If you are a business owner who has decided to handle your own social media marketing, you may be struggling with any one of the following:
Taking high quality photos
Maintaining consistent colors and patterns that fit your brand
Creating captions that provide value, resonate with your audience, and feel authentic to you
Learning the latest tools, platforms, and best practices of social media marketing
Staying up to date on algorithms and other changes that affect your engagement metrics
Dealing with everything else that often takes higher priority and stops you from getting any of the above done!
So before you get so overwhelmed you close this page and vow never to read my content again, I promise there are some great tips from a few local San Diego entrepreneurs, who all have a unique style and all are getting results! Check out their ideas and Instagram profiles to see which one fits best with your own. If nothing less, you’ll walk away with a few new ideas for content and some great accounts to follow!
The Low-Maintenance Vertical Grid - as demonstrated by @megladd
Best for: Brands that want to highlight a key piece of content and provide low-maintenance structure to their profile
Worst for: No one that I can think of. This works pretty well for anyone unless you forget to stick to your own structure, then it just looks messy and disorganized :P
Meet Megan, a life and business coach with a big, beautiful smile and even bigger heart! Megan has used the vertical grid pattern since early 2018 and has stuck with it through and through.
I decided on the column layout because I’ve always loved quotes, and this seemed like an easy way to incorporate them into my feed! It’s also simple to follow and low-maintenance. I’m a fan of keeping things streamlined like that! Plus, I love when things look organized, and this aesthetic felt so clean. – @megladd
We like Megan’s uncomplicated approach to posting but we really love that all her messages are genuine and thought provoking.
I only post 2-3 times a week on average, but when I share, I'm intentional about it. I speak from the heart, and a lot of what I post is inspired by sessions with my clients — messages I'm inspired to put out into the world. – @megladd
Create a Profile Like Megan’s
Did you know that you can use content created by other Instagram profiles and easily share it on your own account? To save images you like, use the little Flag icon to the right of any image and click ‘Save to Collection.’ Just make sure to give credit to the author in your caption (and you may also want to tag them in the image).
The Expert Diagonal Grid – as demonstrated by @checreates
Best for: Brands that want to demonstrate their knowledge and provide consistency for followers
Worst for: Lazy entrepreneurs who have no time to create valuable content and resort to motivational quotes or filler content “because everyone does it” - LOL sorry guys!
Meet Ché, a copywriter and brand strategist (who also happens to have excellent taste in music!). Ché has recently started using the diagonal grid pattern, where every other post is an eye-catching headline or quote with valuable insights from her area of focus in marketing. When asked why she decided on using this pattern, Ché tells me,
“It’s easy to lose the interest of your audience if you stick to just one stroke. Mixing up your content while still providing structure gives customers something to look forward to, along with continuity. People like patterns and knowing what to expect.” – @checreates
I definitely agree that people like patterns! This goes back to evolution if you think about it. And from a strategic perspective, the continuity of the pattern helps bring viewers back to your profile more often, especially when they can expect valuable information to be shared that will help them in business.
Ché’s approach is also particularly interesting because she hasn’t just selected a background color. If you look closely, you’ll see there is a high quality image behind a brand color, and the diagonal slant of the color helps reinforce the nice pattern, so it is quite aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Even the italic font helps convey a sense of urgency that you really want to click on this post to learn more and feel a sense of momentum!
The Spontaneous Colorful Grid – as demonstrated by @stefaniebalesfineart
Best for: Brands that aim to prioritize authenticity and avoid a corporate look, especially solo entrepreneurs
Worst for: Brands that have not yet created a style guide / have no clarity on brand colors, image standards and content themes
Meet Stefanie, a contemporary fine artist located in Little Italy, whose work has been published extensively in magazines like San Diego Home and Garden, Modern Luxury Magazine, and SD Voyager.
Stefanie was refreshingly candid in her comments about Instagram aesthetics and grid patterns.
“Honestly, I think most grid and especially quote patterns are sort of tacky. 🙈” – @stefaniebalesfineart
I was interested to find out that Stefanie does not plan out most of her content in advance and what she ends up posting often changes day to day. Though many social media managers may argue this lack of strategy means she is missing out on engagement and leads, there is also something to be said for authenticity and posting genuine content.
Spoken like a true artist, Stephanie! :D
The Planned to Perfection Grid – as demonstrated by @envimarketing
Best for: Brands that want to capture attention and instantly convey design expertise and dedication to social media
Worst for: Solo entrepreneurs who are wearing too many hats and don’t have the time to focus on design. Also not great if your target audience is not on Instagram much and you are only using it as a secondary platform for potential leads. (Devote your efforts to the social media platform where your audience spends the majority of their time!)
OMG! I have been fan-girling hard on this profile. This is Envi Marketing, a social media marketing agency based in La Jolla, CA. Founder, Ashley Evans, started Envi back in 2017, but more recently revamped her Instagram profile to its current aesthetic in July of 2018.
Ashley broke it down for me by providing the key steps of her grid design process:
We create all of our Instagram content on Adobe Photoshop. The key to creating a grid layout is creating the layout and then slicing it into individual posts. We do this by starting with a 3240x3240 document and applying document guides. You can apply document guides by going to View > New Guide Layout on Photoshop. Create 3 columns and 3 rows, with no gutter space. Now that you have your metaphorical guidelines, you're ready to design!
To divide the layout into individual posts, you'll select the Rectangular Marque Tool and set the Style to a fixed size of 1080x1080 (A standard Instagram post.) Then you'll select each post individually, cropping the document and saving the new piece of content when necessary. Be careful to not overwrite the rest of your content during this step.
The Envi Marketing profile can be described as less of a grid pattern and more of an overall aesthetic. Ashely has capitalized on using white space in each post which separates her brand’s profile from millions of others on the platform. She has also clearly communicated her brand color palette by using dazzling shades of green throughout the grid. Most importantly, she has expertly conveyed what her brand does: if you work with Envi, you know they are going to elevate your design and transform your social media presence. I told you I was fan-girling, don’t judge!
Need help with your social media content calendar?
I’m hosting a Content + Strategy Workshop on May 1st in downtown San Diego with @createwithgusto to help business owners get all the content they need and the strategy to see real results!
Learn more about our event below and let me know if you have any questions