Your Ultimate Guide to Instagram Carousel Posts

Finding a home for your business on social media is the first step toward a successful social media marketing strategy. Knowing how to create Instagram carousel posts that engage your audience can take you closer to meeting your business goals. Instagram is a place where you can easily connect with your audience,  engage and build long-lasting customer relationships. 

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According to research by Statista, Instagram ranks among the top 10  most visited websites globally, with over 2.9 billion monthly visits. Instagram boasts 1.3 million daily active global users coming in 4th after Facebook, Youtube and WhatsApp.

Statistic: Most popular social networks worldwide as of January 2022, ranked by number of monthly active users (in millions) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

In Q4 2021, Instagram ranked as the most downloaded app, which comes as no surprise as Instagram presents businesses with great opportunities for customer engagement, sales and huge returns on investment (ROI). 

Adding Instagram to your social media strategy presents enormous prospects for your brand. However, to get the most of the opportunities for engagement on Instagram, you cannot ignore Instagram carousels. 

Instagram has various features and types of posts. You can publish videos, reels, stories, or single images. However, Carousel posts have the highest engagement rate per single impression on Instagram. Social media managers are yet to maximise this opportunity as 75% of brand posts are single-image posts.

Carousel post engagement
Image source: Socialinsider

Keep reading to learn how to create, schedule, and use Instagram carousel posts to drive audience engagement for your brand on Instagram. 

What is an Instagram carousel post?

An Instagram carousel is a type of Instagram post with multiple photos or videos that you can share as a single post and view by swiping left. You can add up to 10 images or videos to a single carousel post on Instagram. 

With Instagram carousels, you can build intrigue and unveil a surprise. It’s a great way to be more creative with your content. Instagram carousel posts keep viewers engaged and swiping left till the last image; by creatively and carefully selecting images and videos, your brand can provide step-by-step information to your audience.

Instagram carousel post size requirements

  • Portrait – 1080 x 1350 pixels
  • Square – 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Landscape – 1080 x 566 pixels
  • Aspect ratio – landscape (1.91:1), square (1:1), vertical (4:5)

Instagram carousel posts allow you to share up to 10 individual photos or videos. Instagram recommends post images be at least 1080 × 1080 pixels with a 1:1 ratio, but any size of your choice is allowed.  

Photos should either be in JPEG or PNG format and not exceed 30MB in size. Videos should be less than 60 seconds long in MP4 format with a maximum size of 4GB. 

Images and videos of Instagram carousel posts can be portrait, square, or landscape. All images in the Carousel should be the same size.

The Instagram algorithm shows your post more than once to your online followers when you use carousels. So, if a follower comes across your carousel post and skips it without swiping through, the next time they see it in their feed, it will display the second slide.

Before jumping into the steps of creating a carousel post, here are some things to keep in mind before you get started:

  • Think about the multiple-image carousel post. Why did you choose a carousel instead of a video or a single image?
  • How do you want to arrange the images in your carousel? Come up with a concept before selecting the pictures on Instagram. Do you want to create a seamless and panoramic picture that blends from one image to the next? Do you want to tell a story, drive a point home or share insightful statistics?
  • If you want to create a unique design for your carousels, consider using Canva to make your designs
  • Write out the text that will be on your images
  • Add the images for your carousel to your gallery.

There are multiple ways to create and post an Instagram carousel. We’ll walk you through the different options:

1. Using the Instagram App

  • Download and sign up to Instagram, or sign in if you already have an account
  • Open the Instagram app and click on the + icon on your home screen
  • Click on the double-layered squares below the post preview
Create carousel post
  • Select the photos from your gallery. The photos will appear in the same order that you select them.
  • Select each image to use filters like ‘Moon’, ‘Lark’, and ‘Crema’ to alter the look and feel of your images.
  • Tap on ‘Edit’ to change the brightness, contrast, saturation, highlight and other features of the images. Then select the ‘blue tick’ icon to save the changes. Repeat this step for each of the images.
Carousel post filters
  • Click the blue arrow -> icon on the top right corner of your screen to move to the next step
  • Here you can write a caption which will show under the carousel. You can also tag people, and add a location, hashtags, and choose to share your carousels on your Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts. 
  • Note that any links posted in the caption will not be hyperlinked. However, you can redirect your viewers to your bio and link to your website.
  • Select the ‘blue tick’ icon to share it.
instagram carousel post

Voila! Your carousel post is posted!

2. Using Hopper HQ

You can use social media tools like Hopper HQ to create, schedule, and auto-post your carousels from a single dashboard.

Here’s how to create and schedule Instagram carousel posts with Hopper HQ:

  • Log in to your Hopper HQ account or create an account here. You can start a free trial without being charged to test out the tool
  • To create a new carousel post, start by clicking ‘Create’, then choose the ‘[+] New Post’ and upload your first image or video
  • You can bulk upload multiple photos you want to include in your carousel post all at once

✍🏽 Note: You can also upload a single image, hit the ‘Create Gallery Post’ icon on the top right corner of your image and upload additional images or videos.

