This Week in Social Media Marketing: Instagram Launches Guides

Instagram Launches Guides

social media social media for creatives social media for entrepreneurs social media marketing Dec 14, 2020

What’s Happening

Instagram launched a new feature called Guides. First created in May and only given to a small group of experts, they were originally intended to curate resources for well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instagram recently rolled out the feature to all accounts.*

Guides allow you to curate posts, places, or products in one place. And, please note, you can only select one category to curate in your guide. You can’t mix and match posts, places, or products. Here’s a good tutorial.

This new posting type is hard to picture until you see an example. Using the “posts” category, I created one with all my Reels tips if you want to see a Guide in action.

Guides appear in a new tab in the bar below your story highlights – which is getting pretty crowded with all the ways you can publish now. You can share your guide Stories or in a DM, but cannot as of yet share them to your feed.

The oddest part of this new feature for me is the lack of likes, comments, or shares. There is no way for your followers to react to the Guides at all. Nor can you see any stats on how many people have viewed. You have no way to judge how they are doing.

*By “now” and “all” accounts, Instagram usually means eventually all accounts will get them. If your account doesn’t have the most recent update, sit tight. It’s coming!


Use it for Your Business

Businesses who have Instagram Shop products are poised to benefit most from this new feature. Instagram says product Guides “may” be featured in the Instagram Shop.

Other potential uses:

  • Create gift guides of your favorite products.
  • Compile your most popular posts or help people easily access a series of posts.
  • Local businesses can create city guides to help their followers enjoy their time in their town.
  • Affiliates and brand ambassadors can curate their favorite recommendations.

Relevancy Rating

Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s worth your time. 

Is creating Instagram Guides worth the time investment for your business?

MEH: I give it 2 out of 5 thumbs up.

Only try it if you think it sounds fun or you have some extra time to kill, but don’t expect much.

I’m willing to bet the meeting with Instagram developers and marketers went something like this: 

Marketers: What new features can we roll out?

Developers: We have a bunch of new updates, new features, new tabs, we’re moving around the entire navigation. It’s gonna be the biggest update we’ve done in years!

Marketers: Okay, what else?

Developers: That’s not enough?

Marketers: Come on. What else?

Developers: *side-eye each other*

Marketers: There has to be something!

Developers: Well, there is this thing we made for COVID. It’s for a pretty specific purpose but I guess we could give it to everyone.

Marketers: Perfect!

There is no immediate advantage to having these guides. You’d have to share them to Stories to make people aware that you created one. There is no other way for your followers to be notified. I recommend investing your time elsewhere.

Social media is constantly changing. Sign up for This Week in Social Media Marketing to stay informed of the trends and decide whether it’s worth your time to try them.