Congratulations. You’ve officially created your very own Instagram account, and you’re ready to start building an engaged following.
You probably already know a few of the things that you’re going to need to make your Instagram account stand out. For instance, all Insta users need an excellent selection of content to choose from (both videos, and pictures), as well as a great posting schedule.
However, if you’ve been doing your research into Instagram, you may have heard of something else too – the Instagram aesthetic.
As a highly visual social media platform, your success on Instagram will depend heavily on your ability to delight your customers and followers with an attractive feed. Creating an Instagram aesthetic means choosing a visual identity that can run through all of your content, from your IGTV videos, to your Stories and Highlights.
Why You Need an Instagram Aesthetic
You might be wondering why you need to bother with an Instagram aesthetic at all, particularly if you’ve already got a strong promotional strategy in place to earn more likes and followers.
The simple answer is that an Instagram aesthetic is one of the easiest ways to get more engagement and grow your account. In 2020, knowing how to excel with your Instagram appearance is likely to be more important than ever. After all, with 1 billion users now on Instagram, there’s a huge amount of competition out there.
The good news? More people than ever before are now turning to Instagram to find the brands and companies that they want to interact with. A cohesive Instagram aesthetic could be just as valuable to your bottom line as your home page.
So, how do you create an Instagram Aesthetic that will captivate your audience in 2020?
Let’s find out.
Step 1: Choose a Theme for your Aesthetic
First things first, you’ll need to decide on the kind of image you want to build for your profile. There are a number of factors that can affect your choice here. For instance, you’ll want to opt for something that’s reflective of your existing brand. If your website and logo uses brand colors red and orange, then you’ll want to stick with warm shades on Instagram too.
While you’re still experimenting with your Instagram aesthetic, color will be vital to your feed choices. The good news is that color can be incredibly valuable. Studies have found that color influencers buyer decisions by up to 85% and improves brand recognition by 80%.
At the same time, you’ll need to consider how you want your Instagram aesthetic to make other people feel. Are you hoping to inspire people with bright and whimsical pictures? Do you want to create seduction and mystery with darker colors?
Once you’ve chosen the colors that are representative of your business, and the personality that you want to convey with your content, incorporate those things into your posts. Once you start sticking to a specific theme, you’ll notice that your Instagram page looks a lot more cohesive. Look at how the Tough Mudder Instagram page constantly includes shades of orange and brown to create its theme.
Remember to keep the kind of content you’re going to be posting in mind when you choose your aesthetic too. If you’re taking photos of LA, for instance, you might struggle to create a whimsical and feminine theme for your followers.
Step 2: Examine the Competition
Once you have an idea of the general color scheme and personality that you want to get across, it’s worth looking at some other leading brands in your industry. While you should never just copy and paste someone else’s Instagram aesthetic, you can get an insight into how to make the most of your new, cohesive feed by looking at other accounts.
Checking out the competition will help you to see how certain colors can blend well together to support your feed. You’ll get some ideas on how to make each of your posts unique, and how you can help products to stand out in pictures and videos. Competitor analysis also gives you an opportunity to ensure that you’re not doing anything too similar to your competition.
Take a look at brands like Recess for instance. As a sparkling water brand, this company could have easily created a pretty boring or generic feed, all about blues and bodies of water. However, they decided to do something different. The amazing pastel shades throughout the brand’s Instagram feed really draw the eye. Additionally, the unique content in each image is very appealing too:
Step 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Edit
For an Aesthetic to be effective, it needs to be cohesive and consistent. To achieve this, you’re going to need to spend some time on your editing process. When you’re creating images directly through the Instagram app, you can make sure that you’re always using the same filters or editing “rules” whenever you post something new.
However, if you’re looking to give your images a more professional finish, then you might decide to upload them to your PC before you put them on Instagram. If that’s the case, you might work with your designers to create a selection of ready-made Lightroom presets for Adobe that adhere to your unique sense of style.
While there are plenty of editing tools out there that you can use for Instagram, Lightroom can be particularly useful for many brands, as it allows you to create a one-click editing process. Make sure that you follow the same rules with each of your images, so nothing appears more or less edited than usual. For instance, check out the constantly professional appearance of the Pantone Instagram feed.
Step 4: Experiment with Your Content
Just because you need to be consistent with your Instagram Aesthetic, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend some time experimenting. When you’re first getting started on Instagram, it might take a little while to find a strategy that works perfectly for you.
