How to Create a Visual Instagram Strategy

Social Strategy, Instagram

There are right ways and wrong ways to get Instagram followers. If you’re buying them, or engaging in other sketchy techniques, it doesn't matter much what your feed looks like– you're already doomed unless you take fast corrective action. Those kinds of methods lead to high follower counts, but low engagement, which won’t do you any good in the long run.

Bad instagram feed with lots of repeating stock photos of fake money
No one who visits this Instagram feed is likely to follow, unless they love repetitive stock photos of fake money. Name redacted to protect the guilty.

To get Instagram followers the right way, get your account in front of new people by using relevant hashtags and commenting on other posts with high traffic. That will get your name out there, which leads people to check out your main profile. After you get people to your Instagram profile, they’ll decide whether or not to follow you based on the looks of your Instagram feed, so it’s important to have a successful visual strategy.

Good Instagram feed from @cerebralmist with a pleasing black and pink color scheme
This beautiful Instagram Feed from @cerebralmist was clearly planned in advance. There's symmetry from the black posts, and the other pictures have consistent colors running tying them together.

Pick Your Colors

The first step to creating a beautiful Instagram feed is to decide on a color scheme. Do you want to have photos with a blue tint, neutral colors, or bold pops of red? If you’re an influencer who’s sharing your art or travel pictures, it might be a good idea to think about a single color that can reoccur regularly throughout your feed. If you’re a brand, it may be a little bit easier– just go with your brand colors.

Buddy Gardner Advertising Instagram Feed
On day 5 of a 19-day Instagram strategy, it became apparent that the Buddy Gardner Instagram feed made that middle column look like Christmas. Whoops! That's where better planning can help.

Plan Your Posts in Advance

It’s a good idea to think six or more posts ahead when you’re thinking about your Instagram strategy. Instagram arranges posts into rows of three, so six posts will be two full rows. If you can think even further in advance, that’s great, but six posts is probably a good minimum amount to start. Everyone makes mistakes on their feed when they’re starting out, but you’ll get better as you go along.

JLO Instagram feed with mistakes from poor planning
It's hard to say anything bad about Jennifer Lopez, but there are a few obvious problems with this collage on her Instagram feed. For one thing, it's been broken because she didn't commit to posting in threes. The line breaks on the models face create a somewhat disturbing look, too.

Some people will even upload three or more photos that work together to create a larger image. This can be beautiful and striking when it’s done correctly, but there are serious downsides as well. Unless you plan on always posting in groups of three images at the same time, your collage will eventually get thrown off and look bizarre. It’s also critical to think about where the breaks will fall between the smaller individual frames. See the image above for an example.

Planoly Instagram Scheduler Features
Planoly has some great features for free, and even more if you're willing to pay.

You can plan your Instagram feed yourself, thinking about how the posts will be arranged next to each other and above each other. It’s easier to make mistakes that way, though, especially if you’re not an Instagram expert yet. The easier option is to use an Instagram feed planning tool like Planoly. It has a free option in addition to paid options, so there’s no risk to dipping your toes in. Just upload several posts to their app, and you’ll be able to see how it will all come together on your feed.

For more Instagram feed tips, contact Buddy Gardner directly or join the mailing list below.

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