Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has taken the world by storm. Undeniably the #1 social media app within the hearts of users, even if not factually, it’s estimated around 60% of the world’s digital population has an account. Over 95 million photos are shared every single day, while around 50% of users are accessing The Gram daily to check them out; the numbers are baffling, so there’s no surprise that more and more of us are turning to the platform as a creative outlet and hub of inspiration. It took me a long time to get on the Instagram bandwagon, and even longer to find my feet, but now I’ve been able to refine what I share and how I share it my engagement has never been better. Long gone are the days when you could just snap something, chuck in a few hashtags and hope for the best – now the app is all about the heavily curated, overly edited and inspirational content (whether we like it or not.) So whether you want to up your game, take the channel more seriously or simply start sharing your content in new ways, here are seven ways to make your Instagram look better – plus the best Instagram planning and editing apps to help you.
DECIDE ON YOUR CONTENT PILLARS
First up, what are you planning to share on your Instagram page? Will it be beauty tutorials or new product finds, or shots of you wearing something fabulous and sipping cocktails? Will it be niche or generally lifestyle? Deciding what you will (and most importantly) won’t share on your page will guide you towards creating a cohesive identity and ensure you don’t spam those baby pics if they’re not really what your audience is after. Having three or four key areas will guide your content creation and ensure followers new and old know what to expect; for me it’s all about fashion, beauty, travel and food (namely coffee and cake!) in that order.
NAIL YOUR BIO
Your social media bios provide a great way of telling new followers who you are and what they can expect from your feeds. There’s not a lot of space, so it’s important to make the most of every character and showcase everything that’s great about you. Try to avoid including information that’s irrelevant to your followers (nobody cares if you’re a yoga pro unless you’re showing off your skills on your Insta Stories!) or anything overly personal; it’s just a quick snapshot of all the topics you cover and what they can expect from your feeds. Why not utilise linktr.ee too, providing easy to use links that direct followers to your new post or more info about you?
ONLY SHARE YOUR BEST
An amazing tip I picked up from Sara from Me & Orla was to only share the content you’re proud of, and anything less than your best should be shelved or shared elsewhere. I used to snap and share just for the sake of it, or post images that were so far from my best just to tick off something from my to-do list that day – but the result was a grid that wasn’t doing me justice and wasn’t generating the engagement I wanted. Since I’ve adopted this rule and have become way more picky over what I share (directing those less than perfect shots over to Twitter or Insta Stories) my overall feed has become something I’m super proud of. Don’t pressure yourself, but also think twice about every shot you’re sharing; you want to make your Instagram look better without hesitating to press publish.
PICK A COLOUR THEME
Will your feed be predominately pink and white, or do you love greens and blues? Is a dark and moody grid your thing, or are you into tropical hues and greenery? Picking an overall colour theme or spectrum will help to guide your content and ensure a feed that feels uniquely you; it may be that you want to always include a pop of yellow, or edit your photos with a certain undertone, or just that you won’t go anywhere near pastels. I love a bit of colour, but I try to stick to the muted brights and pops of pink/red/burgandy that seem to work well – but experimentation and evolution is key.
For the longest time I wondered how those Insta Stars were able to make every photo look so incredible. My editing skills were not up to scratch and my grid was just looking a little lacklustre; too many colours, not enough clarity, no consistency. Since I’ve started to work with Lightroom (a free app that allows you to edit beautifully) my grid has never looked better, if I say so myself, as the preset themes I use ensure a cohesive feel in all of my snaps. The secret to 90% of those curated feeds is a great preset, which are available to buy easily and quickly from Etsy (or about a million different other sites!) You just import them into your app and paste the settings of the preset you want to use, easily editing your image and ensuring it looks amazing in seconds – this makes such a difference I’ve gone back to snapping on my phone for the first time in years. If you’re not down with Lightroom (which is the blogger fave) you can also turn to other amazing Instagram editing apps including Snapseed, Afterlight and VSCO – all of which will all help to make your Instagram look better in the long run. Facetune also provides an easy way to sharpen details and smooth out backgrounds (or get rid of that huge pimple you’d rather not share.)
PLAN YOUR GRID
One of the things that really changed the way I ‘gram was downloading a planning app, which allows you to see how photos look in close proximity before you hit publish. Spacing out those floral displays, backgrounds that look to similar or poses that are from the ‘I only stand two ways’ blogger handbook can make the world of difference – because more and more of us are checking out the whole grid before we choose whether or not to press follow. I use Mosaico, but some of the best Instagram planning apps include Planoly, Unum, Plann and Preview; most are free to start with but require either a subscription or one off payment, but it’s totally worth the small investment to have visibility over your posts in the coming days and weeks. I choose to post ‘one of me, one of something else’ to ensure variety in my content, but how you plan is totally up to you!
DON’T FORGET STORIES
I do love an Insta Story. It’s a great way to share a snippet of what I’m up to without the care and attention often required on The Grid; sharing insight into your life, your blogging journey and your recommendations provides another way to connect with your audience – but in a less formal way. If you want to improve the look and feel of your Insta Stories, then sticking with one text and colour scheme will help create consistency; little doodles or graphics will help your content feel like your own, while starting themes or edits allows you to share information in new ways. Those little highlight bubbles also provide an amazing way of keeping your fave content live for longer, so create little graphic headers in your colour scheme and update them as much as you can.
If you use my tips, take a little more time and create your own little Insta brand online, you’ll easily be able to make your Instagram look better and generate far more engagement too.
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