How to use carousels on Instagram relative to marketing
Carousels on Instagram show an engagement rate of 1.92% (even higher when all 10 images are used), compared to an engagement rate of 1.74% for images and 1.45% for videos. However, the same study found that carousels take up only 19% of all content posted on the web.
Your brand should strive to create the most engaging type of content for each platform, and on Instagram, it’s carousels.
Throughout this article, we’ll dive into what exactly an Instagram carousel is, how to create one, and discuss 10 different ways you can use carousels in your marketing.
How to use carousels on Instagram relative to marketing
- What is an Instagram carousel?
- How to make an Instagram carousel
- 15 Ways to Use Instagram Carousel to Engage Your Audience
- Share educational highlights
- Join the trend meme
- Present user-generated content
- Tell a story
- Show different product versions
- Create branded graphics
- Sales promotion
What is an Instagram carousel?
Carousel on Instagram is a post with multiple photos. Users can add up to 10 images to a single Instagram post to create a slider that viewers move from side to side to see all the images.
Here is an example of a carousel on Instagram:
On your mobile phone, simply swipe left to get to the next photo or swipe right to go back. On your computer, there are more and back arrows that allow users to move from photo to photo.
When viewing someone’s feed, the Instagram carousel is indicated by a stacked layer icon in the upper right corner.
In the example below, we see icons indicating a post with the possibility of shopping, Reel, respectively, carousel.
Why use carousels on Instagram?
We’ve already talked about how Instagram carousels can help generate even more engagement than other types of Instagram posts. However, other key benefits include:
- You can share even more information in one post.
- You can promote the entire product line at once
- You can work creatively with carousel images.
- You can combine photos and videos into one carousel
You’ll see even more reasons why Instagram carousels can be a great type of content when we show you all the different ways you can take advantage of this feature below.
How to make a carousel on Instagram?
Creating a carousel post on Instagram is simple. Follow these steps to get started.
- Tap the + icon at the top of your Instagram feed
- Tap the carousel icon (two layers) at the top of the camera roll.
- Select up to 10 images to add to the carousel. Try to tap them in the order you want them to appear. Then tap Next.
- If you want, add filters to each one. You can also rearrange images by holding down the image and dragging it to a new location in the report, in case you select them in a different order. Then click Next.
- Write a headline, tag people and/or products, or any other information you want to add to your post.
- Tap Share to publish your new post in the carousel.
15 Ways to Use Instagram Carousels to Engage Your Audience
1. Sharing educational highlights
Teachable used its Instagram carousel to create graphics with tutorial tips for its target audience. Since Teachable is a platform for hosting and selling online courses, its users are obviously looking for ways to increase sales during this holiday season.
Consider what tips your business could share with its audience. Tips on how to use your product, educational information about your industry, and important data or statistics are great ideas for this example of a carousel.
2. Participating in a trend meme
Memes come and go quickly and out of fashion, so if you want to have a chance to take part in them, it’s important to keep up with trends. The method used the meme “they’re a 10” in a carousel format, so she could create multiple graphics using the same meme while consolidating them into a single post.
The example we took at the beginning of this article from Shopify is another version of this carousel idea and uses the once-popular “Little Miss” meme. Pay attention to trending memes on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok so you can jump on them and keep your content relevant.
3. Presentation of user-generated content
If you’ve held a contest or collected similar photos or graphics with user-generated content, make a merry-go-round out of them. This worked perfectly for Canva, which shared photos from its design contest.
You can also use it to present different ways of using a product or different people wearing a certain piece of clothing. The product helps to stitch photos together and creates much more compelling content.
4. Tell a story
Create graphics with text that tells a story. Users can then navigate from photo to photo and read on to get the full picture. ConvertKit used this idea not only to tell a story, but also to establish a relationship with a target audience in an effort to sell them its big sales.
You can use this idea to tell a story about how your business started, your mission, big milestones, or anything else that’s significant and important to your business and/or industry.
5. Demonstrate different versions of the product
Using the photo carousel, you can show different versions, formats, or sizes of the same product. Day Designer used it to present the digital wallpaper on a smartphone, tablet and computer, so that users of any device could preview what it would look like before downloading.
This is also a great idea for clothing lines that are sold in multiple sizes (i.e. mom and me clothing, baby clothing from baby to small child) and other similar product lines so that your customers can assess if it’s right for them.
