The visuals

Instagram is a visual platform. When you log in, the first thing you see is images. So you need to be sharing images that catch people’s attention.

But also, images that work for your subject, and your niche within that subject – and, importantly, for your ideal customers.

I loved having a graphic designer create templates for @therobora feed to match the website branding. It made it so much easier for me create quote boxes, and frames for photos.

And I then went and designed my own branding for @annieridout, using Canva. I actually had a headshot taken, wearing a pastel-coloured jumpsuit (see profile photo below) – and I based the ‘brand colours’ (of my posts and Stories highlights) on the colours in that jumpsuit…

 

If you have the funds to get someone to do your website branding, and add in Instagram feed branding too – great.

I’m actually paid someone to update The Robora feed recently, adding in some new brand colours, so that there were more options. We were choosing between these colour-ways…

And then she designed some fun boxes to breathe new life into the grid…

But if funds are limited, you can have a go yourself on Canva. It’s free to use, and there are loads of templates to give you ideas.

You can create an account (if you haven’t already) then click ‘create a design’ and select ‘Instagram post’.

Once the new window opens, you’ll see suggested templates on the lefthand side. Lots of them are free, but others will be labelled ‘pro’ and you’ll need to upgrade your account (and pay) to access them.

Once you’ve selected a template, you can play around with the colours and fonts. And Canva makes it really simple to get the spacing right, with lots of guidelines.

But if you’re not a graphic designer, and you have no clue about how to make it look good, my advice is this:

RESEARCH.

Look at other people’s feeds.

What do you like, and what doesn’t work for you?

Maybe you’re not so into the ‘branded’ feed – with specific colours, fonts and quote boxes – and prefer just photographs.

If your feed will be just photographs: what will those photographs be of – you? Your products?

Here are some examples of branded feeds that draw on their website branding to create type-based posts, as well as templates/frames for photos…

And some photo-based feeds, that create a branded feel by the way they photograph their product…

You could create a board on Pinterest, with images of Instagram feeds you like. Can you see something that ties them together?

  • Colours
  • Whether they look ‘busy’ or ‘minimalist’
  • Colourful
  • Mostly text
  • People

And when you’re doing your research, look at people working in your industry as well as people doing completely different work to you.

You might work in food but find a yoga feed that inspires you.

And also, you don’t want to straight-up copy one of your peers, so looking at people from other industries will also make this less likely to happen.

But what I’ve found is that it can take time to work out how your feed should look.

You may change how you photograph your product, or get some professional headshots that then take your feed in a new visual direction.

Or find a template for your posts that works initially but that you feel bored of in time, so you need an update (as I’m doing with The Robora feed).