5 Color Secrets to Make Your Instagram Feed Pop

Do you remember the “Color Me Beautiful” phenomenon that was going on in the 90’s? I was a kid when the “Color Me Beautiful” phase was going on, too young to participate in it myself, but completely intrigued when the women in my family would talk about it.

The book revolves around helping women look their best by choosing colors (and later style choices) that brought out their best features instead of trying to go along with trends.

Okay, the pictures are way outdated and you can figure out the era of publication by looking at the author’s hair styles (back cover). Isn’t that the dead giveaway for every decade for us women? Look at the hairstyle and you’ll know what era the book is in.

Putting the dated hairstyles aside, the book is full of information relevant for today, mostly because of this: we look our best when we choose colors that accentuate who we are.

The same is true for our business. Our businesses pop when we use colors that reflect the personality of the business, not what the latest trends or other outside influences pressure us to be.

I love photographer Emilie’s Instagram feed. Besides the breathtaking pictures of where she is in the world, the colors are gorgeous and lush. The palette changes as she travels, but if you scroll down her feed, you’ll notice there isn’t a lot of stuff in her photos. It’s almost a minimalist approach.

I’ll go into a more detailed “how to” guide in the bonus material that comes with the “Have Fun with Instagram” series (scroll down to the end of the post for instant access), but if you want Quick Tips, here are some to play with! Have fun!

How to Create an Instagram Feed That Connects with People

A succinct color palette is a powerful way to connect people to your business and there may be no better way to share that color palette (and the accompanying emotions) than on Instagram.

It happens over time. Just like building a portfolio or relationships with people, you build connections one step at a time. The best way to do it is to be consistent. Play within a palette for a while before deciding to change directions.

Here are some tips to create Instagram pictures that connect.

  1. Even though the trends are fun, it’s best to be yourself.

People connect with your business because there is something about your business that draws them in.  No matter how tempting it is to hop on the pineapple trend (I still can’t figure out where that one came from!) stick to pictures and colors reflecting you. Appreciate the pineapples and palm tree leaves and gold confetti in other people’s feeds.

Hilary Rushford, stylist and business mentor created a fun Instagram feed reflecting her loves, interests and fun sense of style.  (click on photo to go to Hilary’s IG feed)

2. Consider using a single color as the focus in your feed. Keep the temperature and intensity of the colors the same throughout the feed. (warm and cool)

If the colors in your business are muted and soft, keep that feel through the feed. If you’re colors are bright- keep them bright in the Instagram feed.

3. Regarding filters. If you use filters, use the same one over and over. Using too many filters creates a inconsistent look.

4. Choose a focal color or object in most of the pictures.

This feed nearly always features her yarn and it’s normally in a muted, autumn shade. Some Instagram feeds have a green plant in every single picture.

Elise Joy of Get To Work book includes a picture of the Get to Work Book in some sort of capacity in nearly every picture of the Get to Work feed.

Because the book is the same, even though the colors may be different in each picture (Elise often reposts pictures sent to her by Get To Work users), the consistency of the book and its colors is the color focal point.

A friend of mine, Sherry, sets many of her Instagram pictures in her garden or on her walks. There is a sense of calm in all of her pictures.

And then there is Calypso Star Charters. Not hard to figure out their focal color or subject matter!

5. Use the seasons to inspire your color choices. 

Using the seasons as a basis for choosing colors work!  Nature has the most brilliant color patterns and combinations and there is much to learn. Note: color psychology is based on the seasons of the Northern hemisphere so if you’re living somewhere lovely like Australia, your winter and summer will be opposite as well as spring and autumn.

If you know the season your business represents, stick with those colors in your Instagram feed and you’ll shine in a consistent, lovely brand. To learn more about discovering which seasonal archetype your business is in, you can read this article.

Below is a synopsis of the seasons.

Remember, except for black and pure white, the colors are in every single season. What changes is their intensity and temperature.

Spring: These colors are bright and warm, light and bouncy. These colors are closest to the primary colors (think of a box of classic Crayola crayon shades) and are bursting with energy.

