Creating an Instagram carousel – the grid posts with multiple photos/videos – can be a challenge and yet the upside is so high: greater engagement, content that serves your audience and is perfect for sharing and saving. Here’s what you need to know about creating a carousel for your business that gives you the most saves, likes and shares for your time. There’s even a free PDF checklist at the end of this post you can download.
WHAT IS AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL POST? HERE’S THE DEFINITION.
Carousels are the way you post multiple photos on Instagram on the grid. This grid post can have up to 10 photos, videos or a mix of the two. Viewers swipe through from right to left on the screen to view each slide, one at a time. A series of grey dots under the posts shows how many slides are in the carousel, with a blue dot marking the position of the current slide.
Carousels are the same as regular posts in other ways including captions, the ability to share, comment, like and save. Instagram introduced them early in 2017 as an ad format, extending that to all users soon afterwards.
WHAT SIZE TO MAKE YOUR CAROUSEL POSTS?
You can make carousel posts any size from square to a 4:5 ratio vertical or portrait image, as long as they have matching dimensions. If you try adding differently sized photos or videos, they will crop to the same shape as your first slide. If you’re choosing a non-square size, you might want to consider what your first photo will look like cropped in your grid.
In pixels, a 4:5 ratio for Instagram is 1080 pixels wide by 1350 pixels high. This format takes up the most amount of screen space available, so is the best format for impact in the scroll.
You can also use horizontal images or videos up to a 1.91:1 ratio, which is 1080 pixels wide by 566 pixels high. This is not an ideal format, because it takes up so little space in the feed, which means it’s easy to scroll past without noticing it. If you want to keep your images wide and narrow, you could use a photo or graphics editor to add white space above and below your image, helping it stand out in the feed.
Videos can last up to 60 seconds and need to be smaller than 4GB.
Be aware that your carousel will show in your Instagram feed as a square, with the top and bottom of your first slide hidden, so make sure that your design and any text you want seen is in the centre of the carousel’s first slide.
HOW TO CREATE AND POST AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL
How to create a carousel inside the Instagram app
- Tap the + sign on the top right, next to the menu.
- Tap the post option (with a grid icon).
- This will bring up the ‘Recents’ album. Navigate to another album if needed and tap the multiple photo option.
- Tap on the photos or videos you want to include in your carousel, in the order you want them to appear.
- Tap ‘Next’ on the top right of your screen. Select any preferred filter options.
- Write a caption, adding tags and other details as you would for a regular grid post.
- Tap ‘Share’ on the top right of your screen!
How to create a carousel inside Facebook Creator Studio on desktop
- Navigate to Creator Studio inside Facebook (find it in the options down the left of your screen on a desktop). This assumes you have a Facebook page attached to your Instagram account.
- Create a new post and upload your carousel slides. They will automatically display in the order you uploaded them. You can drag and drop the slides into a different order if needed.
- Add your caption and hashtags to the text area. Add your location, if wanted.
- Schedule or publish your post. There’s also an option to save as a draft.
Please note: Facebook is replacing Creator Studio with Business Suite, on a gradual worldwide rollout. You can also create and schedule carousels inside third party apps such as Planoly and Later.
WHAT ENGAGEMENT DO CAROUSEL POSTS RECEIVE?
According to Social Insider, Carousels have an average engagement rate per post of 1.92%, compared to 1.74% for images and 1.45% for videos. The engagement rate hits 2% for posts where all 10 carousel slides are used – a great reason to think about using them all! However, most carousels have between two and four slides. Other studies suggest that carousel post engagement rates are even higher than this.
WHY DO CAROUSEL POSTS RECEIVE MORE ENGAGEMENT?
There are multiple reasons why carousel posts receive more engagement. One is time spent to see all of the post: looking at multiple photos or videos simply takes longer than looking at one.
Another reason for increased engagement with carousel posts is that Instagram can show your post multiple times in the feeds of your followers. If the first slide doesn’t stop the scroll, Instagram may show the second or third slides, to encourage swipe-throughs to the rest of the slides. This increases the chances of followers engaging with your post.
There’s also the fact that a post with multiple photos or videos is more likely to contain more value than those with a single slide, especially if you know your followers well and cater to their interests. This might be photos of a product and multiple details, a variety of styling for clothing or inspirational quotes on one theme.
Regina Anaejionu uses carousels for mini-lessons that lead into her courses for thought leaders. She’s creating huge value for her ideal clients, without even leaving Instagram. If they like what they read, they’re primed to click her bio and check out what else she could offer them.
INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL IDEAS
Multiple photos or videos can show many aspects of one product or idea or you can tell a story in bite-sized chunks spread across the slides. Curiosity is key here – make sure at least some of the information is shared in later slides, so viewers swipe all the way through your slides.
- Carousel posts can act as cornerstone content for your feed, providing valuable information for your ideal audience. This can include:
- User generated content, possibly with a cover image, so they fit your feed’s aesthetic.
- An introduction to a product or service
- A list of tips
- A range of testimonials
- Transformations: showcase ‘before’ and ‘after’ your service or product
- Features on others in your niche
- Your origin story
Want a list of 27 carousel ideas that work for any kind of business? You can download the list by clicking the image below and adding your email address.
INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL TEMPLATES
Instagram carousel templates help you create a set of cohesive slides which work together, without taking hours or needing a professional designer. This also allows you to concentrate on choosing your words and images or graphics carefully, to tell the story that best works for your business.
I’ve created multiple carousel templates for free online design tool Canva. You can find the templates here. Canva templates can be swapped out to your own brand’s colours and fonts in seconds, ready for your own text and photos or video.
Hopefully, you now have all the details you need to create your own engaging carousel on Instagram!