content that is valuable to your target audience will ensure that they keep coming back.
You can promote loyalty even further by offering the first crack in content or product offerings through your guides, or by announcing new guides through a newsletter.
Product guides allow users to shop directly from Instagram, shortening the buyer’s journey. Users can view product descriptions and prices, as well as other products from your store.
Create shareable content
Instructions can be shared in stories and through direct messages. If your audience likes your guides, they can get the word out.
Share and share
Similar to how you would share articles on LinkedIn, sharing other users’ guides on Instagram shows your expertise in your industry and increases the chances of your guides being viewed and shared as well.
Expand partnerships with influencers
Guides give you a different format to explore with influencer partnerships. Work with influencers in your field to create guides that include your product or service.
How to make an Instagram guide
To create a guide, click the little plus sign just like you would with any regular post, video, or live content. Choose Guides from the drop-down menu.
From here you can choose between three types of content:
- Places: Places are perfect for location-based tips. If you’re a travel or local influencer, Places can go to for restaurant recommendations, tour guides, or a curated list of hidden gems off the beaten path.
- Posts: use this option to curate saved or previous posts that you want to recommend. This option allows you to create new content by compiling older posts on the same topic.
- Products: Product manuals link directly to Instagram Shop, and you can only curate products that users find there.
Once you’ve chosen your content format, place your images, posts, and links. Remember, this is Instagram. Therefore, images and content should be formatted for cell phones.
How to find Instagram guides
Rachel Waldorf is a Seattle-based lifestyle content creator. She uses Instagram guides to create gift guides for Seattle-based companies.
To access their (or other) guides, go to the main Instagram page and look for the guides icon.
That will take you to the Guides page.
From here you can browse the manuals and click on them to view their contents. Waldorf has created locations and product manuals for their trailers.
In the product guides, you can click on their featured products and shop for them on the website or directly from Instagram Shopping.
As mentioned earlier, scrolling from here will reveal user-related products so that they can continue shopping.
You can also share, embed, or copy links to manuals by clicking the icons in the upper right corner.
Since this is still a new feature, not all Instagram guides have set up yet. Over time, marketers will discover how valuable this tool can be, and you may see more and more of them.
Right now, you can check out your favorite Instagram accounts or find them through the Instagram Explore page.
Instagram guides are another great tool for a brand’s marketing arsenal to build their followers and increase conversions.
The new long-form format enables marketers to provide their target groups with valuable content and at the same time to reach new target groups.
You can even use them to offer shopping opportunities directly to your users through Instagram Shopping.
How will you use Instagram guides in your marketing?