Instagram Guides are a relatively new feature of the platform that hasn’t seen enough use across companies so far. Which is a shame, because it brings a lot to the table for businesses that leverage it correctly, and it’s a great opportunity to expand your social media presence in a productive direction.
Guides are not generally a new thing as far as social media goes – Instagram just took a concept that was already popular on other platforms and rebranded it, while also adding some QoL features in their usual style. And while Guides were originally restricted to specific accounts, they’re now open for everyone to use. If you haven’t checked out the feature for your own business yet, you’re probably missing out on a lot.
What Are Instagram Guides?
Instagram Guides are simply a way to collect posts under a certain theme and display them on your profile. The theme can be anything – local restaurants serving certain foods, Top X products in a category, celebrities to follow, your best moments of last year – the sky is the limit. Your Guides go in their own category in your Instagram profile, becoming immediately accessible to anyone who might be interested in what you’ve shared over the months.
Guides originally started as an exclusive feature aimed at promoting mental wellbeing and advice from experts during the pandemic, but it eventually outgrew those restrictions and became available to all users of the platform. Anyone can create a Guide at this point, and people have been experimenting with different formats. If you’re looking for some inspiration, you’ll find no shortage of Guides to get ideas from if you look around briefly.
Showcase Your Best Products
This may be the most obvious thing you can do with Guides, but it’s also a good showcase of what the feature is capable of in general, and how it should be best used. A list of your best products is a great way to kick things off with a Guide – or, if you’re in the business of reviewing products by others, you can create a few collections of products with a specific theme, like the most viable budget options on the market.
This is a great place for a ranked list as well. Top X lists are still very much in style in social media marketing, and Instagram Guides are the perfect place to post a list like that of your own. As usual, apply the standard tricks you’d use in a list like that – start from the lowest rank, throw in a few surprise mentions to keep readers on their toes, and try to reference other lists where it makes sense contextually.
Tell a Story
Every business has stories to tell, and customers love hearing those – although going through a 10-minute article on Medium is not most people’s ideal version of learning how you tackled a challenging situation nowadays. This is another area where Instagram Guides can be quite useful, especially if your business model makes a visual approach more suitable than writing a regular story. You don’t have to use any new material here – even combining old posts you’ve made through the year can get the point across if you pick the right ones.
Do a Tutorial
Tutorials are another classic example of something that has always worked well on social media, and which translates very well to Instagram Guides. They can work for pretty much any business type, even ones where you don’t see an immediate opportunity for creating a useful guide for something. Try approaching things from the opposite direction and see what kinds of problems people have been running into related to your product or service.
It’s not hard to discover underserved niches for tutorials in this way, and while not every single one of your tutorials will work out – especially if you’re still new to this and haven’t found your groove yet – this is definitely something that can take off quite well if you continue pushing on.
Share Resources Under a Common Theme
Another one that might seem obvious but can still work wonders when you do it right, you can simply collect a variety of useful resources under a common theme and make Guides based on those. This is a more abstract idea that depends on what your business does in general, but there should always be lots of opportunities for these kinds of posts.
Try not to overdo it though; the fact that it’s so easy to put together these kinds of posts also makes them prone to becoming annoying when they’re shared too often. Take longer to sort through the materials you want to post and try to find things that will actually be interesting, rather than just trying to fill up the space with as many posts as you can and going for quantity over quality.
Retrospectives and Throwbacks
Instagram is a great place for retrospectives, and Guides is the perfect feature for that. This is similar to the idea of telling a story from above, but it should be done in a more focused manner, going over specific aspects of a certain challenge that your company went through. These can be both informative and entertaining, and they can work very well for attracting new followers to your Instagram page, even if they’re not immediately interested in your actual product. The great thing about this platform is that you can utilize these tangential connections to expose your company to even more people through their own contacts.
It can take a while to find the sweet spot, and Instagram Guides are definitely a feature that takes some experimenting to get the hang of. But once you’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t, this can be a great way to bring more followers to your profile and expand your social media presence even further. Don’t worry if you don’t immediately have the kind of content that’s interesting enough to warrant a Guide – treat this as motivation to start producing such content in the first place!