Let’s be real – first impressions are important.
I may not judge books by their covers (because what covers? I read on my iPad), but if I’m
stalking browsing on instagram, you have less than 5 seconds to get my attention and convince me to click that follow button. If you’re using instagram for your business, your instagram profile is basically like tinder for potential clients. If people aren’t immediately attracted to you, they’re going to swipe left and move on. (Not on tinder? Me neither. I’ve known my husband since we were 18!) What you say in your bio definitely counts, but the first 9 photos people see matter more! It doesn’t matter how awesome your product / service / inner spirit is – #sorrynotsorry – if your feed doesn’t look good, you aren’t going to attract as many followers.
So do yourself a favor and give people a reason to follow you. A few ways to do just that…
DEFINE YOUR VIBE:
You’ve probably heard, your vibe attracts your tribe. Think about what you want to be known for. How do you want people to feel when they scroll through your feed? The photos you share are representative of your brand and should tell your story. I like to think my feed looks polished, luxurious, and feminine . When I’m choosing which photos to post on instagram, I always have those words in the back of my mind. Even though your business/brand may have a narrow focus, you should vary your content so you’re not posting photos of the exact same thing every day. I know most of my current followers like photos of makeup the most (they consistently get 200%+ more likes than other subjects), but I also realize that new followers may want to see more of my life. I have a list of a few other subjects (photos of NYC, fresh flowers, accessories, my dog, and myself) that I try to share in between makeup photos to keep things more interesting, but still stay true to my vibe.
Even though instagram is a highly visual platform, captions are important too! Your voice is part of your vibe, and the way that you speak to your audience is an essential part of your brand. I used to be really bad at coming up with captions, but a couple of months ago I stated to put more thought into my captions and my engagement (average likes / average comments per photo) has more than doubled! It helps me to think of a particular key word or phrase for each photo and use that to guide that caption. Sometimes the key word literally references the photo I’m sharing, but other times it’s unrelated and I’m just sharing how I feel at that moment. Ask yourself what message you are trying to convey to your followers. Are you inspiring them? Educating them? Whatever it is – make sure your voice comes through in your captions!
SHARE HIGH QUALITY IMAGES:
This should go without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. TAKE GOOD PHOTOS. You don’t have to have a really nice camera – I use my iPhone for 90% of my photos and I think they turn out pretty well with a bit of editing. Pay attention to lighting and focus. No one wants to see dark, grainy, or out of focus pictures. I am by no means a pro when it comes to photography, but I try to take all of my photos in natural light and yes, sometimes it takes 50 tries to take a really great photo. #truelife
Choose a color palette that reflects your brand and try to make sure that the majority of your photos include those colors. For example, Melyssa of @thenectarcollective consistently uses her bright pink/aqua/yellow brand colors and her feed has an obviously happy, artistic and positive vibe:
One of my favorite skincare brands, @grownalchemist, has a completely different vibe with a high contrast, monochromatic feed that complements their sleek, minimalist design:
If you are using filters, stick to 1-2 and ignore the rest. If you are tempted to use lots of different filters, you can actually hide them from yourself (when you are in the app choosing filters, scroll all the way to the right until you see the “manage” button – click through and you can un-check all of the filters you don’t use and so they will no longer show up as options).
When it comes to photo shape and orientation, don’t change things up all the time. It looks messy. Messy is bad. I stick to square photos, but choose what works for you! My husband shares horizontal photos with white borders, and I also like the way that Trends on Trends alternates between horizontal and vertical photos but maintains a consistent pattern.
CREATE A PATTERN:
Speaking of patterns, using intentional repetition is another great technique to make your instagram feed stand out! I love the way that @chloedigital alternates between images with text and other lifestyle photos so her feed is the perfect blend of education and inspiration:
And @kidfuture_ (who does brand marketing for Nike, excellently), used to post a pair of sneakers every third photo to create patterns like this – so cool!
Personally, I plan my feed out so that every other image I post has a light grey marble background. This helps to maintain a luxurious vibe as well as keep my feed from feeling too cluttered!
MAKE IT PERSONAL:
Last but not least, make something about your feed uniquely you. Maybe it’s actually photos of YOU or maybe it’s the type of photos you are taking or an interesting twist on a particular subject. One of our puppy friends @kokistateofmind takes a photo with the Empire State Building in the background every night, usually in a coordinating outfit. So cute. Even though I can literally look out my bedroom window at the ESB every night, I look forward to seeing his photo and learning what color the lights are. I also love the way that @LaurenElizHook of Elle & Company incorporates her design work into her feed, but she does it in a way that fits with her overall brand aesthetic. Figure out how to do YOU, and do it. What other tips do you have for making your instagram feed more attractive? Share them in the comments!
Not sure what you should be posting on Instagram?