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How To Create Instagram Carousels: The Complete Guide You Need to Read in 2023

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Instagram carousels allow brands to tell visual stories and showcase products in an eye-catching, engaging way leading to higher post engagement and impressions.

But what exactly are carousels, and how can you create standout multi-image posts? This comprehensive guide will explore everything brands need to know.

A Quick Intro to Instagram Carousels

An Instagram carousel is a single post that contains between 2-10 images or videos that users can horizontally scroll through by swiping. Introduced in 2017, carousels provide more creativity and flexibility than single static posts in showcasing products, collections, campaigns and stories.

Here’s a quick rundown of carousel specs:

  • Up to 10 photos or videos can be included
  • Square images should be 1080×1080 pixels
  • Posts can combine both images and videos
  • Landscape and portrait orientations are supported
  • 4GB maximum file size per video or image

Now let’s explore how brands of all sizes can tap into carousels for captivating storytelling…

The creative possibilities are endless when leveraging Instagram carousels. But where should you start brainstorming unique ideas tailored to your brand?

Showcase Products from Multiple Angles

Allow customers to see all sides of a product. Mix in lifestyle images depicting the item in use for maximum engagement.

Highlight Curated User-Generated Content

Repost visual UGC from happy customers organically engaging with your brand. Don‘t forget to tag them!

Share Bite-Sized Educational Content

Create helpful “Instagram Carousel Ideas” tutorials using instructor-led videos and tips your audience will appreciate.

Promote Contests and Giveaways

Share giveaway prize reveal images and videos to hype upcoming contests and special events. Video testimonials work great too for this.

Visually Spotlight Customer Testimonials

Validate products and services by sharing social proof quotes on vibrant brand imagery or video scenes.

Reveal Company Culture Through BTS Glimpses

Show unique perspectives of office locations, teams, or brand installations for inside looks at company inner workings.

The opportunities are endless, but focus on content aligned to your audience interests and buying journey. Now let‘s dive into…

Images might speak 1000 words, but captions allow you to connect the narrative dots between slides. Ensure cohesive stories make an impact with these pro tips:

Use a Combination of Short + Long Captions

Lead with concise captions for the first 1-2 slides to pique interest, guiding users to swipe through the entire series of images for the full story.

Pose Thought-Provoking Questions

Spark deeper conversations by posing questions to your audience encouraging reactions and discussion.

Include Quality Hashtags That Align With Each Image/Video Scene

Strategically incorporate hashtags throughout your carousel caption to improve content discoverability and spark engagement. Mix topical and branded hashtags.

Encourage Engagement

Prompt followers to like, comment or save the post to drive participation. Offer incentives for sharing user-generated versions of your content.

Hashtags extend your organic reach and facilitate content discovery on Instagram. But generic tags lead to lower engagement and impressions.

Follow these hashtag optimization tips instead for each carousel image:

  • Include 5-10 mixed hashtags per slide – Overloading detracts from your visual story
  • Leverage niche and branded tags – Improves relevance over generic tags
  • Research related hashtags – Identify trending topics and conversations to tap into
  • Refine hashtags over time – Evaluate data and double down on top performers

Curating meaningful hashtags is well worth the effort for the engagement dividends.

But how well are your sleek Instagram carousels actually performing compared to other post types?

Smart monitoring and analytics provide visibility. According to Sprout Social and Hootsuite, carousels on average achieve:

  • 60% more engagement than regular photo posts
  • 75% more engagement than video posts
  • 3x more engagement than single-image posts
  • 35% higher click-through rates

Carousels clearly command attention in crowded feeds, but captions and content impact results too. Set up tracking to identify your top-tier carousel designs.

Images might speak 1000 words each, but a succession of 10 unrelated images won’t captivate an audience. Maintain visual intrigue from slide to slide with these design principles:

Maintain Consistent Branding

Use colors, fonts, logos and filters that align to branded guidelines for cohesive aesthetic.

Vary Media Types Strategically

Thoughtfully incorporate a healthy mix of still product images, lifestyle photos, graphic quotes, behind-the-scenes clips and more.

Utilize High-Quality Attention-Grabbing Visuals

Invest in vibrant, crisp images and videos since visual content directly fuels performance.

Strategically Order Slides

Sequence images to reveal something unexpected or previously hidden to maintain curiosity.

Visually captivating carousels stopped mid-scroll ignite intrigue and inspiration. Let creativity guide your arrangement, captions and flow.

Maximizing Reach For Instagram Carousels

While carousels organically outperform regular posts, sometimes brands need an extra distribution boost.

Consider amplifying high-performing carousels through:

  • Social sharing buttons – Add within captions prompting easy one click Twitter/Facebook shares
  • Influencer reposts – Encourage influencer partners to re-share carousel posts
  • Instagram advertising – Promote directly to targeted consumer demographics
  • Email newsletters – Embed carousel posts within marketing emails

Driving distribution through multiple channels compounds content visibility for the ultimate reach.

Key Takeaways and Bottom Line

Hopefully this comprehensive, research-backed guide provided brands, marketers and creators an extensive look at best practices for visually engaging Instagram carousels.

To recap key learnings:

  • Leverage between 2-10 photos/videos for storytelling and demonstrations
  • Maintain visual intrigue across slides through cohesive themes and sequences
  • Use strategic captions to connect images and pose questions
  • Incorporate niche hashtags to improve discoverability
  • Amplify standout carousels via multiple distribution channels
  • Continuously analyze performance data to guide ongoing optimization

Carousels present brands an invaluable outlet for showcasing products uniquely, highlighting UGC, revealing company culture, and ultimately boosting engagement.

Experiment with the creative possibilities using the tips within this guide as your trusty playbook reference. Captivating design paired with strategic distribution is sure to accelerate results and visibility.

Here’s to taking your brand’s Instagram game to the next level with stellar carousel content! Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments.

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