Oh, Instagram guides.
One more content opportunity to showcase your knowledge in the field and highlight your community. This time, free of all the SEO pressure. So you can write as naturally as possible and finally focus on educating without other restrictions.
From now on, you’ll want to consider how your Instagram posts will look like as you add them to a guide as well. Solid branding and similar topics are now key to reusing content within Instagram.
So if you’re already repurposing your articles or lists and turning them into social media posts, I’ve got good news. It’s that much easier and logical to create Instagram guides.
Whether you’re already running a successful blog or currently rely on your social channels alone, I’ll show you exactly how you can turn your Instagram guides into articles and resource lists people will want to share.
Create a series
If you already have a solid social media strategy in place, you might stick to some themes or series of posts. For example, Monday could be “Tip Day” while Tuesday is used for a product feature and weekend days are dedicated to showcasing customer stories. If you’ve been posting Monday tips on the same or similar topic, you can easily turn that into a guide.
The Parents Instagram account is doing that by referencing their posts on distinct topics like anti-bullying, back-to-school, or thriving as a family:
With this in mind, you’ll want to have multiple of your next Instagram posts around the same idea. Use Friday to share 6 new fashion trends, tips on coping with loneliness, or just a couple of productivity hacks. Then add them all up to put together your unitary guide.
Build an outline like with regular articles
Have an intro to let people know what the guide is about and get them to read on. Next, add a heading/title for each section based on what the post you’re sharing is about.
Most guides will turn into simple lists but you can also break them into sections that take the reader from not knowing anything on the topic to becoming an expert like:
- Section to give the definition of the topic or present a problem
- A list of benefits or frequently asked questions
- Tool recommendations
- Sections for the hands-on tips
- Featuring case studies or success stories of how other brands use your products or services
You can ditch the conclusion and instead add a brief CTA in your guide description [in the What is this guide about? section] or for each post in particular.
Here’s an Instagram guide with the perfect outline:
Use them with a purpose
Think of your Instagram guides as landing pages. Every landing page needs an overarching goal.
Do you want to sell a product? Get people to share your posts? Have people comment and engage with your tips? Or maybe you’re just looking to educate and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry?
Whatever your goal is, Instagram guides are a great place to start. You’ll need to stick to two best practices though:
1. Always add in a CTA. Tell people what you want them to do next. Are you expecting them to share your posts with their friends? Take part in the giveaway in your last post? Subscribe to your YouTube channel? Check out your products and offer them as gifts? Join your newsletter? Here’s an Instagram guide from Beats by Dre that features a special offer reminder before jumping in to showcase the products:
And another CTA from Hootsuite that gets people to discover more tips on their blog:
Definitely worked given how successful the original article on Instagram tips is with over 4,225 shares.
Tip: Remember that people won’t be able to click on the links you share. You can use URL shortener tools to make it easier for them to copy and paste your URL. A better option is to feature an Instagram handle when the CTA asks for one as readers can click on these.
2. Choose your post strategically. Add posts that educate if you want to build your expertise. Mention products you want to create hype around or sell within a gift guide instead if selling is your main priority. Incorporate mentions of how your clients are using your product, what they think of it, and what results they got so readers will focus on the advantages of using your product.
Think beyond the list
A list format alone can be used for multiple other types of content. Educational guides, product recommendations, reports and studies, gift guides, travel tips, roundups, FAQ and Q&A sessions, tutorials, reviews, even highlights from events you’ve held are all great ideas for making Instagram guides work for your business.
Here is Mailchimp featuring the results of their annual report in a list format that’s easy to follow and digest:
Feature (your) people
Besides the obvious goal of promoting your products or making travel destination recommendations and sharing handy tips, these guides are yet another way of shining some light on the people who love your brand—employees, clients, users, or just people who actively promote your products without expecting anything in return.
The usual way of sharing more about your community is through lengthy guides or social media posts. The latter are commonly tied to a case study or longer success story that goes through why a person started using your products, the results they’ve seen, and a bit more on their business.
