Earlier this year, Instagram released yet another new feature – guides. It was only available to select creators, public figures, organisations, and publishers. It is intended to provide content creators and marketers with a way to share bundles of photos, videos, and ideas in well-formatted, scrollable posts. After positive feedback, it is now expanding its newest feature to all of its users. Guides were originally aimed at the travel industry, so that holiday - goers could easily discover recommendations and tips when going places. However, due to its launch in May coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus soon became more wellness and health-related.
With the expansion to products, places, and posts, a wide variety of creators will now be able to take advantage and use guides in their specific area of expertise. Guides can be used for tips and other content, by collating useful posts from all over Instagram and turning them into a longer read, similar to a blog post.
Guides will work extremely well for influencers and brands who create clothing style guides, linking individual items of clothing to the Instagram shop where they can be bought, boosting sales for clothing retailers. Businesses struggling due to the pandemic could make effective use of this easy-access marketplace. Product guides may also become more popular as more and more Instagram users make use of the guides feature. Guides will be displayed in a new tab in addition to ‘Posts’, ‘Mentions’, and ‘IGTV’ listings on creators’ profiles.
How to create a guide on Instagram
- Head to your profile and click on the ‘+’ icon on the top left of the screen
- On the ‘Create’ menu, select ‘Guide’
- Select the type of Guide you want to create from ‘Places’, ‘Products’, and ‘Posts’
- From there, you can select the posts to add to your Guide - you can choose either your own content or content from your other favourite accounts
- You can add a title and descriptions, and even change the cover image.
Guides can also be shared to Instagram Stories, Direct Messages, and can also be linked in the bio. Click here for more information on the new feature.
As well as the Guides feature, Instagram is also allowing users to search for specific keywords. Before this was introduced, users had to search through hashtags or accounts. This update is great news for many businesses, as content will now be visible to a broader audience even if you don’t include hashtags or don’t have a specific word in your account name or bio.
A spokesperson at Instagram said the new feature considers “a number of factors,” including the “type of content, captions, when it was posted,” to surface relevant results. It also uses machine learning to “find the highest quality content that’s relevant to you.” However, this is limited to standard grid posts, and will not include IGTV, Stories, or other features on the platform.
Although it is a step in the right direction for content visibility, it is still a work in progress. With the feature being limited to just 6 countries at the moment, it may not be entirely useful if you target a global market. The keyword feature is also limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines. Sensitive topics will not be included in the keywords feature.
With both of these updates, it is clear that the Instagram app is working hard to make the platform as versatile as possible. The keyword search should make it easier for users to find the right content quickly, as well as making it easier for the creator's content to be found by the relevant people. In the increasingly competitive social media market, it is clear Instagram is trying to keep users on the platform, rather than redirecting traffic to other websites or platforms.