I've already made hundreds of carousels, and have seen thousands of them on Instagram already.
Some of them are great, but most of them are terrible.
To help you self-assess your posts, I decided to make a list with the most common mistakes people make when creating or designing carousels.
1) Boring content
No one cares about you, they only care about themselves. If your content is boring or TBU (true but useless), people are not going to care. Don't regurgitate vague advice from others, or if you do, add your own insights to it. Check this YouTube video from TheFutur to Stop Saying What Everyone Else Is Saying.
2) Boring cover slide
A cover slide has 3 elements: Visuals, Headline & Creator. I'll go in more depth into these later on, but it's important to understand how this triangle creates unity in the user's mind. The visuals stop people from scrolling (this can be an image, icons, or just beautiful typography). A headline should spark curiosity or desire to read. The creator gives context to what this post is about and helps the user decide to read (or not).
3) Too heavy on the front
If your first few slides are really heavy, it creates anxiety in the user. They think that the whole carousel will be heavy, and if they're not hungry for knowledge, but they're just browsing around for a quick dopamine hit, they will scroll down, instead of sideways.
Put a question in front or talk about a painpoint your audience has.
4) No rhythm
A carousel is a story. You have 10 slides to tell me something interesting. What makes a story interesting is the ups & downs. Or listen to some classical music, and observe how they bring you on a journey without words.
5) Too much text
Text is for email and books. They require active consumption. Think of your carousel as your TED talk slideshow, and the text you put on there is your voice. Cut out the junk. Keep the essentials.
You will say more by saying less.
If you have 8 really heavy slides, separate them into 4 carousels, and put those 2 heavy slides at the end. Now you have 4 pieces of content instead of one.
6) Not enough visuals
This goes back to the TED talk part. Avoid making the user read. Focus on how you can make it more interesting by adding visuals to support your point.
I like to use squares, humans, circles and arrows etc. because they're simple, and they are built-in shapes within Keynote, so I can search for them and add them with a click.
7) Crazy gradients and colors
If you don't know how to use colors, go black & white, and only use just a tiny bit to highlight something. This is a fantastic video from Greg Gunn (TheFutur) on the basics of color.
8) Weak call to action
Don't make up a fake question to trigger comments. Make sure your call-to-action is value based. What I mean by that is what will the audience GAIN by doing that action?
Will you be replying to comments? Will they feel they help you and others if they share it? Will they get something if they click the link in your bio?
Let them know.