  • Want to reorder the images in your carousel? Reordering is simple! Just drag and drop to rearrange the order of the images in the way you want. The first image will be the cover photo
  • You can edit and crop your images and videos within the Hopper HQ desktop app to get your carousel Instagram-ready
  • Once your images are ready, add your caption, location, first comment, and hashtags
  • Your carousel post is now ready to be published; you can either choose the “Post Now” option or schedule your post for a later time,
  • Click ‘Save Post’, and Hopper HQ will auto-post your carousel for you. 
Create carousel posts with Hopper HQ
Create carousel posts with Hopper HQ

💡 Hopper HQ Tip 💡

Want to split a single image into multiple images to use as a carousel post?


Go to https://pinetools.com/split-image
Upload your image>> select ‘horizontal split’>> split by the quantity of blocks>> select ‘Split image.’

You now have multiple equal width images to upload onto Instagram as a carousel post! Get to posting!

Create Instagram Carousels Using Canva

Canva is great for creating carousels because it offers many creative and easily customisable template designs. You can also use Canva on your phone and your laptop.

Here’s a quick how-to on using Canva on your laptop:

  • First, visit Canva.com to create your Canva account.  
  • Select the template icon on your Canva dashboard.  You will see several types of design templates, including flyers, regular Instagram posts, social media ads, website banners, book covers and much more.
  • Type ‘carousel Instagram post’ in the search box 
Canva Carousel
  • You will see carousel templates. These templates have between 2 to 10 images that you can click on and customise.
  • Canva allows you to customise the text,  colour, pictures, themes and video on its dashboard. You can also use elements to create unique designs. 
  • Some of Canva’s features are free. Other features on Canva are only available for Pro users.
  • When you finish designing on Canva, you can export your designs as JPEG or PNG images. 

✍🏽 Note: JPEGs contain less data than PNGs due to their different compression processes, making JPEGs smaller in size, but PNGs support transparent backgrounds (unlike JPEGs), making them preferred for graphic design.

Canva carousel template

💡 Hopper HQ Tip 💡

Think about how your carousel post will appear on the homepage of your Instagram profile. Does it compliment your Instagram aesthetic?
You can maintain consistency while exploring your creativity with Hopper HQ’s Grid Planner. Preview how posts will look on your profile before they’re posted and easily drag and drop to rearrange and maintain a beautiful Instagram aesthetic.

1. Behind-the-scenes content

Once in a while, it’s great to share your workspace and the scenes behind your products or business together with the finished product. This helps you engage with your viewers in real life. They get to see your creativity through in the process.

2. Engagement motivators

Your audience needs to be motivated to keep their thumb swiping left through your carousel post. Reminders like “swipe for a surprise”, “the 10th slide says it all”, and “comment on your best slide” are just a few ideas to encourage them to swipe until the end. 

For example, a hairstylist might group photos of different ways to style your natural hair on an Instagram carousel post and engage viewers to slide and comment on their best photo.

💫Keep scrolling for inspiring examples of brands using carousel posts💫

3. How-to content

With Instagram carousels, you can easily and visually communicate how-to content with your followers.  For example, a food brand can share a step-by-step process of how to create a recipe while linking that post to a blog with a more detailed description of the step-by-step recipe. 

People want to know how to do something they are interested in, but oftentimes the procedure of learning the how can be lengthy and discouraging. With Instagram carousel posts, you can organise the process into photos and short videos that summarise the process and encourage viewers to learn more.

4. Storytelling

You can tell a story with videos, photos and short text using a carousel post. Be clear in your illustrations. 

Using Carousels to tell stories also gives you an opportunity to share pictures of the pain points of your ideal customers and connect with them deeply. You can also show how your product or service solves their problems. 

Storytelling is a powerful tool for customer engagement and creating me-too moments. 

One way to easily curate stories for your Instagram handle is by creating user-generated content.  Ask your audience questions connected to your service product or brand and get them to tell their stories. Remember that every follower is a person, and every person has a story. 

5. Repurposing your content

You may have had great content published on your blog previously that brought so much engagement, and you want to repurpose it or get more engagement. Instagram Carousels can help you achieve that through text images, quotes, multi-image series and illustrations. 

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6. Display products

Creatively display different products in one post using an Instagram carousel.  Your audience can see up to 10 different images of your products, and you can link this post to your Instagram shop or your eCommerce sites. 

A Facebook study revealed that 83% of Instagram users find new products on the app. 81% research products and services on it, and a whopping 80% decide whether to buy a product or service. 

Instagram is a great place to put images of your products and drive sales.  

Another way to display more than 10 products is to create short videos displaying different products on your Instagram Carousel post. We suggest mixing up videos and images. Limit the number to what your audience can view in 60 seconds or less. 

7. Before & afters

Before and afters are great for showing the transformation your service or product brings to the lives of your customers.  You can create a carousel of before and after pictures or videos. What were your customers struggling with before purchasing your products and services?  How did your products and services change their lives?

For example, suppose a customer is struggling to lose a little weight, and you offer services or products to help with weight loss. In that case, you can share the before and after pictures while telling their story using text, images, and video in an Instagram carousel.  