Instagram guides let you present all this on a larger scale. How? By taking a single list to finally promote every brand supporter whose business is worth sharing or just an expert in their field.
Brands that are already using Instagram guides this way have multiple approaches to how they promote their people.
Beats by Dre put together a list of Black-owned small business worth checking out:
Foundr creates individual guides instead of your usual customer stories:
Note how they’re using the second and last post feature to add in their own CTA too.
Here are a couple more ideas in which you can use Instagram guides to focus on the people that keep your brand alive:
- Featuring one of your employees and their achievements on a weekly basis
- Creating lists of companies you support
- Showcasing great products from your current customer base
- Curating quotes from professionals who support your brand or are your clients
- Asking your community to share their best tips and featuring them as posts as well as within the Instagram guide
- Putting together a guide and having different people on your team or within your brand community share a quote
- Turning your podcasts into a social media series through quotes and idea highlights like the We The Young account does
Use it for news and updates too
Another super interesting use of Instagram guides is to add in news, product updates, service changes, and any other events worth mentioning.
Loads of options here such as:
- A weekly round-up of the top news
- Monthly updates session to remind people of new products, software updates, offers, and more
- An end-of-the-year reel of your best highlights where you can feature both your achievements and those of your customers
- A featurette to take people through the details of a complex story
Selling something? How about a story?
Similar to how news work, storytelling can also appeal to people’s emotions—where the true value of Instagram lies.
Anything can be turned into a story. From featuring your brand’s people as I’ve already mentioned, to crafting awe-inspiring stories around destinations and even products you recommend.
Next is how Jacksonville.com turned a seemingly classic gift guide into one with a story for every recommendation. All using the power of copy:
Stay true to your brand
Don’t start building shopping lists and travel recommendations if you’re selling software or usually share productivity tips. Find the content ideas that are similar to what you’re already doing both on Instagram and on your own blog. If your educational resources are bringing in engagement via your blog, they sure will on Instagram too.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Instagram guides were created to help brands make a change. I’m sure all of you have a cause or goal you believe in. Whether that’s changing the world or just your community, make sure you stick with your beliefs and let them show in your social media guides too.
The best example I can think of?
Get people to actually read your guides
Use your other content channels to go to your profile and click on those guides. As an example, you can share a regular Instagram post letting people know that you’re having regular giveaways or special offers in the Instagram guides section.
Alternatively, you can take advantage of cross-channel promotion opportunities. This is especially a good idea if you rely on Instagram as your primary channel but still have a decent following on other networks. You can reference your one-time discount through a call-to-action at the end of a YouTube video or simply tweet about the offer.
This cross-channel hack allows you to bring followers from one network to your other channels as well. This keeps them in the loop on your latest updates as you’re also able to position yourself as a go-to resource in the field.
Gift and shopping guides you don’t want to publish on your blog are a perfect share on other networks. It can take months to get a post like this to rank organically if you opt for a blog article. Keeping them as Instagram guides and promoting these across all channels gives you increased visibility even if it’s a last-minute call:
Note: Use your Instagram bio to lead people to your guides whenever you have a new guide or offer to show.
What to do next?
Craft your Instagram guides strategy through a step-by-step approach. After all, these guides rely on the quality of your regular posts. The latter are also your main pathway to new followers as well as to engaging with current ones.
So before you think about what Instagram guides you can put together, do everything you can to put your best content out there. From your blog to what types of tips and highlights you share on your social media channels, these content formats can all be repurposed into a handy Instagram guide.
Of course, you can always take the reverse approach. Think of potential guides you want to feature on your account and start posting content for them once or twice per week before you launch the guide.
Next, consider your exact goals. Instagram guides aren’t the best choice if you want to grow your following as they’re difficult to find organically at the moment. However, they’re the perfect chance for you to keep your current followers engaged and keep them informed on new topics or products.
From here on, you can start the actual process of crafting your Instagram post and guides. Bookmark this article and get back to it whenever you need an extra idea to turn these guides into lead magnets and grow your community.
Until next time, stay social!