How To Create an Instagram Theme (and why you should!)

Happy Friday!! Do you ever stumble across someone’s profile on Instagram and just think “wow, this is SO  pretty!! How do they do this??” Well, that my friend is today’s topic. How can you create an Instagram feed that people swoon over. This will be one of the biggest and quickest ways to grow your following. Trust me, it’s worked for me!!

But WHY should you do this? Who really cares what your IG looks like? Well, your followers do! And potential collaborators, clients, customers, etc. As a blogger, you should start telling yourself a new mantra: “it’s not about me.”

This might be a shot to your ego, but your social media, your blog, your business are NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s about your audience. Your readers, your followers, your customers. The people you’re solving problems for. You are trying to appease them and offer them some kind of value, whatever it is. One of the many ways to do that is through Instagram.

We all know that first impressions are crucial, and you have less than 10 seconds on average for your IG to make a great impression on someone who’s visiting it. They generally see the first 9 images, and they like them, they follow. If not, they move on. This post is about how to make those 10 seconds COUNT!

In the last 2.5 months, my own Instagram following has grown by over 2,500 followers. This was when I started making some changes and taking my theme seriously. It really makes a difference! I promise this can help you, too!

So, let’s get started.

 

BRAND YOUR PAGE

First, your Instagram theme should match your Brand. If you don’t feel like you have a brand yet, create one! Instagram is a great way to help you create and build a brand through imagery. Here are a few things to think about when branding:

1. What kind of photos do you want to post? Will you focus on fashion shots of yourself or others, flat lays, scenery, stock photos, motivational quotes? Do you want to post an assortment of things?

2. What colors/ideas do you want to focus on/highlight? Do you like bright and bold or dark and moody?

3. How does this brand line up with your blog content? How can you bring your writing into your captions?

 

This does NOT mean that every single picture needs to look the the same. It’s about the overall message that your page gives. You need variety to keep it interesting. You need to take your followers are on a journey with you. I learned that when I switched things up myself. For Example:

 

Looking at Jenna’s feed, you get a feeling for what her posts are about and what her vibe is. Her IG is branded very well even though all of her posts are different! She is extremely open and vulnerable and her audience LOVES it (including me!). Her captions are actually something I look forward to and they tie into her other content.

 

 

When you look at this feed, and the name of the profile, you can get a gist for what the page is about. Coffee and Clothes. This is branding at it’s best!

 

 

CHOOSING YOUR COLORS

I think one of the best things about Instagram is the variety of things you can find. As someone who mainly focuses on fashion, I follow a lot of other fashion bloggers. I see how they display their feeds, and many of them are similar. They’re bright and full of color. But that’s not my personal style. I am a lover of neutrals, so I wanted a more neutral feed.

Whatever colors you choose to focus on, my tip to you is stay consistent. Consistency is SO IMPORTANT to building your brand. When someone visits your Instagram page, you want your feed to all fit together cohesively. Having all brightly colored photos and then one dark one thrown in will look very out of place.

So, let’s look at some colors:

One of my all-time favorite bloggers, Caitlin, chose a pretty specific color theme while she was on her honeymoon recently. Most of her photos showcase the blue in some way, and all of it fits together very well. Her theme is always consistent, but I really loved this collection and thought it looked amazing!

 

 

POST YOUR BEST PHOTOS

Humans are visual creatures. We LOVE to look at pretty things, whatever “pretty” means to us. And photo quality is key! You may use 5-6 photos for 1 blog post, but you want to use your BEST one for Instagram.

You need to resist the urge to post a photo just to post one. That’s not the point here. Yes, consistency is key. But quality is more important. You only have a small window for people to judge your page and decide to stay and follow or leave and never look back!

I will throw out there that all of the pictures I post on my IG are from my iPhone 8+. You CAN totally take great photos on your phone, the next step is to edit them.

 

Emily does a great job of always posting her best shots. Many of them are from her phone, but she still makes them look amazing!! They’re all high quality and mesh well together.

 

Same thing with Dede. Always posting great, high quality shots that are very vibrant and full of color! And her and Emily are besties and so, so cute.

 

 

USING FILTERS

All of your favorite bloggers that have those gorgeous feeds edit their photos. I can say that with almost 100% certainty. There may be one to two out there that don’t, but they are VERY few and far between. Editing your photos is how you create that cohesive theme that you love to see!

