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Why You Need To Care About Instagram's Curated Feed

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. With over 1 billion active users today, having a curated Instagram feed matters for every brand out there. Well-chosen images and content on your Instagram feed are like a digital mood board to your followers. It gives them a feel of what your brand is all about in a matter of seconds. Setting the right tone of your brands values and personality through your feed not only helps grow your following but also allows you to attract your ideal customer. So, how do you create a perfectly curated feed? More importantly, does it really help that much? Besides just hashtagging yourself all the time, it's time to try a few new strategies to better engage with your audience and help them feel more connected with your brand.

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin

What is a curated Instagram feed?

On Instagram, in order to grow your following, your Instagram feed needs to be cohesive. It needs to make sense. People need to know what sort of content to expect in their news feed if they choose to follow you. A curated Instagram feed features...
  • Consistent subject matter
  • Consistent lighting
  • Consistent color palette
  • Consistent mood and style
There might be some slight variation of course, but for the most part, your feed should be cohesive, and any deviation from that should be rare and strategic. This luxury home builder in Houston, Texas maintains a beautifully curated Instagram feed.

Why you should curate your Instagram feed

Before getting into how to make the most of your feed, you're probably wondering why you should care. Do you want to create stronger relationships with your customers and build your brand? If that's a yes, then it's worth the effort. Instagram released details on how their ranking algorithm works. If you want your content appearing more often, you need to work on engaging your audience more. One of the main factors is relationship with users. The more they interact with your content, the more often it'll display. This means more engagement and the opportunity to bring in new followers.

How to curate your Instagram feed: beginner tips

By now, you're probably wondering how you can curate your own Instagram feed. At first glance, it might look very challenging to do this right. At the beginner's level, these are the tips you should implement to immediately make your feed more cohesive.
  • Choose 2 - 5 items to photograph in your content - For example, only include pictures of exterior and interior luxury houses. Or only your employees and your office. Or only beaches, cocktails, and sunsets. You get it!
  • Create a cohesive color palette - Select the perfect Instagram color palette for your brand and stick to it. Save the color palette in a photo on your computer and look at it side by side with any photo you're considering posting. If the photo doesn't match up, use filters until it does, or ditch the photo and post something else.
  • Use a grid planning tool to see what the feed will look like - Use a tool like Plann (shown below) to plan your Instagram feed and see what your grid will look like before deciding what gets posted when. You can move posts around and schedule them automatically or post them on your own time.

How to curate your Instagram feed: advanced tips

Got the basics down? Awesome! Now let's look into the advanced methods for curating a stunning Instagram feed.

Understand and embody aesthetics

Perhaps you already know that your Instagram feeds should be aligned to a particular theme: food, travel, fashion, etc.  While it's not a must-have, a great curated Instagram feed typically has a particular aesthetic flow. Bustle lists five great accounts to check out to get a better feel of how themes work. Here's a beautiful Instagram feed example that merges travel with family life. You need to understand and embody aesthetics that will give you plenty of freedom to post anything as long as your picture is within your Instagram vibe. However, any curated feed must reflect your brand positively. Don't forget that you can create your own theme and don't have to follow what other brands are doing. Your aesthetic could be golden, colorful, dark, etc.  When choosing one that works for you, look through your feed to see what aesthetic your favorite photos share. More importantly, ensure your images pass a clear message that can relate to your brand and its story.

Keep your feed layout consistent by using similar filters

To ensure your curated Instagram feed flows naturally, stick to a particular approach when editing your photos. This doesn’t mean you that you should only use one filter. You should have only a few that go well with your chosen aesthetic. Let's say you choose a golden aesthetic for example. You can edit all your photos to give them a warm feel. This way, each picture will look great on its own, and your feed as a whole will tell a story.

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin

Post photos that fit

Be selective when deciding on what pictures to post. Do not add a busy photo to a minimalistic feed. It will look out of place even after editing. Similarly, a bright sunny photo will not go well with a dark aesthetic. This is especially important if it is your business Instagram feed. Just one photo that does not go well with the rest may cost you several followers. It may sound silly, but imagine scrolling through photos that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Suddenly, the next photo is of something horrifying. It ruins the vibe and you click away. This is what your followers will do. All in all, this includes:
  • Mood and emotion
  • Aesthetic style
  • Lighting

Strategize your posting schedule to make an interesting grid

Before posting a photo, step back and examine your Instagram feed as a whole. Do all the photos fit together? The most aesthetically pleasing feeds have a variety of subjects evenly spaced out. To make this easier, consider having a schedule to post different types of photos on different days. This will help your content align better and add more variety to your feed. For example, if you have a gold and silver theme, you might post gold content on Monday and silver on Tuesday and continue to alternate.

Plan your content out far in advance & post consistently

Planning and curating content ahead of time allows you to schedule your posts for optimal times and post more consistently. It's well worth taking the time to determine the best times to post. A curated Instagram feed only works if people are interacting with it. Use analytics data to figure out what works best for your brand and start with this guide from Hubspot as a baseline. Depending on how much content you're able to create and curate, your posting schedule should be one of the following:
  • Three times a day
  • Twice a day
  • Once a day
  • Four times a week
  • Three times a week
  • Twice a week
  • Once a week
Whatever schedule fits you, just be sure to always space out the content by the same amount of time (whether that's 8 hours between posts or 48 hours between posts).

Original content is king

Everyone can get images from the internet and add them to their curated Instagram feed. Creating your own original content is the added advantage that will help you rise above the crowd. Creating original content can be time-consuming and may not be possible all the time. You should, however, find a way of balancing curated content and original posts. This Canberra bakery posts photos of their creations. Consider taking some time to train on how to shoot great photos yourself. Assign someone on your brand's team to practice and study as a photographer enough to get amazing shots that fit your brand's tone. You'll probably also want to focus on ensuring you have someone who's an expert at using Instagram filters too. This combination will save you money and help you create a feed that will definitely stand out from the competition, which is always a plus.

Quality matters

For you to appeal to people enough that they want to follow you, you need to post compelling content. With Instagram, you want to sell a certain lifestyle to your followers. You need to show them your product is part of a desirable lifestyle. The best way to get your followers to buy into your vibe is to ensure that your pictures represent the quality of your brand as well as your mission statement. Depending on your budget allocation, you can choose to do it yourself or hire a professional product photographer. The most important part of a high-quality curated Instagram feed is making your brand's lifestyle seem to jump off the screen. Make users feel like they're living in your brand's world just by scrolling through. Fuzzy images won't do that.

How to curate your Instagram feed on your website

Now that you have a well curated Instagram feed, you should show it off. There are many benefits to putting a social wall on your website, including branding, customer engagement, UGC-generation, and more. Use a social media aggregator like Curator to help you easily embed your Instagram posts on your site in a way that matches your site design. This is very easy to achieve. To make an Instagram wall on your site, you simply connect your Instagram account to your Curator account, choose what photos you want to include, choose your feed template, and then copy the feed's HTML code into your website. Here's an example from US college sports site Atlantic10. And here's another example from the official tourism website of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin

Key takeaways

Instagram holds enormous potential for your small business, and it requires hard work in order to reap maximum benefits. After all, building a brand is hard work, but well worth it. While tools such as Curator.io can make content curation simpler, human involvement remains the most crucial factor for success. You need to assess content individually to build a curated Instagram feed that will help you establish a warm relationship with your audience. Also, you need to find the right mix between content creation and curation to enhance your online presence and eventually turn your brand into an industry influencer.

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin