6 Simple Steps to Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed

We have created a (gorgeous) monster with Instagram. It’s the second largest network behind Snapchat, with over 180 million active monthly users. Clearly we’re a visual bunch. And our focus is more and more leaning towards visual aspects of communication (Which also created enough pressure to finally grace us with the taco emoji #blessed).

So what exactly does it take to be successful on Instagram?

Besides the obvious: posting consistently, sharing beautiful unique images, strategically using hashtags, engaging with others – ya know, simple work right? (ha!) It also takes a cohesive look and feel of your feed. That is the number one thing I continually see again and again when studying (yes, studying) others success with Instagram and in my own selection of who to follow.

A great image makes you hit ‘like’.

A great feed makes you hit ‘follow’.

So what makes for a cohesive Instagram feed? The simplest answer, as it technically differs for everyone, is a running theme that ties everything together. Sure, the individual images look great; but when viewed together in their perfect little squares, you see the total story unfold. So let’s chat about how you can achieve that.


pssst. come join me on Instagram and download your free worksheets to use as you read through!


Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed to Grow Your Following

(pin this for future reference!)

6 Ways to Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed

Color + Background

Pick a color palette that matches your brand. Stick to it. One of the best things about determining this first step is it makes everything else much easier when deciding what to post. There’s no second guessing whether it fits your look and naturally creates a more together look, even if you’re still figuring out some of the other steps. This is also one of the most difficult for me as I usually find myself taking pictures of everything, but this helps control that urge to post and allows me to say, yes its pretty but no it’s not right for this.

If you’re not sure how to nail down a color palette, take the (free) Find Your Feed 3-day challenge! You’ll figure out how to find your color scheme, how to shoot your content, and walk away with your own 9-grid template to follow – never second guess a post again!

Part of the color topic above, but for the background we’re specifically focusing on what outside elements we’re bringing into the photo. All white is certainly one of the more popular on Instagram, but it also requires good photography to ensure a clean white background each time. Will your photos be mostly lifestyle or shot on a simple backdrop? Consider bringing in some of your core brand colors as a background or get more creative with textures!

Related Post: Seven Backdrop Ideas for Instagram Photography Under $25 

Editing

Find your groove (ugh lame sorry) with editing software or apps. Do you like rich, saturated color? Or crisp, bright details? Get into a rhythm of how you want your images to look and again, be consistent. This may not always mean applying the exact same edits as each image may start out differently, but overtime you’ll figure out how to achieve the same end result with similar steps.

Apps I’m currently loving: A Color Story, VSCO, + Snapseed

Image Content

Are you shooting editorial inspired images or in-store displays? Will you be incorporating your personal life into your feed with “behind the scenes” and #girlboss’ing that shiz when you’re out scheming over coffee (holla if you’re in Chicago!) or keeping it strictly product focused? My advice is to pick 3-5 themes you can run throughout your feed. If you’re not sure how to find those, take the free 3-day challenge! Y

Bonus Tip

Come up with your “thing”. Is there something you’re often inspired by, can create or is part of your routine that you can creatively capture? Sharing it throughout your feed helps lend to its consistency as viewers see recurring similar, but unique, images. I love mushroomstew’s #PugVase

Voice

How do you relate to your customer and let your passion shine through? The captions can be just as important as the imagery once you’ve captured someone’s attention. Are you witty + sarcastic, or fun + bubbly, or motivational? Or maybe your shop relies on being an informative authority with more technical discussions on how to use product. Consider how you would talk to a close friend or acquaintance when writing so its more natural and highlights your personality.

People want to get to know YOU behind the brand. Don’t just sell your products, sell the whole experience your brand provides.

Related Post: How to Write a Better, More Engaging Instagram Caption

Your Audience

Who are they? How do they interact with your product? Do they need styling advice which would lead you to show more practical design inspiration? Or is your shop a fun destination full of whimsical gifts that allows for more creative imagery?

Knowing who your audience is means you’ll know how to communicate with them and what type of information to share. There’s always those accounts who don’t quite have this figured out, so they bounce around day to day on different topics, which leaves your audience confused… Is she a food blogger now? I thought she sold jewelry… maybe that’s just a side thing?

Once you determine your audience, using hashtags is the best way to attract new users to your brand. Jump over here for tips to finding the best hashtags for your business (plus 70+ ideas to get started)

If you’re struggling with the platform or feeling unsure how to finally talk to and convert your followers to customers, learn how to connect with your audience so you can build trust and win them over as customers without ‘selling’.

