Instagram: To Plan or Not to Plan is today’s question
Instagram grids and curated feeds are beautiful to look at, there’s no denying that. They can be a great way to mix up promotional content with personal content, or simply to boost your brand identity through graphics that adhere to your branding colours and themes. For many brands, it makes sense to have a curated feed as it just seems to ‘fit’ their vibe.
If you are currently using or have been considering using Instagram as part of your business’ social media strategy then you may have been wondering if it’s better to curate your feed with a grid pattern, or to simply post ‘off the cuff’.
I swore that I’d never have a patterned feed.
My reason was that everything else I do in social media is ‘on the fly’ and I’ve been successful with my approach up til now, so I wasn’t in a hurry to change that. (for those that know me, you’ll know that I also don’t ‘do’ plans and routines well! #hotmess)
But then gradually I began using Instagram more. Then came my Instagram ‘study’ period (aka the ‘time to take this sh*t seriously’ period) when I subscribed to a ridiculous number of online courses, read a bazillion blogs and advice columns, and started paying attention to every post about in Facebook business related groups I hang out in.
I finally thought “OK! I’ll follow the herd and get me a Insta Plan!”… it was time to focus and create a pattern!
What I found is that every time I’d go to post, my image didn’t fit the pattern – so I just wouldn’t post anything at all! Or I would go ahead and post, thus completely messing up the pattern.
Honestly, the entire process just frustrated me and I stopped enjoying IG. As far as Instagram plans go, mine was failing quicker than my plan to lose weight…
And then I realised something.
On my personal account (@aworldimperfect), I follow all kinds of people – famous people, not-so-famous people, normal people. In particular, there are a few highlight accounts that I’m really invested in. I will like every post and tune into their stories at least every second day, if not every day. These type of people are interesting, fun, and genuine.
My top 3 are Amber Smith (@amberemilysmith), Genevieve Padalecki (@nowandgen) and Rachel Hollis (@msrachelhollis) – NONE of whom have patterned or obviously curated feeds. Rather than have every second post as a pre-designed quote or pink filter or whatevs else the disciplined folk do, they offer glimpses into their lives while seamlessly integrating their business ventures with their family and personal interests. They are real, they are sometimes raw (hooray for no-makeup photos finally!), they are ALL rocking their personal brands and racking up the follower count.
I then took a look through a lot of others I follow and the vast majority choose the non-patterned line up for their feeds.
This tells me that I resonate with others like me – those who live in the moment and post for the fun of social media – to share a piece of their lives with whoever is along for the ride.
I read an interesting comment thread on a post about this topic recently and was surprised to hear one person say she’d never buy from a product based business who didn’t curate their IG feed. In her opinion, only a business who takes the extra time to curate their feed is a business that is worthy in her eyes. All I could think was what if the time they are taking to curate, is time spent away from something more important such as quality control or y’know, actually RUNNING the business :/
I found this an odd pre-requisite to decide who to give your money to.
Strangely though she wasn’t alone in this thought. While consumers like me couldn’t give two hoots if the business selling their favourite t-shirt has a curated IG feed, there are just as many consumers who do care.
So how do you decide if curating is right for you? Simple. YOU decide if it’s right for YOU.
Your social media is a valuable tool for attracting YOUR tribe – especially for those with personal brands or where you are the face of your business!
You want to find the people who resonate with you and your brand. I am a naturally unorganised person who talks a lot about living a life that’s perfectly imperfect. Forcing myself to adhere to the pattern of a curated feed for my own feed was always going to be a struggle.
If someone unfollows because they look at my IG account and have a slight coronary at what it looks like then that’s OK! I’m not here to please all the people all of the time and in the grand scheme of things, a ‘perfect’ IG feed is so very low on my list of priorities right now.
If a pattern came naturally as it does so many people then I’d curate. Because let’s be honest, they are always much nicer to look at. But are you destined to fail on Instagram because you don’t follow a set pattern in your feed? Gosh, NO!
Is a plan a good idea?
Maybe, maybe not! You choose what works for you!
There are many content planners out there and apps such as Plann that can help with layout and scheduling. You can even buy pre-planned layouts and grids or outsource your social media altogether. Try out a planned feed by mapping out the next 9 posts for your Instagram and sticking to a schedule – did it feel good? Then plan the next 9 and see if it still feels good. If not, then scrap the plan and move on with your day!
For those us who live our social media lives on the fly, rest assured there is still very much a place for us on Instagram and we’ll do quite ok as ourselves!