Instagram is no longer just a place to post an awkward barrage of selfies, family photos, and staged food. The platform has transformed into an outlet for creatives to showcase their brand or themselves in innovative ways. By learning how to use Instagram effectively through developing a consistent aesthetic, you can give users a bold first impression that will set you apart from other profiles. Here are 5 tips to establish a strong aesthetic:
1. Pick an aesthetic!
Many people get aesthetic and theme confused. A theme is a lot more limiting because it pertains to set categories such as travel, fashion, or art. Instead of restricting yourself to a set theme it is best to choose an aesthetic-- or overall mood-- that reflects the intended personality and tone of your brand. An aesthetic allows you to post a variety of pictures that share a common "vibe" or feeling. Do you want your feed to be colorful? Bold? Gloomy? Edgy? Or whimsical? The fun part about aesthetic is that it all up to your imagination.
Much like an art gallery, an Instagram feed needs to be keenly curated. A lack of aesthetic creates a disconnect between users and the intended brand identity. If you have spent any time checking out a variety of Instagram's you have most likely noticed what grabs your attention: uniformity. When Instagram feeds stick to a similar style the content is much more visually pleasing, leaving users wanting more.
Photographer Julia (@humphreyandgrace) has an aesthetic that embodies crisp minimalism. With a strong white theme and a repetition of flowers, Julia has curated a fluid yet dynamic feed.
2. Edit your photos in a similar manner
Picking a color scheme, filter, or similar editing process is a surefire way to ensure that your feed will be cohesive. The desired effect is to have images sit together as if they were a story. So take your time in deciding what shades of color, editing techniques, and tones work with your desired aesthetic.
Matt Crump (@mattcrump) features an Instagram full of cotton-candy colored, dreamy, minimalistic shots. Browsing through his feed made me feel just like a kid in a candy store.
3. Look at the bigger picture
Instead of focusing on what you are going to post one by one, take a step back and look at your feed as a whole. What makes your photos flow together? The most beautiful feeds are those that feature a variety of subjects that are spaced out evenly. Resist the urge to post photos that do not fit in with your desired aesthetic. So, if your feed is bright and airy, try not to upload a night-time photo because it will take away from the master plan. If it is hard for you to envision if a picture will fit with your aesthetic, utilize Instagram planning sites such as Planoly or Latergram to help you organize your images weeks in advance.
As you can see from director and photographer, Jimmy Marble (@jimmymarble), every photo is distinct, yet it fits in effortlessly with the pastel-colored minimalistic aesthetic.
4. Post content that is engaging
Compelling content is meaningful because it creates emotional connections, while attracting potential buyers. Users don't want to feel like customers, they want to feel like they are a part of a community with shared interests and values. One way to engage users is to encourage and inspire them to post their own photos that reflect your product. This will increase social interaction and generate authentic content that can be used for your feed! Another idea is to implement photo stories in order to foster dedicated followers who resonate with your brand identity. Photo stories complement the aesthetic by adding a human touch to posts. On our own Instagram we feature photo stories from time to time to showcase the unique experiences of our photographers.
5. Remember at the end that it is just Instagram
While it may be addicting to spend a lot of time working on the overall aesthetic, do not go overboard with it. Curating a gorgeous feed should be something that is fun and allows for creativity. Do not be discouraged if you do not have an endless stream of followers in the beginning or if you slip up and post something that does not flow. It all takes time and practice, so enjoy the journey!