Improve your Insta feed with Instagram Aesthetics

Instagram aesthetics for beginners! This helpful guide will show you how to get a cohesive Instagram feed that will convert to much more followers than before. Having a beautiful gallery will set yourself apart from so many other bloggers and will look a lot more professional. 
 
So you came here to learn about how to make your feed look more cohesive and structured, right?! I think having a unique feed is super important and gives a personal touch that will be remembered. I started color coding my posts about a year ago. Every couple weeks I change the color theme of my feed, which results in a rainbow of colors if you scroll down my gallery. This really helped me to stand out from different bloggers because I was doing something different. Today I will be sharing my Instagram aesthetics insights with you! I will be structuring this post into different sections, each focusing on one specific Instagram aesthetic tip. So let’s get started!
 

1. Content is king

First of all I want to mention that without good content it will be hard to have a truly outstanding feed. Content is king – no matter which social platform you look at. That’s why you need to make sure that you upload only high quality content. Use a good camera. Don’t take photos with your phone. I personally only shoot with my DSLR camera. The difference in image quality is huge. Ever since I started taking photos with my Nikon I saw a big increase in engagement and followers. 
 

2. Find a niche 

When someone comes to your feed for the first time it should be clear at first sight what you and your blog stand for. If you come to my Insta feed you will most likely know right away that I am a food blogger. Why? Because most photos I post are food pics. Let’s say I would post one food pic, one travel photo, one picture of a building, one of my cat, one detail shot of my make up bag and one more of my grandma eating cake you will most likely be confused about what my blog topic is about.

I highly recommend picking one niche and sticking with it. There are already way too many people out there that do everything. I’m personally not the biggest fan of so called „lifestyle“ blogs. Simply because they don’t cater to a specific niche and the content if way too confusing for my opinion. That’s why also don’t follow many lifestyle bloggers. I rather follow some people that are on top of their game in different niches than following a couple lifestyle blogs that are just mediocre in everything they post. You know what I mean? 

Food Blogging online course

3. Have a posting strategy

Gaining new followers also goes hand in hand with creating new content. Make sure you have a posting strategy of what content you are going to create on a regular basis. Some questions you should be able to answer: How many times a week will I post? Whats the target group I am creating my content for? When are they online and when should I post? Will I post in a specific order? (e.g: food, food, me) Staying consistent in you posting strategy can help you improve your account a lot. 

4. Editing and filters 

If you want a cohesive Instagram feed one thing you really need to take into consideration is editing your photos. Having the same filter or the same presets on every food will massively increase the overall look and feel of your Insta gallery. It took me quite a while to find an edit that works for my food photos. I made my own preset which I copy and paste onto my food pics now. Of course I have to go back and fine tune each pic individually again, but the editing style stays more or less the same. That’s how I get a congruent look on my gallery. 

Some big influencers sell their presets. I bought some of them already and it’s a great way to start out if you are not so experienced with editing photos. I edit my photos always in Lightroom. Free options are apps like VSCO cam, Facetune or Snapseed. 

Instagram Aesthetics

5. Stick to a certain color scheme 

Stand out and increase your follower by doing something different than everyone else! I highly recommend picking a certain color scheme and sticking with it. Adapt all your posts according to that color. It makes a huge difference in your profile appearance. Check out my account @carina_berry to see what I mean with sticking to one color. As you can see I always pick one focus color and create content according to that. Since I couldn’t decide on one color because food itself can be so colorful and I felt I was limiting myself too much if I would just pick one, I decided to always change my main color every couple weeks. So I am going from red to green to blue to orange for example. 

Below you find some screenshots of my feed. 

Instagram Aesthetics Instagram Aesthetics Instagram Aesthetics Instagram Aesthetics  

Here are some examples of other bloggers I like to follow with awesome color palettes: lenasaibel,@frauherzblut,@vanelja

6. Planning your feed Cohesive Instagram Feed

A plan focuses scattered thinking and improves performance. That’s why you should definitely plan what and when you are going to post!

You can instantly improve your Instagram feed by planning ahead your gallery. This is something that made all the difference for me.My favorite planning app that I always use is UNUM. My feed would probably not exist without it. It is so helpful to plan, layout and schedule your postings. You can move posts around within the app to see what photos look the best next to each other. It gives you a preview of how your feed will look like with your future posts.I usually plan my feed about 2 weeks ahead, which saves me a lot of stressful moments and keeps me organized. UNUM is completely free and I highly recommend you download it asap 🙂 

Bonus tip: Mood boards

Last but not least I want to share another useful tip of how to get inspiration for your gallery. I like to collect inspiration for my future posts and group them together on a so called „mood board“. For this I create a special board on Pinterest where I can simply pin all the posts I see from other people or on other pages that I like. On Instagram itself I also have specific mood boards for different topics. I like to save photos that would also fit into my portfolio so I can refer to them later when I want to create similar content. Having these mood boards can help you to collect your ideas and make them more visual. 

