Why You Need To Care About Instagram's Curated Feed

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. With over 800 million 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.

Worth all the effort

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.

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. 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.

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. There are times when you have a photo you cannot wait to share with the world. However, when you try to add it to your feed, it just doesn't fit. It's okay. It doesn't fit well on Instagram. That's not a problem. Instead, share it via other social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Keep your feed in order

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 your curated Instagram feed look awesome, you need to ensure that all the photos look great beside each other. You can easily achieve this by viewing your pictures in a grid format beforehand. This way, you can swap different photos of the same subject or move different images around to see what works best. To make this even 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.

Take your time to plan

To level up your Instagram feed, you need to spend time on it. You can set aside a day or each week to shoot, curate and edit content then post the material throughout the week. Scheduling your posts makes it easier to manage your Instagram account during the week. 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. Tools such as curator can go a long way in helping you curate quality content fast.

Talk the talk

Your words can entertain, enlighten and inform your followers.  Captions constitute a significant part of how your audience engages with you. The pictures you curate may speak a thousand words, but you can illustrate the story further with your words. Use your caption to tell the story. Let it nail your brand voice and communicate consistently to your audience. When it comes to determining your caption length you have a variety of options to choose from. You can use up all the 2000 characters or use a brief caption. It all boils down to personal choice. One thing to keep in mind is to be consistent. If you typically use short captions and suddenly add in a much longer one, it may seem like someone else is posting to your brand's account.

Get Insta active

You need to be active on Instagram.  Many people forget that social media is meant to be social.  So, don't just use it as a window to watch as the world goes by.  Find other accounts that you can connect to. Engage with them and get to know them. You might end up meeting amazing real-life friends and clients through Instagram. Besides, no one pays attention to the quiet Instagram lurkers. If you're only posting one post a week, you won't have the same engagement as when you post multiple times a week. Remember, social is the name of the game. Post frequently, interact with other users and build partnerships to help your brand grow even more.

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.

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. 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.

Final word

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.