This week, Instagram rolled out a new "carousel" feature to its app. Users can now choose up to 10 photos or videos (or a combination of the two) to feature in a single post. As Instagram explains:
"You no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember. Now, you can combine up to 10 photos and videos in one post and swipe through to see them all.
When uploading to your feed, you’ll see a new icon to select multiple photos and videos. Once uploaded, you can tap and hold to change the order, apply a filter to everything at once or edit one by one.
This new feature has been available for just a few days, but already we're seeing examples of fun and inventive ways that brands are using multiple images and videos to create interesting and engaging content. In this blog post, I'll show you a number of examples for inspiration. Let's go!
1. Show a step-by-step process
In the blog post to announce this new feature, the first idea Instagram recommends for multiple image posts is to show a step-by-step process - and they're not wrong, it's a really elegant way to do so - a product demo, a recipe, or whatever you like. In the above example, @eatchowdrinks shows us how to make (and drink) a cocktail.
2. Explore a panoramic photo
If you want your fans to explore an image that doesn't fit the square format on Instagram, multiple photos (that being one large photo split into sections), let you do that. In the above photo, @returnofthecaferacers showcases the front, middle, and back of a motorbike.
3. Showcase multiple products
Before this new feature, the only way to showcase multiple products in a single post was to split the frame up into pieces. Now, though, you have the freedom to highlight several items without forcing fans to squint in order to see them properly. In the above example, @samsungsrbija shares images of four products from across its ranges.
4. Ask a multiple choice question (fan survey)
One of the most useful aspects of any social media is the ability to receive instant feedback on any kind of business decision. Multiple Instagram images allow you to ask a multiple choice question, using each image to display a choice and asking fans to comment below with their answer. In the above example, @holisticsky asks fans to vote on the logo design they like best.
5. Share an inspirational quote
I don't know about you, but there's something really satisfying about swiping or tapping to reveal quotes or sayings in their entirety. Multiple images on Instagram allow you to create this effect, like @a_book_of_words has done above.
6. Incorporate video and animation
As I mentioned above, "carousel" posts on Instagram allow you to use photos, videos, or a mixture of the two. Check out how @secondfacelyon uses video both to show off its new website and prompt users to swipe left using an animated arrow.
7. Tell the story of a day
If Instagram Stories lets you curate a tale about your day as it unfolds, multiple image posts allow you to present a more polished overview for your feed. Pick the best photos or videos to sum up the events over a day and present them to your audience in one succinct post. In the above post, @egrrobotics5980 uses images to give fans an overview of its Girls Robotics Brunch.
Over to you
Will you be using "carousel" posts on Instagram? What ideas do you have for them? Let me know in the comments below!
Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.