There are a few ways to go about editing your photos. I’ll touch on the most common that I know of:

Lightroom is a common method for camera photos or iPhone photos. People using something called “presets” to edit their posts. All that means is the settings they prefer are saved and pre set up to use, making things easier. Instead of having to go through the process of editing every time, you save the settings to apply to every picture. You can purchase them either through Etsy, or sometimes bloggers sell their own.

The next way, and the way I use, is called VSCO. It’s a free app, but you if you want access to some of the filters (like the one I use), you do have to pay for it. BUT they have a ton of great FREE options.

The most commonly used VSCO filters are C3, A1, C1, E6, A6, and HB1 which is what I use.

You can also, of course, use the filters that Instagram gives you.

Rachel also uses the HB1 filter with VSCO and you can see how even though we have different photos, they have a similar feel!

 

 

EDITING YOUR PHOTOS

When applying filters, I recommend doing some additional editing as well. It’s all your personal preference, but you should consider playing around with a few other settings:

1. Adjust the exposure

2. Brightness

3. Sharpness

4. Contrast

5. Saturation

All of these can give your photos a completely different look just by moving them up or down!

Sina actually posts a lot about how to edit photos, and I love the aesthetic that her page has. Her theme transitions right over to her blog and they both have the same feel. She’s not really a mom blogger, but includes her kids a lot which is so sweet.

 

 

PREVIEWING YOUR POSTS

Before I post something, I plug it into the Preview App and make sure I like how it looks with everything else. I want to make sure that it’s not too light, too dark, doesn’t look too similar to something else I recently posted, doesn’t clash, etc.

The Preview app also allows you to do some additional editing as well. This is another free app that is a great resource for you to utilize! My entire feed has changed since I started doing this!

Move things around and plan out the order you want to post things in. It saves me time knowing what I’m going to post the next day instead of trying to figure it out when something else might pop up.

This is what the inside of the Preview app looks like. It has all of my recent IG photos shown, and then space for me to add other photos to see how my feed will look and move them around to decide the order. Everything I highlighted in WHITE is being planned and I’m able to see how things would look together (I highlighted them but they show full color in the app). You can see how this makes it easier to know what to post!

 

 

ALTERNATING

Originally, I was posting only photos of myself in my outfits. I didn’t personally enjoy this too much because 1, it was hard to get a bunch of pictures of myself with how busy life gets, 2, I didn’t LOVE all of the pictures I DID have enough to share them, and 3, I didn’t want to look at myself so much haha. I didn’t want my feed to be ALL me ALL the time. In fact, I noticed that when I changed it up and posted other things, most of the time they got a great reaction. So my audience liked the change up, too!

I noticed that my flat lay photos were doing really well, so I decided to alternate posting them every other day to break up the outfits a bit. I’ve also seen this technique on one of my favorite fashion bloggers IG accounts:

Deb does the same thing with alternating a flat lay with a shot of herself. It’s a great way to break up the look of things. She’s also big into neutrals and typically wears things that I’d wear every day, so her style is very relatable.

I’ve seen the alternating pattern in other businesses, too:

Tailwind alternates to make sure that their outside posts line up to create that smooth gradient look.

RELATED:: if you are unfamiliar with Tailwind, I wrote a post about how to explode your blog traffic using Tailwind.

 

And lastly, my own page:

 

Another thing I change up is sharing every day fashion with workout wear. If I post a flat lay of a workout outfit, the next one will be an everyday look. I also throw my pups in now and then. I like to keep some variety in there 😉

This process is all about trial and error. You will have to see how you like things as you go, and you may end up changing it along the way. That’s ok! I tried quite a few things before I found what I finally liked.

If you’re needing help with creating your theme, don’t hesitate to reach out!! I’m going to go much more in depth into building your instagram in my e-course that launches next month!

Have an awesome weekend!!

XO,

Dani

Leave a Comment

9 Comments

  1. Anna wrote:

    I love this post, now I have to start applying it to my instagram account!

    Posted 7.7.18 Reply
  2. Ariel wrote:

    I am currently trying to establish a theme for my Instagram and this post is very helpful.

    Posted 7.7.18 Reply
  3. Candace wrote:

    Amazing post! I actually have two separate accounts — one is personal (and it’s the one I put the least effort into) — the other is for my brand. I need to spend more time curating my account and being more consistent. Thanks for these tips!

    Posted 7.7.18 Reply
  4. Laura wrote:

    THIS WAS SO INCREDIBLY HELPFUL and INSIGHTFUL. I love all the information, just downloaded VSCO and Preview app. Thank you so much!!

