Instagram & Facebook Carousel Posts: Best Practices for Strong Engagement

carousel post engagement

You have probably already seen posts on Facebook and Instagram that look like a slideshow. Wondering why would anyone make such posts and why only one picture isn’t enough? Well, the first thing you should know is that these posts are called carousel posts and that currently, they are the most engaging post type on Instagram. Let’s start from there and move further into this article to find out the 2021 hot best practices in creating carousel posts on social media.

What is a carousel post and why do we use it?

Having to choose one picture to advertise a product or event can be very difficult. After all, why choose only one when several photos can showcase the product in a better way, in different colors or sizes, different patterns or, if it’s an event, people in different moods. That’s when we often decide to make a carousel post. 

Carousel is a type of post that combines multiple images or videos into one post. Instagram and Facebook allow you to post up to 10 photos or videos per post and it’s a great way to show everything you want for your product. And, besides posting only images or only videos, a combination of these two in the same post is found to generate the highest engagement rate.

For carousel posts, it is possible to edit every image individually or to use a common filter for all images. But, since it is considered as one post, you can set only one location and caption for all pictures. When you publish a carousel post, your audience will see the small dots under the imagery which will signal them that there is more content to swipe, read and enjoy. 

Five 2021 Best Practices for Carousel Posts

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, carousel posts can help you connect with your audience and raise the awareness of your brand. And if you use it in a creative way, the success won’t fail. Here is a list of the best ways you can use carousel posts for your brand.

1. Tell a story

Showing products in a carousel post is just the beginning. What if you develop a narrative through those images? Or linking images to create a bigger story? For example, you can show specific product features on each image. Or you can depict your product from different angles. You can even make a post where one image hides something that is revealed in the next one. The possibilities are endless. You just need to think of a story that represents your brand in the best way. 

2. Make thumb-stopping creative: create the look and feel

This means that the main image of a carousel post or a video will be an attention grabber and make your audience stop scrolling further. This photo or video should have a strong focal point and should evoke some emotional response. A great image is not only eye-catching, but important for your customer to retain the information that you are sharing. The more of an impact your message can make on a customer, the better. Once your audience is captured by this, they won’t resist swiping to see the rest of your post.  

3. Continuation post

These are the so-called “need-to-complete” posts, where the first photo teases the second, and so on. If the first imagery is interesting enough, the customers will swipe to find out what is next.

4. Creating a visual tread

Developing visual consistency with images that have the same visual style, colors and composition is also one of the best practices for making carousel posts. If the visuals are connected, it will attract the audience to see more.

5. The swipe left message

Does it really help to tell people to swipe left on a carousel post? According to a study, it does. Carousels that have a swipe left message written on them perform better when it comes to engagement. These messages can be written in the caption, in many forms. For example, swipe for more, swipe to see, swipe over, etc. It can also be in the form of questions about which slide is the favorite or which photo do people like best. Even referrals to a slide number for extra information is considered to be a swipe left message. 

Creating Carousel Ads

Except using carousels as posts, a very good practice is using them in ad campaigns, both on Facebook and Instagram. For creating a Facebook ad, you will use Facebook Ads Manager, where you will select your marketing goal, choose carousel format and the party can start! If you are making a campaign with a carousel, besides the visual part, it is very important to have a great copy and a strong call to action that will get people to act. 

Facebook Creator Studio and Carousel Posts

Facebook Creator Studio is maybe one of the easiest ways to publish your carousel posts if you have already been making them. But until recently you couldn’t make dynamic carousels, meaning you couldn’t post a video and an image all within one scrollable post.

Creator Studio solves that problem. You can now create dynamic carousel posts, and schedule them, and they’ll post to Instagram or Facebook and look amazing.

But posting through Creator Studio has some disadvantages. For example, once you schedule your post for Instagram, you cannot edit it in the sense that the scheduled images cannot be replaced. You only have the option to publish it right away or to delete it. Also, you can’t repost previously published posts. But since Facebook is always trying to give its user the best experience, we are all hoping that these issues will be resolved in the future. 

Start Using Carousel Posts Immediately!

Whether you decide to go the organic or promoted route, carousel posts give your readers fun, creative content. They’re the perfect showcase for promoting your business’s story, products, and services. So if you are wondering when to start using them, the answer is quite simple: as soon as possible. If you want stronger engagement, of course. 

Bonus: A carousel trick to grab even more attention on Instagram

When you first post your carousel, a number of your followers will see it in their feed as it is – meaning from the first card and so on. A good title and an interesting image to illustrate it goes without saying. BUT, when Instagram shows your carousel for the second time in news feed, the carousel won’t start from the first card – it will start from the second. 

Here is where you need to use all your creativity and make a thumb stop effect even stronger. Always:

  • Have a second title on the second image in a row. It could be a variation of the main title, or a subtitle if you like, but do not ever post a carousel without this. 
  • If you don’t have a second title on card number two, your audience will not know what’s the carousel about and will not stop to swipe and see your entire post.
  • The second title prolongs your followers “stay” on your post, because they need to take time to read card number two, go back to card number one and swipe upto the last one. This signals the algorithm that your post is of value and your post gets more impressions organically.

For ideas on carousels and a strategy of social media management that raises interest in your brand and generates new leads you can always contact our marketing team, and after a complimentary analysis of your social media presence, they will suggest improvements and next steps towards reaching your business goals.

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