my 4 must have tools for a mindful & fun approach to Instagram (that doesn't take over your life)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced the depths of anxiety when it comes to what to post & when to post it on Instagram. I am guilty of getting caught in the stickiest of traps, jumping on instagram to then wind up in a spiral of comparison of my own life, business, processes to the insta-feeds & process of others. This a quick way to end up completely burnt out for social media & what it is we are doing on here in the first place.

Life is always unfolding around us, waiting for us to notice. Instagram was created in the first place as a social community platform where we share things from our lives, & the most exciting part about it is that it gives us all this diverse space to have a unique voice. But how on EARTH do we stand out uniquely enough, so that when someone sees one of our posts, that just looking at it they KNOW it’s coming from us & our unique brand?

When working with clients I find I help them mostly with integral mindset shifts over a particular Instagram strategy recipe. I always start with why, your products & services & work & then move outward to what your quirks & gifts are in life. How would your best friend sum you up if I were to ask her? I ask you these important questions you may have never thought about.

It’s a shift that asks you to look at what is most important to you within both your business & in personal areas too. It asks you to make the time spent on social media really intentional on an energetic level. On the deepest of levels it asks of you to look at the intentions, feelings & deep seated beliefs behind absolutely everything you do in the social media space & outside during the day to day comings & goings of your business. Most of all, it asks of you to completely simplify & strip it all back. I help you to lay down a structure & foundation to work everything from. 

With Instagram now omitting everyone but you seeing the amount of likes from others, it’s easier now to let go of fears around sharing a little more & trying different ways of sharing these things, all for the purpose of finding your voice. Maybe it’s been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you. & hey, I’m a pro at helping others, but still am far from having it all sorted myself. I would be worried though, if I came to a place where I felt like “yep, I’m done, nothing more to learn, I am doing things perfectly.” Yeh, perfect’s not an actual thing.

Today I want for you to know the 4 essential tools & strategies I sit down & help my clients with, that lay the grounding for a consistent brand on Instagram. So here goes. 


A COLOUR PALETTE THAT SPEAKS TO THE HEART OF YOU 

Do you ever look at others ‘perfect feeds’ & think, shit. Why does my feed look like a colour cyclone, & theirs like a calming day at the beach?  Yep, I’ve been there, regularly.  One of the first things I do with clients when we sit down & chat is ask them what colours speak to them & why when it comes to their brand. Colours to me speak energetically, with each colour associated with a different centre of the body & life theme. Are your colours warm or cool? Earthy? Beachy? This will also play into the way you curate your imagery when editing, but more on this soon. 

I like to jump on Canva, open up a fresh “Instagram story” document & start to play around with colours on there. I like to grab up to 6 colours within a warm or cool palette. The key is not to go for completely different colours, but shades of 2-3 colours with neutral tones of your choice to round it all out. For example if your feed is blue & beachy, you might like to include a beige colour & shades of brown & grey. The way I like to create a palette is open up the Instagram story shaped document & just change the entire document to my chosen colour. I then save it & save the colour code in a separate google document for later reference. I then continue until i have up to 6 colours saved as images. I then drag them all into a anva landscape shaped document & go from there. I normally paste the colour codes in that need changing & have a play until I am happy with the way the colours go together. 

Once you have a colour palette, it acts as simply a reference point going forward. Naturally things will evolve.

VISUAL & CAPTION PLANNING 

I love using Plann to create a visual ahead of time of what my feed & clients feeds will possibly look like. It helps me to see the consistency of the content & how the images go together. Its drag & drop features help to place things ahead of time. Having a plan helps take the stress out of content creation & planning. I set blocked time aside each week to load content into each of the feeds that I manage & see what kind of content I need to fill in the blanks. Plann (& other planning apps such as preview) also has a space to save different hashtag sets so that you save time when posting. Who else has a mini-breakdown at the thought coming up with hashtags on the spot? It is completely free, but if you do choose to upgrade there are incredible features that show you data & analytics, colour palettes based on previous posts, best times of day to post & information on your engagement.

If anything, the most beneficial part about planning ahead of time is the time set aside to create the content & place it actually takes so much stress out of instagram. 

When planning my personal feeds, most of the time I dont actually end up posting to the EXACT plan, as sometimes the moment I am in feel really authentic. But because I have my colour palette, my chosen photo edit strategy & a consistent theme in place for my online brand, I don’t worry about it “not fitting in” as I know 99% of the time whatever I post will fit with other content because of my foundational structure. No matter what I use Plann if even for the saved hashtag sets. 

EFFECTIVE & COMPELLING IMAGERY

I need to write an entire blog post with tips on how to create, capture & edit effective imagery all just from your phone. It may seem a little odd that a photographer is about to tell you that you don’t need the best gear to create a beautiful feed. 

What you do need is a little bit of a Plan of what content you need to capture, nice lighting & a little shift in mindset. I want for you to take the pressure off & have a little fun with it. Start to put time aside in your schedule to simply get creative with your phone camera. Remember, it’s better if you start to show different areas of your life through your images. You don’t always have to show imagery of your product or service.

The next step in the process is to play around with photo editing. If you want your feed to be warmer, you will want to be bringing out the yellows, oranges, reds within your imagery. Think sunshine. If you want a cooler feed, your edits need to be bringing out the blue & grey tones. Think ocean waters. There are many incredible editing apps for phone. VSCO cam is a favourite of mine as well as Adobe Lightroom for Mobile. There are some incredible presets for lightroom mobile out there you can buy for such incredible pricing & save yourself the time in having to create it yourself. If you want to keep it even simpler, you can choose an edit you love within your instagram planning app itself. Plann has some great ones too. 

Once you find an edit you love, here’s where it gets simple. What I want for you to do is stick with it, through thick & thin like you would your devoted lover. Over every single image you will overlay in the same edit. This my friends, is the secret to consistency. All your images will speak true to your brand. Keep in mind, if you have a business that must stay true to colours, some edits can change the colours in your image. So keep playing until you find one that stays true. 

Another very important thing to note is that you don’t have to create it all on your own. There is no need to reinvent the wheel if the content is already out there to use. Most profiles are happy for you to repost their content with a credit at the bottom of the caption. Simply use the photo emoji & tag in their insta handle. Unsplash is a free stock imagery website that creatives & photographers load their work to for legal use. You can download high resolution images onto your phone. From here you can lay your unique edit over & simply credit Unsplash for the image at the bottom of your caption. 

For any quotes or inspirational reposts, it can be a great idea to do up your own unique graphics that fit your unique visual brand. When people see it come up, they will get the feel that it comes from you. 

A BRAND STYLE SHEET IN GOOGLE DOCS 

Have one place where you can keep all of your colour codes for your graphics, your fonts across your brand & photo image edits. These things are too easy to forget, so make it easy for yourself. 

You have full creative control of your online brand & with these tools I hope you can now feel that. If you need a kick up the butt to get that mindset shift you need to fall in love again with this process & work on your relationship with social media, you know where I am. Location doesn’t matter the slightest. The further away you are, the more you will have the opportunity to create your own content. Win / Win. 

Over & out.