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Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray
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Ep. 49: Do I need a perfect Instagram grid?

Ah, the perfect Instagram grid. It’s the age old question of Instagram: Is my grid pretty enough? How much time should I devote to that aspect? The rules have changed over time on Instagram, and I’m going to be frank with you today on where you should be spending your time.  

Today’s show features a clip from a coaching session with my friend Erica Goode. She asks, How important is the prettiness of my grid?  You’ll hear my honest opinion – I don’t mince words, and yet, I do give a couple tips for how to quickly go about it to put your possibly anal mind at ease.

Erica said it well – if you’re on Instagram for any other reason than to reach and help people, whether it’s with your book, podcast, blog, or product, then you’d better re-evaluate your priorities and decide where else you can spend your time.

Be sure to stay tuned to the end of this episode after my chat with Erica because I want to give you a secret ninja tip I use for making the Instagram posting process faster.  And now, listen in!


*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!

Follow Featured guest, Erica Goode (the CPA) on Instagram

Listen to Ep. 40: How to fit in time for Instagram

Listen to Ep. 67: Top 5 Instagram Features For Marketers In 2023

Listen to Ep. 58: 7 tips for repurposing Instagram stories

Listent to Ep. 81: Achieving Your Best Yes: Learning to Say No and Prioritize

Do I need a perfect Instagram grid?

Erica: I get hung up and I try not to, but I still do, on prettiness of grid layout. I’m not trying to keep a pattern. I know that. How do you feel about putting a cover photo on your Reels? 

Ruthie: I don’t like doing it because I don’t think they gain as much exposure.

Erica: Why do you think that is? 

Ruthie: Because I think that if people look at your grid, if they just go to your grid and they see a cover photo,if it just has words on it, I don’t think they’re gonna tap in or they don’t tap in as well as they could if they see your face and they know that you’re talking or it’s something about you.

Erica: What I was thinking is I have a post already for why should I be an LLC? And I have a picture, like I have a can of picture and I have copy written. And then I’m like, well, I kind of just rather do a Reel.

And so where if you go into that and it, and you see, why should I be an LLC? Like, oh, let me click into that because I wanna know the answer to that. Whereas like, you wouldn’t know the question. If you just saw a picture of me mm-hmm tell me what you think. 

Show your face

Ruthie: I still think the first thing I have tested this, and I have talked to other people about this and we’ve even talked in the membership that the faces do way better.

Erica: Yes. even though you may not know that one thing you can do is make sure that you put a title at the top. Like, if you’ll look at my Reels, I always put a title, like a header. It’s like either in capital letters or in a different font so that people know exactly what that’s about in your reel. In my Reel.

Ruthie: I just feel like people are nosy about people. And not necessarily about their content until they get lured into their content.

Erica: They’re nosy about people and Reels because they’re kind of they’re entertaining. 

Ruthie: I waffle between being anal and not, but I’m more not than I am anymore. My grid has always been some kind of turquoise or blue in it.

Your grid may come together naturally

Even if it’s just a picture of a book. I’ve just come to terms with that. I’ve just made peace with it. I think that limits us so much as to what we need to post. And when I just think it’s more freeing and I think you’re making, yeah, like you said, you want more ROI for your time. I think you’re making more time, you know, spending more time on it than you need to.

Erica: Yeah, I don’t wanna be anal. Like I’m very capable of being overly anal about it. I know that and I don’t want to be.

Ruthie: If you look at some people who have hundreds and thousands of followers, a lot of ’em don’t even have a good grid at all. There’s no rhyme or reason, but they have all kinds of followers because people like their content.

It’s not really about the grid. Instagram used to be about beautiful pictures in the grid, but it’s not like that anymore. 

Erica: That’s the thing is like, I think I had this realization of Instagram is a game.

Instagram plays by it’s own rules

I can’t make the rules up to the game. I can just choose to play the game. That’s it. Right. So instead of wasting time, trying to make my own rules, like there are already rules why just follow them. I should just do Reels and make good content. 

It’s just so it’s so freeing to be like, this is a metaphor for life and God, right? You’re actually not in control. When you accept that, then life gets so much easier and you don’t spend your time trying to control thing that you’re actually not in control of.

Ruthie: Over-analyzing and redoing and going back. I mean, this can be applied to so many things in life. I recorded a podcast over the weekend. And I was like, that was terrible. I did that in 15 minutes and it’s gonna be awful. Then I went back and listened to it today. Cause yesterday I was flat on my back and I was like, that’s not really that bad at all.

Be gentle on yourself

I’m just gonna add this one little thing at the end. We’re good. But we’re hard on ourselves. 

Erica: I think when I came to terms with why do I even want to be on Instagram? Well, it’s to reach people and help people. So if I’m doing anything other than playing the game that Instagram has given me to do that, then I’m wasting my time in my ROI.

 Ruthie: It’s true. I wish that everyone had that same attitude. 

Erica: Well, and I think like, for me, it’s so obvious because I have an account where. Like, I don’t have a purpose, you know? So like to have such a clear purpose, I’m like is what I’m doing, achieving that purpose or not, then stop doing it. Or do it a different way.

Play by the rules.  Honestly, y’all, we may not want to do that, but if we want to grow on their platform, we have to.  We have to change with the times.  SIDE NOTE; if you have an email list, you don’t have to play by anyone’s rules.  You own that list.  That’s why you want to be driving that Instagram traffic to your newsletter and if you don’t know how to do that, listen to last week’s episode on how to get new followers on your email list.

Back to today’s subject – We don’t have all day to mess around on Instagram and honestly, it’s not ROI worthy to do so (it’s ROI worthy to spend more itme on your email list, again, I tell you!)

So, do you need a perfect Instagram grid? Let’s recap!

  1. Decide on your main colors – don’t be anal about your grid layout or you can get frozen when it’s time to post.  Just pick 3-4 colors, use those in your graphics, and then dress in those colors for the rest or add those color accents to your Reels or photos.  I have a sea foam green desk.  I use that for photos and Reels.  I wear light blue or pink in my Reels, or use my barnwood wall in teals and greens as a backdrop.  It’s not a perfect grid, but it blends.  
  2. Quick tip: Use stories to make your Reel covers – since my session with Erica, I started snappy photos of myself in stories, adding text for the title, and saving to my device.  I don’t post the story, I just save, so that when it’s time to post that Reel, my photo is right there ready to go.  Be sure to notice the grid view before posting so you don’t lose your title by positioning it too low or too high.  This is my quick workaround to making a cover photo and still showing a picture of myself so folks will tap in if they’re viewing my grid.  They see me and know, oh, she’s in front of her barnwood wall again, she’s teaching me something here I’d better watch
  3. DO put a headline in your caption like I mentioned to Erica.  I use all caps to title the caption, sometimes it’s the same title as the cover photo, but it helps to drive the point home.

Use what works

If you really want to shorten the amount of time you spend on Instagram instead of focusing on the perfect Instagram grid, use what works (ahem, Reels, then carousels, and video).  Stop being anal about your grid layout, and concentrate more on giving value and engaging with others.  By the way, you should always be engaging. You will get nowhere if you post and ghost, that’s a HUGE waste of time.  You can have the most beautiful grid on the Internet but if you don’t answer your comments and go foster community, you’re like that clanging cymbal Paul talked about.  

Erica is the owner of Erica Goode, CPA, a virtual accounting firm for women-owned businesses.  As a former Director of Finance at Walgreens headquarters, she now helps small business owners wrap their brain around all things business-money and plan financial strategies for the future.

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