As designer, I have a few pet peeves and one of them is a messy workspace, that includes a messy IG feed. How can an IG feed be messy you ask? Well my dear friend, there are many ways; however, instead of focusing on the negative, let's talk about how to do it right.
If you are just on IG to show your latest adventure don't be too harsh on yourself, but if you are attempting to share personal work for the world to see, not only that, a potential client, you want your feed to look brilliant and unified. Here are a few Tips and Tricks to keep in mind.
1. STYLE + APPEAL
You will have to make a few decisions ahead of time, mainly LAYOUT and how you want your overall feed to look and feel. Be consistent from the beginning and people will see you know what you are doing. In my own opinion, the two examples below work well. Remember you are creating a cohesive feed, not just posting individual pieces to a random puzzle. Think of your feed as a living, breathing creature that should captivate anyone who stumbles onto it.
- BOTH WORK WELL BECAUSE THEY ARE CONSISTENT -
FULL SQUARES THROUGHOUT FEED
BOARDERS AROUND EACH IMAGE
2. POST THOUGHTFULLY
What does your feed currently look like? What did you recently post? Consider the image you are selecting, and how it will jive with the other images you have already posted near it. Do the colors flow? Is there two much of a one thing, even if it is a good thing? I loooove dogs, but if your account is not all about the paws, you probably shouldn't have three posts of your dog in a row, no matter how adorable the little fur beast is.
3. MIX UP CONTENT
Definitely show off your own work, but find complimentary images by fellow Instagrammers that may inspire you and elevate your brand. Share quotes that resonate with you. Here is a good example of using cohesive images that have a similar feel, pushing your brand identity further.
I adore the objective behind Darling Magazine and hope you check them out.
Naturally, I adore this handsome pup with those "puppy dog eyes" and dry sense of humor.
I was immediately drawn to this kickass image. I posted it and gave credit to the creator.
4. BE AUTHENTIC
People generally like people, and they like to know the person behind the feed is an actual person with real joys and real problems. Naturally you can express yourself through the imagery you share, but you can also share your thoughts in the caption, people may relate to your words and decide to follow you. Maybe you talk about the work you created, explain the process, give us a glimpse into how hard it was and how happy you are to share it now. Even clients respect someone who works hard and shares successes and failures. Makes it interesting.
I posted about my much needed Hiatus from all things social for a bit. And it was nice to get it out there, and let people know I was back at it again.
5. GIVE CREDIT
If you decide to share someone else's delightful image, be sure to give credit where credit is due. I snagged the image above from one of my very talented gal pals, Jessica Peterson, and I did mention her in the caption. To mention someone, snag their attention, or invite someone to see something you thought was the cat's meow, use the @mention. Place "@" in front of the username you are giving credit to or calling to action. You can also tag people in the image. Regardless, one option should be used. Both are ideal.
If you want to get eyes on your feed, get in contact with a friend that maybe already has a significant following and see if you can get them to @mention you in the caption or tag for your contribution. I am all about trade. Sometimes I offer to do a photo shoot for someone with a larger following and just ask they aim the credit my way. You could also just get crafty together and both of you share the credit. But, don't just call up a random friend who has had some IG success and ask them to do you a solid for nada. That is bad form, IG can be a business, and be aware of what is important to them and their feed. Ask how you could help out or if you have anything you could trade. Maybe that trade is just silly ole cash money.
7. SPEND THE TIME
Now you have started posting relevant images to your feed, and it is looking glorious, and you just want people to see your cute feed. How do you get people there? You can go the collaboration route, but you can also just set aside 15-20 minutes a day where you get in the heart of IG and find feeds you like, and actually "like" or "Heart" someone else's images. They are notified when someone likes their image, maybe they will return the favor. Perhaps you love their feed so much you "FOLLOW" them. This is great, you are engaging in your community. Who knows maybe they will follow you back.
Another great tip is to jump on the feed of another person or company who has similar content and values, click on their most recently posted image. View the people who have liked the image, the most recent "likers" are probably still online, so get to their feed and engage with. "Like" 3-5 images and they will probably check you out while they are still online. You know they already follow the feed you found them on, so chances are, they might give you a follow as well.
I want you to sit down an put on your thinking cap, let's get down to the nitty gritty. What kind of feed are you creating? Who is your target demographic? Maybe you shoot weddings, so search #engagements and go like 50 photos under that #hashtag because those are potential clients, the people who just announced on IG, they are engaged! Perhaps you sell custom vintage bags, find your favorite stores that you think should be selling your bags and take a look at their followers. Get in there and follow their followers. Most likely they will already like your style because they like the store you think your bags should be in. Starting to make some sense?
Don't get on IG and go post happy, posting everything you have right off the bat. People really hate that, they do not want to see you in their newsfeed all day long, maybe just once or twice a day. Space out your posts, try to allow 3-6 hours between posts. I understand there will be times when you just need to post a few images in a row because whatever is happening is just that cool. But it is rare, so be cautious, or you could lose followers for over-posting.
9. BE CONSISTENT
If you build it, they will come. If you neglect what you build for weeks on end, people forget you exist and the hype falls into a hole of sludgy despair. When people come to your feed and see new content on the daily, they will most likely return. If they visit and see your last post was 3 weeks ago, you are dead to them, Until you start posting again and that post slithers down their IG feed, they may start to remember who you are. The best thing to do, is to just post consistently. Every day if you can, twice a day if you have a reason. If posting daily is the hardest thing for you, get in there every other day or every three days. If you show dedication to your feed and community, it will grow.
BONUS. HAVE FUN
Don't take yourself to seriously, and enjoy the journey. Don't compare yourself to everyone else, your life and product are important too.