When it comes to representing a brand with visuals, Instagram is a fantastic marketing tool to deploy. The image-based social media platform is hugely popular and allows brands to communicate directly with their target audiences through photos, video and text.
How popular is Instagram, you ask? Here are some interesting stats from Hootsuite:
- There are over 2 billion monthly active users
- It is the number one social media platform that people use to connect with brands
- The average users spend about 11.7 hours a month, or 30 minutes per day on the platform
- 35% of consumers will make a purchase through the platform in 2023
- Revenue is predicted to be over $50 billion in 2023
- It is the preferred app of Gen Z
So, how can you make the most of Instagram and be sure to attract followers and boost engagement? Some have tapped curated feeds as a key strategy.
Keep reading to learn more about creating a curated feed, and if it’s worth the effort or if it’s all hype.
What does it mean to curate your feed?
An Instagram curated feed is one that gives attention and importance to each post individually as well as establishes a look or vibe that reflects the brand and is apparent when followers are scrolling through all posts on the brand’s home page.
This can be facilitated through consistent content (products or subject matter), and artistic style such as lighting and colors. A curated feed will set the mood for the company’s page and project the overall brand messaging, voice and aesthetic.
Kate Spade does an excellent job of curating a beautiful feed that tells the brand’s story. Its feed transitions seamlessly from pink to yellow to green, all while showcasing the brand’s fashion pieces and bags with images that are true to the company’s voice. We’re definitely getting a summer line vibe here, with the beach being a major location for the shoot. Shell purses in neutral tones help with the transition in some spots, but still maintain that summer feel.
Another example is Etsy. The online marketplace known for handmade items makes putting the spotlight on sellers as well as creating an overall cohesive look seem effortless. The company leans into neutral backgrounds with pops of color woven throughout. The brand plays with texture as well, highlighting woodgrain, pottery, fabric and other mediums to connect different posts.
It also includes questions and customer comments where the brand is tagged. These provide a community feel that is appropriate as the company is all about connecting one person directly with an artist for a one-of-a-kind or customized piece.
Why would your brand want a curated Instagram feed?
For some Instagram users, having a visually appealing profile layout can be important as it helps make a good first impression and attract new followers. If you are using Instagram for business or to promote a personal brand, a well-curated profile layout can also help convey a sense of professionalism and attention to detail, which can build credibility. Here are a few benefits of a curated Instagram feed:
- Planning – If you need to have a curated feed for your brand, you’re more likely to plan ahead. This means that posts will be well thought out instead of rushed. Images will be crisp and clean, and messaging will be on point.
- Tells your brand story – Instead of having images haphazardly thrown up for all to see, a curated feed will tell your brand’s story through visuals. Customers will get a feel for who you are and what you can provide.
- Attracts followers – A well curated, beautiful feed will get more followers. This means a larger audience to share products and the brand message. Also, lends to a greater chance someone will see something they like and make a purchase.
- Can be cost-effective – If you have the right resources and creative minds, a photoshoot can highlight your product in a variety of ways and from many angles or in different situations. This means you’ll get several posts (pieces of content) from one product.
Why it might be all hype for your brand
A curated feed isn’t right for all brands. Here are some reasons why you might avoid having a curated feed:
- Takes time – It does take time to plan and execute a curated feed. You’ll need to have the resources to have someone tackle your editorial calendar at least a month at a time, perhaps even quarterly or seasonally depending on your product or services.
- Style guide – Your brand voice, visual style, messaging and brand goals need to be solidified. While you shouldn’t be posting on social media without these figured out first, they really need to be locked in to develop an impeccable curated feed.
- Can be costly – In order to make the most of each post and create that cohesive look, you’ll want to have a photoshoot, which can require added budget for professional photography. You might be able to skate by with an in-house employee with an excellent visual eye and a nice camera, but it’s always best to go with a pro.
- Can come off as fake – It’s vital that the curated feed be aligned with your brand voice to deliver an authentic experience to your audience, otherwise it can come off as fake or canned. Be sure that text and hashtags also accurately reflect your brand’s voice.
How to create a curated feed
If you have decided to move forward with this social media strategy, here are a few things you can do to successfully create your curated feed.
Solidify your brand voice and visual identity
You must start by establishing your brand voice and visual identity. This will guide all the content and ultimately every other step in the process. If you haven’t taken time to think through your branding, do this before attempting to develop a curated feed.
Determine themes or pillars
You don’t have to stick to only one product, topic, location or color. In fact, varied content can also help keep your audience engaged. The trick is to select a handful of themes or pillars and then compose content around those main ideas.
Strategize your transitions
Once you know your themes or pillars, consider how you can transition from each topic visually. Is it a variety of products all shot at the same location, or perhaps a pop of color that connects each post? Remember that Instagram is a visual platform, so transitions must be able to be presented through imagery.
Create an editorial calendar
The best path for curated feed success is with an editorial calendar. This will allow you to plan out all your posts in advance. Not only will the content be planned, but you can use a grid tool to determine which order gives you the best look for your feed. To use this tool, you’ll need all your images and post topics in advance.
Get quality images
Again, Instagram is a visual platform, that means it’s all about the pictures. High-quality images that have been retouched by a professional are preferred. If you need to make the choice between quality and quantity, always go with quality. This could mean posting once a week instead of several times a week, but your audience will appreciate the superior visuals.
Don’t forget the copy
While Instagram is mostly about images, your brand still needs some copy to share with the audience. This should always be in your brand voice and include branded and non-branded hashtags.
It’s important to know what content is getting engagement such as likes and comments. This can help you plan future social media strategy and better connect with your audience. Instagram offers a wide range of performance data, so be sure to take advantage of those insights.
Avoid the hard sale
Instagram is a place where users come to check out beautiful imagery and connect with friends and brands. Many don’t want to experience a hard sale on the platform. This isn’t to say you can’t sell here but avoid adding things such as “Buy Now” bursts to your images.
Curated for you
If you have the time and resources to curate a visually appealing profile layout and feel that aligns with your goals and purpose on Instagram, then it is worth the effort. A curated feed can provide many benefits to your brand and help your target audience feel connected to your message. It’s worth noting that having a curated profile layout is not essential for success on Instagram, and it may not be the most important factor to gaining followers or engagement.
If you prefer to focus more on creating great content and engaging with your followers, but not necessarily how your feed looks, then a curated profile layout may not be necessary. Ultimately, the quality and relevance of your content, as well as your engagement with your audience, are likely to be more important factors in building a successful Instagram presence. Creating a curated feed can be quite time consuming as well as costly, so it’s important to determine if a curated feed is worth the effort, and that will largely depend on your goals and the purpose of your Instagram account.
The social media experts at Beyond Fifteen can help you determine if a curated feed is right for your brand, and help develop a strategy and content for your Instagram channel. Connect with us to learn more!