How To Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed (Multi-Passionate, Eclectic Aesthetic)
By Shana Lynn Yao
Instagram - you love it and want to grow on it - but gaining followers can be tricky and as I always say, it's both an ART and a SCIENCE to creating an Instagram strategy that works. Gone are the days of just posting a photo and attracting likes and followers because of it. Now with over 700 active users on the social media darling you love - it's now your job to gain clarity around how you can utilize one of the easiest and funnest ways to attract your tribe of followers who "get" you.
Whether you are a blogger or a business owner, developing a customized strategy begins with understanding YOU. This is about understanding your Instagram aesthetic - the NUMBER ONE thing that will attract your followers - and making sure it portrays YOUR aesthetic.
Did you know that you have an aesthetic? As the definition states, it's the artistic or beautiful qualities of something. Instagram is a photo app and understanding your own unique blueprint that makes your business, blog, and self shine is the solid foundation that will dictate your Instagram aesthetic.
Even if you are marketing a small business - YOU are the CEO of your brand and everything from your colors, your image, the pictures you choose - they all reflect on YOU.
Your aesthetic dictates the FEELING that your followers will get when they see your Instagram page. Without getting too woo woo, that feeling is a vibration - and without even telling them what you do - your vibe is your tribe!
CREATING YOUR COHESIVE ECLECTIC AESTHETIC
One of the most important things you need to know when you decide to create your own eclectic aesthetic is that you are not the first. You are not the first creative, multi-passionate person who decided to want to fully express your creative vision. In fact, unless you are a truly boring and average person (in which case you may want to stop reading now), you most likely have a personality.
Go figure. One of the things that always boggled my mind about online entrepreneurs is how afraid we are to show our true colors. While everyone talks about "niching down", choosing ONE thing to do - behind the scenes I meet multi-passionate people everyday. People with multiple interests, asking "how am I supposed to choose just one?"
In fact, you don't! Your Instagram (and really your life) needs a AESTHETIC/THEME - not handcuffs - to reign in your multi-passions, and a STRATEGY that works to tie it all together.
VENN DIAGRAM -If you think of your multi-passionate self and each of those passions are one of the circles in the diagram. Where they overlap is the INTERSECTION of your Instagram strategy.
If you think of it like a Venn Diagram (multiple circles that overlap) you are in the center and your interests and passions all have one common thing - that would be YOU and your multi-passionate self. Whatever you are blogging about, what your business or Youtube channel is about - at the center is YOU. And THAT is your superpower of your eclectic Instagram aesthetic.
Just look at those that have already mastered their own eclectic Instagram aesthetic and turned it into a cohesive branded IG page.
@mija_mija is one of my favorite examples of an eclectic and amazingly creative designer. Owned by designer Mirjam Flatau - she's so original that 865K people couldn't resist following her.
@songofstyle by Aimee Song's is a fashion blogger that shows that multi-passionate eclectic people can succeed doing anything you want on Instagram. Known for her colorful aesthetic and keen eye for design, she attracted over 4.6 million people on Instagram. (and wrote a best selling book on it Capture Your Style).
Is that proof enough??? Areyou ready to get started expressing your eclectic personality online?
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself that will determine your own eclectic and multi-passionate vibe:
1. What makes people follow you? As I said there are 700 million other accounts on Instagram and many of them are beautiful perfection. Why would someone click "follow" when they come to your page?
2. What is your value proposition? What do they get from you if they follow you? From the "vibe" to your images - no one wants to see things that aren't attractive to their eyes. What daily dose of ____ do you deliver everyday?
3. What makes you different? If you are a fashion blogger - there are HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of fashion bloggers on Instagram and the ones that are killing it, are killing it! So while you may not be able to compete with them, what makes you different? Are you edgy? Tragically hip? Sweet and pretty? If you are a flower shop, are you known for your customized bouquets? What makes you different?
Once you answer those questions, you have to understand how to express it visually. That means turning what I like to call your "beautiful mess" of what you are about - what your blog, business or YouTube channel is about, and turning it into a cohesive feed.
Important terms to tattoo on your forehead are:
COHESIVE: When disparate things fit together well - your Instagram page (the top 12 photos you see on your phone) flow well together.
BRANDING: The distinct difference - your unique point of view and vision about what you do.
CONSISTENCY: The way things are done the same way in timing and practice.
And now it's time to get busy perfecting your eclectic Instagram presence!
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN ECLECTIC INSTAGRAM AESTHETIC
If you haven't figured it out already, getting a drool-worthy, follower attracting Instagram feed is WORK. So if you're serious about gaining a presence on the darling of social media and one of the best ways to promote your blog or business, then you actually have to get serious about it. That means treating it like a business - spending time on it, talking to people, and making it your beautiful expression of your eclectic personality.