6. Create branded graphics
A branded graphic is any type of graphic that matches your brand’s font and colors, or at least your campaign’s font and colors. They can be used in many ways and for many content ideas, but we love how Starbucks decided to create graphics for holiday pairing.
By incorporating astrology, a popular topic on Instagram, and well-designed illustrations of certain foods and beverages, Starbucks has created an engaging Instagram carousel promoting its products.
7. Sales Promotion
Are you planning any big sales or discounts? Promote them with the carousel on Instagram. DressUp used this idea to showcase several different pieces of clothing with their original price and subsequent sale price in an effort to increase conversions on their website.
Try this format or a similar idea on your own Instagram. You can even make them shopping by tagging up to 20 products in one carousel post (maximum 5 per image).
8. Create contiguous images
This is one of our most popular carousel post ideas and one of the most creative. Because moving from one image to another is completely smooth in the carousel (i.e. there is no line or pause between the images), you can easily create continuous images or graphics that blend into each other.
This local wedding photographer does just that when sharing client photos to her Instagram account, creating a fun and unique way to show off her photos. This can also be achieved with branded graphics or even horizontal/panoramic images divided into squares.
9. Introduction of product use cases
Do you have a product that comes in multiple colors or can be used in multiple ways? Create a carousel to represent each of these different use cases. One example is The Sill’s Instagram carousel, which features multiple plant species in this single pot.
There are endless ways you can do this. Show off a T-shirt stylized in several different ways. Share photos of a piece of furniture in several different rooms. Promote a type of makeup that can be applied to multiple different areas of the face.
10. Promoting your products
An obvious idea for using carousels on Instagram is to promote your products. Estelle Colored Glass does this by creating graphics of all the colors of its products in each line and publishing them through a carousel.
You can use this idea to present a completely new product line, share the product in different colors, and so on.
11. Presentation Prizes
If you’re hosting gifts as part of a collaboration with a brand, there are probably a few different sets of prizes. Using the carousel on Instagram is a great way to give each brand participating in the giveaway its own image in the spotlight.
This is exactly what Mau and Made by Nacho did in their joint giveaway when they presented the products that were being handed out. It also helps attract even more attention, excitement and involvement in gifts.
12. Sharing questions and answers
On the first slide of the carousel, ask a question, and then use as many slides as you need to provide an answer. It’s a fun way to engage your audience and get them to scroll to see the rest of the content.
In the example above, Seed does this by asking a big question on the first slide and then using the remaining slides to answer the other questions with respect to their first question.
13. Sharing Product Information
Do some product groups fit together? Use the carousel to present these products in bundles and share more information about certain products.
Cocokind has done a great job of using a carousel to introduce types of skin care products that are suitable for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, dry skin, etc. They created a graphic that shows the product and price – along with a big discount on the ongoing sale.
14. Propagation of the cause
Is there a charity or important goal that your business is passionate about? Use the carousel to share more information about her, especially when the relevant holidays appear.
See how Pelacase used its platform (and Instagram carousel) to promote World Water Week 2022 and share important information about water with its followers.
15. Creating how-to guides
With the help of carousels you can create tutorials or tutorials for customers. This will allow them to get the most out of your product, service or software.
Take an example from a book by Bloomscape. Using a carousel, they created a step-by-step guide to plant care for one of their products. They do this every now and then with different plants, making sure to provide all the necessary information to help their customers keep their plant pets alive.
Start creating carousels on Instagram today
Increase reach and engagement on Instagram by adding carousel posts alongside single-image posts. To learn even more about how to make the most of your Instagram marketing strategy, find out how Instagram’s algorithm works so you can post the most popular types of content.
Frequently asked questions
Do carousels perform better on Instagram?
Studies show that carousels on Instagram have higher engagement than regular Instagram posts. Incorporating carousels into your Instagram strategy can be a great idea.
What is the limit for Instagram carousels?
You can have a maximum of 10 images in one Instagram carousel.
What is the difference between a reel and a carousel?
A reel is a vertical video of 90 seconds or less. A carousel is a slideshow of pictures.
Why should you post carousels on Instagram?
Posting carousels on Instagram helps break down the types of content you share on Instagram and keep your channel engaging and entertaining. There are also a number of creative ways to use carousel posts to help engage your audience even more.
How many photos in the carousel is the best?
Search Engine Journal found engagement rates to be best when posts use all 10 image slots in Instagram’s carousel.