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Instagram has always been a bit of a struggle for me. I’ve known about it for years and years, and put off making an account for years and years too! I’m by no means an expert now either, but I’ve found my “IG theme” and am super happy with how my account looks and the vibes it gives.
It took me about 2 years of using Instagram to get to this point though, so I thought I’d share with you how I did it and give you some pointers on how you can do it too.
How I found my IG theme
(and stuck to it)
I put off using Instagram for years and years. I had friends who had it, but it was still very much a “friends and family” app, and I really wasn’t a big social media user. I didn’t have internet at home and never had any credit on my phone, so it didn’t make sense for me to use it.
The first time I ever saw it used as more of a public account, was when I saw my cousins account. She was one of those Tumblr girls who could share a screenshot of Sailor Moon with no caption, and have thousands of followers like and comment on it. Honestly, even at 17/18, it blew my mind.
After that, it didn’t take me long to make an account. It was full of crappy photos and I closed it soon after because I had no idea how to use it, but I kept thinking about it after that. I really enjoyed the app itself, far more than Twitter, but Twitter is where I stayed for the next 5 years.
Blog account on Instagram
When I properly started blogging, I decided it was time I used Instagram again. It was a piece of advice that I saw absolutely everywhere, and so I followed it. I’m glad I did because it turns out my target audience is far more active on Instagram – even if I do struggle to grow my audience, I know the people I create for are there.
I didn’t take it very seriously at first. I was learning to use the app, and how to take half decent photos, at the same time. It was definitely a learning curve, especially as this time around I was also put straight into the middle of the blogging community. I was seeing amazing feeds left and right, which made me feel a little intimidated.
Even though I think Instagram was still more of an instant thing then, people were still killing it with edits, angles, and keeping their feeds cohesive. After a while that’s when bigger accounts started to have feeds more like what we see today; carefully planned and edited to fit perfectly alongside the other squares. I love both versions, but planning and having time to think about your strategy is definitely a perk.
Related post: Decluttering your social media
Making an IG theme
When I decided to go self-hosted with SiteGround*, I decided it was time to really put some effort into my social media presence. It was also time I really make a strategy, and concentrate on where my target audience was hanging out. There’s no sense in spreading yourself too thin or targeting people who aren’t your people.
It definitely wasn’t easy settling on an editing style, or deciding what topics I would and wouldn’t cover. If you scroll back through my feed, you’ll see I’ve changed my editing style many times over. I’ve also changed how I take my photos, and of what. It’s not something very many people get right straight away!
I had a basic idea of what I wanted my feed to look like, but I had no idea of how to go about making it look that way. I tried to have a brainstorming session, where I wrote out in my notebook exactly what I wanted my feed to represent, what vibes I wanted it to give off, and absolutely anything that came to mind during the session. I just could not get out what I wanted into words.
So, I started searching through hashtags upon hashtags on Instagram and searching similar phrases on Pinterest. I’m a very visual person, so it was the perfect way to start. I found feeds similar to what I wanted to achieve and made a folder on my phone full of screenshots from Instagram and Pinterest.
I used this to take inspiration from and guide me to how I could write out a “plan” for my IG theme. It was a lot of singular words instead of sentences, which is what I had been trying to get out but couldn’t. I took all the common themes or factors of the feeds and images I’d put into the folder and created myself a guideline.
As it turns out, my feed as it is looks almost nothing like those that I took inspiration from. You’ll probably find this too, as putting your own spin on things will make it yours, and not just a copy of someone else’s account.
Like I mentioned above, I’ve changed how I edit y pictures time and time again. I knew what I wanted, but I couldn’t quite get it.
I used VSCO for ages, but I couldn’t manage to get exactly what I wanted for love nor money. Literally, since I actually bought multiple filters on the app.
I then started using Lightroom CC over Christmas. I downloaded it – which I had to do twice to get it to work- and started playing about with it. I deleted it as I couldn’t get the hang of it. I then found presets and downloaded it again on Jade’s recommendation. I’m so glad I did!
I bought the preset I use on Etsy. It wasn’t expensive, but you don’t have to buy them to be able to play about. Jade makes some amazing presets for herself – just check out her IG – as do some other bloggers. I’m nowhere near talented enough to do that myself. but I knew what I wanted, found it, bought it, and I use it for every photo now.
When it comes to taking pictures, it’s important that they be of good quality. I’m not saying you have to buy a £400 camera, but having either a good phone camera or a good camera will make a huge difference. I got my Sony Cybershot for my birthday, and I use it for all my blog and social media photos.
I used to take just one photo and that be it, but now I take a few and pick the best one. I change the angles, the focus, composition and position of the items themselves. It may take a little longer, but it’s made a huge difference! My engagement percentage has gone up, and I’m seeing a big difference in followers too.
Making a list of things that I definitely wanted to include, and another of things I definitely didn’t want to include has also helped. Before I would take photos of absolutely anything just to have something to post. Now, I know if something is going to fit the general theme of my account and branding or not.
For example, I know I’m not going to be posting full on OOTD anytime soon. On the other hand, I also know that sharing a selfie in one of my cosy jumpers fits in. Makes sense?
Sticking to it
I found it really hard to stick to a theme before now. I ended up changing my editing, or what I was taking pictures of. I wasn’t happy with how my feed looked.
If you’re not happy with something, it’s going to be really hard to stick to it, right? The same goes for your IG theme. It’s not going to inspire or motivate you when you hate to look at it!
It took a lot of work to get my Instagram just right, but now I have it how I want it it’s no trouble at all to keep to it. I still make sure my photos look cohesive together and suit my feed before I post, but it’s so much easier when you have a plan.
I have to say having a plan for your IG theme is so important when starting out, I could have never of got my feed to what it is now without planning it first! If you’re finding it hard to stick to a theme, it’s probably the theme for you, have a look about and plan something out that you truly love, and try again!
How do you stick to your IG theme? Do you even keep to a theme? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!