Create a Schedule

Part of having a cohesive feed means you’re being consistent – with everything. So come up with a plan that you can stick to, even if that means posting only twice a week. To help keep your customers aware, you could create themes for the days you do post, such as “Friday Favorites” where you share shop or employee favorites using all the tips discussed above. This is something they can look forward to and get in the habit of expecting to see what’s new; which is much better than sporadically hearing from you. If you are able to post more frequently, try to plan ahead.

Take some time once a week to decide what you’d like to promote, then take a bunch of shots so you have choices later. This allows you to have the flexibility to do something different should the mood strike, but if you’re busy and 500 other things come up that week – you’re still covered. Phew!

Once you create your schedule…you can start to pre-schedule your posts! It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done for your sanity. Check out these six benefits of scheduling social media and consider trying a scheduler for a week or two. I love Later which is free to use.


In the end, all these points on how to ‘create a better Instagram’ are simply guidance to help make it easier for you to understand what you “should” post.

Should is a pretty big word here, but it truly matters to your bottom line if you have a healthy + happy Instagram account. Customers rely on learning more about a brand through their social media, so you want your account to be the best, most accurate representation of who you are, what your business is and why they need your products in their life. That’s why it’s so important to create a strategy that allows you to be yourself, while maintaining consistency across each customer interaction.

Your goal is to create a seamless experience so if they met you in person, shopped in store, followed your Pinterest boards or came across your Instagram account, the feeling would be the same. The holy grail is when a customer sees an image and without knowing, can instantly say… that looks so “your brand”.

Does this sound intimidating? Eek, I hope not! I hope it’s a fun platform for you, rather than a chore so don’t get burnt out on the details. In one survey, 56% of folks said they unfollowed a brand for being too boring or salesy – that’s an easier place to start, right?


Join me on Instagram and download your free worksheets to use as you read through! 


Be yourself, have fun, show personality.

how to create a cohesive instagram feed
(pin this!)

Still not sure what to post?

Then let’s take advantage of the research. Accordingly to Curalate, these 6 qualities receive more Instagram likes:

Lightness – 24% over dark images
Background – greater amount of background or white space is preferred 29% more
Dominant Color – blues tones receive 24% more likes than red images
Number of Colors – a single dominant color receives 17% more likes than images with multiple dominant colors (don’t need to be monotone, just pick a focus color!)
Saturation – images with lower saturation receive 18% more likes than more vibrant looks (I blame our obsession with filters for this, but I can’t argue with it either. I always de-saturate just a smidge)
Texture – higher levels of texture receive 79% more likes!
Selfies – …..I’m just going to say sparingly and no duck lips Kim K style


Helpful Instagram Apps:

VSCO – my all time favorite editing app. It has amazing filters that can help with that consistent “look”, plus great editing capabilities to play around with saturation, exposure, and contrast (my main three).

SnapSeed – great for fine tuning and editing small details. It’s my go-to when needing to lightly brighten whites

Latergram.me (now called Later) or Planoly– the biggest lifesaver!!!!!! Once you’re done editing, upload all your images with captions, @ mentions and hashtags, then schedule a future date + time!  Since Instagram doesn’t allow third-parties to post on your behalf, the apps simply sends you a reminder for your post, go into the app and hit “confirm to post” and it’ll copy your caption and upload your image – just paste your caption in and hit share!

Later: if you sign up through this link, we’ll both earn an additional 10 posts fo’ free, fo’ reals

 


Download your free worksheets to use as you read through!


Shop Talk: What are some of your favorite tips + apps? Follow along @theshopfiles and leave your handle below so we can find + support you!

If you’re new here – thanks for reading! Check out more of the latest posts, jump over to the START HERE page to see more, or go all in and get on the list for more secrets of a buyer here.


Looking to step up your photography?

Check out this Craft Photography course from Creative Live. Specifically geared towards craft merchants, you’ll learn the fundamentals of creating consistent images that stand out and how to edit like a pro.


Looking to step up your photography?

Check out this Craft Photography course from Creative Live. Specifically geared towards craft merchants, you’ll learn the fundamentals of creating consistent images that stand out and how to edit like a pro.

Looking to step up your photography?

Check out this Craft Photography course from Creative Live. Specifically geared towards craft merchants, you’ll learn the fundamentals of creating consistent images that stand out and how to edit like a pro.

how to create a cohesive instagram feed

how to create a cohesive instagram feed

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