Cohesive Instagram Feed Cohesive Instagram Feed

I hope you enjoyed this post on how to create a better and more cohesive Instagram feed. Feel free to check out more of my Instagram Growth content, like my top 10 tips on Insta Growth, Food styling tips or how to calculate your engagement rate

Head over to my YouTube video on my Instagram Top Tips as well! 

I’m sure you will soon create your own amazingly beautiful feeds. Let me know which tip was the most helpful in the comments 🙂

xoxo, 

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10 best food blog tips for Instagram growth (2019)

Food Blog Tips for Instagram Growth

Do you have a food blog and want to grow on Instagram? Well then this blogpost is perfect for you. In this blogpost I will share my best 10 food blogging tips with you here in order to help you kickstart your own food blog channel! 

I have been a food blogger for over 2 years now. Today I can proudly say that I am Austrias biggest fitness food blogger and am grateful enough to be able to inspire thousands of people every day with my healthy recipes and active lifestyle. 
Since the beginning of this year I am doing it full time, having made my hobby into my dream job! Now in this blogpost I would like to share my knowledge with you to become a top food blogger as well! 

How to start a food blog successfully?

Below I will show you 10 hands on tips for stepping up your food blog game! Because of that, I will also link you products that I am personally using at home. 

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools, services and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful. This is not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement. The products are simply the ones I use at home and where I thought you might find the direct Amazon link helpful as well 🙂 

Food Blogging Top Tips for Instagram Growth

1. Find the right light

Taking a good picture will greatly depend on the light situation in the room. Hence, make sure to find a spot where you get good lighting. My tips: shoot with natural light, avoid straight sunlight and use a reflector. 

  • Natural light: I like to shoot at daytime. You get the worst photos when trying to shoot at night with your kitchen lights on. Oh and by the way – never use a flash for your photos. That is just straight up going to kill the photo! I usually place my food right next to a big window, so I get good light from one side. The best time to shoot when you have a slightly cloudy sky. This gives you nice diffuse light. 
  • Avoid sunlight: When you try to shoot under direct sunlight you will get a lot of very hard shadows in your photos. Also, the colors will come out in a very different way. When its sunny and you must shoot a photo I can recommend getting a diffuser. You can put that in front of your dish to shield it from the sunlight and get nice diffuse light. 
  • Use a reflector: I usually put a reflector on the other side of my dish, so light gets reflected back onto the dish. You can get a really cheap reflector on Amazon. This is the one I use daily at home. It really makes a huge difference, since you will get a brighter photo with less shadows! 

2. Find the right angle when shooting

What I learnt is that not every dish can be shot from the same angle. If you are shooting a nice smoothie bowl you most probably want to shoot it straight on and not from the side because you would loose a lot of that nice decoration on the bowl. 
However when taking a photo of a pancake tower you definitely want to shoot that from the side to see the stacked up pancakes. Therefore, don’t be shy to move around with your camera and try out different angles. 

3. Get social

How to become a food blogger on Instagram? Very simple – start by engaging with a ton of other people in your niche! After all Instagram is a social platform. When I started I spent hours commenting and liking other peoples posts. Giving is living! If you give a lot you will soon notice that you will get a lot of engagement back. 

But don’t just write mundane sentences like „nice pic“ or „looks awesome“. Thats so unpersonal. Read the captions and actually say something meaningful. Start real conversations. Moreover, make sure to watch and reply peoples Instastories. This is a great way to really get to know the people behind the accounts. 

4. DSLR cameras making top food bloggers 

What do top food bloggers have in common? They all shoot with a DSLR camera. You won’t hardly find a food blogger who doesn’t use a professional camera for their food photography. It simply makes a big difference. Phones can take really good pictures and are very practical for on the go. However, a DSLR camera simply differentiates the hobby bloggers from the professional ones. 

I personally use a Nikon D7500. In my opinion, it is a great camera also for beginners. Regarding lenses I can recommend using either a 35mm. 1.8 (thats the one I am using at the moment) or a 50mm 1.8. With these lenses you get a beautiful depth effect and can shoot pretty close to your image. 

5. Join a party 

If you are already highly engaged in the foodie niche you might have seen other food bloggers throwing a party and inviting everyone to join with a dish. Usually these parties have some kind of theme. I recently had an autumfoodparty and in the summer a summer closing party. Some people throw parties when they hit 10k, 20k, or something similar to celebrate the occasion.  You might wonder now why people do this. It is actually a huge advantage for the people throwing the party and those participating as both parties will grow their reach and get more exposure. 
When you enter the party you have to tag the person in the caption and the photo, like this your followers might become aware of the account and go follow. On the other hand if the big host account will feature your post, usually in stories and the winners on the feed, you will get a lot of exposure back. It is also a great way to start building a relationship with the bigger food influencers out there. 

