Why you need a consistent Instagram look – and how to get it
Want to grow your brand (and followers) on Instagram? Find out why you need a consistent look – and four steps to get it.
Imagine you just got home. You drop your bag, sit down on the couch and start scrolling your Instagram feed. You see pics of your friends, local businesses, fashion and maybe some #tbt. A photo catches your eye so you click on the profile.
All of their pictures look professional and appealing. You wonder why: is it the colour? the composition? the camera angle? the subject?
The chances are, they are using an Instagram theme to maintain consistency, and it’s working. With 1 billion active users and 500 million daily users, Instagram has come a long way since 2010 when it was the preferred method of vacationers for sharing holiday pics.
Now, Instagram is used by all kinds of businesses (not only for branding, but also for social selling purposes), advertisers, brands and influencers.
Over 80% of Instagram users follow a business, with 2/3 of profile visits to business accounts coming from people who are not already followers. With these stats, it becomes very clear why it is important to make your business stand out.
A consistent Instagram feed encourages new people to follow you
Building a consistent Instagram feed creates visual regularity for your business; it visually symbolises your brand’s ‘character’, keeps your followers coming back while encouraging new followers to join.
A consistent Instagram theme makes your business, your brand, recognisable through visually appealing patterns and coherent aesthetic options.
Instagram themes are rising in popularity because they transform individual photos into a bigger story, which allows you to visually communicate important aspects about your business and why your followers should support you.
There are many different ways to create your Instagram theme, but it can take time. Here are four steps to help you get going.
1) Consider what you want to feature
Your Instagram theme should reflect your business specifically and be aligned with your business goals. What are you selling? What do you need to promote?
Keeping in mind why you need an Instagram business profile and what you’re hoping to achieve will determine the content. An easy way to help you make that decision, is to look at past posts that you deem successful and what posts your followers engage most with.
For example, in fashion designer Iris Apfel’s (@Iris.Apfel) Instagram’s feed, pics featuring her noticeably large and fabulous round glasses are the most popular. (Not to mention, her glasses have become her signature business trademark and overall Instagram theme.)
2) Post extraordinary photos
Now that you know what you want to feature, don’t do it injustice by posting less than amazing photos.
Phone photography is capable of accomplishing some pretty impressive things. Learning how to take memorable, share-able shots using only your phone is the best way to make your business stand out and build a consistent presence on Instagram.
The first step is to use natural light over a flash, whenever possible. Natural light creates photos that are richer and brighter – just take a look at @jessomatt’s IG account.
If natural light is not available or suitable for your product, you can try using a photo editing app to enhance and perfect. There is a wide variety to choose from with an equally large amount of filters that improve vibrancy and exposure and/or fix the white balance.
Composition is the next consideration. Try to follow the rule of thirds, which divides an image into a 3×3 grid and positions the subject (your business) in a dynamic and interesting way. Finally, consider your viewpoint or angle.
When you take a photo with your phone you probably hold the camera at eye-level. Resist this urge and take a photo from a different, more unique position.
Taking a photo from a distinct perspective, but one that you can maintain consistently, will provide a fresh look on even familiar things. This will make your product stand out from competitors and reveal the uniqueness of your brand.
3) Choose an overall theme
Perhaps there is a natural way to be consistent via an overall theme that features your business’ unique qualities? Take Xerox (@Xerox), for instance. They feature text and use a colour palette of black, red and white in the majority of their posts.
Text is a perfect theme for a business that promotes printing and sells printing products. Or, maybe colour itself is your theme. @ColorsCollective, currently at 10k followers, was founded by industrial designer Alexis Jesup. Her vibrant backgrounds and playful, attention-grabbing environments are the perfect way to showcase her colorful products.
Another straightforward strategy is to feature close-up pics of the product itself, no extras. @pinchofyum, lead by Lindsay Ostrom, a former fourth-grade teacher, obsessively posts pics of food only in round dishes set against white backgrounds. Within five years Ostrom developed her food blog into a viable business with a $20,000 a month return.
4) Plan and preview your feed
If you can’t see what the feed in advance, how do you know it will look good and fit in with your theme? Fortunately, there are many apps that allow you to preview your feed, which makes it infinitely easier to maintain consistency.
They let you connect your Instagram account, upload new photos and arrange them to see how look in comparison with the ones you have already posted.
Once you’re happy with the look, once you see organised and well-themed pics, you can write up captions and schedule your posts to go out automatically. Remember, consistency and aesthetics applies to text as well and can be altered just like an image.
A consistent Instagram feed will grow your followers
The goal of your Instagram page is to attract visitors, encourage them to click “follow”, and eventually support your business via purchases and visits.
It’s important to have a consistent Instagram feed because those who already follow you, stop evaluating your account. It’s actually your future, potential followers (your potential business patrons) that see your feed and decide, based on its overall aesthetics and cohesiveness, whether they will follow you.
Improving your Instagram business feed and creating your own authentic theme that will accurately represent your brand, is a must.
Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content.
When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.
Photo by Squared.one