We draw lessons from brands and influencers to understand how publishers can leverage Instagram Guides to put forth curated experiences.
Back in May 2020, Instagram released Guides, a feature that lets you share scrollable curated content. What was initially rolled out as a tool to share content around emotional and physical wellness has now become a portal for publishers to create a digital magazine where they can promote content, products, and more. Instagram Guides can also be used by news publishers to collate information on specific topics.
Even as COVID-19 has been a constant source of grim news over the past year, there were some glimpses of sunshine peeking through with stories of resilience and social good. What if a publication were to look through all these stories (old posts) and come up with a section in Guides? Won't that be a good scroll-through?
The feature can also be used by digital publishers that have e-magazines — to put all posts associated with an edition in one place. Periodical post categories (say Monday Motivation) can also be curated similarly. With Guides, users who are looking for certain posts/topics can quickly find and view them rather than scrolling through the entire profile.
Here's how publishers can make the most of Guides on Instagram.
One of the first pages to get access to Guides was the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The organisation used the feature to curate and share a comprehensive list of mental health resources for the Black community. During any crisis, such an approach can help non-profits and publishers to put together resources for their followers and community.
Fashion influencer Komal Pandey compiled her posts into various categories to create Guides, making it simpler for her followers to search for posts related to a fashion tip. So, if a user was looking for how to style themselves during winter, they could simply click on the guide to view a range of posts about it. Publishers can use it similarly.
Product User Manual
Guides is an excellent feature to create product magazines and user manuals for consumers. Cosmetic brand Fae Beauty had created a guide showcasing their latest lipstick collection. The guide not only shows ways in how the product can be used but also how it goes with every skin tone and the freebies that come along with the purchase of it. The feature can be used similarly by technology magazines and other niche publications.
Highlighting Most Liked Posts
Influencers have several posts that are widely shared and loved by a lot of viewers. To highlight such posts on his profile, Vishnu Kaushal compiled them into a guide called 'Best of 2020 by Vishnu Kaushal'. The guide is a digital magazine of his best work throughout the year and focuses on the most liked posts on Instagram. Publications can do the same when they are putting together an end-of-the-year special.
Issued in Public Interest
Guides can be used to provide important information and educate people in an easier way. To explain bitcoins and how they work, CryptoManiaks, an educative platform about cryptocurrency, had created a guide: What is Bitcoin, Simply Explained (2 Minutes). It featured a brief summary of bitcoins, making the concept very easy to understand. News publications can use it to simplify government schemes and legal jargon.
There are often at least a dozen ways to make a dish with variations in ingredients and methods. Guides can be used to club similar recipes together, as was done by Chef Neha Deepak Shah, when she created a guide to compile all her dosa and idli recipe posts. Cooking magazines and publications can use the methods to categorize recipes according to trends, festivals, chefs, and geographies.
Many Instagram users go through the social media platform to search for aesthetic and innovative ways to style their homes. Guides can make it easier for these users to find specific design inspirations in one place. Interior designer Rohina had created a guide to collate leafy interior design inspirations. It explained how people can design their houses with indoor plants. Publications in the domain can use the feature in a similar fashion.
A guide can be created with a focus on content. If a publication has done a series of posts around a specific topic over a course of several days or weeks, these can be compiled in one place to make a guide. The Indian Idiot had done something similar with their series around paranormal stories. The strategy can be useful to put across refresher after the series has ended.
Steps & Planning
Guides can be an excellent space to explain concepts with minimal texts. Australian non-profit headspace had used the feature to create a list of 4 ways for people to get on top of their finances. The colours and alignment of texts in these posts helped make them attractive and readable — reflecting how publications should probably plan these posts ahead of time, in terms of content and design, to ensure impact.
Instagram Guides can be used by publishers in pretty much the same ways brands and influencers in their domain do. It's all about picking up a relevant topic and curating posts — with a pinch of planning involved. Guides can help digital publications add a magazine look and feel to their content, in an episodic (edition-wise) manner.