Instagram is the golden rule. It’s the talk of the blogging town, so it’s no secret that everyone is hopping on the Insta-train in the hopes of creating dynamic profiles that rake in followers and interaction and brand-building goodness. But as anyone who has tried to grow an Instagram following (ie, all of us) knows, it’s HARD. Everyone and their mother wants to know the secrets to growing, keeping, and engaging a following, and there are countless courses and classes out there now to “tell all” and position you towards Insta-growth. But Insta-growth doesn’t come instantly (sad, I know). So first thing’s first: just like on The Bachelor, the whole thing is a journey. There is no overnight secret to Insta-fame, and everyone who tries to sell you that is full of you-know-what. 😉 To truly have a blossoming Instagram profile, a few things have to be in play. One of those things? Having a theme to your Instagram.
If you’re sitting here with your cuppa joe like, “Girlfriend, what the heck is a theme? I just figured out how to post rectangular photos…” then no worries – consider this your 411.
How to theme your Instagram account:
An overall rule of thumb for how to theme your Instagram: tell a story in nine. Your Instagram profile as a nine-image grid (it’s 3×3!) should flow from one photo to the next, because potential new fans and followers won’t be seeing just one photo in isolation – they’ll be seeing the whole shebang as that 3×3 grid, so make sure the shebang is follow-worthy in its entirety. Instead of worrying about the hundreds or thousands of photos you’ve ever posted, just worry about each set of nine; in doing so, you’ll end up with a gorgeous, flowing profile anyways!
If you think about your favorite feeds to follow, they most likely emulate a certain vibe or tell a certain story through the images they post – a theme that essentially defines the account or brand.
- Wildfox Couture describes themselves as “vintage inspired clothing for dreamers, lovers, skinny dippers & barefoot explorers.” Their images have a near-ethereal vibe with loads of pale pink, sparkles, and running-through-a-field shots that clearly speak to a very boho chic, laidback brand. They’ve got 1 million followers buying into it, too.
- Levo League is a great resource for career tips and professional advice for the millennial female. The company’s theme is very bright and techy, with many pictures featuring iPhones and laptops and branded inspirational quotes with white space. They’ve built a community of 64K followers.
- A Beautiful Mess is one of the most popular Insta-feeds that’s nearly entirely follower-curated. The theme seems pretty simple: the brighter the better. Colors are punchy and really pop, making their feed an instant burst of energy.
To make it easy peasy, I’ve summed up how to theme your Instagram into an overarching key: It’s all about balance. Specifically, four different balances will come into play, so I’ll dive into those below.
- Color balance.
- Is your feed full of brights? Grayscale? Pops of pink? Your Instagram “theme” is a reflection of your brand. While there is so much more to brand than color (click here for the difference between design, branding, and brand), staying true to a color story is an important element of your brand. This means no hoppin’ from a black-and-white shot to something with loads of green, to another something that’s predominantly white with a few polka dots…it’s all over the place. You don’t throw (hopefully) whatever the heck clothes you feel like wearing all on at the same time – you try to coordinate so that your outfit “works” from head to toe. Your grid of nine on your Instagram profile is now your “head to toe” outfit, so make sure it all gels and wouldn’t land you on What Not to Wear. 😉
- Keep it uniform. While non-filtered photos statistically perform better, if you are adding a filter, stick to the same one or two each time around the Insta-block.
- Find really good apps to edit with so that your process becomes simple and easy. These are the five best Instagram editing apps that you’ve gotta be using!
- Spatial balance.
- White space, filled space…space really is the kicker when it comes to creating an Instagram profile that seamlessly flows. Try to have a good mix between photos with more white space (typically farther back photos with a small focal point and lots of – you guessed it! – blank or “white” space around) and a busy, fuller photo (like one with you and your friends). An easy way to think about it might be in terms of “zoom.” If you’ve got two photos in a row that are more “zoomed out” followed by three that are really up close n’ personal with the photo subject, they might lack cohesion when grouped all together in your 3×3 grid of nine. Either go all zoomed out, all zoomed in, or mix it up!
- Focal balance.
- Do you only post groups of people? Individuals or selfies? Product flatlays, or other lifestyle shots without a face in the photo? Same with the previous punch line…either go all of one, all of another, or smartly mix it up. Unless your Instagram account is purposefully only one specific thing where each photo must contain said specific thing (like menandcoffee), balance your subjects.
- Content balance.
- I like to think of it this way: pick a few “buckets of stuff” that fall within your brand umbrella, and stick to primarily posting those! For me, roses are a big piece of my brand (Couldja tell? Ha!), as are inspirational tidbits, so typically within every grid of nine of mine you’ll find roses and something inspirational. I also love sharing style tips for us chicas on a budget, so I’ve got shoppable links and fun brands that I think you’ll like over on my Instagram, too. I try to keep it all balanced out so that my followers are never being bombarded by only one thing in the content bucket over another. Make sense?
Does your Instagram have a theme?
I hope this was a super helpful guide to how to theme your Instagram – if you’re confused on anything or want more clarification or examples on any points, pleasepleaseplease shoot my an email or comment below, because I’d love to help ya!
Next, follow me on Instagram if you’re not already. Because that’s fun. And because I post bright, fun, chic style and inspiration on the reg, + attractive cups of coffee and bouquets of flowers and lots of pink.
And lastly, be sure to download the completely free guide to growing on Instagram that I whipped together in ~four hours. It’s six pages long and JAM PACKED with tips to help debunk why you’re feeling stuck in place with your following.