Instagram 101: Building your aesthetic and instagram tips

So you're starting to get your blog together and your social media is in the works. Perfect! But what do you want your feed to look like?
I found building my aesthetic took the longest for me. It was hard to really narrow down how I wanted my feed to look and what I wanted to do with it. Even now I'm changing how I post and edit. It's definitely something that doesn't happen over night and it takes a lot of time to really perfect your look. So, without further delay, lets talk about editing your feed and coming up with your aesthetic.

First off, I say focusing on your 'brand image' is the best place to start. Obviously we'll use myself as the example. I have a huge focus on minimalism and that's kind of the gist of my style. So with that, I decided to focus in on a more simplistic feed and focused on keeping that consistency with my posts. Before switching my feed to a moodier aesthetic, I focused heavily on white exposure and that desaturated vibe to the photos. It proved extremely challenging when trying to location scout and keep consistency through my posts. Lots of editing had to go into the white exposure, and facetune's whiten feature became my best friend. (I know you're supposed to use it for teeth but whatever.)

After establishing my theme, it came down to curating the posts to have a solid flow between shots. With an overexposed and desaturated theme, keeping the flow because extremely tedious. I had to really focus on my top 6 photos and how much white exposure was in the shot or how much grey/black took up the frame. If I was wearing nudes, were they making the theme too light to pair black beside? And what if I wore a piece of colour? Would it throw off my entire feed?

A good way to avoid the "can I post this next?" question is to look into downloading the pre-post apps for instagram. They give you a full grid where you can upload and position photos to curate the perfect feed and lock in your "what to post next" shots. It's extremely helpful when you're stuck on your next post and can allow you to curate your feed weeks in advance.
I personally don't use this option, BUT I do use instagram drafts. I'd say it's my secret weapon to having posts at the ready and keeping with a consistent post schedule and allows me to have content at the ready no matter what I'm doing. I normally like to keep 10-15 drafts on my instagram account at all times and panic when I hit anything less.
To save a draft, just go along as if you're about to post a regular photo, but instead of hitting 'share', you can tap back until instagram saves the draft. You can pre-set captions, location tags and people tags in the shot as well. Synced up to a facebook page? You can save that on the post too!

With new updates, instagram has also brought in the Business Account. This is EXTREMELY useful, but has been rumoured to lead to a few problems with your account. Similar to facebook, once you've established a business page, you have access to ads. But with that access comes downfall. With new algorithms in place, your account could actually suffer engagement based on your business status. The business account allows you features like insights that provide you with location specifics, gender specifics and age. But it also affects your placement in instagram's new algorithm, lowering your account's exposure and causing your engagement to decrease. With less exposure, you become more inclined to pay for ads, building revenue on the app, and 'hopefully' boosting your account. I had tried out an instagram ad when it first started. I think I put in about $25 to gain about 2-3 followers over the span of 5 days. I found that engaging and establishing a community resulted in more follower gains than instagram ads. But we'll talk about community in a different post.

If you'e not interested in switching over to a business account, you can outsource apps that will provide you with very similar features. I personally use 'Followers+'. It helps me track my % of engagement on my photos and will also show who has unfollowed, who I mutually follow and who doesn't follow me back. Those are more of the main features on the app, but you can also track average likes, likes total, comments total, followers who have followed you the longest, oldest instagram users that follow you, and ideal post times.
Now that I've brought it up, lets talk a bit about engagement. Your engagement has become and extremely important part of your feed. Look at your follower number, and using 'followers+', see what % of engagement your most recent post has gotten. For an authentic engagement, companies and brands look for a 3-6% engagement rate, including comments/likes. I like to hit anywhere from 5-8% as a goal with each post. Obviously if you're hitting that 3-6, you're doing it right. It can be harder to maintain as the numbers continue to increase, but it's always good to keep track and make sure you're providing an accurate and honest engagement. There are sites that will track if you've bought followers/likes so it can turn around to bite you in the back if you have.

Well those are all my tips for curating and maintaining your instagram account! Expect a second rounf of 'Instagram 101's. Next we're gonna talk about establishing your community and working together to help establish you in your niche and partnering with other bloggers to benefit both of your instagram blogger/influencer careers!


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