Instagram Carousel Tips to Get More Engagement - 2021
If you want to maximize your engagement, refine your storytelling, and pack your next post with valuable content, you need to really get on board with carousels.
A recent study of 22 million posts found carousels to be the MOST engaging – meaning shares, likes, saves and comments.
Because of the slideshow feature, carousels give your followers a ton of information to resonate with at once, in a digestible way. It also enables your post to show up 2x in someone’s feed, as the algorithm makes sure a second image from your carousel appears in-feed – which is awesome.
Long story short, they’ll give you a higher return on your efforts.
To get you started, here are 3 FREE customizable carousel templates. They're engaging, easy to create, and will help you give your followers a ton of value in a single post:
Hey. Today, I'm going to show you how to create three different types of carousels for your grid. It's going to be super easy, and I'm going to share all the templates with you so that you can customize them yourself and get to posting your own ASAP. If you're not familiar, a carousel is a multi-image feature on Instagram that allows you to combine up to 10 slides in a single post. And I know what you might be thinking, "Why would I pour the energy of what could be 10 days worth of content into a single post?" I get you. I've been there before myself.
So before you write-off carousels entirely, let me hit you with some facts. A recent study of over 22 million Instagram posts found carousels to be the most engaging, and especially if you use all 10 slides. So, not only do these 10 slides give your followers a ton of valuable content to resonate with at once, but it also enables them to engage with your content twice, as the algorithm makes sure the second image in your carousel sequence also appears on your followers' feeds, which is awesome. So, long story short, they'll give you a higher return on your efforts.
And hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting you to just drop your strategy altogether when it comes to creating your content, but adding in a few carousels every so often will definitely boost your engagement, which will increase your chances of connecting with your ideal clients and grow your following. But before we dive into design, if you're in the market for more tips and hacks to help grow your business, hit the subscribe and notify button so you never miss a beat. I'm Lesley, co-founder of Brand Therapy Sessions.
And in my experience of creating content for Instagram, I've seen the best results come from posts that tell a story. Carousels are great at this, and they're so versatile, they can work for any type of business. The multi-slide feature allows you to take a big amount of content and break it down into digestible slides for your audience, which is great because then you don't have people skimming or skipping over your stuff. And they're spending more time here. Maybe even saving it to come back to later. I created a free workbook that covers everything I share on this video, templates included.
So no need to take notes or hit pause every two seconds. The link is in the description below. If you're curious, here's a sneak peek at the carousel templates I'll be creating in a few minutes. Once you click on the link in the description, they'll be yours for the taking. When coming up with a carousel, the first thing you're going to want to do before even getting close to design is coming up with your concept. What's the story you're trying to tell, and how are you going to tell it? If some writer's block is coming up, not to worry, I'll take you through a couple examples.
Here are a bunch of ways that you can break down your content into a sequence of slides. We have how to's, a series of tips or a guide, a written story or an anecdote, quotes and affirmations, a series of facts, a curation of photos that tell a purely visual story, or you can also do transformations, so showing steps along the way across the series of slides. And a great hack for this type of transformation post is to show the desired outcome as your cover image, so the before picture doesn't actually mess around with the aesthetic of your grid.
And lastly, but definitely not least, user-generated content. So be it a series of customer reviews, testimonials, or photos of your product that they're using, or even screenshots of emails and other positive notes via text. Anything of this sort, shares social proof of your product and services. And carousels are a great way to hold these because you can use that cover photo again, like I mentioned, that fits with your brand, and then tuck in all of the off-brand content on the following pages. When it comes to accounts that do this really well, here are a couple of examples I just pulled up.
@soyouwanttotalkabout is an account that dissects progressive politics and social issues to their followers. Here's a post of theirs that breaks the concept of burnout into a series of digestible slides. The layout is clean, which allows the reader to easily take in all of the information. Another account that does this well is @wetheurban, an account that celebrates inclusivity, self-love, and marginalized voices. Their posts are simple and repeat a similar layout per slide, but it's the simplicity that helps the content stand out in a way that's incredibly impactful.
And lastly, here's another popular account that you might've heard of called Co-Star. It's an astrology account that creates a hyper-personalized social experience for their audience. And this particular post pertains to the sun in Taurus. And as you can see, the design is one continuous layout across all slides. After seeing these examples, I'm sure a few have come to mind. So comment below and let me know, what's the most inspirational carousel that you've seen? Once you're clear on the type of carousel you want to build, the next step is to map out your content.
So you're going to take your concept and your information, and you're going to break it down into digestible pieces. I like to do this by sketching it out on a piece of paper, because it allows me to see the user's experience as they view my content from start to finish. Another great tip is to use a call to action on your last slide, meaning encourage them to engage with your post in some other way, so they could save it for later, share it with a friend, or like and comment below. This lets the algorithm know that this is a genuinely valuable piece of content and will keep sharing it with others.
