Is your Instagram account a bit of a mess? My 5 tips will help you get focus on who you are and what you want to portray on your Instagram account.
1. Importance of the Grid
When Instagram first started it was a very different creature to what it is now. It was a fun way to show what you were doing right NOW! That moment!
Thats where the whole photographing your coffee and food thing started out. It was a visual way to say, ‘this is what I’m up to’.
I remember joining when it had first started after hearing about it online. It was fun to just see behind the scenes of what people were up to in their everyday lives – not just our friends but other famous or more interesting people too. It was friendly and fun.
But about two years ago Instagram suddenly started to get a whole lot more professional and lots of businesses starting to tap into its instant and visual appeal. I believe it to be a reaction to the changes that took place on Facebook at the time which started to restrict the feed and encourage businesses to pay to access their own followers.
So now we are on this very visual medium which unlike Facebook shows up every picture you post. So when you look at someones account it shows the grid of all your photos all lined up together.
Now you can see how disjointed that product picture looks next to the photos of your dog and the kids and that blurry one from your 30th. Of course thats all fine if its private or just for family and friends. But if you are hoping to gain followers, become an influencer or promote your product or service then there is one thing you need to think about and that is the GRID. You must make sure your grid is aesthetically pleasing.
When someone likes your picture and wants to see more about you they will go to your account. First impressions count and what they see on your grid needs to look and feel like you or your business.
2. Who Are You?
You may have an online business, have a service based business or just have an account which is just you – it doesn’t matter the same rules will apply. You need to think about WHO you are. So you can portray this version of yourself to the world through your grid.
I saw a lot of people setting up multiple accounts so they could have one for their business and one for their personal life. I struggled for a while but then decided to do the same. I was glad I did because now I was able to see the identity of both accounts much more strongly. It made it a lot easier. So I made my account focus on what my business was about and shared anything related to that.
Then with my personal account I decided I wanted it to be about my life and the things I loved, but a more curated version. It was more for my own pleasure but this is what many influencers have done – create a certain look or mood to their photos and become known for that. This may then attract businesses that have a similar look or feel to want to collaborate with you.
Usually people want to collaborate with accounts with big followings however if you can create great images it’s still possible to be approached. In this visual area of social media there is a huge appetite for new imagery so businesses are often looking through hash tags all the time for someone who can create images that fit with their look. And you don’t need to be a professional photographer but it does really favour those with an artistic eye if thats your thing.
3. What is your look?
Okay so you’ve worked out who you are and what you want your identity to be. Think of accounts you like – go and check them out. Do they have a strong mood overall or a consistency in style or subject to their images?
That’s not to say that dark and moody can’t be equally popular. Sometimes it’s a clever thing to do the opposite from the crowd because you will stand out more. Some are happy or colourful, you will notice some restrict their feed to a certain colour palette. That doesn’t mean they don’t have things in their life that are in other colours, they just are restrained with what they show on their feed.
Your look is all about your vibe. This took me a while to understand. I used to mainly post the same images I had on my website to sell my products. I was shown how they have a purpose to sell but my account is more about inspiring.
So I started to take more creative shots. Some with a lot of white to create space. Pictures that aren’t there to sell the details of a product but to sell the lifestyle of the customer who would need or use the product.
Don’t get me wrong, I post majority product photos but the style can be different. And if you are someone like say a day spa, you may post Asian-inspired imagery to suit the decor you have. You can post images you find on Pinterest or Instagram that depict the lifestyle of the ideal customer. You may mix images in of towels, an exotic day spa location, florals, massage oils, your massage table, relaxing images etc. Just ensure they all have a something linking them visually. Colour is the easiest way or by using the same filter everytime.
So think of your branding as the overall look you are creating to inspire your followers. If you do post the occasional shot that doesn’t fit in you can always go back and delete them a few days later so they don’t ruin your grid.
4. Inspire Others
Many accounts use quotes to inspire their tribe.
Quotes are also a great way to encourage shares and engagement especially if your followers find them particularly relating to their situation. this is a great way to be exposed to potential new followers. Think about it, you can share quotes that might help your followers feel positive for the day or inspire people trying to lose weight or reach a goal to not give up.
You can even write them up yourself using Little Moments app or Picmonkey app so you have your own unique style to your quote posts instead of just reposting someone elses image. There are so many to be found through Pinterest, Googling online or searching Instagram. This is another way you can reinforce who you are.
I have found Instagram to be my favourite platform to connect and get to know others. I’ve watched other small businesses in my field grow and also remained Insta friends with many past customers who i’ve gotten to know a bit more through Instagram.
Now that Instagram has introduced stories I am so relieved that I can give Snapchat a miss. Am I the only one who has struggled to work it out? Well now you can share movies and photos through the stories mechanism which can only be filmed or photographed and used on the spot keeping that feeling of immediacy.
If you are a business or hoping to become an influencer still keep in mind what you want to portray out there but it does give us back a bit more freedom to show a bit more behind the scenes like we did in the beginning without messing up our grids.
Good luck with branding your Instagram account.
Nicole is a creative entrepreneur who spends her days in her coastal studio sewing and sketching while juggling the constant demands of a young family. An interior stylist turned creator of her own baby brand Alphabet Monkey, Nicole loves to share ideas and challenges with other women who may work from home or run small businesses online.
She can be found dreaming up new ventures or escaping to her Bali home where she enjoys the quiet life, quality family time and conspires to manifest her dream life one day at a time.