To plan your feed, you need to think of it as a magazine. The top 12 photos of your "magazine" are the ones a new follower will see. They see one indivdiual photo and then they see your page (the 12 photos). Those 12 photos should represent YOU and what your blog or business is about.
The first step is the thing that creates the cohesion. That would be your brand colors. I recommend choosing 3-4 base colors. Don't worry - we're talking eclectic so you don't only have to have those colors - but choose the base ones that best represent you and your personal style.
You don't have to only have those colors because...(drumroll please!) FILTERS exist! Filters help to tame your eclectic and multi-passionate personality into a beautiful not so messy mess.
So now that you have the cohesion and consistent colors/theme, you want to create your magazine.
You want to think of it as a pattern that creates an interesting magazine. Overall, you don't want to similar photos next to each other. I like to vary it so it creates an interesting flow to my followers eyes. So I would plan it like a close up selfie, a far away outfit photo, a thing (like a flatlay, a quote, a place, interior, etc), an outfit, a thing, etc etc. You want to vary in content and perspective (up close and far away and angles).
That's what eclectic is - it's variable and creative.
Did angels start singing? All I can say is thank God for editing apps. These life changing inventions literally can change a bad photo into a work of art. So if you want to have a perfect Instagram feed, you need to use at least the basic editing apps.
FACETUNE - I secretly wish my makeup mirror had this app on it! but truly, you will never see yourself in the same light after you try this app!
VSCO - Again, angels are singing! First of all, STOP using the Instagram filters - you MUST download VSCO if you want to really have fun with Instagram. Your eclectic expression will never be the same again.
SNAPSEED - This app not only builds a background for you to expand a photo, but allows you to add text, change certain areas of a photo, and so much more.
There are hundreds of thousands of other apps, but those are my favorite.
So once you have your photos, you want to plan your feed. Think of it as a magazine. When someone new comes to your page and considers following you, why should they follow you? They see one photo, and then if they want to see more they will click to your page and see the top 12 photos.
That is your magazine. Your Instagram magazine. Obviously, that magazine will change everyday and every time you post. That means that you should set up a system that ensures that who you are - your personal brand - is communicated visually within those 12 photos.
ATTRACTING A HIGH VIBE TRIBE
By now I'm sure you are realizing that mastering Instagram, whether you are multi-passionate or niched-down, is WORK! It's a process and just like anything that matters, it requires you to treat it as a business (or rather make it part of your business).
With the Instagram algorithm, understanding and creating a strategy that works, varies between WHO your tribe is. Who are your followers or the followers you want to attract? When are they online? Are they on Instagram all day or once a day?
All of those things matter, along with your brand/visual communication cohesiveness of your page. That means - LOOKS MATTER. Instagram is a VISUAL APP - that means looks matter, along with the value proposition you offer with your page.
Due to the algorithm, Instagram serves up your photos to your followers not by time of your post but by relevance. So if a user has engaged, liked or commented on your photo, it will move to the top of their feed. But so will ALL of the posts you did within 48 hours.
Depending on your following and content, that may or may not be a good thing. In fact, many IG users lose followers due to an overabundance of content that your followers don't want to see.
That being said, a few tips to help you grow your following include:
CONSISTENCY - While many influencers say to only post once a day so you aren't spamming people with an overabundance of photos, some say to post 3-5 x a day. But whichever you choose, it needs to be consistent. Once a day everyday. 3 x a day everyday. Whatever you choose, make it consistent.
REAL LIFE - Not surprisingly, carefully crafted feeds that don't have a personality behind it, don't attract an engaged tribe. In fact, fashion blogger influencers say that when they take photos with their iphone over their DSLR camera, they get the most engagement. Takeaway? It needs to have a personality but still look classy and put together.
ENGAGEMENT - Instagram is a social media app - that means - GET SOCIAL! If someone comments on your feed, reply. Engage. Go like some of their posts.
The bottom line is, if you choose to be on Instagram and use it to attract business, you need to treat it like a business. And on that note, are we connected on Instagram yet? If not, I'm @total_genius. Share our page below and let's connect!
If you need help with your Instagram strategy, comment below or message me! Let's get you your "Insta-success" on your favorite social media platform.
Shana Yao is Creative Director and Founder of Total Genius® where your personal style becomes your personal brand. Understanding your own personal style and brand story is the foundation of a solid brand, communicated on your website, social media, and voice. You can connect with her @total_genius on Instagram
LOVE THIS? YOU MAY ALSO LOVE...