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

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

First impressions are everything on Instagram. This is why influencers spend so much time curating their grids and making sure each post looks like it belongs to a cohesive thematic collection. This is why people like you and me think twice before posting anything to our feed in case it deviates from anything else on our grids (and yes, people will notice).

Influencers have even found a way to package and sell their preset filters so that others can easily create their own aesthetically pleasing Instagram grids. Anyone can add a cozy or millennial pink filter to all of their photos to make sure no image is out of place.

This is also why some brands want to curate and plan their own grids. There are more intentions to what images to share and how photos to manipulate, paying special attention to the colors and themes used. For example, every picture that Aldi UK shares is edited so that it looks like every picture was taken on the same never-ending spreadsheet. Brands have seen how well-manicured grids have brought influencers millions of followers and thousands of likes – and now brands want to enjoy the same success.

Let me finish …

As appealing as a scheduled Instagram grid is, it falls into the same category as vanity metrics. It’s nice to have, but dividing pictures up on tiles or trying to tie each picture together doesn’t mean much if they don’t help you achieve your social goals.

By the time most brands started paying a lot of attention to their grilles, the highly curated look that influencers advocated was already a fleeting trend. What we’re left with are brands that spend too much time thinking about the layout of their grids and less about the quality of each piece of content they publish. Having a planned grid doesn’t necessarily help your brand stand out from the crowd, and in some cases you risk creating photos that will all look the same after a while.

For brands, your primary goal on Instagram shouldn’t be to plan your grid as coherently and thematically as possible. Rather, the aesthetic that your brand will be known for will naturally kick in as you prioritize the things that matter: your brand voice, your style guidelines, and your overarching social strategy.

Because what are you ultimately trying to accomplish with those six photos that you’ve carefully edited and arranged in your feed to include a larger image? Splitting grids looks great when people can see it in full, but if you can’t even get people to your branding page, the work is wasted. An aesthetically pleasing Instagram grid takes work, and it’s worth wondering if that time and energy could be better spent on other social priorities like engagement and customer care.

Instead of carefully planning your grid down to the last picture, give your audience what they actually want from you. Don’t worry about trying to make everything look pretty or visually cohesive: the aesthetically pleasing grid you are looking for will naturally come to life once the rest of your strategy is implemented.

What do you think of planning your Instagram grid? Is it worth investing in the perfect layout? We’d love to hear your thoughts on social issues! Tag us @SproutSocial on Twitter and let’s start a conversation.