A few golden rules for aesthetic experimentation include:
- Stick with clean backgrounds. Unless you’re travelling and taking pictures of beautiful landscapes, it’s best to stick with simple, clean backgrounds that enhance the visual focus of your picture. Check out this example from Old Navy, for instance:
- Try borders: Borders can be a great way to make your feed look cleaner and well-organized. They add the illusion of space and ensure that your feed looks visually consistent. Unfortunately, they do take a little more editing prowess to get right. However, there are plenty of tools that can help you out with borders.
- Aim for balance: Whatever you do, make sure that you aim for balance with your Instagram Aesthetic. Situate the busiest photos on your feed with some of the more minimalist images. Mix things up when it comes to subject and background, and make sure that you experiment with different kinds of post too. For instance, you might post behind-the-scenes videos alongside product pictures and text-based content. Look at how Adobe combines highly detailed photos with simpler, illustrated images:
Step 5: Always Plan Ahead
We’ve mentioned a few times now that it’s crucial for any Instagram aesthetic to remain consistent. However, it’s hard to organize a cohesive and well-balanced feed if you don’t know what your grid is going to look like from one week to the next. You can’t just post images at random if you want an amazing aesthetic. You need a plan.
Planning your feed out in advance allows you to get a feel for what your Instagram grid is going to look like. This means that you can figure out which photos and videos will look best next to each other, and which posts might clash. You can even use your plan to figure out where you need another splash of focus color from your brand, and where you might need to tone things down.
Although planning your feed in advance might sound like a daunting task, it’s crucial for maintaining your Instagram Aesthetic once you’ve found it. The good news is that there are a number of helpful tools out there like Planoly.com that can help you with your strategy.
If you take a look at the Vitruvi essential oils company, you’ll see clear evidence of great planning throughout. After all, it would be hard to create Vitruvi’s signature neutral appeal in a way that didn’t look boring without plenty of prep work:
Step 6: Don’t Stop with Your Feed
Once you’ve found a unique, compelling and cohesive Instagram aesthetic, it’s time to put it to work. That means that you don’t just need to plan out your Instagram feed for the next few months, you need to think about the rest of your Instagram strategy too. After all, if your feed looks amazing and well-planned, but your Stories page looks as though it was designed by someone who has never seen your brand before, people are going to get confused.
Write a list of:
- Your brand colors
- The themes you want to use
- The rules you have for editing images/videos
- Your brand vision
- The personality you want to convey
- Your posting schedule
- The filters you need to use
Once you have all of that information laid out, take it with you through each aspect of your Instagram account, including your IGTV videos, your Instagram Stories, and more. If you think that your Instagram Stories style guide might be hard to follow, you can even build and re-use Instagram templates to keep your imagery consistent.
The idea is that by the time you’re done updating your Instagram account, your followers will get the same experience no matter how they choose to interact with you. It’s this kind of consistency that makes your brand more memorable to your fans.
Step 7: Don’t Forget the Little Things
Finally, remember that the smallest things can make a big difference to your Instagram aesthetic. The lighting you use in your images, the angle that you take each picture from – even the length and scope of your videos can affect what your feed is like. One small change that makes a huge difference to the look and feel of your account is your Instagram Highlights.
The Highlights that you create on Instagram are snippets from your Stories that you want to last on your account. You can add covers to these snippets that appear just beneath your username and bio on your Instagram profile. Choosing highlight covers that match the rest of your Instagram aesthetic will help to tie the rest of your profile together.
Check out how Fabletics conveys a compelling personality and consistent image in their selection of highlights here:
Using the same background color and a simple, illustrated design for each Highlight cover makes Fabletics seem more friendly and welcoming. At the same time, when combined with the rest of the company’s Instagram feed, the Highlights help to enhance the feminine appeal of the brand.
Ready to Create your Instagram Aesthetic?
Anyone can post at random to Instagram and share beautiful pictures with the world.
However, if you want to create a truly unforgettable feed that speaks to customers about your brand or personality, you need something special. An Instagram Aesthetic is how you set yourself apart from the other casual Instagram users out there today. Choose the right aesthetic, and you can deliver a truly amazing and unforgettable experience for your audience.
Follow the six tips above, and don’t forget to have fun when you’re building your image. Experiment with colors and themes and find the strategies that appeal most to you and your target audience. At the same time, remember to connect with SocialFollow.co for more tips and trips on how to grow your Instagram following at an incredible pace.