Chances are, you’ve found your way to this post because you’re a blogger, brand or simply a passionate Instagrammer. Chances also are, that you care a lot about your Instagram growth while swimming through the waves of changes Instagram has been sending our way. I am a firm believer that whenever there is change, there should be a reevaluation of strategies. In this case, it’s important to rethink our visual strategy for Instagram.
Some of the recent and controversial enhancements on Instagram include the non-chronological algorithm update, Instagram for Business and now, Instagram Stories. A combination of these changes has resulted in lower engagement. This topic frequently came up with fellow bloggers and I realized that everyone experienced a sudden drop in engagement levels. Although we hoped that engagement levels would pick up soon, it hasn’t happened. Instagram is still working on perfecting the new algorithm so for now, we can only control what’s ours; the visual story we create on our Instagram profile.
Within the past year, the Instagram standard has elevated immensely, creating a greater emphasis on the visual story you portray on your feed. Especially at first glance. An aesthetically pleasing feed is more essential than ever today, because that’s what will truly accelerate your following and engagement. This is why I have been recently prioritizing my Instagram efforts on my visual strategy. Here are 3 ways to improve your visual strategy for Instagram and illustrate a stronger visual story.
1. Identify Your Aesthetic
What does that even mean? If you take a look at your favourite Instagrammers, you’ll notice uniformity in their feed. Perhaps it’s very minimalistic and monochrome, or very pastel and feminine, or maybe it’s fun and colourful. Whatever it is, it looks like all of the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly. This isn’t serendipity. This is a well thought out strategy that defines their brand.
But don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick to one colour scheme. Mine is ever changing. From bright and clean photos to my trip to Arizona with orange coloured canyon walls, back to bright and clean photos, and then very tropical during a recent Miami trip. I do this because I want to portray an unrestricted and realistic lifestyle feed. I know some Instagrammers wouldn’t dare to visit a destination like Antelope Canyon because it wouldn’t fit their feed. But it isn’t too difficult. In order to work those photos in seamlessly, I just had to be aware of the style of shots I capture.
Maybe you’re going to travel to Greece and chances are, you can’t run from introducing blue colours in your photos. That’s alright. As long as you plan out your content well, you can still stay true to your aesthetic. It’s just a matter of having an awareness of your aesthetic and capturing photos from that perspective. This brings me to my next point.
2. Plan Your Feed
Having a cohesive feed is essential in welcoming new followers as well as retaining existing followers. However, achieving a cohesive feed is a huge task and involves a lot of planning from many perspectives. If you’re a blogger, there is so much going on. There may be product shots, outfit shots, food shots, etc. The edits, tones, composition and perspectives all need to fit together seamlessly. In order for all of this to work together, it is really important to plan out your feed one week in advance (or two, if you’re really committed).
I have been using Planoly for the past few months and it has helped me see my feed through a different lens. The way it works is, 18 recent posts from my feed are populated automatically in Planoly. Then, I upload photos I plan to share next. Once uploaded, they populate in the Planoly feed. They will be placed right above the 18 recent posts with the letter “U” marked on them, allowing you to see the continuity. Now, I’m able to seamlessly rearrange the unscheduled photos until they are placed in the most aesthetically pleasing order. This entire process has really made me enjoy illustrating my visual story to my followers.
My only complain about the app? I wish it worked offline because I accomplish a lot of my planning tasks when I don’t have connectivity. Besides that aspect, this app has become my lifeline when I publish Instagram content. Ever since I began using Planoly, not a single photo has been published to my Instagram feed without it. Once you start using Planoly, you will find yourself doing the same. You will quickly understand why it’s a worthy investment towards building a strong visual strategy for Instagram.
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3. Stay Inspired
We live in a world where we are encompassed by inspiration. That means a whole lot of time is spent scrolling through our Instagram news feed. Well, here’s the good news: that time isn’t necessarily wasted because it can actually help your visual strategy for Instagram. While scrolling through, you are bound to find another creative that resonates with your style. Let other Instagrammers’ content inspire you to experiment with your feed, while also staying true to your style. A lot of us might already be doing this unconsciously. I love how Justine of Jetset Justine periodically experiments with her Instagram feed based on who she’s currently inspired by. The best part? She’s honest about it. Here’s what I mean:
Have a look at the Instagrammer she tagged and compare it to Justine’s feed during her vacation. It’s beautiful how she shared her inspiration and managed to create a vacation grid that still reflects her personal style. She does the same here, and here.
This sort of experimentation can add that extra boost to your visual story and Instagram growth. When you couple this with a well planned feed, you’re sure to have a strong visual strategy for Instagram.
I really hope these tips help you with the growth of your brand on Instagram. I’m just an email away if you need help with Planoly or have any questions about this post. Btw, which Instagram feeds are you currently loving? Tell me in the comments!