Instagram Guides: Everything You Need to Know as a Small Business Owner

Several social media platforms have been introducing new features recently, with the goal of providing support during the coronavirus pandemic. A couple weeks ago, Instagram jumped on the bandwagon with Instagram Guides a whole new way for creators to tell a story, organize content, and provide value to their followers.

What are Instagram Guides?

Instagram Guides are a new format for curating scrollable content. Its purpose is to provide users with helpful guides from trusted sources on Instagram.

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At the moment, only a few accounts have been granted the ability to create Guides. Instagram is focusing on wellness in light of the pandemic, so they’ve enabled Guides for organizations that focus on mental health, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Heads Together, Headspace Australia, and NEDA:

When announcing the feature, Instagram stated: “We’ll enable creators to connect with expert organizations to share resources during this time, including tips on how to look after your well-being, maintaining connection with others or managing anxiety or grief.”

How are Instagram Guides different from other Instagram features?

What’s different about this feature is that it gives these organizations a space to curate scrollable content and determine the order in which that content appears.

Unlike the Instagram Feed, Stories, or IGTV posts — which always appear according to the order in which they were posted — content on Instagram Guides is organized manually by the creator. This makes it possible to create comprehensive step-by-step guides using photos, videos, and photo galleries.

Instagram Highlights is another feature that enables creators to curate their content. However, with Highlights, you can only add content from Stories you’ve posted, and that content is displayed in the same manner as Stories: each slide displays for up to 15 seconds and then the next one replaces it.

Guides, by contrast, are scrollable flows of content from photo or video posts. They can also include content from other accounts — not just from the account creating them.

How can Guides help your business?

Since Guides are only enabled for a select few accounts at the moment, you can’t create your own just yet. However, it’s possible that this feature will be expanded in the future and enabled for additional accounts. If and when this happens, you’ll be able to use Guides to position yourself as an expert in your field and provide valuable step-by-step guides for your followers.

In the meantime, you can interact with Guides on topics that relate to your business. For example, if you see a content item that you think would speak to your followers, you can share it to your Stories.

If you’re really lucky, maybe you can get someone to include your own content in a Guide they’re curating. To do this, you’ll need to create some truly exceptional content that stands out and gets the attention of a creator who is putting together a relevant Guide.

How do you access Guides?

To view a guide, visit the profile of a creator who has one and tap on the Guide icon (it looks like an open magazine or manual) below the bio and Highlights:

Instagram Guides: Example

You’ll find the available Guides below:

Instagram Guides: Example

Tap a Guide to access it.

Instagram Guides: Example

Scroll down to view the rest of the guide.

You can share the guide to your Stories or in a Direct Message by tapping the paper airplane icon on the top right corner of the screen.

According to Instagram, Guides will also be accessible through the Explore page soon.

Instagram Guides is an exciting feature that will provide a valuable new content platform for Instagram users everywhere. Hopefully, in the future, more accounts and businesses will be able to use it to offer curated, useful guides to their followers.

Action Items:

  • Visit accounts that have Guides and explore them. These are the accounts that Instagram listed as included in the first wave of creators who can curate Guides: @afspnational, @heads_together, @vitaalere, @klicksafe, @headspace_aus, @deepikapadukone, @sudahdong and @eenfance.
  • If you see a Guide that speaks to you and might speak to your audience, share it to your Stories. You can add a quick comment, an Emoji Slider, a Question or a Poll Sticker to boost your followers’ engagement with the Story and give them a platform for feedback.
  • Keep an eye out for future updates and expansions of this feature!

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