Summer: Cool, calm, elegant and light describe summer colors. It’s as if gray or white has been added to all the colors creating colors like peach, lavender, pink, buttery yellows, beiges, nutmeg and so on. The colors can be darker- think of adding gray to blue or green and creating a cool palm tree green or navy blue. The thing to remember is that summer has no extremes, it’s a palette of moderation.

Many industries are primarily summer industries such as the wedding industry and hospitality – think of resorts by the ocean or gorgeous wine tasting spots in Napa or other wine counties. Each season can be applied to any business- it all depends on the intensity and emotions of the colors used. Holly Becker, interior designer at Decor8 use the summer palette to create a calm, beautiful reflection of her interior design business.  It’s a beautiful, inspirational feed.

Autumn: Colors of autumn robust, warm and strong. Autumn has the widest palette with colors ranging from fuchsia, plum and hazelnut brown to moody dark blues and greens to the traditional autumn fall leaf colors: deep yellows, pumpkin orange, warm reds and browns.

Winter: The only season to have pure black and white as a dominant color, the winter season is about drama. It’s the opposite attitude of summer (which has no extremes). Winter is a dominant season that garners attention through it’s bold, cold colors. There are fewer colors in winter. It says more with less.

A brand that has a winter personality will dilute the emotions and feels on Instagram if it tries to add in too many colors. Keep it simple, focused, bold.

I almost didn’t include mentioning the seasons because I didn’t want to impose stress on anyone. Instagram is fun and I want you to have fun playing with the colors of your brand. Sometimes we overthink things and that leads to procrastination (I’m speaking from experience here!)

When you use the seasonal archetypes, you’ll create Instagram feeds that are distinctive instead of muddy.  We’re all at risk for trying to be too many things to too many people.

Some of us are afraid of being ourselves because, to be blunt, we may not fit in with other businesses or peers.  We may use a brighter color – or use a color palette that is unique to our industry and circle of friends- and be nervous about going bold with it.

I say, go for it, especially on Instagram.

One of two things will happen. You’ll create a distinctive look that others resonate with and that you love. You’ll probably get some comments on your feed as well as those people tagging their friends to see your feed.

Lydia’s Instagram feed is an example of an artist who shares her work as well as the inspiration behind it. I love Lydia’s lively abstract art and the interspersed glamorous and reflective self-images in her feed.

There will be some people who leave because the icy blue and black theme is too cold for them, but that’s okay! In fact, it’s good. We can’t and shouldn’t try to be all things to all people and that goes with creating a presence on Instagram too.

The other unanticipated thing you might discover is that the color palette you chose is what you really want after all! It doesn’t communicate the emotions and feelings you want. Maybe you’ll decide that poppy orange isn’t the focal color for your brand. It’s just a bit too bright and a Georgia peach color would resonate better.  In that case, no problem!  Bring in the Georgia peach and see how it changes things up.

I guess what I want to say is, don’t stress about the colors!  Have fun and play with them. Just like everything else in your business, it takes some time to find your voice through a visual narrative like Instagram.

Keep going, stay within the seasonal archetype of your business, be consistent and have fun!

In the current series on the blog, Have Fun with Instagram, we talk about why and how to meet people and grow your business, especially locally. Having a distinct color/seasonal theme in your Instagram feed eliminates the feeling of muddy.

Quick Tips for Color

These are just a few ideas to inspire you. Have fun exploring the colors that work. Instagram is a fabulous medium to play and discover. If you’d like a downloadable copy (with more color tips on it!) there’s a freebie below that will download to your email. Enjoy!

For upbeat, happy: Primary colors. Pink works too- keep it a warm, bouncy pink! Try combining a few colors in your post or use one focal color.

For subtle, lovely, elegant: Grays, lavender, turquoise, peach, sage green

For energy & fun: yellow and orange

For healthy energy: Green

For a natural look: Natural light white (avoid snow white) with greens, blues, browns

For a festive feel: Add silver or gold

Stability & comfort: brown (there are SO many different shades of brown from the smoky charcoal brown to a light, warm nutmeg.)

For more hints about Color Tips to Make Your Instagram Feed Pop, I’ve included a printable download in this series. Simply leave your email below and you’ll get access to this color guide.

Color Tips for InstaGram

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