5 Expert Tips For Curating Content for A Craveable Instagram Feed
Curating for Instagram is a mix of art direction, styling, content creation, and strategy .
It’s a balance between the strategic part of marketing with the creative side of content creation.
Most people think that curating content for Instagram is all rainbows and butterflies of fun. Don't get me wrong, it is. But truth be told, it takes an expert eye and a strategic mind to make visual assets impactful (shall we say craveable), especially on visual social platforms, like Instagram.
At Craveable Social, we help clients with this on a monthly and ongoing basis. Clients hand us off their project and content libraries, we sift and curate images for their feeds for the month ahead, or curate stock images or using a combination of both. A lot of times creating these visual assets like quotes or branded images. But the process doesn't stop there. We then have to edit the photos in Lightroom so that they are in sync and tell a cohesive story.
Telling a story using only images is not something anyone can do. It requires a keen aesthetic eye, a sense of branding, as well as, a masterful understanding of composition, patterns, color, and lighting. The thing is, it’s also a requirement if you’re going to be running your brand’s Instagram account and social channels.
In this day and age, having a social media marketing plan is just as crucial as having a marketing plan. But, in this post, we'll be talking about Instagram specifically.
It's a platform that everyone is one, and a great way to build and engage your community. They are there to socialize with your brand and feel inspired. A business must curate a grid that is nothing less than AMAZING, and that takes the audience through the brand journey through carefully crafted visuals. Social marketing is a golden opportunity to do precisely that by communicating with your audience through photos and videos.
Shaping these visual messages is always much more complicated than anyone ever thinks it ever will be, and if you’re a brand that cares about aesthetics (hint: you should, and you do), then you’re going to want to keep reading.
When it comes to crafting and curating content for social, we are one of those people who understand the influence of visuals and how to use them to tell stories and to convey specific vibes.
A lot of this comes from balancing the strategic part of marketing with the creative side of content creation. It's a mix of art direction, styling, content creation, and strategy .
Did you know that the average Instagram user spends 2 seconds on a post before deciding whether to engage or even check out your feed? CRAZY, right? A gorgeous Instagram feed can mean the difference between success and failure, so this is kinda a big deal. I'm going to share with you some of my secrets about how to make your Instagram cohesively on-brand and the process I use.
Are you ready? Let me wait a sec while you grab your notebook. 📒✏️
1. Find inspiration in your surroundings
For creatives, inspiration can be found ubiquitously. If this kind of thing doesn’t come naturally to you, keep in mind that your environment can genuinely make your juices flow. For myself, I find inspiration in my own city, the coast, and through travel. These three things always inspire me and bring a sense of revival to me. I’m drawn to the amount of stimulation and diversity that you can find within each of those three. If you’re sitting at your desk day in and day out trying to come up with some fresh creative concepts in trivial. Find what drives you. Even the simplest things from going on a walk or sitting at a coffee shop can help. Grab your phone, trot around the sidewalks, peek into storefronts, sit on a terrace to people-watch, perch yourself on a park bench to take things in. You’ll be surprised by how your mind reacts.
It’s those kinds of little interactions that can trigger profound stimulation. Casey mentions a daily ritual of taking “a walk first thing in the morning to get a cold brew,” a mundane activity that actually holds a lot brain power value: “It feels productive, energizing, and meditative all at the same time,” she attests. Not sure about you, but we know what we’re doing first thing tomorrow morning.
2. Think Social First
Creativity shouldn’t have any boundaries, so if you want to follow fixed norms, you might be approaching things the wrong way and preventing yourself from being an original.
A majority of our clients at Craveable Social perpetually want to know about "rules" and "best practices," I approach social media content without a sense of right or wrong. Guidelines and systems are excellent to have in place as a brand, but the reality is that social media is constantly changing, and it’s important not to limit yourself in with rigid "rules" around what’s okay to post and what’s not.
Every brand’s values and strategy are different, but remember to remove self-imposed limitations allows your brand to stay fluid and adaptable to change. Doing so will ultimately set you up for creating and executing a fabulous aesthetic vision that’s explicitly crafted for social channels.
Creating content that is explicitly intended for social media use rather than just repurposing imagery that was created for a website or for a specific campaign because I've seen firsthand how much better it performs. Curating content serves not only a brand’s aesthetic, but it’s also there to help drive engagement — the apex of a happy social media marriage. But, if this isn't feasible for you, looking at each image and envisioning it how it will look on a 4x4 square is a start. What story does this square convey?
3. Don't get hung up on the little details
It’s very easy to get hung up on the little details and obsess over the look of every single post and the overall grid. Stop! It’s not worth the internal agony. Establishing your visual brand identity and voice is essential.
Consistency with your brand’s overall aesthetic theme will reel in a loyal audience, but keep in mind that there is a realness that people want to see that only comes through with a little bit of spontaneity and imperfection. Shifting your mindset from "sell, sell, sell" more towards creating a conversation will help.
The next time you find yourself feeling insecure about your visual choices, just take a breath. It’s not worth it to get too fixated on any single post or how the grid will look at any particular time.
4. Everyone struggles with the internal conflict of the grid
You’ll be relieved to know that even the pros have to battle internal conflict when it comes to curating content for the perfect Instagram grid. I struggle all the time! I'm always double guessing myself, and asking if this photo would look better? Or how about this one?
Can you relate?
I know what you're thinking...
If it’s hard for the pros, do the rest of us even stand a chance?
Valid question, but rest assured, our feelings often get the best of us and mess with our confidence. There’s an absolute pressure that comes with the immediate feedback (or lack of feedback) you get on social managing a brand’s narrative. If you find yourself hitting a wall, it happens to all of us. And when you’re feeling stuck, go back to your happy place, take a walk, and find your inspiration again (see point #1).
5. Don't stop, won't stop learning
If you start believing that you’ve perfected your craft and are resting on your laurels, you’re only setting yourself up for inevitable failure. In fact, real experts can’t stop, won’t stop learning. Especially in the digital space where things are always changing. It's a constant learning new skills and keeping on the pulse of social trends and the latest Instagram algorithm. Personally, I love continually learning from the people that I work and collaborate with. I use places like LinkedIn and General Assembly to keep fresh on my skills. Closing yourself off to learning opportunities is like shooting yourself in the foot and can quickly make your approach outdated and stale. It’s imperative to keep an open mind; that’s what keeps it fresh and exciting.
Curating content for a beautiful Instagram feed doesn’t come naturally to most, usually because that’s just not how their brains are wired. But, hey, that's okay! They might understand the strategy, but they don’t necessarily grasp how to approach the creative process and understanding of aesthetics and visuals as it relates to a visual brand world.