6. Build a network

When starting out it is important to build your own network of people who will be supporting you on Instagram. These are going to be your loyal followers who will comment and like all your posts. This is what will determine also your engagement rate. Because of this make sure to find likeminded people that you can connect with. I suggest you find other food bloggers in the same niche who have about the same following size as you do in the beginning. Like this it will become easier to start a conversation and build a relationship. Once you have a good network you can start asking your other foodie friends for shoutouts on their stories. Mutual IG story shoutouts are a great way to grow and get more exposure for your account. 

7. Tag curation pages

When you post your content make sure to tag it correctly. There are hundreds of great curation pages out there that are looking for viral content daily to post on their galleries. Those pages can take your photo and repost it on their account, often reaching ten thousands of people giving you an incredible amount of exposure. If you manage to get reposted on a consistent basis by many big accounts I guarantee your account will grow immensely. 
What I like to do is to write those curation pages a personal message and asking them directly if they would be interested in sharing my piece of content. They are always looking for new talent and you might be the next big star on their profile <3 

8. Consistent posting schedule

Moving on to the next tip. Have a consistent posting schedule. I believe it is important to stick to a clear schedule regarding how many times a week you are posting. Like this your followers will know when and how often to expect your content. Don’t post nothing for a week and then throw out three pics in a row. This will seem super confusing to anyone following you. If you can’t manage to post every day then try to commit to every other day or at least four times a week. 

9. Food Styling

Next, lets talk about food styling. This is something I have neglected for the longest time. It is so powerful though! Because of this simple trick I was able to improve my food pics by a lot. Things like little flowers, tiny cookies, sprinkles, fruit and nicely cut veggies can make or break your dish. The most boring chia pudding can look absolutely fascinating with the right kind of decoration. A basic trick I use for so many of my dishes is cutting out little stars or hearts from bananas and place them on the bowl, cake or parfait. Makes it look so much better instantly. I actually have a separate blog post about this whole topic here
Therefore, I recommend you get yourself a couple of cute little cookie cutters and learn the art of decorating your dishes! These are the ones I use a lot for my recipes. 

10. Photo Setup  

Last but not least lets look at food props. Back in the days I used to place my dish on a simple blanked on the floor. Looking back now this makes my laugh so hard. When wanting to take great food pics your photo setup is super important. In addition, you will want to make sure to have a nice background you can place your dish on. Something I can recommend is going to the local hardware store and asking them for samples of marble or wooden floor. I got all my backdrops for free just by asking them for a sample to take home. Worked really well! Furthermore, I can recommend using a nice loose fabric that you can put in the background to blur out your photo smoothly. 
Besides that you should acquire a nice collection of glasses, jars, spoons and plates to switch up your food photos. 

Food blogging online course

If you are really serious about your food blog and want to take it to the next level, I can really recommend my food blogging success online course. 

You can check it out here

Food Blogging Course

Do you want to have your first company cooperations? Want to start making money with your food blog? Or even want to become a full time food blogger?

This course will teach you all of it. I have been through the process and want to give all my knowledge to you now. This course is an extremely valuable source of information. Basically I put everything I’ve learnt in the past year about food blogging and how I made it into my full time job into this online course.

The course is structured into 6 chapters. After the introduction you will find the food blogging chapter, where you will learn how to find your vibe and voice, develop great content and a content policy, learn how to set up a blog and I will also be touching on legal requirements.

The third chapter is dedicated to food photography, where I will share my camera equipment with you, tips on how to prop and style your food, how to find the right light, how to edit your pics with and without photoshop and some more tricks along the way.

The next chapter is dedicated to Instagram growth. You will learn how to make use of the Instagram algorithm and make the features of the app work for you. Learn how to get reposts and post content the right way, join the right parties and create your own Insta highlights.

Before the final send off I dedicated a whole chapter to the topic of monetization. I’ll be sharing with you how to find your pricing rates and put together your media kit with great examples. We will talk about how to reach out to companies, negotiate prices and the important topic of disclosing a partnership.

You will see this is a well rounded course giving you all the insights you need. Head over to the course now.  Or sign up for free tips and tricks:

More resources

Here is also a short video summarizing this topic for you:

Are you interested in more tips on becoming a food blogger? Head over to my YouTube to watch videos on how to make money as a food blogger and how I got started a couple years ago. Finally, you can also check out my blog post on the art of food styling, which might be helpful for you as well!

xoxo,

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How to calculate your Instagram engagement rate

Have you ever calculated your engagement rate? It is a very important number that shows you how active your audience is! The easiest form of engagement is a like, followed by a comment.

