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Why Text-Based Instagram Posts Are Trending in 2020

by Holly Kay | 10.11.2020

As the likes of Tumblr and MySpace are evidence of, when it comes to social media, popularity now doesn’t guarantee security in the future. The arrival of TikTok on the scene has increased the pressure on social media giants to keep their platforms fresh and exciting so that users keep coming back. New features and formats enable users to create new kinds of content. The latest social media trend in 2020? Text-based Instagram posts.

Bye-bye selfies, hello PowerPoint Presentations! 

Who would have thought that we would see PowerPoint-style presentations popping up on our Instagram newsfeeds? Selfies, sunsets and coffee cups yes but text-heavy image carousels…no.  

A new trend has emerged, but why?

Text-heavy Instagram carousels are exploding in popularity following the tragic death of George Floyd and global support of the Black Lives Matter movement on social media. Social activism in response to the movement has resulted in individuals, brands, influencers and celebrities using text-heavy content to inform their followers and it is proving successful. This is because as social users, we are increasingly looking to Instagram to educate ourselves and others about topics, histories and cultures that we realise we need to understand.

Becoming a public figure overnight 

We are seeing that individuals using PowerPoint-style presentations are becoming public figures overnight. Avery Francis  first used the text image carousel format to speak out about how directing certain questions towards black women facilitates stereotyping and microaggressions.

Avery Francis saw her account grow 80,000 followers and her post received over 300,000 likes, turning her into a public figure overnight. This is because people want to follow accounts that are speaking out for marginalised communities. Additionally, people want to learn about the social injustices these communities face and what they can do to act. Source: Washington Post  

But it’s not just individuals using this format. We’ve seen brands like Ben & Jerry’s shift their visual strategy from singular images and videos to multiple text-heavy image carousels. Ben & Jerry’s have always been an activism focussed brand, however, the point is that they are using this new visual trend to further their activism. Examples include speaking up for the transgender community, ending police brutality and ensuring individuals questions about voting in the US 2020 elections are answered. 


So… What does this all mean for marketers? 

What this means is that there is a growing appetite on Instagram for educational and informative content. Audiences are looking for more than just filters and brunch spots, they are looking for substantive ideas. They are looking for inspiration and they are looking to act.

It’s also worth considering that a text-heavy images can communicate a message in a way that a stand-alone image cannot. Therefore, text-heavy content lends itself to being shared on Stories and via direct messages, which increases the likelihood of people seeing the content.

Text-heavy communication can also be persuasive, it allows direct communication with audiences through questions and communicates important messages in a short space of time. As marketers, we know social media users can be inherently lazy, so the quicker you can communicate a message, the better.

Can only activism accounts use text-heavy content?

Definitely Not. Text-heavy content is undeniably a fantastic way for activists to engage their audiences (for all the reasons outlined above.) However, as we become more familiar with this new visual style, we will expect to see more brands getting involved.

So to conclude, if your social and content team start suggesting PowerPoint-style presentations, they have not gone mad. Instead, they have identified the latest visual trend and are creating content in line with that trend.