Instagram has today launched a new 'Guides' option for profiles, which will enable selected business users and creators to highlight recommendations, tips, and other content in a new, dedicated tab.
As you can see in the above sequence, chosen partner profiles will now display a new tab - in addition to 'Posts', 'Mentions' and 'IGTV' listings - on their profiles. The Guides tab will highlight collections of posts under dedicated topic tiles - which has a Pinterest-like feel to it.
As explained by Instagram:
"When viewing a Guide, you can see posts and videos that the creator has curated, paired with helpful tips and advice. If you want to learn more about a specific post, you can tap on the image or video to view the original Instagram post. You can also share a Guide to your story or in Direct by tapping on the share button in the upper right corner."
It's an interesting option, providing another way for high-profile users (at this stage) to share their content, with added context. It's not clear at this stage whether users will only be able to include their own posts within their Guide sets (we're looking to clarify), but it could provide another consideration for displaying your Instagram posts, if, indeed, it is made available to more users.
And while the initial launch is focused on wellbeing collections and tips, it could also become another platform for showcasing products at some stage.
In Instagram's description of the tool, it notes that:
"We know many people are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are first focusing Guides on wellness content. We’ll enable creators to connect with expert organizations to share resources during this time, including tips on how to look after your well-being, maintaining connection with others or managing anxiety or grief."
But the aim of Guides, as Instagram notes, is to highlight "recommendations, tips and other content". That "other content" could well be products that an influencer likes, which they could arrange sponsorship deals for. Brands could also showcase collections based on topics, or provide how-to guides and similar.
There's a wide range of ways Guides could be used in this respect. Right now, Instagram is limiting access to the tool, with only a handful of selected partners included. But there could be a lot of future potential in the process. Kind of like your Stories highlights, but with a more specific, contextual wrapping on each.
What's more, Instagram also notes that:
"In the coming days, you’ll also be able to access Guides within the Explore tab."
That could mean that Guides could become a much more significant element within the Instagram experience, with a broader showcase of dedicated explainers and overviews, direct from Explore. And if Guides fo become more of an option for product tie-ins, that could definitely be worth considering.
Overall, it does feel like a step into Pinterest territory, with a new way to link ideas together, as opposed to merely listing them one-by-one. At lauch, focusing on health and wellbeing content makes sense, as Instagram notes, but there could be a lot more potential in these listings, providing a whole new way to utilize your Instagram profile and presence.