Engagement varies as your account grows, but generally you can say that anything between 2-4% is acceptable engagement. Anything above 5% is excellent. I noticed that accounts under 10k usually have a much higher engagement somewhere around 8%. I also know many micro-influencers who have less than 10k but 10-20% engagement and are often getting more likes than accounts with 50k! 

This is a weird phenomenon I still haven’t quite figured out yet. It seems like the more follower you have the less engagement you get. Some accounts with millions of followers only get 1-2% engagement.
Crazy right?! 

I did some research and found some interesting insights from the influencer marketing platform Markerly who reported that accounts with less than one thousand followers have a like rate of about 8 percent.

This drops increasingly as influencers become more popular. Between 1.000 and 10.000 followers the influencer can record a like rate of about 4%. The like rate keeps decreasing within the range of 10.000 to 100.000 followers to only 2,4%. Once reaching the 1 million followers mark the rate drops to 1.7%. According to Markerly the rates for comments follow a similar pattern. 

I wanted to show you the graphic here where you can see the decrease of likes and comments compared to increasing followers. 

I also found a super interesting fact in a book called „influencer marketing“ where the authors established a 90-9-1 rule regarding user engagement. They looked at social communities and found out that 90% of all followers are people who view information but never or rarely take part in the conversation. The next 9% of followers contribute a little and the final 1% are those that create almost all the engagement and conversations.

I have to say this something I totally notice on my own account as well. I always have those couple super engaged followers who comment and like every single one of my posts, then I have a couple who occasionally will write a comment and then a big amount of people who just look at the content, but won’t take any action. 

 So now finally how do you actually calculate your engagement rate? Very very simple! 

You can calculate your engagement rate by dividing the number of likes you get by the number of followers times 100. (E.g.: 1.500likes : 34.000followers x 100 = 4.4%)

Make it your little assignment today to calculate that number, it is a very interesting info into your accounts health 🙂 

I hope this article was helpful and I simply wanted to show you that you don’t have to start getting worried if you notice a decrease in engagement once your account starts growing. Even the statistics show that it is a normal thing that happens. 

Sources: (Brown/Fiorella (2013), p. 7.) & (https://digiday.com/marketing/micro-influencers/) 

Lots of love, 

 

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Instagram Algorithm Update 2018 – Tips how to use the new algorithm

Yet again Instagram has changed its algorithm at the beginning of this year and staying on top of the loop is harder than ever. 
It becomes continually more difficult for content creators that their followers actually see their posts.  Right now it can happen that only 10% of your followers actually see your posts. Myself and a lot of my blogger friends have seen a huge decrease in likes over the past weeks.
However, with this blogpost I wanted to summarize some important changes for you so your photos wont get buried and unseen. You can increase your exposure by using these useful insights. I have done a lot of research on this in the past weeks and I hope this will be helpful for you.  🙂

Hashtags

So this is how hashtags generally work: The more likes you have on your pictures, the bigger hashtags you will be ranked in.

  • Hashtag Size: Before you were allowed to use up to 30 hashtags per post. Pull away from using the maximum number of hashtags. Now it is recommended to only use 5 hashtags, because otherwise Instagram will see you as a spammer if you max the hashtags all the time. Other people say it is still okay to use between 25-27 hashtags, but I would not recommend that. Less hashtags will be getting more engagement. So, use hashtags that are specific for your niche and have less than 1 million posts within their own hashtag!
  • Hashtag Use: Also, don’t use the same hashtags over and over for each post. Instagram will notice that as well. So, it is important to find new unique hashtags each time.
  • Hashtag Location: Another important thing: Don’t put the hashtags in the comments. From now on Instagram won’t show hashtags in the comments in the search results. Therefore, the hashtags go into the caption.

Caption

This brings me to my next point which is your Instagram photo caption.

Here we have an update as well.

  • Changes to the caption: Prepare your caption really well because once you have posted it no changes should be made. Don’t repost or change anything once you post. The more you try to tweak your caption once it is uploaded it, the more your visibility will drop. So, post your photo with your description and your five hashtags and then just leave it.  

To summarize this review your caption well before you post and don’t change anything within the first 24 hours.

Comments 

There have also been updates on how Instagram notices comment interaction.

  • Timeline: When you post a photo you will need to respond to the comments within 60 minutes or your posts visibility will gradually decrease. So, you have to be actively engaged as a real person. The more comments you will get in a short amount of time will make Instagram think that your post is worth sharing to all of your audience.

These are the most important changes I wanted to share with you. If you want access to all algorithm changes and learn how to new update affects your stories, comment groups, follow strategies, comment lengths and story hashtags you can check out my new online course here

Disclaimer: The information provided here has been gathered through miscellaneous sources and my own experiences on the platform. Some information may differ slightly. I cannot guarantee the validity to this information, but did my best to cross check my sources thoroughly. 

Learn how to work with the algorithm and set up a successful account in our online course.

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