Love them or hate them, the Instagram carousel is one of the fastest rising formats out there. Why? Because they are incredibly versatile.
They are a great way to repurpose written, audio and even video content, but they can also work as a standalone post to enhance and grow your personal brand.
I believe that being able to see and adapt trends to our own advantage as creatives are key for growth. As my very own Instagram has been flooded with carousel-style content, I threw the towel and put my investigator hat on (and that is when you know I mean business).
How Instagram carousel can help you improve your reach
Carousels are a trend that is here to stay and encourage saves and shares, two incredibly important Instagram metrics these days. Moreover, the format allows business owners like me to get to know much more efficiently what our audience loves. As a marketer of 13 years, I have learned that understanding user intent is crucial. “
- Saving” content is a strong sign that our audience finds our content useful. I love saves (aka the ability for followers to save Instagram posts they love for later), as it gives a whole new host of insights into the mind of our followers. It shows that you are educating your audience effectively.
- Carousels also encourage shares. In fact, this metric is a great way to improve discoverability, which in return will also grow your following – score! Seriously, shares are a great way to boost your reach in a variety of ways, so I would not underestimate them in any way. These work incredibly well to show that your content is inspiring enough for people to share it and expose you to a whole new audience.
On the plus side, saves and shares tap into something we know as ‘social currency’, a term coined by Jonah Berger in his book Contagious.
The anatomy of a good carousel
Creating an impactful carousel does not have to be hard. First, you can use templates to help (check some recommendations below). If you have access to Canva pro (which I would wholeheartedly recommend), you can also search for amazing carousel templates made for you.
Carousels are usually made of a few crucial parts: the cover, the story and the call to action.
- Cover – this is your hook, make sure this first slide is impactful and really resonates with your audience.
- Story – these are the following 2 to 5 slides, giving us context, examples, or overall tips.
- What’s next – this is your call to action. Often it’s just a reminder to share, save and follow, but you can easily tailor it.
What about the actual post caption? These days, I’d recommend a shorter, easy-to-digest caption over long, convoluted essays. Make sure your carousel content truly shines as the main story of your content.
You can see a clear example of an educational carousel.
Four ways to use carousels for yourself
For specific industries, this feature can be a great one to provide specific recommendations to your audience. This can be a great way to summarise the takeaways from a written review, or maybe a video or even a podcast and turn it into a visual format.
Carousels are a great way to show a step-by-step process for a static image. From a recipe to a craft project, the possibilities are endless. Moreover, it is a great way to show any process in action and make it a bit different and unique.
Collection of tips
Carousel-style tips are a very popular format that people can use to educate their audience on their core expertise. By using the first image as a ‘cover’ you can set the scene and allow followers to save your tips for later.
Ask me anything
Perfect for consultants, coaches and personal brands alike, AMAs on Instagram could easily catch on as a format. This is a great way to grow and consolidate your expert status, and use a combination of Stories question stickers and repurpose them as a static IG post.
Templates to help you get started
Are you looking to create some amazing carousel posts, but have no design skills whatsoever? Therefore, I recommend you check some of the links below for some little help – all Canva-friendly, which is a bonus! We also have a free collection of 100 Canva templates to help you get started if design is not your forte.
Step by Step Carousel Templates. These templates are designed for those creatives who are looking for a new way to boost their Instagram Feed. These Useful Carousel Templates can inspire or educate your audience. Th collection includes tips, brief tutorials, interviews, mood boards, photo galleries, quotes, stories, and more. What I love about these templates is the “call to action”. For example, liking, sharing, saving, leaving a comment, turning on notifications, following, are highlighted through icons, arrows, and targeted texts. This package has 18 completely unique templates. they are dead simple to use and can be edited online (for free) using Canva.
Carousels for writers and podcasters
- Carousel Templates for Writers: As a writer, you can easily create attention-grabbing and creative carousel posts within a few minutes. These customisable Instagram carousel templates are ideal for authors, writers, business owners, storytellers. Basically, anyone who wants to engage with their audiences by telling their stories. The product includes 12 different template layouts that are a perfect way to boost your social media, engage with your customers, and attract your potential customers.
- Carousel Templates for Podcasters: This collection of Seamless Carousel Posts for Instagram makes it easy to get the word out about that awesome podcast without having to be a seasoned designer. Swap out the colours, photos, even the Podcast Titles from Canva or Photoshop. Easily match the brand of your podcast by using these templates.
How would you use carousels for yourself and your brand? Firstly, check out some of these recommendations and get your creativity flowing by providing incredible value to your online audience. Secondly, select some templates to get you started on your carousel journey.
If you are looking for more ideas and trending designs for Instagram, don’t forget to check out our free collection of 100 Canva templates.