Once upon a time, there was a social media app that was born. This app had one intention; allow its user’s to share their photos. Be it inspirationational quotes, beautiful scenery or even admittedly cringey outfit photos, the app allowed thousands, if not millions of people to share and interact with photos.
Since its humble beginnings in 2010, Instagram has evolved into a ferocious social media beast, enabling users to share anything and everything as static posts, reels, stories and even carousel posts. But what exactly are carousel posts? And how can you effectively utilise them and add them to your social media arsenal?
Lets dive further.
Carousels… What exactly are they?
According to good ole’ Sprout Social, “An Instagram carousel is a post containing [up to 10] photo[s] or video[s], which users can view by swiping left on a post through the phone app”. But why would someone want to post more than one photo in one go? Picture it this way:
You’re an electrical servicing business that installs new lights, fixes power outlets, the whole shebang. Say you’ve recently finished a major project, decking out a lavish new home with light installations that are closer to works of art than they are to simple light fixtures. Is one photo going to do your work justice? Will 5? Carousel posts make it easy to share multiple photos of the same item or idea in one go without needing to post countless times. But why not simply post multiple static photos instead?…
Do they pose any advantages?
One of the biggest advantages of carousels is the insane levels of engagement it receives. When you post a carousel, your audience pauses to swipe through your content, meaning more time is spent on the post as opposed to a singular static photo. And as we know by now, the Instagram algorithm loves when users spend more time on a piece of content, as it signals to it that it is a popular and relevant post and subsequently, is boosted in people’s Explore and/or home pages. In other words, it means your post is going to garner more attention from more people!
Sounds simple enough right?
Not quite. Although it is easy to create a carousel, it takes a bit more effort to produce one that truly captures your target audience’s attention and retains it through the entire slideshow. Outlined below are a few tips to utilise when creating carousels, ensuring viewers not only get hooked to the first post but remain throughout.
Tips to create carousels
Hook your audience
The game is in the name. Your first item should grab your audience’s attention like how a piece of worm attracts a fish to a hook. It needs to be either words or images that encourage the user to stop scrolling and to truly tune in. In general, content that provides either education, comedy or inspiration tends to work really well. However, an important feat to complete is to ensure the first post is enticing enough to make the user stay and scroll through the entire slideshow yet not to reveal too much that they get satisfied immediately and scroll away.
Weave a narrative
Never underestimate the power of stories. Their innate ability to capture and retain attention is incredible and should be used to your heart’s content. For example, even if you have a seemingly random collection of photos/videos, order them in a manner that tells a tale where there may have been none. This seemingly simple act can mean the difference between someone remaining through the slideshow and someone scrolling away immediately.
Content easy on the eyes and mind
Sure, it’s great to educate your audience on a subject matter you are an expert in. But going into the different types of lighting solutions, especially the technical terms, isn’t the greatest way to retain an audience. Create carousel content that is visually appealing yet not overwhelming, and if you are to have text-based content, ensure it is easy to digest and understand in a short time-span.
Now that we’ve covered tips on how to ace your carousel game, let’s arm you with a couple of different ideas of what to use them for.
Showcase the people behind the brand. This can include employee spotlight, projects that are underway, and even the struggles of owning a business. Let creativity flow freely.
No, we don’t mean a detailed manual on how to install a chandelier or replace an electrical wall socket. But simple processes such as how to change a lightbulb with nice visuals are sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Flaunt your services
Showcase the different services you offer in a nice carousel, with your most popular one first and the rest to follow.
Before and afters
If you’re a service business, you have probably engaged in a lot of projects, some of which have seen massive improvements after implementing your work. Don’t be afraid to show the before and afters, as the results often speak for themselves.
Carousels are a powerful tool to add to your Instagram arsenal and, frankly, need to be utilised more. One study even found that despite the levels of engagement carousels receive, they only account for 19% of Instagram content!
So from here on out, aim to include more carousels in your social media strategy. But always remember, the content you produce and post should always align with the context you have in mind. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Refer to our previous blog here
Otherwise, take care and we’ll see you next time!
Written by Jaweria Saeed (BCom student and Social Media Manager at On Point Social)