How much time do you spend creating your Instagram posts?

We know. A lot goes into crafting successful posts. You strategize, draft, design and edit—while still leaving yourself enough time to get your post approved and scheduled in advance. And we know how frustrating it can be when the post doesn’t perform as well as you hoped or if the engagement is short-lived.

So, how can you maximize the impact of your posts and unlock their full engagement potential? That’s where Instagram Guides come in.

Guides are a collection of published posts featured on your Instagram profile. Guides can help you provide new valuable content and gain more likes, comments and shares long after you initially create your post.

Instagram Guide examples from Sprout Social's Instagram page.

In 2020, Instagram introduced Guides as “…a way to more easily discover recommendations, tips and other content from your favorite creators, public figures, organizations and publishers on Instagram.”

Like Stories Highlights, Guides let you repurpose and curate content from your brand, your partners and your community. But instead of using Stories, Guides only use published posts.

Let’s dive into the different types of Guides and how you can create your own to drive fresh engagement with existing content.

The 3 types of guides on Instagram

There are three different types of Instagram Guides—post, product and place Guides. Each type breathes new life into existing posts and can help you reach people in new ways.

Below are key benefits of each Guide and the best ways to use them.

1. Post Instagram Guides

These Guides allow you to curate your posts—and posts from other accounts—around themes and events. You can use them to introduce the people behind your brand and share content from creators. They’re also an excellent way to share helpful resources like how-to guides and curated listicles. Some popular topics include how to celebrate Black History Month and ways to take care of your mental health.

Note: when creating post Guides, you must choose from your saved posts.

2. Product Instagram Guides

Product Guides feature ecommerce products sold on Instagram. You can use them to highlight your products or products from a brand or creator you partner with. Holiday product Guides are excellent examples of how you can position your products around an exciting moment. Also, product Guides inspired by pop culture and topical events drive excitement—just make sure they’re the right fit for your brand.

For example, you can create product Guides like a “Clean skincare routine starter kit” or a “What to bring camping checklist.”

3. Place Instagram Guides

Use place Guides to spotlight specific locations important to your community. They make it easy to curate a Guide using posts from certain geotags. You can highlight multiple places at a time, but make sure they share a common theme. Place Guides are ideal if you want to share content captured by your audience, like on your university’s campus or from your brick-and-mortar store.

How to make Guides on Instagram: Your digital blueprint

After you decide which Guide is right for your brand, it’s time to start creating. Follow these steps to bring your Guide to life:

  1. From your profile, click the plus sign in the top right corner and select Guide.
    Select
  2. Choose posts, products or places.
    Select a guide type from the menu
  3. Add saved posts, Instagram Shop products or posts from places.
    Examples of saved posts, products or places
  4. Name your Guide and add a description. To use a different cover photo, tap “Change cover  photo.”
    Examples of post, product and place Instagram Guides with unique names and cover photos
  5. Continue adding places, products or posts until your Guide is complete.
  6. Tap “Next” in the upper right corner and then tap “Share.” Now your Guide will appear on your profile.

6 Instagram Guide examples to elevate your brand

Ready to create a Guide for your brand? We found six, stand-out Instagram Guide examples to help inspire you. Each company or creator’s approach is different, but they all use creativity to transform existing content into a new community touchpoint. Review these examples to find ways your brand could use each Guide type.

Post Guide examples

1. Indiana University
Indiana University’s Guide, Hoosier Hype Team, introduces you to the university’s 2020-2021 ambassadors. This is an excellent example of how you can use a post Guide to draw attention to the people behind your brand.

Guides like this make your brand’s Instagram presence seem personable, warm and authentic. You can use this same tactic when promoting employees, creators you work with or active members of your community.

2. Sprout Social
At Sprout Social, we use Guides to help our community navigate holidays dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our Guide, How Brands Can Celebrate Pride in 2021, combined findings from our social media listening data, the experiences of our LGBTQIA+ team members and examples of brands who made a positive impact last year.

This Guide is a successful example of how you can address frequently asked questions or concerns from your community.

Pro tip: when creating Guides or other content about a specific community, be sure to include different perspectives from members of that community to join the conversation thoughtfully.

Instagram Guide example Sprout Social's How Brands Can Celebrate Pride Guide

Product Guide examples

3. Petco
Petco knows bringing a new pet into your life can be overwhelming. And so can getting everything you need to enter pet parenthood. That’s what inspired the New Pet Guide: Dogs and Puppies and other checklists for new pet parents.

In their Guides, Petco shares adorable user-generated posts created by their community members to spotlight trending products.

They also share explanations of how to use their products and the benefits they offer pets. When creating product Guides, spotlight real people who use your products to make them more relatable and inspirational.

4. Grove Collaborative
Plastic-Free Products at Grove is a product Guide from Grove Collaborative. As a part of their #BeyondPlastic campaign, this Guide is a resource for all their plastic-free products and updates on their goal to be plastic-free by 2025. The Guide is an impressive example of how you can start with a value that matters to your brand and community, like sustainability, and use it to draw attention to a particular product line or campaign launch.

The Plastic-Free Products Guide is an approachable starter kit that will help Grove Collaborative followers imagine new possibilities in their homes. What values are your followers trying to abide by in their everyday lives? Consider using this model to create a Guide with your products.

Instagram Guide example Grove Collaborative Plastic-Free Products

Place Guide examples

5. Hotel Whisperer
Danielle Pointdujour is an award-winning travel journalist and editor who shares travel recommendations on her account @hotelwhisperer. In her Guides, including 8 Luxurious South African Escapes, she curates elegant hotels using her travel expertise.

Her Guides include highlights and must-see elements from each location. When creating your own place Guide, look to Danielle for inspiration. Share special tips or fun facts to give your followers a behind-the-scenes look. This will create an intriguing, immersive experience.

6. Explore Uptown Chi
In Chicago, the Uptown neighborhood Chamber of Commerce creates Guides to showcase local restaurants, entertainment and events. Their Argyle Lunar New Year Guide takes their community on a journey to Argyle Street.

Argyle Street is a historic district known for its South Asian, East Asian and Vietnamese businesses. In this Guide, Explore Uptown Chi features local restaurants and images of their mouth-watering cuisine. The image descriptions include the Lunar New Year traditions, customs and stories from Argyle Street restaurateurs.

Take a cue from the Argyle Lunar New Year Guide and partner with other businesses, creators and community members. Work with them to weave education and user-generated content together.

How to build Instagram Guides for your business

Now that you know why and how to create Instagram Guides, there’s only one thing left to do. It’s time to build your own.

Start by figuring out what kind of Guide would resonate with your community. Are they having conversations on Instagram about an upcoming event or popular show? Or are they preparing to start traveling again and in need of a checklist? It’s important to meet your audience where they are.

After you determine what your audience is looking for, take stock of your brand’s Instagram goals and existing posts. Which type of Guide could you create that would integrate your goals and your community’s needs? Refer back to the digital blueprint above once you’re ready to get started.

Guides make it possible to repurpose existing posts into a meaningful new experience for your Instagram community. Many brands haven’t yet discovered the benefits of using Guides. There’s a ton of room to create something unique and innovative without overloading yourself or your team.

For more ideas to help you optimize your Instagram presence, check out these 10 tips to grow a real audience.