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You know how much I love a bit of Instagram action – I write (and talk) about it all the time! One of the things I get complimented on *a lot* is my Instagram grid. Here are a few of the words other people have used to describe it:

  • Fun
  • Colourful
  • Creative
  • Relaxed
  • Eccentric
  • Random
  • Whimsical
  • Interesting
  • Eclectic
  • Inspiring

And I have to say, I’m pretty chuffed with that feedback! Instagram is a great place to experiment with the more creative side of content stuff, so I’ve used it as a real playground over the past couple of years. I’ve tested, I’ve trialled, I’ve tweaked, and I’ve come up with a handful of tips to help anyone and everyone create their own dynamic (fun/delightful/bonkers) Instagram grid.

And today I’m going to share those with you.

Get used to looking at your top nine.

The top 9 posts in your Instagram grid are what people will see when they visit your profile for the first time, and that first impression is often what will determine whether they hit that follow button or not.

What do you want those first 9 posts to say about you?

For me it’s:

  • Who I am (Daire, a visibility expert, a business owner, a Brit)
  • What I do (help people stand out online, live for IG Stories, podcast weekly)
  • How I help (inspire people, give advice and accountability, share lots of free content, run a killer membership programme)
  • How I live (in PJ’s, surrounded by dogs, listening to cheesy music, eating cheesy food, drinking tea, hoarding stationery)
  • What I’m passionate about (books, many a TV drama, celebrating other people, productivity)

So how could I showcase each of these things both visually and in my captions?

For sharing who I am on Instagram

Visually: Selfies, pro photos, photos of me at my desk or talking into my mic, photos of me drinking tea, group shots

Captions: Re-introduce myself, talk about what people can expect from my Instagram feed, share my business journey, talk about my core values

For sharing what I do on Instagram

Visually: Screenshots from my Stories, podcast artwork, screeshare of a tip

Captions: Summarise what I’m talking about in my Stories, pull key quotes or takeaways from my weekly podcast

For sharing how I help on Instagram

Visually: Inspiring quotes, actionable prompts, screenshots of latest blog post, Content Arsenal promo graphics

Captions: Thought pieces inspired by quotes, scripts or templates for writing better Instagram captions, updates to the Content Arsenal training library

For sharing how I live on Instagram

Visually: Close ups of my GORGEOUS dogs, cozy selfies, photos of my surroundings, tea-based boomerangs

Captions: Behind-the-scenes stories, what I’ve been thinking about recently, plans for the day

For sharing what I’m passionate about on Instagram

Visually: Photos of books, photos of the TV, posts shared from other people’s feeds, screenshots of my fave productivity app

Captions: Reviews of what I’m reading, invitations to join my book club, shout outs to people who inspire me, killer productivity hacks

And that’s without really thinking about it… but the point is that if I alternate between picking something from each of these categories every time I post, I’ll curate a top 9 that communicates everything new followers should know about me.

Take action >> Answer the following questions and get brainstorming!

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • How do you help?
  • How do you live?
  • What are you passionate about?

Dig into the content spice rack.

I think that the one thing that makes my Instagram grid so delightfully whackadoodle is that I really mix up the type of image I use. There are a ton of beautifully symmetrical feeds out there, but they’re not for me – I much prefer sharing the messy side of life and business, and I think my posts reflect that.

To emulate this yourself, think about all the different types of visuals you could share and then DO IT. Here are 27 to get you started:

  1. Selfies
  2. Professional photos
  3. Group shots
  4. Content artwork (podcast/blog graphics)
  5. Screenshots of your other content (videos and livestream freeze-frames are fun)
  6. Screenshots of apps
  7. Handwritten notes
  8. Photos of writing (books, workbooks, magazine etc)
  9. Photos of your workspace/home
  10. Pet close-ups
  11. Screen recordings/demos
  12. Food and drink shots
  13. Branded quotes or prompts
  14. Doodles
  15. Boomerangs
  16. External landscape photography
  17. Someone else’s graphics (to promote THEM, not to plagiarise)
  18. Photos of isolated body parts
  19. Close ups of beautiful things that tie into your visual brand
  20. The front cover of your lead magnet
  21. Screenshots from Instagram (your latest Story, an IGTV show, your bio)
  22. Photos of your computer
  23. Promo graphics
  24. Screenshots of testimonials
  25. Quick video tips
  26. Photos of found quotes
  27. Screengrabs of anywhere you’ve been tagged and/or featured

Take action >> Dive into your camera roll and/or the image folder on your computer, and collect all the different kinds of visual that you could share to Instagram.

Find the joy (and ease) in planning.

The real secret to creating a dynamic Instagram grid is to plan it that way – it doesn’t just happen by itself.

I use Planoly for this, and I’ll tell you why… you can upload a whole bunch of images and then drag them around until you’ve created a visually pleasing grid.I like doing it this way because then I can batch all my different types of graphic – I could upload all my pro photos, a whole stash of selfies, and a bunch of promo graphics, all the screenshots, etc, and then I can move them all around until they look good.

And then schedule, so I don’t have to think about showing up to post every day.

(A note on Planoly: It’s 100% free to upload and schedule 30 images a month. If, like me, you want to publish more than one a day, the paid account costs around $7 a month.)

Take action >> Set up our Planoly account here, then get going!

And there you have it, my 3 secret tips for creating an Instagram grid full of fun:

  1. Figure out what you want people to know about you
  2. Mix up your visuals
  3. Plan it all out in advance

Over to you: come find me on Instagram and share your favourite takeaway from this post.

Oh, and if you’re on the hunt for even more Instagram inspiration, read this.