    Posted 7.7.18 Reply
  5. Ooh I’ve been struggling with this so will definitely be referring back to your post 😀 Thanks!

    gallantlygal

    Posted 7.7.18 Reply
  6. Emma wrote:

    Thanks for sharing this in depth post, some great tips I’m going to have to try!

    Posted 7.8.18 Reply
  7. I have been trying to up my Instagram game! I love pictures so Instagram is my favorite social media ever! I also follow Caitlin even though I’m “plus size” I am drawn to her pictures like a moth to a flame! Thank you so much for your tips and tricks!
    prettyonadime.com

    Posted 7.8.18 Reply
  8. I have been trying to up my Instagram game! I love pictures so Instagram is my favorite social media ever! I also follow Caitlin even though I’m “plus size” I am drawn to her pictures like a moth to a flame! Thank you so much for your tips and tricks! I will put them to use!
    prettyonadime.com

    Posted 7.8.18 Reply
  9. Thank you for this post. I have been trying to figure out how to set up a separate Instagram for my blog and making the theme and this has really helped.

    Posted 10.22.18 Reply

Instagram

  • Simple is always better. I tried so hard to figure out what I was going to wear for Easter. I spent a good hour trying things on the week before. I sent my sister tons of pictures asking her thoughts. In the end, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of them for some reason so I decided to just go with an outfit I know I love and feel good in. For some reason wearing white just makes me feel super put together. And I managed to not spill anything on myself or get chocolate on my pants which is a major win y’all. .

We don’t need to overthink things so much. It just causes unnecessary stress. I do like to plan ahead because it saves me time, but I also should have realized sooner that the dress I was trying to make work just wasn’t working. Even though I love that dress, it doesn’t flatter me how I want it to and it might be time to let it go. Don’t be afraid to let go of things that don’t give you exactly what you need. You don’t have to settle, something else will always come along. Or you probably already have something else in your closet (or life, this isn’t limited to clothes!) that’s even better than what you’re trying to make work!
  • Happy Easter 🐰❤️
  • Casual Good Friday ❤️ this was yesterday’s work outfit but I jazzed myself up before we went to church with Jakes mom and stepdad last night. I cried like a baby. Good Friday always both kicks my ass and reminds me how blessed we all are. 
The beautiful KC weather this weekend is so exciting!! I’m so happy when it’s Spring weather 😍 Have a beautiful Saturday!!
  • “There is beauty in simplicity”
My simple wardrobe makes me so happy and I love the seemingly endless possibilities I have with it. Having a love of neutrals really works well for me with this! 
Happy Good Friday ❤️
  • The only things in my life these days are the things I really want there. This isn’t limited to the stuff in my house and the clothes in my closet. This includes my job, relationships, hobbies, everything. I’ve even started eating better as a by-product of simplifying my life and I just feel better over all. .

By removing the things and people that don’t make me happy, I have more time and energy for the things that do that I used to put off and not prioritize like I should have. We spend so much of our lives being “busy”. But what are we busy with? Most of it is actually unimportant when you break it down. .

I say no to things much more now and that allows me to spend more of my time relaxing and enjoying life. I used to constantly feel rushed or like I should be doing something. If I wasn’t moving, I felt like I was wasting my time. But the truth is, resting and just being home with Jake and the boys is my happy place. It brings me so much joy, so that’s what my priority is. .

Having more time to just BE has been amazing. Being more picky in my relationships has helped me really value the ones I hold most dear and has brought me to an amazing new job because I wasn’t willing to settle for anything less. Respect yourself and your time and prioritize the things that matter most to you. Life’s too short to live any other way.
  • “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.” So many wonderful things have happened since I simplified my life. Changing my outlook on life wasn’t really intentional, but I’m so thankful it happened when it did. I was kind of at a breaking point. Fed up with where I was and how things were going with my old job. Struggling with depression and comparison. I knew something had to change but I had no idea what. Simplicity was that thing. .
.
Now, I spend way less time on social media. I deleted Facebook off my phone and haven’t  looked at it in weeks. I’m much happier without it. I read a lot more. I’m getting much better at ignoring the impulse to pick up my phone and when I am on it, to compare my life to the perfect pictures people post. I even cut a few inches off my hair! 💇🏻‍♀️ I want things as easy as they can be right now. It takes a lot of stress out of my life. Try to go a whole weekend without social media and see how awesome it feels!

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