November 18, 2020

When Instagram announced “Guides” in the original beta phase, I was super excited about the possibilities. Of course, we all had to wait for the feature to roll out more widely… but the wait is over! Instagram Guides are now available to all users!

So, what does that mean, and how should you use them? Let’s break that all down.

What Are Instagram Guides?

Instagram Guides are essentially collections of your posts and/or others’ posts around a specific topic or content.

When they originally launched, they were for those in the health and wellness industry. So you could have a Guide for healthy recipes and another for workout routines in under 20 minutes. Or anything like that. You get the idea.

Now that they are widely available, the Guides you set up can be about anything YOU want. If you work in fashion, you could have Guides for seasonal trends. You could share your Instagram posts from you and/or others that highlight those trends. If you work in Real Estate, you could create Guides for home decor, DIY tips, and other relevant topics for your audience. If you’re in a B2B environment, you could create Guides about industry news, testimonials, or product information.

The options really are limited only to your creativity and content!

How to Set Up Instagram Guides

These are actually pretty simple to set up and use, but there are a couple things to be aware of.

To get started, go to your Profile on Instagram and tap the “+” sign in the upper right corner. From the pop up menu, select “Guide”.

Next, you’ll follow the set up steps.

1. Choose a Guide Type. You can choose from “Places”, “Products”, or “Posts”.

If you choose “Places”, pick the place (the location must already be in Instagram. Then select the posts from all those available. If you’re looking to add your own, you’re better off using the “Posts” option. But if you’re a brick and mortar location, like a restaurant, you could use this to select great UGC about your brand to showcase to others. NOTE: You can only have 5 posts in this Guide.

If you choose “Products”, you have to choose from an available shop. You can search for a shop or select from yours or those you follow.

If you choose “Posts”, you can select any of your FEED posts (not Stories, but if your IGTV or Reels posts are in your feed, you can select them). You can also select any posts you’ve Saved. That means you can share other people’s posts to your Guide, but only if you’ve saved them (using the bookmark icon) first. NOTE: You are limited to 30 posts in this Guide.

2. Once you’ve selected the type of Guide to set up, go through and select the posts to include. Keep in mind the limits listed above. Scroll through the posts and tap on the ones to add. The first one you select will be the first one in the series. So make sure you select them in the order you want them to appear. Remember that your feed is in reverse chronological order.

3. Now you’re ready to format the Instagram Guide!

You MUST give the Guide a title. My tip is to keep it short and sweet but clear as to the content. Think SEO here with good keywords.

You might want to change the cover image for the Guide. It will default to and oddly aligned 3:4 sized version of the post image from the first post in the Guide. Chances are, it’s not going to look good… Tap on “Change cover photo” and select any image from your posts, posts you’ve saved, or from the posts uploaded to the Guide. You CANNOT upload a custom image and you cannot drag to reposition the image.

You can add a description for the Guide if you want to but it isn’t required. I’d recommend you put something in there to inform your audience of the types of content they can expect to find.

You MUST give each post a title. You can also give them a brief description but I don’t think this is necessary in general.

If you want to add more posts to the Guide, you’ll see “+ Add Posts” at the bottom of the screen. Tap on that and select more posts.

You can also delete a post from the Guide by tapping on the 3-dot button in the upper right corner for that post in the Guide and select “Remove from Guide”.

If you realized you uploaded the posts in the wrong order, you can tap on the 3-dot button next to any post in the Guide and select “Reorder Posts”. From the next screen, use the 3-line button on the right of the screen to drag and rearrange any posts. Tap Done when complete to return to the Guide.

Phew… you’re all set now!

Tap “Next” in the upper right corner to finish up.

4. Publish or Save your Guide. You’ll see a preview of what your Guide will look like. You can tap “Share” to publish it immediately. Or you can tap “Save as Draft” to save it for later publishing or editing.

Once you’ve published the Guide, you’ll see the newspaper looking icon on your profile (where the grid, Reels, IGTV, and other icons are) just above your feed posts. Anyone can now tap on that Guide icon to see your guides!

Sharing Guides

In addition to creating the Instagram Guides, yes they can be shared!

When you view any Guide, you’ll see the Instagram share icon (the paper plane looking icon) in the upper right corner. Tap on that and you can share your Guide to your own Story or as a direct message to anyone.

This is a great way to share out or promote your own Guides. But it’s also a good motivation to make sure your Guides are relevant and resourceful. The more valuable they are to your audience, the more likely they are to be shared!

You can also watch this YouTube video that recaps everything in this post:

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. When IG guide was launched, it looked very promising. But, yet I have not seen any significant use of this to engage users. Do you have any examples of the brands that are using it meaningfully? Please share.

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