Have you noticed all the carousels on Instagram lately?
Not the kind with the horses and the cool organ music – the kind you can scroll through!
Instagram now has a feature that allows you to upload 10 photos and/or videos at a time in a slideshow format.
Here’s an example from Entertainment Weekly:
The reactions in the crowd to the Best Picture mixup at the #Oscars were priceless. 😳😂 From #RyanGosling's smirk to #DavidOyelowo's wide-eyed glare from the crowd, we'll NEVER forget this insane #AcademyAwards moment! 📷: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP; Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP; Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
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Users can scroll through the carousel by tapping or clicking on the sides of the image – the dots at the bottom of the image show how far into the slideshow you’ve gotten.
(In the profile, carousels are marked with a little icon in the top-right of the image. Here you can see that the first and third posts include multiple uploads, while the photo in the middle is a single image.)
This feature hasn’t been around long, but big brands are already finding pretty creative ways of using it – and it’s definitely worth your attention, too.
How can you make the most of Instagram’s new feature?
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use it!
Giving your fans and followers a peek behind the scenes isn’t just a good idea when you’re writing a blog post – it’s also a perfect use for this Instagram feature.
For example, when Marvel Entertainment welcomes a celebrity to their offices, they can post a slideshow of the highlights for fans to enjoy:
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Another way to go behind the scenes is to offer before and after shots, like in this post from Disney:
Or to complement what you’ve already shared someplace else, like the Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
(You’ll notice that a lot of these captions explicitly invite users to scroll or swipe through – a clever way to catch people who may not have realized that an image is actually just the first in a carousel.)
That last one is also a strong example for the next way brands are taking advantage of this feature:
Instagram allows you to mix and match images with video, so a single update can include both – like in our last example.
You could also opt to go for nothing but video, like in this post from the official Instagram of the Academy Awards:
BuzzFeed Tasty, which specializes in recipes, uses video in their carousels to demonstrate instructions:
Posts like this one don’t just show you what to do, either – they tell you in specifics by including the entire recipe they’re demonstrating in the carousel’s caption.
Which actually leads to the next big trend you can try:
Like Facebook, Instagram gives you a lot of space in your captions – but unlike Facebook, Instagram’s tap-to-expand format makes longer captions easier to access without leaving your feed.
Take advantage of the space you have and use your caption to contextualize a series of images/videos with a common theme, like Teen Vogue does here:
Here’s another example – see how the Washington Post uses its caption to tease a story featured on their website:
And remember, it doesn’t just matter what you have to say…
Like a lot of these slideshow strategies, this one isn’t something that you can only do now – heck, inviting people to share their thoughts by commenting is basically Social Media 101!
What this strategy and a lot of the others in this list have in common, though, is that Instagram’s carousel feature allows you to do it in new ways.
For example, take a look at how MTV gets users talking by including different photos in a single update, and asking for their opinions:
Of course, captions aren’t the only place where you can use your words – and they aren’t the only place where you can get people thinking, either!
Image quotes make a lasting impression – and since you can now add up to 10 images to a single Instagram update, you have plenty of room for all your best material!
We’re not just talking about quotes, either. Take a look at how Refinery29 uses charts and data to create an infographic-like experience:
✨👉Swipe through for more.👉✨ In the year after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy humiliated and upended the biggest awards show in Hollywood, The Academy seems to have learned a lesson. This year, three movies centering on three very different Black stories earned Best Picture nominations and six of the 20 acting nominations went to Black actors. Moreover, five of the six Best Documentary nominees were created by Black filmmakers. But as far as diversity goes, any back-patting is premature. Although Hollywood made sure more Black voices were heard this year, it still has a major diversity problem: the lack of Asians and Latinx. Indeed, there are zero Latinx actors, directors, or films nominated this year, and only one film that centers around an Asian person. This is not just a problem for this year's Oscars and the lack of diversity is as much an issue behind the camera as it is on it. When it comes to Oscar votes, of The Academy's more than 7,000 members, women make up only 27% of voters, and people of color make up only 11%. To learn more about who's calling the shots and what needs to change, tap the link in bio. #AcknowledgeIsPower cc: @meaowree and @ariannagab #OscarsSoBlack #R29Reads
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By visualizing data and giving extra context in your caption, you can tell an engaging, interactive story in a single Instagram post.
And as valuable as that type of content is, at the end of the day, you are a business – which means there’s another way in which this feature comes in pretty handy!
You deserve to be proud of what you offer – and sometimes it’s hard to properly show it off in a single image!
Maybe it’s a product that looks great from different angles, or can be used in different ways. Like this one, from Etsy’s Instagram:
Maybe you’re launching several new things at once, like in this example from fashion retailer Torrid:
Whether you want to highlight a single item or a whole bunch of them, Instagram’s carousel feature gives you a lot of new freedom!
What do you think of Instagram’s addition?
Is it something you see yourself experimenting with?
A useful tool, or an unnecessary distraction?
Let us know what you think in the comments below!