So with that in mind, once you've done all your mapping, we'll head over to Canva. What I'm about to show you is how I create carousels from scratch. But to save you a ton of time, all of the templates I'm about to build can be accessed in the link below, so you can just customize them yourself and you can boost your brand immediately. You're welcome. First step is to click create a design in the top right corner. And because we're creating a wide strip that's a consistent image, we're going to split it into two sets of five.
Each image is a one-to-one ratio, so we're going to actually take 1000 pixel by 1000 pixel square and multiply it five times wide, and that will get you the best resolution. And then we'll create a second set of five to finish out the second half of the carousel so that we can split it in PineTools later. We'll create custom size, and we'll do 5000 by 1000. And here you can see. This will be the first half of the carousel, and then we'll do the second one as well.
The first thing you're going to want to do is click show rulers and show guides, and this is going to show you where your section breaks into the five slides. And now you'll be able to see where the breaks are. The next thing you're going to want to do is choose a background color. Based on your brand palette, you'll select one of your colors. And you're going to want to make sure there's enough contrast between your background color and your text. We'll set it to orange.
And then what we're going to do is we're going to go into the element section and we're going to choose some shapes that let the user know that there's continuity between the different slides. I like to try these more organic shapes. I'm going to search blob for lack of a better word. You can alter the color of the shapes by clicking on the color swatch at the top of the design panel. Then we're going to want to add some text, so we'll go over here. Add a heading. Add a subheading. We're just going to grab this. Make it a little bit bigger. Bring it to the front.
This toggle here allows you to change the alignment of the text. I'm going to have it left-aligned. I'll just put in some placeholder copy for you guys. And before I go any further, another thing that you really want to do is add your handle to each of your slides. This helps make sure that no matter where your post shows up, that you're credited for your work, and you're also being promoted as an expert on this topic. So people know where to find you so that they can learn from you and connect with you further. The next thing we're going to do is add all of the steps.
We're going to add some body copy. And as I mentioned earlier, I always recommend putting a call to action at the end. Recommend that they either share it with a friend, save it, post it to their story, give it a like or a comment below, or what you can actually do is ask them to book a discovery call with you, depending on the context of your post. We're almost done and what we're going to do next is we're actually going to add even another layer of flow to this whole piece. We're going to go into the elements section again, and we're going to search arrows.
Arrows are fun because they just kind of draw people and prompt them to check out the next thing. It's a great way to kind of keep people moving along through your content. Once you have it selected, you can choose to set it to any color you like. I'm just going to stick with white. And there you have it. I've created the first set of carousels. And all you have to do now is just go up to download and you're going to do all pages and it should save to your desktop. In the interest of time, I'm going to show you how I created the next two with a super quick time lapse.
All of the functions for the design will be the same, except for one feature that I wanted to point out called frames. Frames allow you to choose the container that your photograph sits in. Literally the frame. You can go and browse through any of these available shapes and then add it to your design. And to get your photo inside, you simply go to your photo section or your uploads, and you'll just drag it on top until it fits in. And now that you know how to use frames, it's go time. Now you can see we have the two halves of each style of carousel.
The next step is to go over to PineTools so that we can actually split it into the images to upload to Instagram. We're going to hit horizontally, select JPEG, and then you're going to switch it to five blocks, because we've designed each of our strips five blocks wide and it's equal width. Choose the file. Split image. And now you just click each one of these and it says to you which order they come in and it will save to your computer that way. So once you've downloaded them to your computer, you'll want to transfer them over to your phone, and I'll see you in Instagram.
All right. So now we're in Instagram and what we're going to do is click the plus sign at the top here to create. And we'll select post. Once you get to this screen, you'll select this carousel option on the right, and then you'll be able to select up to 10 images from your camera roll. And because we just transferred everything from your phone, it should be conveniently placed at the top of your options. Then once you've selected all 10 slides, we'll click next. Because you've already designed everything in Canva, you won't need to make filter or editing adjustments in the Instagram app.
You'll want to keep everything consistent with the consecutive slide. We'll swipe through to make sure everything is in order. And in the case that it isn't, you can simply hold your finger on the slide you'd like to swap and just drag it horizontally until it moves over to the placement that you would prefer. And after that, we'll hit next and input our caption. When it comes to your caption, another tip that I always like to do is include the word swipe or scroll within the first two sentences of your text.
And this call to action will prompt the viewer to engage with your content further and spend more time with your posts on the following slides, which the algorithm loves. Once you've done your writing and tagging, we'll hit share and your carousel will be out in the world. Awesome. Now you know how to create super engaging carousels for your next Instagram post. If you haven't already, be sure to download the workbook I created for you. The link is in the description below. It's going to save you a ton of time using these templates, and they're going to make your content look awesome.
If you like this video, please be sure to hit the thumbs up and the subscribe button. Thanks for watching.