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How to create an Instagram carousel post that turns heads

Horses on a carousel ride
While the name may transport you to the fairground, a carousel is a useful weapon in your content marketing armoury

Are you familiar with a carousel post? You’ve probably seen them across Instagram but perhaps you weren’t aware of their name or the benefits of creating them.

A carousel is essentially a slideshow – a post with multiple photos, graphics or videos which can be viewed by swiping or clicking left. You can add up to 10 images or videos to a carousel post to be shared in a single post on your grid.

Why should I create them, I hear you ask?

Well, according to Hootsuite, on average carousel posts get 1.4 x more reach and 3.1 x more engagement than regular posts on Instagram. And, Instagram will often serve your carousel posts to your audience a second time using your second image so if your ideal customer doesn't stop the first time they may stop the second. Impressive eh?

So, while the name may transport you straight to the fairground or, if you're like me, the 1950s Hollywood movie (I’m a sucker for a vintage musical), a carousel is a jolly useful weapon in your content marketing armoury.

Here’s my step-by-step guide to creating your first carousel post:

1. Tell a story

Creating a carousel post is a good way to encourage browsing as it’s like flicking through the pages of a magazine. As they keep people on your account for longer, they’re well worth taking the time to create.

Before you get creative, consider what you want your carousel post to achieve.

Try sharing a series of tips on a specific topic, a step-by-step guide or multiple photos of new products in close-up or from different angles. Build intrigue before you unveil a surprise; share a before and after transformation; or showcase a selection of client reviews for a specific product or service.

Above all, ensure your content is relevant to your business and your audience.

Swing chair ride at the fairground
Use a high-quality image on your first slide to draw people in. There are lots of free images on Canva and Unsplash.

2. Use strong images

Use a high-quality image on your first slide to draw people in. If you have relevant brand photography it’s a good idea to use it. Otherwise, there are lots of free professional images on Canva or Unsplash.

If you’re a good amateur photographer it’s fine to use your own pictures. Just make sure all the images you select are in focus, well-framed and tell the story.

3. Write awesome copy

The text on your first slide needs to grab people’s attention so be bold and write a headline which summarises the content to come. The copy on your graphics should be clear, concise, informative and compelling and take the reader on a journey through the carousel to a purposeful destination.

4. Create quality graphics

Use a design tool like Canva to make eye-catching graphics for your carousel. Create a standard Instagram post at 1080 x 1080 pixels and add up to nine identical slides to form your carousel. It’s great to get creative but always stick to your brand colours and fonts so that your designs complement your other Instagram posts.

A top view of a carousel ride
Add a Call to Action on your final graphic, or in your caption, to tell your audience what you’d like them to do next.

5. Take the next step

Carousel posts invite engagement as they allow your followers to quickly scroll through your graphics or photos.

Select up to 10 photos, graphics or videos in the order that you'd like them to appear. Apply filters or edits to each frame, add a caption and a location tag.

You can encourage even more engagement by adding a Call to Action (CTA).

Add a specific CTA on your final graphic, or in your caption, to tell your audience what you'd like them to do next.

You could say:

  • DM me to order

  • Subscribe to my newsletter

  • Save this post to refer to later

Your CTA should be tailored to your business and your goals.

PRO TIP: Double check all your frames are in the correct order before you publish. You can’t reorder or delete single slides after you share your post.

A carousel ride illuminated at night
Include a carousel post or two in your monthly content calendar to increase your reach and engagement on Instagram.

Over to you

Why not include a carousel post in your monthly content calendar? Tag me in @prioritycopy when you post on Instagram so I can see how brilliantly you do!

Want more? Discover six content ideas to make your social media stand out.

Need more help?

I can create a monthly content plan for your business which you can repurpose again and again. Get in touch to book a free 15-minute discovery call to discuss your requirements.

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