As the novelty of being able to work from home began to wear off in May, and we collectively looked down the barrel of an indefinite period of social isolation, Instagram launched its Guides feature with a focus on mental health. Guides originally allowed select creators, public figures, organizations and publishers to create curate collections, both from their own profiles and from the profiles of others. On Tuesday, Instagram announced that it would expand this feature to all users.
“After Guides were first introduced in May, Instagram saw strong community response and requests for increased availability,” according to a press release. “Guides provide another way for the community to connect with their favorite accounts, discover new products from people they may not already follow, and get inspired by what content people are loving on Instagram.”
The concept of Guides was originally meant to target travel content, but seeing as leaving the country for leisure is either prohibited or extremely rude to the rest of humanity, Instagram wisely pivoted its direction to promote self care tips, suicide hotlines and, as Black Lives Matter protests began to unfold, resources for the black community.
TechCrunch reported on potential changes to Instagram Guides back in August, highlighting the ability for users to choose between posting a Places Guide, to recommend your favorite places, a Products Guide, to recommend your favorite products, or a Posts Guide, which is what most Guides dabble in now.
Guides, which currently features prominently on account pages, usually nestled between IGTV and Tagged Photos, may also be featured in the Instagram Shop, another new feature of the app that helps connect creators and entrepreneurs with new customers, according to the blog post announcing this expansion.
Linking Guides to shopping provides plenty of space for influencers and brands to create style Guides, linking to their IG shops so they can try to boost sales during this combined recession-pandemic mess.
“Creators push culture forward and are a great source of inspiration for the Instagram community — whether you’re looking to shop the latest trends or learn about a new topic or place,” according to the blog post. “We hope that Guides provide another way for you to connect with your favorite accounts and get inspired by what content people are loving on Instagram.”
Generally, the goal of Guides is to give users a way to post longer-form content that expands beyond photo and video. It’s a multimedia experience that will introduce you to new content creators, inform you on best ways to deal with anxiety, allow Guides creators to include their own commentary or tips alongside the media and, of course, keep you scrolling.
One thing is clear from this expansion. Rather than directing traffic to creators’ or brands’ websites and blogs, Instagram wants to keep users on its platform.