Whether you're a designer, stylist, fashion photographer, pattern marker or manufacturer, Instagram is great for visually sharing the BTS of your business, expanding your audience and encouraging people to visit your website and potentially buy.
When it comes to visually branding your Instagram feed, there are many different options and themes. IG themes are a cohesive style that runs throughout your entire profile. Creating a theme for your IG can be great for helping customers identify the lifestyle of your brand. Some people only post pictures within a particular color scheme, some change colors gradually as you scroll through their feed. Others crop their photos into rectangles or only post photos if it contains a particular color, etc, etc.
We get a lot of questions from entrepreneurs asking how to brand their Insta and the truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. You can brand your Instagram feed however you want. The key, is that once you decide on an aesthetic, you stay consistent. The Instagram accounts you follow because they are perfectly branded and seem to post the best content, are all a result of them taking the time to determine their aesthetic and then consistently sticking to it.
So, how can you create an Instagram aesthetic for your feed? Keep reading.
THINK OF YOUR FEED AS A WHOLE.
The first 9-12 photos on your feed are essentially the first impression your audience and potential customers have of your account. When someone clicks to your account because you were tagged somewhere or because your picture was on their explore feed, you want to give them a reason to stick around and hit follow. Every single picture you post on Instagram IS important and should be consistent with your overall marketing strategy. "You never know when a follower is going to come, so they better be able to look at your page and see exactly what you represent." Marcus Harvey, Portland Gear. (Click here to read the rest of our Interview.)
TIP: Quality over Quantity. Don’t just post something to say that you posted. Quality matters. Make sure that every post you publish is your best work, gives value to your audience and fits in with your feed as a whole.
PICK A COLOR PALETTE.
Now that you're thinking about your feed as a whole, the first step is to decide what color scheme you want that also aligns with the overall visual identity of your brand. Not only will this create an aesthetic for your feed but it will also make life so much easier when deciding what to post and what your followers will respond to because it's already a part of your branding process. TIP: Whenever you take flatlays and in-studio photos, keep the tones and backgrounds consistent to the color palette you've decided on. If your feed is made up of mainly natural colors and then you post one photo that has bright pink in it, that might throw your feed off.
THINK ABOUT the TYPE OF CONTENT YOU POST.
If you're using Instagram as a way to showcase your products or services (which, if you're reading this I'm certain you are), you want to make sure that everything you post aligns with the overall theme of your brand. The types of visual content you post should be consistent. Try picking 4-6 themes and use them as prompts for what to post. For example, as a designer, your themes might be: tools used to create garments, images of models wearing your designs, photos of your studio/work space, photos of your garments. Having these themes doesn't mean you can't post anything that does fall into these categories. All it does is ensure that your feed shares a similar content throughout your feed and gives your audience an idea of what they can expect from you if they follow.
Are are 10 content ideas of what to post on Instagram as a fashion designer if you're feeling stuck.
EDIT ALL YOUR PHOTOS THE SAME & CREATE A SIGNATURE LOOK.
There are many great editing apps available to help you create a beautiful visual aesthetic for your IG feed. At L&S, two of our favorite editing apps are Snapseed and VSCOcam. We typically increase the highlight and brightness and play around with shadows and saturation. However you decide to edit your photos, make sure that you consistently edit all of your photos the same so that your overall feed follows a consistent aesthetic. Not only will this create a cohesive feed, it'll also cut down on editing time once you've found a process that works for you. TIP: Lighting has a huge impact on how your photos will look. Always try to take your pictures in natural light. Try not to over edit your photos and use so many filters that the image is unrecognizable. As a fashion brand selling a product, you want to make sure customers can easily see the true color and texture of your piece.
In addition to editing your photos the same, you may also think about creating a signature look for your feed. @iamthat_shop has created a signature style by cropping their photos so much so that when people see their photos in the explore feed, you can almost always guess that it's I am That before looking. TIP: Don't take your photos in the Instagram app. It's not the best quality plus, it's always a good idea to take multiple shots to get the perfect one. The Insta camera only lets you take one at a time. Our favorite app for taking pictures is VSCOcam.
Some creatives are able to go with the flow and create visually stunning images naturally throughout the day as ideas come to them. If this is not you, and even if it is, I recommend creating a schedule for curating visual content for your social platforms and planning your posts in advance. Having a plan makes everything so much easier. It gives you flexibility, peace of mind and allows you to spend less time racking your brain trying to figure out what to post, or what to say in your caption and gives you more time to focus on other parts of your business.
A content calendar is essentially a calendar that maps out all the Instagram posts that you intend to publish within a specific time period. Content calendars help keep you organized, ensure that you consistently publish quality content in a way that is time efficient and stress-free and also helps you maintain the visual aesthetic of your feed. At L&S, we use (and love) Planoly (app and desktop) with allows us to schedule content and visually plan out what our feed will look like. It also sends reminders when it's time to post.
Granted, things may change and you may see something that you want to post right now, but it’s far better to squeeze something in then to not have anything planned and have to come up with content ideas everyday.
Being consistent with the type of content you share, the look of your photos and the frequency you post helps your followers get a sense of your business and connect with you. Once you decide on an aesthetic for your IG, make sure to stay consistent to it.
HOMEWORK: Take a look at your Instafeed. How does it look? Does the feed flow? Would you follow your account? Imagine that at any given moment someone new is looking at your Instagram profile for the first time. Will they want to follow you?
Have you used any of these strategies to brand your feed? Have you tried something different? Join the conversation and comment below!