This wasn’t predicted to happen for a few more years, but numbers skyrocketed during the pandemic, making it one of the most popular social media networks we’ve ever seen.
Not by coincidence, Instagram also started rolling out tons of new features in 2020 - Shops, Reels, and the lesser known...Guides.
What are Instagram Guides?
Instagram guides are kind of like the new-age, social media version of blog posts. Now don’t get me wrong, blogs are still cool - 77% percent of internet users say they still read blog posts regularly (after all, you are reading this blog!)
But we’re talking about social media here, and one thing that’s for certain on social media platforms is change.
The guides feature allows you to share content in a brand new way - compiling your previous posts, other people’s posts, products and places into one place for your audience.
Let’s be real, our attention spans are only getting shorter and shorter online. Instagram recognized that, and realized they could create these short-form blogs within their own app.
Honestly, it’s pretty genius!
How can you use Instagram Guides for your business?
So, how does this all benefit you and your business?
Like with any new social media platform or feature, the brands that get the most out of it are the brands that adapt, and adapt quickly.
Here are some creative ways to use Guides:
This is probably the most obvious and what comes to mind when you hear “guide,” but don’t underestimate the power of a good how-to for your business!
Let’s say you own a coffee company:
Give your community a “How to make your own cold brew” or a “How to find the right coffee for you!”
Not only will this type of guide be useful to your customers in general, but you can also use it as an opportunity to show why your coffee makes the best type of cold brew.
You can also provide how-to’s in the form of tips. Check out my guide on tips for social media marketing!
I know I’ve told you before to respond to your comments and DM’s as much as possible, but let’s be honest, answering the same question over and over again feels like another full-time job!
Guides are a great way for you to present customers with all the frequently asked questions about your business already spelled out with detailed answers.
FAQ’s also give you the chance to answer questions customers didn’t know they had. You’ll have them thinking, “I didn’t even know I could choose a coffee to match my caffeine level preference!”
And if you still have customers asking the same questions - no worries! Just direct them over to your fully-built out FAQ Guide. Easy answer, right?
With Instagram Guide’s product option, it’s a great opportunity to highlight your brand’s products.
At the end each year, I’ll send out an email to my community recapping my favorite books, podcasts, and more. Now, I can create this same type of resource on Instagram.
Another idea your brand can play with is Gift Guides. I’m talking Oprah-style Holiday Gift Guides!
When the holiday season comes around, make sure your brand is highlighting products that you know your customers would love - whether that be all your own products, or including other brands’ products.
Check out how Bombas used a Holiday Gift Guide to promote their products!
Your Brand Story
If I had social media when I launched FUBU, I would’ve used Guides to tell customers my story - why I started FUBU, what For Us By Us really means, and where I came from.
I mean, what better way to break down your company’s mission, background and values for your customers than in a mini-form blog, right there on your Instagram? When customers can understand a company’s sense of purpose, the whole brand becomes more appealing.
We’re in an age where customers want to feel like they’re really a part of something. I think that’s why FUBU became what it did - it was ahead of its time because it created that sense of community, and my customers truly became part of a movement.
The difference is now, customers also want to see how they’re making a direct impact by supporting your brand. That leads me to point #4…
Resources and Causes
We saw last summer how brands shifted to align with different causes.
NIKE pledged a $40 million dollar commitment to supporting social justice and education in Black communities, alcohol brands started making hand sanitizers during the shortages, Audible offered free titles for kids during digital learning.
Even before then, brands like TOMS were showing consumers they could be a part of something bigger than the brand itself.
A guide of different resources and links to causes/organizations that your brand is involved in is a great way to involve your consumers and show them what the people behind the brand believe in.
My prediction? Guides are going to be huge for brands and influencers.
Think about the collaboration opportunities - influencers promoting their brand product lines, brands supporting other brands, paid partnerships, teaming up with other content creators.
Let’s go back to the coffee company example:
The holidays are coming up, so you team up with an influencer to create their own line of holiday flavors. You can create a Guide promoting that line and they can also create a Guide promoting that line. Then, they can add those products to their Holiday Gift Guide and influence their followers to try out the coffee. Guess what they might do? Add it to their own Product Guide...
Okay, you get the point - the possibilities are endless! Guides are also a great way to show your support for other businesses, like Beats by Dre did for small Black-owned businesses.
I can’t wait to see how businesses get innovative with this new feature of Instagram to stay on top of the trends and maximize their full potential online.
The Bottom Line
If you’re not already creating Instagram Guides, you should be. Even I need to step my game up!
Speaking of stepping your social media game up, I have a full course that’ll turn you from social media savvy to an absolute pro!
Instagram Guides are just one piece to an ever-changing puzzle - Learn how to use social media to drive sales, clicks and loyal customers for your business with my course Mastering Social Media!