8. Reviews

The last time you made an online purchase, what did you do? You might have gone through the reviews and comments of customers before purchasing.

People always want to know how satisfied your customers are before deciding to purchase your product. Ask your customers to provide feedback on your products or services. With their permission, you can share videos and images of reviews. Creatively group these reviews and display them using an Instagram carousel post. 

1. Washington Post

Washington post excels at using carousels for digital storytelling. 

This carousel post features winners of the apple macro photography competition and invites viewers to click on the link in the bio. 

💡 Hopper HQ Tip 💡
Invite your audience to click on a link to your website or landing pages on your Instagram bio.   Include a CTA on your carousel posts to help engaged customers learn more about your service, products or events.

2. Forbes

Forbes shares interesting photographs from its Forbes under 30 summit with its audience. Their purple theme design makes the different pictures consistent with the brand colours of the event. 

💡 Hopper HQ Tip💡
Use Hashtags Like Forbes did here; share hashtags connected to your events or post using carousels.  Interested viewers click on the hashtag to see more posts from your brand.

3. 1x.com

1x.com photo creation community shares user-generated content on their Instagram.  User-generated content encourages your audience to participate and show off their pictures to their own followers on social media.  It’s one of the ways to easily create content and put them in front of new eyes.   

💡 Hopper HQ Tip💡
You can mention members of your audience when sharing user-generated content.  It’s a great way to celebrate your followers on Instagram and get more impressions and engagement on your carousels. 

4. Mesmerize design

In this carousel, Mesmerize design shares 10 stunning glass designs and invites their followers to share their thoughts on their products and tag other design lovers. It offers you an opportunity to show your products and display different shades of your creativity all in one post. The product icon at the lower right corner of the pictures links to a catalogue on their Instagram shop.

💡 Hopper HQ Tip💡
Carousels are an effective way to display products from your shop catalogue and get customers to scroll through and by.

5. Tiffany and Co

Tiffany and co show off the behind-the-scenes pictures of how they produced the Larry O’Brien championship trophy awarded to the winners of the NBA finals.  

💡 Hopper HQ Tip 💡

Carousels are a great way to share behind-the-scenes pictures of your Brand.

6. Wellfact

Wellfact uses pictures to share the social impact of its brand in an Instagram Carousel post.

💡 Hopper HQ Tip 💡

Use carousels to attract people who care about the work you do by showing the impact of your work. 

7. Clean Food Crush

Carousels offer food brands and opportunity to share recipes with their audience using different pictures and showing the step-by-step process for a meal. Clean Food Crush’s carousel post on taco stuffed avocados’ yummy recipe is a great example. 

8. NikeBasketball

NikeBasketball shows off their new product to an audience of basketball lovers. Likewise, the comment section is teeming with followers who can’t wait for the Lebron XIX ‘Royal Fortress’ to be out.  

Carousels allow you to show different angles of your products and give the customers a  detailed view of what they are buying.

Carousel posts are not just limited to Instagram. You can also create carousels on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

Facebook Carousels come in the form of campaign ads; they have features like an Instagram carousel but differ in cost. Carousels on Instagram have both free (organic) and paid formats, while Facebook has only paid formats. Just like Instagram, Facebook Carousels also allow you to combine up to 10 photos or videos. Facebook ad carousels also have more reach than usual Facebook ads.

Twitter carousels are just like Facebook. You can also create organic (free or unpromoted) or also paid Twitter carousels. 

Carousels on Twitter support up to 6 swipeable, edge-to-edge images or videos in a single Tweet. They can be square or landscape. Twitter carousals also serve clickable space with links displayed below the images or videos; this helps you drive even more traffic to your website.

Linkedin offers both carousel ads and carousel posts. 

Linkedin carousel ads allow your brand to tell a story and inspire your target audience to take action. 

A LinkedIn carousel post, however, is a document sharing feature launched in 2018 that enables users to share slides and documents on their news feed. This allows your followers and connections to scroll through your document without leaving LinkedIn.

 Here’s a great LinkedIn carousel post example by Dennis Brown talking about 9 Lessons on How to Grow a Profitable Business.

To sum up

Social media carousel posts present your ideas and images in an engaging and powerful way.  You can use Instagram carousels to increase brand awareness, drive sales and meet other social media goals.

Schedule your carousels in advance, along with other Instagram posts with Hopper HQ. What are your favourite carousel posts on Instagram? Tell us in the comments. We’d love to know!

Plan your social media posts.

Visually plan your posts. Drag and drop everywhere.

FAQs

Why is the Instagram carousel feature missing?

The ‘Select Multiple’ icon on Instagram was changed into two-layered squares at the lower-left corner of the screen.

What are the Linkedin carousel specs?

The standard LinkedIn carousel post size is 1080 x 1080. However, for a carousel, you can also use 1080 x 1350, which is taller than usual.

Are carousels still available on Facebook?

Yes! The carousel ad format is available for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network. It allows for up to 10 images or videos within a single ad, each with its own link.

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