I encounter this question a lot on the various facebook groups that I’m a part of: Should you carefully style and curate your instagram feed, or do you go for real life images in order to be more authentic?
I love Instagram. It’s perhaps my favourite social media platform of all, and one that I check several times a day. Most of the ones I follow are creative accounts that give me my dose of color, type, photography, or artistic inspiration. As a platform, it’s not really the best one for promoting anything because the images are not clickable. (Although you can change the link in your profile if you really want to use Instagram for promoting a blog post or something.) What it’s really great for is establishing your brand’s style, sharing behind the scenes images of your work, connecting with like minded people, and introducing your brand to potential cusomers.
Authenticity is a very tricky word. Some people think that to be authentic you should avoid any styling whatsoever and just post whatever you see as it is. But creative entrepreneurs and artists live in a world in which styling is an important part of it. For example, just because I made the effort to place a jar of pink flowers on my desk to complement the pink roses on my Royal Doulton mug doesn’t mean that I’m not being real. I like my surroundings to be pretty! I constantly rearrange stuff around our home to create pretty vignettes that may or may not last long, and so I take pictures of them and share them. That is my reality. I have a clean, organized home, and I like to decorate. (You will never find images of piles of unwashed laundry or a messy kitchen on my feed because that’s not me. ) I also love to paint flowers and create fashion illustrations, so you will find a lot of that on my Instagram feed.
When I started with Instagram, I didn’t have any plans of turning it into a business account. I just loved how you’re able to take artsy pictures with your phone and share them. It gradually evolved into a business account after a few months, and that’s when I started carefully curating my images. I took pointers from observing how other creatives manage their feed. Here’s what I learned from them:
1) Post less. Post only when you have a great image to share instead of commiting to a schedule of some sort. I know that other social media experts believe you should post frequently, but I don’t subscribe to that. Either post high quality images consistent with your brand, or none at all.
2) Curate. Obviously very much related to the first tip. Carefully edit your feed. I go over my images a few times and delete those that are inconsistent with the overall aesthetic. I do post a few rare selfies (once or twice a year, max) just so people know there’s a real person behind @patfancygirl. My images are mostly well-lit, colorful and bright. I’m not a somber person, and neither is my work. My instagram feed reflects that.
3) Improve your photography skills. You don’t have to use a high end camera, but make sure you get proper lighting and that your images are clear. The camera on my iPhone 6 is great, thank goodness. I still use apps to edit my photos for contrast and brightness though. My go-to app is PicTapGo, which is really fantastic. The filters I most often use are lights on, brightside, and + contrast.
4) Be consistent. Experiment with angles, lighting, mood and format until you’ve found your favourites. Then stick to it. If you plan to change it, make it evolve gradually so that the new style doesn’t look out of place in your feed. They don’t have to be exactly the same, but make sure they tell the same story.
I have to admit I’m not very good at staying consistent. As an artist, I love to experiment, and sometimes I find new inspiration that takes me on another direction. It’s all part of my creative journey, and whatever new things I learn from these experiments become a part of who I am. And so, just like my taste & style, my instagram feed also evolves over time.
What about you? How do you manage your Instagram feed? Do share in the comments!
And do follow me on instagram if you want a dose of pretty!
Thank you for this very informative and lovely post, Pat. Very well said and I’m truly learning a lot from you, especially since I haven’t really mastered curating my IG posts. Sigh. Thank you, thank you!
thanks for all the helpful tips Pat! I love your IG feeds! It really brightens up my day!:-) i am still learning and in the process of having an IG signature look, of course i want it to be unique, pretty and reflects me! Thanks again for the wonderful tips!
You’re welcome, Maricel! I feel you. It’s hard to curate when you love so many things. 🙂