We all know how effective a well-crafted reel or story is on Instagram, but have you heard about Instagram’s new (and more underrated) tool, Instagram Guides?
You wouldn’t be the first to have missed the appearance of the little map icon on your IG feed last year when Instagram decided to merge the best parts of a blog post and regular IG posting into a new style of content posting, IG Guides.
Here’s what we know, why we like them and why we think you should be adding them to your content marketing mix.
First things first, what’s a guide?
Instagram guides are a combination of both a carousel post and a blog (just like this one). They feature a title, introduction, multiple photos, and captions. Each guide is then populated into one neat, Instagram place.
Guides don’t appear on your feed, but rather in a dedicated map-like tab on the profile page, sandwiched between the series and tagged icons (if you’re using the mobile app). Check out our IG Guides for an idea of how they appear.
What types of guides are there?
You’ll be happy to know there’s more than one way to create a guide, with the choice of using posts, places, or products as your anchor for content creation.
While the guide works the same, your process for selecting images differs depending on what type of guide you’re making.
For a posts guide, content can be gathered from your saved folder, or directly from your feed. (Pro tip: save any images you want to use before you create the guide to save you time).
For places, you can search by location and choose images from other users who have used the location too.
For products, you can search for the product you are wanting to feature and can pick from any photos displayed there, and let Instagram take care of the rest.
While you can include images, videos, and reels in post guides, location and product guides only let you use images.
Either way, Instagram includes image credits in the guide (even if it’s your photo), so your UGC acknowledgment is done for you.
So why do we think you should get on the IG Guide train?
Rather than give you one good reason, we’ve got five reasons you should add them into your content marketing mix:
1. In theory, you can use IG Guides like pages of your website. That’s right, you can collate anything to do with a product or service you offer into a single guide, almost like a little microsite without any of the associated cost of web development. Need to whip up a quick website page for a new product or service? Why not make a guide and send someone the link to it instead?
2. They’re a way to present things visually without any of the techy know-how. Limited by your skill in graphic design or photography? Show us a business owner who isn’t! IG Guides are simple with a capital ‘S’ to make and showcase information visually.
3. Guides let you tell a story without having to create a long-form blog, piece of editorial or do the planning for either. Using pictures and captions like the bumper rails to your editorial, guides make it outrageously easy to create a piece of content without feeling like you need to be a professional copywriter.
4. You don’t even need to take all the images yourself. Guides allow you to borrow other people’s photos (posts) and write your own captions against them. Guides, therefore, solve the biggest barrier most businesses face “I don’t have images to use”.
5. Guides give you new touchpoints to connect with your target audience. Did you know that you can share guides to stories, find them on the explore page and there’s even a dedicated tab in the Instagram shop for guides?
With all this effort, can you report on guides?
While there is no way to track the performance of guides (yet), any impressions from photos included in the guide count as an impression on the original post, so by using your own content you are in fact increasing its performance.
That’s why we encourage you to use your own content as these views act as another place to expose your potential customers to your content.
Well, the secret is out and now you know one of Instagram’s new content marketing weapons. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
By Luke Crowley
Luke enjoys employing creativity when planning, researching, and delving into pieces of content.