Ever feel like you have NO idea what to post on Instagram? Me too.
But guess what!?!
You almost certainly have a treasure trove of fascinating content that’s just waiting to be transformed into highly-engaging posts made just for Instagram – and with minimal effort!
If you have:
- A website, blog, or online store
- A habit of creating (or consuming) podcasts, videos, books or lessons in your field
You’re ready to apply this Instagram Recipe! We call it “Carousel Flipbook,” and you’ll use it to tell your audience a fact-filled and engaging story.
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How to Create This Instagram Post
Step 1: Turn Your Content Into Bite-Sized Text
To get started, you’ll need a piece of content to split up into smaller, bite-size nuggets of information. We’ll use these helpful facts as the content in each “page” of our flipbook.
Ask yourself: What lengthy, high-value pieces of content have you already published on your blog, podcast, or YouTube channel?
If you don’t have your own piece of content, can you use an existing book, video, or podcast your audience will love? Make sure you don’t forget to include proper credit and consent if you reference someone else’s content!
Next, make sure you break down the 1 main lesson and 3-5 most important facts featured in each piece of content.
As an example, let’s turn this blog post, “How to Use Instagram Stories to Get More Sales” into a Carousel Flipbook together.
The key? Identify the most valuable key points in your big piece of content, then break them down into bite-size chunks for every page of your flipbook.
Boil down the main points your “big” article, podcast, or video seeks to communicate. Remove extra words and boil each idea down to the bare minimum necessary to help your viewer in about one sentence.
For this blog post, we can use the section headers as a starting place and jot down a simple outline like this:
Cover Photo: How to Use Instagram Stories to Get More Sales
- Title Box #1: Be Creative with Your Instagram Story Designs
- Body Text #1: Remember: People are more likely to watch your Stories if they are well put together.
- Title Box #2: Show Behind the Scenes of Your Business
- Body Text #2: More human = Appears more deserving of business.
- Title Box #3: Encourage People to Interact
- Body Text #3: Ask questions followers can reply to publicly by voting on a specific subject.
- Title Box #4: Repurpose User-Generated Content with Stories
- Body Text #4: When customers tag you in their posts, shine a spotlight on them by sharing it to your story.
Step 2: Turn That Text into a Picture-Perfect Flipbook Design
Next, we’re ready to take our slimmed-down outline and plug it into an Instagram-ready design.
Open up Canva, PicMonkey, Adobe Spark — or your image editing tool of choice — and create a series of 2-9 images to construct your flipbook.
Quick Template Design Tips
- Make sure your first image, the “cover photo,” will grab attention. Lead with a strong impression!
- Adding text to your first image urging viewers to “Swipe” to learn more can help ensure your additional images aren’t overlooked.
- Don’t make your viewers strain to read! Instead, use large text. When in doubt, 36 point font or larger should work.
- Aim to provide BIG, at-a-glance value in photos #2-9. Focus on practical takeaways people can use immediately!
- Stay on-brand by using colors and fonts that match your brand and topic.
Want to test a quick design out for yourself? Make a copy of this sample “Carousel Flipbook” template in Canva for a quick test run.
Want to get fancy? Make it a Video Carousel Flipbook if that’s an effective format for you by using short (under 30 seconds long) video clips instead of photos.
This great post by @buzzfeedtasty shows off this strategy. It’s true: Video can take more time to produce. But, an effective video can quickly communicate complicated ideas in a way that’s true to your unique voice.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine! The production doesn’t have to be perfect — just be confident, friendly, and genuine.
Step 3: Write Your Caption Using “The Short Essay”
Need caption inspiration? Since you’re already adapting a longer piece of content, try this formula for a longform caption we call “The Short Essay”.
When executed well, this caption can inspire all the emotion and impact of an impassioned speech — but in just a handful of compact sentences.
Here’s how to create a Short Essay Caption that stands out:
- Make the first sentence your “Big Belief.” Lead with a deeply held belief that will make someone’s life better.
- Expand your idea with 2-3 supporting sentences. Provide examples and perspective that illustrate why your “Big Belief” is true and relevant for your audience. Sprinkle in sentences that provide context, add interesting facts, or tell an impactful story that ties into your main takeaway.
- Apply & Take Action! Close out your caption with a call-to-action for your audience to apply their newfound perspective. For example, ask followers to tag a friend or respond in the comments.
Let’s write a Short Essay caption together for our Instagram Stories example post!
Remember: We’ll start with our “Big Belief.”
Example Big Belief: “Here’s the truth… Stories is massively underrated as a tool to drive REAL sales on Instagram in 2019.”
That’s a bold claim, right? Now, let’s back it up with a couple supporting sentences.
Example supporting sentences: “When was the last time you watched a TV ad uninterrupted from start to finish? If you’re like me, I reach for my iPhone every time a commercial break starts.
But what about Stories? It’s one of the few places where my attention stays 100% glued to the screen. And there’s only ONE thing to watch (unlike the busy Instagram feed where you’re scrolling through dozens and dozens of options!)”
Okay, you caught me… I wrote five sentences! Stopping at just three can feel tough when you get me fired up about Instagram. 😉
And now it’s time to end on a high note. Let’s call our audience to action!
Example call to action: “Ready to up your sales? Post your own Instagram Story this week that features your top-selling product. And don’t be shy about asking for people to try it out!”
Not bad. See how all the pieces of this Short Essay caption work together to teach a compelling lesson once you’re finished:
Example #1: Do You Know What’s in Your Food? by @panerabread
Why This Post Works:
- The cover photo immediately grabs interest with a relevant question. Don’t you want to swipe to learn more?
- A series of follow-up facts on the 2nd and 3rd images get to the point quickly. They’re big and easy to read, too!
- Notice the strong use of a short essay caption. Panera explains why they believe their food tastes better. (Because it’s simpler.) Their clear, believable explanation goes a long way.
Example #2: Before & After Tidying Up by @mariekondo
Why This Post Works:
- Teasing a before/after change naturally hooks into our curiosity. We want to swipe to see the difference for ourselves!
- This short essay caption reads like a shortened “how-to” blog post. It’s bite-size, but still useful.
- Remember: These don’t necessarily have to be your photos! In this case, it’s a community member, @nat_caho. Be on the lookout for opportunities to repurpose photos or ideas from your community into a Carousel Flipbook — with permission, of course.
Example #3: How to Make Pizza Nachos by @buzzfeedtasty
Why This Post Works:
- Want to feature a video longer than 60 seconds? Creating a video carousel provides a handy way to get around Instagram’s typical video limitations.
- A video carousel can also show progression (like making a recipe in several steps) or tease different ideas (like pairing 3 related videos together around a common theme.)
Don’t let your Instagram followers miss out on your best insights from the blog posts, podcasts, and videos you’re already publishing!
Instead, build a new habit of repurposing your most useful “Big Beliefs,” fascinating facts, and gripping stories into posts that sparkle on your Instagram feed too.
Hopefully, the Carousel Flipbook is one of many formats you can remix and reuse to bring your most engaging ideas to Instagram in a natural way that draws in likes, comments, and followers.
Love this post recipe? It would make our week if you took a second to share it on social media too. (That’s how we know we’re on the right track and should continue making more like this one!)
Discover More Instagram Recipes for High-Engaging Posts
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