Before we dive in, there’s one really important thing I need to say about having a cohesive Instagram grid:
Curating your Instagram grid is NOT about having pretty things. For many of us, Instagram is our potential clients’ very first impression of our brands and businesses. Often you’ll even build relationships on the app long before (like sometimes YEARS before) someone actually visits your website or contacts you for your services. So to give a shit about how your grid looks is not vanity; it’s strategy.
A well put-together Instagram profile immediately tells your audience that you are professional, legitimate, and trustworthy. It will strengthen your brand visually and help people connect with your brand emotionally. The more on-brand your feed is, the more likely you’ll be recognized and remembered. And being recognized and remembered is, of course, the best way to stand out in your industry!
Here’s how to make your Instagram grid look more cohesive:
1) Pick a color palette and stick to it
Ideally this will be your brand colors (if you don’t have those, talk to a brand strategist or designer!), but don’t get too caught up in matching hex codes, k? The main goal with these steps is to make sure your feed is recognizable as uniquely yours. So try to stick to the same few colors, or within a color family, or at the VERY least stick to either cool tones or warm tones. Examples of feeds that do this well:
2) Edit your photos consistently
You know when you get a manicure and have to choose just ONE nail polish color out of a whole wall of glorious nail polish colors? Choosing one editing preset or filter is pretty much like that, and it’s a rabbit hole of shiny object syndrome that one can easily fall down. The editing style you choose is going to depend about 110% on step number 1 (picking a color palette), so be mindful of your colors when you’re playing with your editing. Also, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with different styles – but you also don’t have to post everything you experiment with. Too many different styles can confuse an audience, and we’re all about building consistency and trust. Examples of feeds that do this well:
3) Use negative space
Besides the fact that attention spans are short on the internet, human brains are also lazy. They don’t wanna work too hard to get the information they need. Negative space in your grid allows your audiences’ eyes (and therefore brain) to be lazy, and that’s why minimalist feeds are so damn pleasing to look at. Add negative space to your grid with simple photos, place your subject in front of solid backgrounds, or even use quote graphics in your brand colors. Clutter-free is the way to be! Examples of feeds that do this well:
4) Plan your posts
Post-regret: that feeling after posting a photo that you realized too late makes your grid look like hot garbage, but not being able to delete it because it already has some comments and shares. Prevent post-regret by planning your grid ahead of time! It’s so much more efficient to see how your gird will look instead of imagining it. I like to pull photos into my planning app first, and then match my written content (AKA captions) to the photos I’ve chosen. As an added bonus, this will also help you show up to Instagram more consistently – when you plan your posts you’re never frantically figuring out what to post in the moment. Here are some Instagram planning tools to try:
5) Get help from a photographer (you know I had to include this one, right?)
Being a solopreneur means you do pretty much everything in your business. Some days you’re an accountant, some days you’re a social media manager, some days you’re a janitor, some days you’re a website designer, and yes, somedays you’re a photographer. But one thing I’ve learned about having a business is that just because you can do it all, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it all. If posting branded visual content is becoming such a time-suck in your business that you’re not making time for your real work (you know – providing your actual service or creating your actual product), it might be time to get some help.
Hiring a photographer whose style meshes with your brand can save you a HUGE chunk of time and energy when it comes to getting noticed online. If you’re tired of scouring the internet for stock photos that will work with your brand or frustrated with trying to take decent photos of your products, let’s talk about how custom content creation will make it easier for you to get found online!