I love instagram. It is hands-down my number one favorite social media platform. During my time trolling hundreds of feeds and learning through creating my own feed, I picked up a few lessons on how to create a compelling, branded instagram feed.
Step One: Identify your audience.
Who is your ideal client? Determine the type of client you most enjoy working with and try to think from their perspective. If it’s a feminine 20 something girl think about what kind of pretty, feminine content she would be drawn to. If it’s a busy but fashion conscious mom, choose images and write captions that will capture her limited attention. You have a free, unlimited platform to visually communicate with your clients here, so make the best use of it!
Step Two: Develop your own consistent style.
Instagram has become so popular that it’s not uncommon to run across countless accounts that are virtually indistinguishable in style. Just as you want your logo to show off what is unique about your business, you should use your Instagram to do the same. It’s easy to copy what someone else has already done, but it won’t be ultimately compelling to your audience. Be genuine, and be yourself. Find your own unique voice and use it to create quality content. People can tell the difference between fake feeds and ones with genuine heart behind them. Sure, minimal, all white feeds are beautiful, but if your style is colorful with vintage details, then it wouldn’t be authentic for your feed to reflect minimal aesthetics. If you’re having trouble identifying your personal style, take a long hard look at your business and products. Try to judge them from an outside perspective and be honest about what you see. Ask your close friends and family what they think your style is. You might be surprised by how they perceive you. Use their input to inform the style of photos you post.
Some examples of feeds with unique personal style: @mimithor, @local_milk, and @whitneyreeder
Step Three: Post high-quality content.
It’s sometimes very alluring to post a fluff photo that looks nice but has no meaning. Resist the urge. Try to post photos with story and heart behind them. You don’t necessarily need to post a long caption explaining it (in fact, I’d advise against excessively long captions), but if you are posting something that is significant to you, it will shine through. For a time, I tried to curate my feed based entirely on aesthetics. It felt fake and was not engaging anyone on a deep level. When I returned to posting photos that meant something to me, my audience became engaged, it sparked some cool conversations, and Instagram started feeling fun again.
Some examples of feeds with heart: @amandajanejones, @ruthielindsey, and @oldjoy
Step Four: Learn the basics of photography and photo editing.
As much as I am an advocate of being genuine and real, the reality is that if you aren’t able to capture images that are as visually compelling as the heart behind them, then you aren’t likely to connect with your audience. Take some time to experiment with your phone to find a comfortable style of photo and then stick to that style. For me, I tend to shoot images that have a specific focus with a lot of open background. I usually have some detail I want my audience to notice, so I set up my shot to highlight that detail. Everyone sees the world from a different perspective, and photography gives you an opportunity to share your unique perspective with others. Allow the way you see beauty in the things around you to influence the way you shoot photos. Learn how to edit your photos to show off the mood you are after—be it bright and cheerful, or muted and pensive. I’ll be continuing this series with a more practical how-to for editing iPhone photos, but for now here are a few helpful tutorials to get you started:
This helpful editing tutorial from Bethany at Cloistered Away, Another helpful editing run-down from Fall for DIY, and if you need something more in-depth, check out Bri Emery’s Social Media Workshop at Design Love Fest.
Have anything to add? Questions you want me to cover on future Instagram blog posts? Let me know in the comments!