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As Reels have been taking the spotlight on Instagram over recent times, another feature has gone relatively undetected and over-looked: Instagram guides.

Initially, Instagram enabled the Guides feature for a select number of health and wellness advocates, to provide resources for people who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is now being used as a fantastic alternate marketing tool. While this feature first launched in 2020, it can still be used to your advantage to this day.

Instagram describes Guides as: “a way to more easily discover recommendations, tips, and other content from your favourite creators, public figures, organisations, and publishers on Instagram.”

While Guides have been rolled out to everyone for a while now, the feature gives users an easier way to share recommendations and tips in an easy-to-digest format, and it’s still effective!

Instagram is forever capitalising on video content, including Reels, so guides have not been heavily pushed. However, this also means brands can start exploring guides without much-added pressure.


How to set up your guides

First of all, it’s important to understand how to set up your guides. When you’re deciding to post a new piece of content, alongside options for live broadcasts, posts, and stories you will be able to find guides – these will then live on their tab on your feed (which means that your tabs may become slightly crowded).

A guide is literally what it says in the tin, and allows users to follow a curated flow of posts with commentary.

It can be a collection of posts with tips regarding a specific topic, which means you can also link back to some specific pieces of content that you created to guide your audience and potentially then drive traffic.

When getting started, you can choose from 3 different Guide formats:

  • Places: Recommend places in your city and beyond
  • Products: Recommend your favourite products
  • Posts: Recommend posts you created or saved

Here are three ways that you could use guides effectively, especially right now.

Brand awareness

You can use guides for brand awareness. For this goal, we would suggest focusing on the Posts format, as it can be used to curate a thread of Instagram posts (that you’ve created or saved) with custom headlines and commentary.

A really fun way to use guides could be to create a collection that introduces people to yourself, who you are and what your company does. If you’re a personal brand, that could be a simple ‘about me’ collection, but if you are a bigger company, that could be a different way of presenting your mission, your values, your core products, as well as people behind the team.

Another way could be to give recommendations to various local businesses and places to visit in your area. This will give you a great chance to tag other accounts in the guide and build great relationships in the process.


Another great thing that you can do with guides is engaging with your current audience by spotlighting a specific series of posts or a specific topic in a step-by-step resource.

You could create a specific guide to bring together visual campaigns, which may get lost in the feed. The collection can include a selection of posts and a specific topic, or a specific series of spotlights or interviews.

This can be a great way to educate your audience on a specific element of your brand, as well as focusing on bringing a new life to posts that may not have had as much success.

Conversions for guides

You can also use guides for the good old conversion purposes.

Products format for guides can only be used to curate products available in an Instagram Shop.

This is a great tool for brands or businesses looking to add extra context or commentary to their shoppable products on Instagram.

This could be in itself a really fun way to make the most of shoppable feeds and shopping posts. When it comes to this type of guide, try looking into first and foremost, setting up your own Instagram shop as that is going to be a key part of being able to use the guide as a catalogue for specific products or services.

How have we used Instagram Guides at SCS?

As a social media agency – we love to network! One of the best ways that we decided Instagram Guides could be utilised, was to offer our personal recommendations in the local area of Dorset and surrounding areas. Our strategy was simple – tag our favourite local businesses and offer our followers some ideas for things to do and places to visit. The great thing with this approach, is that all businesses we tagged would be notified of the recommendation and often re-share our guide to their own followers in stories, effectively increasing awareness for our Guide and SCS in the process. Any opportunity to cross market and network online can be very beneficial to businesses, and Guides offer a great chance to do so. Check out our series of Guides here for your own inspo!…

So should you invest time in Instagram guides in 2023?

While Guides are three years old now, they are still incredibly effective when used right.

Remember, just like posts Guides can be shared on stories, maximising the impact and driving awareness for your audience.

However, all of these three examples could be easily used, especially depending on how comfortable you get when it comes to using the guides for yourself. Take some time to play to fully understand how guides could be working out for you and then post one once you’re happy. Don’t forget to use hashtags within the first paragraph as guides are just as discoverable as normal posts! And tag handles as you go…

Need any additional help with your guides? At South Coast Social, we’re a team of experienced content creators and social media advertising experts who specialise in bringing your brand and personality to life online. Contact us today and allow us to take care of all of your social media needs for you.