Instagram carousels are an underutilized and underappreciated type of content… and I’m on a mission to change that.
Repurposing your content into an Instagram carousel opens up a world of possibilities. You can tell stories, go into more detail, bring out your creative side, and create some incredibly effective content.
But if you’ve never made a carousel before, or if you have but don’t put much thought into it, it can be a bit daunting at first.
Never fear, Content 10x is here!
Read on to find out how to repurpose content of all shapes and sizes into attractive, appealing, and engaging Instagram carousels.
Here's a short video about this week's episode:
Why are Instagram carousels so effective?
I’ve been experimenting with Instagram Carousels for the last few months with our own content and have found them to be great for engagement.
I think this has something to do with how well they lend themselves to storytelling. A great story in the form of an Instagram carousel lets us tap into emotions, create tension and excitement, and go so much deeper than just explaining what something is and why people should be interested in it.
I heard Phil Jones say on stage in 2019 that “Facts tell, stories sell.” This mantra has been true in marketing for a long time and it’s never truer than when it comes to content.
All my best-performing emails, podcast episodes, and social posts are all built on great storytelling.
And it’s not just a matter of feelings, the facts are clear when it comes to carousels. Social Insider analyzed over 7 MILLION Instagram posts and found that carousels, on average, have higher engagement rates than both images and videos. And that counts for profiles of almost all sizes.I’d love to see the carousels you create, so make sure to mention me or tag me (@content10x) in the next one you create!
So, it’s clear that everyone can benefit from including more carousels on their feed!
Now, carousels are a really exciting format because they are so flexible and allow for a lot of creativity.
Let’s take a look at a few examples from brands and businesses that do it brilliantly.
Examples of brilliant Instagram carousels
Naturally, I have to start with a couple of our own efforts… we’ve experimented with lots of different variations of carousels and had some great results.
For example, we did some real storytelling with episode 134 of the podcast (The Content Repurposing Customer Journey: from Mobile to Long-Form to Buying). We created a character and showed them going through each of the steps explained in the episode.
And to promote The Content 10x Toolkit, we used a creative combination of videos testimonials, short copy, and product imagery!
There are so many people and businesses out there who are making great use of carousels, including:
Phil uses carousels to share big ideas that would lose their impact if he wrote them out in the caption.
He’s brilliant at keeping his carousels on brand, interesting, and hard-hitting. He’s a master of saying no more than he needs to!
This ethical clothing brand uses carousels really effectively in their feed. Usually, they share pictures of people wearing their clothes – makes sense! But when they want to share some more detailed information, they use carousels to share things like infographics.
They turn a pretty big chunk of text into really clear, visually-appealing, images that are easy to scroll through and beautiful to look at. Such a smart way of introducing a different style and visual to their feed, whilst still staying on brand and engaging.
This coffee roaster in the UK are so good at visual communication. They conducted a COVID-19 impact survey among their customers to get a sense of how the businesses they work with were being affected.
It’s interesting content, but graphs, charts, and data are never that exciting to look at. Minor Figures were smart and used a brilliant carousel – really beautifully designed and easy on the eye – to share what they found, with the final image sharing helpful advice to help people adapt.
There are tons of different ways you can repurpose your content into carousels, and they’re all engaging and exciting in their own right.
Four ideas for repurposing your content into Instagram carousels
Now we’ve seen what some great Instagram carousels can look like, let’s dive into four great ideas you can try out if you want to start repurposing your content into carousels:
1. Tease your longer content
Say you have a 10-step process to baking amazing cakes… you could show five or six steps and use the last image to tell people where to find the full recipe.
2. Outline your longer content
Simplify the message of your longer content and give a really quick summary in (up to) 10 images or videos. If you do it right, people will be dying to read the full thing!
3. Standalone content from your longer content
If your longer content is making several points, you could share one of them in full through your carousel, giving your audience a taste of the overall tone and quality of your longer content.
4. Explain a problem
Use your carousel to help people understand a problem that they might not realize they have or that they haven’t considered before. Once you have explained the problem, you can tell them how to solve it by viewing your longer content.
Best practice for repurposing content into Instagram carousels
Not all carousels are created equal! There are a few rules of best practice that you should consider if you want to make your carousels perform to their full potential:
Use the appropriate number of images.
You can post up to 10 images or videos, but that doesn’t mean you have to! Don’t try to stretch your point out to 10 images or videos if it can be done in 5.
Design your first image to be irresistible.
Tap into people’s natural curiosity – lead with a question, tease the ending, give them a great reason to start swiping through your carousel.
Make each image lead onto the next.
Have sentences run on from one image to the next, make it essential for your audience to see every image to really ‘get’ the point of your content.
Make use of different media types.
You can combine pictures and videos, and a video at the right time can really help the pacing and storytelling of your carousel.
Keep it consistent.
Use the same colors, fonts, and styles in your images. It should look like one consistent piece of content, not a bunch of random images thrown together.
Don’t just rewrite your podcast script or blog post in pictures – be smart and focus on the fact it is a visual medium! Take pictures of yourself and incorporate designs and graphics onto them, play around with the format of having to swipe to see the next image, have fun with it!
Keep it simple.
Try not to over-write on both your images and your captions. Use text sparingly. Your images need to be easy to read, clear, and not overwhelming. Your caption shouldn’t be steal focus from your carousel – that’s the main event!
Inspiration if you want to repurpose your content into an Instagram carousel
If you’re feeling fired up and eager to get into carousel creation, but you’re not sure what it might look like for you and your content, here are a few ideas that might set the gears turning for you.
If you have a podcast…
Share some of the best tips or quotes from your episode and encourage people to listen to hear the rest. For example, for this episode of The Content 10x Podcast, we’re going to create a carousel that visualizes some of the best practice tips I shared in the last section. The final slide will let people know there’s even more great advice, with case studies, stats, and examples in the episode and blog post!
If you have a video show…
Incorporate some of your highlights into a carousel. Rather than just posting one clip of a great point you make, you could create an image that teases the topic you’re talking about. Think of the first image like a YouTube thumbnail. For example, if your clip is of you talking about how to create Instagram carousels, you could start with an image that says “Swipe to find out how I use Instagram carousels to grow my engagement”. It’s almost like a thumbnail for your video that sits separately from it!
If you have a blog…
Summarize your key points by following some of that best practice advice I shared earlier. Don’t just copy and paste a paragraph in a tiny font size, be smart about picking out important sentences and words. When people want to know more, you can link them to the full post in the final image.
Go carousel crazy and start creating your own!
Carousels are an amazing way to grab people’s attention, share a deeper look at your content without expecting your audience to consume the full piece, and experiment with creativity and reinforce your branding.
Hopefully this article has sparked lots of ideas for you and you’re now raring to go.