How many seconds do you spend deciding whether to follow someone on Instagram? 15? 30? Maybe up to a minute? That’s exactly how much time you have to make an AWESOME first impression on a potential follower, and one of the fastest ways to do that is by having a cohesive Instagram profile. Here are my tips for creating an Instagram feed that will attract more followers!
start with the bio
If someone clicks on your page, regardless of whether they came from the explore page or they saw you leave a funny comment on Kevin Hart’s pic, they’re going to first want to know who you are and what you’re about. Use your bio to tell people a little bit about yourself, and give them an idea of what kind of content you create. Are you a writer? A foodie? A mom of triplets? An aspiring astronaut? Make sure that your bio clearly lays out what folks should expect from your page.
One of the quickest ways to confuse people is to say in your bio that you’re interested in fashion and beauty, but all your pictures are of flowers and memes. Make sure your bio reflects your feed, and vice versa. If you find that the two don’t match, either adjust your content to fit your bio, or rewrite your bio to accurately reflect your content. I like to update my bio every few months, just to keep it spicy! Right now, I post mostly style, beauty, and random things related to my PhD journey, so that’s the first thing I’ve put in my bio. I also share about my faith and marriage every once in a while, so those are also important bits of my bio too.
Find a Theme
Ok, on to the pictures. Part of creating a cohesive Instagram feed is identifying a theme. There are a variety of ways to think about a theme, such as:
- pattern of posts (quote, photo, quote, photo or close up, flatlay, outfit)
- color scheme (pops of a color in every picture or migrating from one color focus to another)
- filtered theme (using a unique & distinct filter on all your images)
- mood theme (all images are bright & airy, or maybe they’re all filled with greenery)
- combination of these
The easiest way to figure out what you might want your theme to be is to find and screenshot 4-6 Instagram feeds that you like. Look at them side by side and figure out what makes them stand out. The point isn’t to find feeds that look exactly alike to copy, but rather to pinpoint the characteristics of what you consider a “good” feed. Here are some my feed references from when I did this exercise in June.
What do you notice about this profiles? I realized that I liked that the feeds had mostly full body and waist up outfit photos, a mix of close up and far away shots with different poses and angles, a lot of white space and contrast, and interesting backgrounds. Once you’ve figured out the aspects of feeds that stick out to you, write them down to help guide all your images and content.
Plan It Out
Once you’ve figured out what you want your Instagram feed to look like, it’s time to start planning out your posts. Planning is SUCH an important aspect of having a cohesive Instagram feed, and if there’s only ONE thing you can take from this, it’s to PLAN OUT YO FEED SIS! One of the most annoying things on the gram is when you post a photo on IG and it throws off your whole feed, then you have to delete it and it’s all awkward and a mess! Avoid that scenario by planning out your posts in advance.
Now I personally like to plan out my posts a week in advance (cuz #PhDlife), but at the very least, make sure that the next photo you’d like to post aligns with the rest of the pictures on your current feed. I use Planoly to plan out my Instagram feed, but I’ve also used Unum which works well. If you feel like you have no idea where to start, add inspiration photos to your planned feed, and then use those pictures to inspire what you shoot, how you pose, and even what to post next!
Don’t expect the changes to happen overnight, but if you consistently put in the work, six months from now you’ll scroll through your Instagram like dang this is poppin! In the past two years, my feed has changed in three major ways. One, I have more variety in the kinds of pictures I post. Two years ago, I was posting mostly selfies and spur of the moment outfit posts. Now, I post lifestyle images with a fashion bend, regardless of whether they’re taken with a phone or a camera. Secondly, I used to post up close photos back to back, or outfit photos one of top of another, with no regard to how they would look in the feed. Now, I pay special attention to how an image will look in relation to the photos beside as well as below it in the feed by planning out my feed in advance. Lastly, I had no clear color scheme or editing style. Now, I ensure that every photo has some element of white, whether in my outfit or the background, and I uniformly edit my photos to evoke the same feel. These elements, combined with a clear bio, make my Instagram feed more cohesive than it used to be!
Before you embark on a whole overhaul of your Instagram in the quest for the perfect feed, use the insights tool (or if you don’t have a business profile, an external service) to find out your top 10 best performing posts in the last 6 months. Do they share anything in common? Maybe you were considering posting outfit photos, but your audience loves flatlays (if this is you, tell me your secrets!). Or maybe you want to post light and airy pictures but it’s actually your shadow filled pictures that get the most likes. Although at the end of the day it’s your page to do whatever you want with, creating content that you know makes your current audience happy is a good way to grow your following. Take it as an indication that you’re doing something well, so you should keep it up!