Social media is constantly evolving to provide new ways to keep people connected. One of the latest offerings is Instagram Guides. This new format has tremendous potential for the higher education sector when it comes to engaging and interacting with students. Here’s a closer look at everything university marketing teams should know about making the most of Instagram Guides.
What are Instagram Guides?
Instagram is all about creating visual, attention-grabbing photo, video and audio content. Instagram Guides kick things up a notch by allowing creators to “curate” a steam of connected posts while adding commentary. The result is more powerful storytelling in each scroll.
First rolled out as a tool for health and wellness advocates to offer resources to people coping with COVID-19, Instagram Guides is now available to all creators, which makes sense, given its universal usefulness. Instagram Guides is especially suitable for step-by-step guides, as well as a useful format for sharing tips and recommendations.
Instagram Guides have other benefits, too. Let’s say you create an Instagram Guide from a series of previous posts. When users click on a particular post within an Instagram Guide, they’re brought directly to the original post. Unlike Instagram Stories which disappear after 24 hours, Instagram Guides are designed to be evergreen. They’re also shareable, so when users find interest or value in your Instagram Guides, they can easily share them to their own Stories.
To see examples of what creators are doing with Instagram Guides, click on one of your favorite creator’s profile pages and go to the feed tab. Click on the one that looks like a fold-out pamphlet. From here, you’ll see all of the Instagram Guides available from a particular creator; similar to how the IGTV tab functions.
How to Create Instagram Guides
Designed to be creator-friendly, Instagram Guides can be put together within minutes. To get started, just click on the “plus” icon at the top right of your profile page. This will lead you to a choice of features. Select “Guide,” then choose from one of three formats: Places, Products, or Posts. Depending on your goals, select one of these options. For example, “Places” can be used to recommend favorite spots to eat around campus, while “Posts” can offer a narrated collection of themed posts you’ve previously created or saved. In order to use “Products,” they must first be available in an Instagram Shop.
Across all three Instagram Guide formats, you have the ability to add your own custom headlines and commentary.
After you’ve created and posted your Instagram Guide, you can share it to your Instagram Story to get the word out, or share it directly with users by tapping the paper airplane icon at the screen’s top-right corner.
How to Use Instagram Guides for Student Outreach
Since Instagram Guides are so new, creators are just starting to tap into their amazing potential. However, the usefulness of Instagram Guides seem almost endless for universities, including for the following:
- Sharing student stories
- Giving virtual tours
- Providing guidance through the application process
- Spotlighting useful resources, like mental health and wellness content
- Sharing how-to guides and tips, such as study guides
- Sharing travel guides, for campus visits
- Answering FAQs
- Creating roundups of campus and virtual events and activities
One last thing to keep in mind? Approximately 75 percent of 18-24 year olds use Instagram, which only trails Snapchat as teens’ favourite social network. However, unlike platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok, Instagram is used by older adults as well. This makes it an ideal platform for reaching mature students and parents. Additionally, higher education institutions receive more than 10 times the amount of interactions per post as they do on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, according to another report.
With nearly all universities now on Instagram, it’s not enough for university marketers to merely be using the platform. In order to capture and keep the interest of prospective students and their families, you must also be finding new and exciting ways to interact with them. Instagram Guides gives you the opportunity to guide their experiences in meaningful and lasting ways.