There are a whole host of things that aid growth on Instagram; consistent posting, engaging with followers and similar accounts, a strong hashtag strategy, use of Instagram stories.
But one of the easiest ways to draw in new followers remains the Instagram feed.
Today, I’ll run you through how to create a cohesive feed that will draw in followers and help you grow on Instagram.
What does a cohesive feed mean?
Your Instagram feed is the grid of photos/ videos that shows up on your profile page.
Having a cohesive feed means that the pictures match in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing. This could be in terms of photo style, colours or patterns used.
Often, this also means followers can spot your photos before even seeing your username.
Why is it important to have a cohesive feed?
It’s unlikely potential followers will just randomly land on your feed. For them to find you, you’ll need a strong hashtag strategy.
But when people do reach your feed, the first 9-12 photos they see will help them to decide whether to click that follow button.
If your feed is aesthetically pleasing and cohesive, it’s much more likely they’ll choose to follow you (and also continue following in the long run).
My tops tips
It’s easy to say that having a cohesive feed is important, but how do you actually achieve that?
Find your aesthetic and choose a colour pallet
Before even beginning to craft your theme, decide on a general aesthetic. Do you want your feed to be light or dark? Lots of bright colours or more muted? Minimalist photos or a more cluttered feed?
It might be difficult to decide at first, but don’t worry- it’s going to keep changing as you grow and experiment.
The aesthetic you choose will also depend on the niche you’re in. Lifestyle bloggers tend to go for brighter, outdoors photos, studygrammers might go for more muted simple photos, whilst young business owners might choose darker flatlays (these are general- they are not applicable to everyone in these niches).
Try checking out some accounts in the same niche as you to see if there is a general pattern.
Notice also if they focus on any specific colours. This will help you to develop your own colour pallet (don’t worry! This will also change over time).
Choose 2-4 colours to stick with- these will make up your feed.
As you can see, my aesthetic is a lot more minimalist. I focus on whites, light pinks/ beiges and greys, with the occasional pop of colour.
My highlights are also colour-co-ordinated to match my feed.
Take photos at the same time each day
This is another really easy way to keep your feed looking neat and aesthetic.
Natural sunlight is extremely important for Instagram photos, so choose a room hat captures the most light, and a time of day when there is the most sun entering.
It’s much easier to edit a bright photo darker than a dark photo lighter so by taking photos at the same time, when there is the most light, you’ll also save a lot of time editing.
Batching photos helps both to save you time, and ensure your photos look cohesive.
This won’t work for all niches (e.g. travel/ cooking instagrammers) but it works really well for flatlay/ desk setups or fashion/ lifestyle bloggers.
Block out an hour or two and create 5-10 different set-ups to photograph (depending on how long your photos take to set up, you might need a little more time).
But don’t just stop there! By using different angles and repositioning certain objects, or changing outfits, you will be able to get get 3-4 different photos out of each set-up.
Overall, one 1-2 hour photo-taking session usually leaves me with about 20-30 photos. This is so much easier than taking 20 minutes to take a new photo every time you want to post.
This is not only a great time-saver, it also means the lighting will be similar across a wide range of images, because they were taken at the same time.
Edit them using the same preset
Once you have the images ready, this is the last step in making them look aesthetically pleasing before they launch onto the feed.
There are hundreds of different editing apps and thousands of ways to edit your photos. Some of the best apps for editing Instagram photos are:
- Photoshop lightroom
I have spent time using them all and my personal favourite is Photoshop Lightroom (there are paid and free options). It offers a wide range of presets and editing tools.
Ok, so you’ve chosen an app- but what do you actually do on it now?
I would suggest spending some time experimenting with brightness/ exposure (how light do you want your photos?), saturation, contrast (will your photos be more vibrant or more muted?), warmth, and different colour tones (this is where you come back to your colour pallet).
Beyond these basics, there is a whole world of presets and themes that you can purchase, or get for free through many of these editing apps. A preset is just a combination of different edits that you can save and put straight onto a photo instead of having to do each one separately.
I personally use Lightroom Presets and I have 3-5 similar presets saved to use on different styles of photos. I find this saves me so much time editing- all I have to do after adding the preset is adjust the brightness or contrast a little bit to help it match.
Use a scheduling app to arrange your photos
There is just one more step before your photos go onto Instagram.
By using a scheduling app like Preview, you can do just that- preview how your feed will look with the photos you haven’t yet posted.
It’s important that your 9-grid (the latest 9 photos on your profile) matches and looks cohesive. So play around with photo positions and try to get a mix of angles (i.e. don’t post 3 flatlays in a row).
All this feels like a lot of work, but you don’t have to be perfect right from the beginning.
Take time to experiment with different photo styles, lighting and editing software. Over time, you’ll figure out what works and doesn’t work for your theme, and your aesthetic will naturally develop.
Look for inspiration
If your feed feels a little meh and you’re not sure how to spice it up, look to other accounts for inspiration!
Make sure not to copy any photos too closely, but take notes on how you can recreate and restyle photos to fit your own feed.
I have a whole Pinterest board just for flatlay inspiration.
Are you trying to craft a cohesive theme on Instagram? Are these tips helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can connect with me directly on any of my social medias.