When used well, Instagram can be an incredible platform! It allows creatives, like myself, to share our work and connect with like-minded people from all over the world. However, if you’re anything like me, you can go from being creative in one way, to the polar opposite overnight. So how can you follow your creative instincts, while still impressing the community who may not be as interested in your new direction? I recently changed the name, theme and style of my Instagram account; so I’m here to share everything I learned along the way…
Tip #1: Go for it!
While this might sound simple, taking the plunge can be a little daunting. There is no way of knowing how your followers are going to respond, or if you’re still going to feel inspired by your new direction in 6 months’ time. For these reasons, it took me a very long time to take the leap. As a result, creating content for Instagram felt like a drag and it showed through my work, which was quite frankly, boring.
I was regularly working on creative briefs, which pushed me to experiment with new styles, but when it came to my own content, the excitement dwindled. So I eventually decided to treat my account like a creative brief; I set myself a list of goals (essentially all the themes / styles that I wanted to learn) and went for it! I immediately felt inspired again and even noticed an improvement in the quality of my images. So if you’re considering a change in direction, I would highly recommend it. After all, it’s really important to create content for yourself, not just your audience.
Tip #2: Don’t worry about the numbers.
One of my biggest fears when it came to changing the direction of my account, was potentially losing the amazing community who had supported me for so long. While this was a genuine possibility, I eventually realised that the numbers really don’t matter. Sure, it might be nice to receive likes and comments however, the people who are there to support you for you, will embrace whatever it is you do.
If the numbers are really important to you, then I would recommend gradually changing your account over a few months. If you post every day, then start by posting an image relating to your new theme / style once a week, then twice, and continue to build this up over time.
Tip #3: Get creative!
If you’re feeling inspired, then let that creativity flow. The more interesting your images are, the more likely it is that your followers will respond well to any big changes. For instance, I ran a poll in my stories about a year ago asking my audience if they preferred light and bright photos, or dark and moody. At the time, the majority of the responses were for light and bright. So when I decided to start creating dark and moody posts anyway (as part of my recent goals), I made sure they were high quality and added in a few action shots, too. As a result, I received a lot of support for my new look and even saw a swing in the results when I re-polled my audience.
Tip #4: Find your unique style.
As a creator, I think it’s important to have a style that makes your work unique. So when it comes to changing direction, I would recommend experimenting with a few different techniques / styles to see what works best for you. Ideally you want people to see an image and know it’s yours.
You can still be incredibly creative, while still maintaining some level of consistency. It could be the preset you use to edit your images, a particular colour palate, how you frame your images, or a look / feel of simplicity. Whatever it may be, I personally like the idea of always having an element that is uniquely you.
Tip #5: Be patient.
When experimenting with a new style or direction, there is often a lot to learn! So don’t worry if the first few photos you take aren’t perfect, or if your audience isn’t initially as excited as you are. In my experience, I did lose some followers to begin with; however, I am finally starting to grow again. It can take a while to find your groove, but if it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s worth persisting!
Overall, I have personally found the journey of changing direction to be a lot of fun and the transition has been relatively smooth. I am extremely grateful and fortunate to be surrounded by a community who has embraced my changes and continued to support me. So I truly hope the same will go for anyone else in a similar position. And for those of us who are happy on our current creative path, I still encourage you to step outside your comfort zone from time to time. You might just surprise yourself!