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Rethinking the Instagram grid: Why curating the perfect layout shouldn’t be your top priority



On Instagram, first impressions are everything. It’s why influencers spend so much time curating their grids and ensuring every post looks like it belongs to one cohesive, thematic collection. It’s why people like you and I think twice before posting something to our feed, just in case it deviates from everything else on our grids (and yes, people will notice).

Influencers have even found a way to package and sell their preset filters so others can easily create their own aesthetically pleasing Instagram grids. Anyone can add a domestic cozy or millennial pink filter to all their photos, ensuring no picture looks out of place.

It’s also why some brands are eager to curate and plan their own grids. There’s more intention behind which pictures to share and how photos are edited, with special attention paid to the colors and themes used. Every image Aldi UK shares, for example, is edited to look like each picture was taken on the same, neverending table. Brands have seen how manicured grids have brought influencers millions of followers and thousands of Likes—and now brands want a taste of the same success.

Hear me out…

As visually appealing as a planned Instagram grid may be, it falls into the same category as vanity metrics. It’s nice-to-have, but splitting images across tiles or trying to connect every image to each other doesn’t mean much if they don’t help you meet your social goals.

By the time most brands started paying close attention to their grids, the highly curated look that influencers championed was already a fleeting trend. What we’re left with is brands investing too much time thinking about the layout of their grids and less about the quality of each piece of content that they’re posting. A planned grid won’t necessarily help your brand stand out from the crowd, and in some cases you risk creating photos that, after some time, all start to look the same.

For brands, planning your grid to be as cohesive and thematic as possible shouldn’t be your primary goal on Instagram. Rather, the aesthetic your brand will be known for will naturally come once you prioritize the things that do matter: your brand voice, your style guidelines and your overarching social strategy.

Because at the end of the day, what are you ultimately trying to achieve with the six photos you painstakingly edited and arranged on your feed to comprise one larger image? Grid splitting looks great when people can see it in full, but if you can’t even get people to your brand page in the first place then that work is wasted. An aesthetically pleasing Instagram grid takes work, and it’s worth asking ourselves if that time and energy could be better spent on other social priorities like engagement and customer care.

Instead of painstakingly planning your grid to the very last image, give your audience what they actually want from you. Don’t stress about trying to make everything look pretty or visually cohesive: that aesthetically pleasing grid you’re looking for will naturally come to life once the rest of your strategy falls into place.

What do you think about planning your Instagram grid? Is the perfect layout worth the investment? We’d love to hear your thoughts on social! Tag us @SproutSocial on Twitter and let’s get a conversation started.





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