22 May 2023 |

Aesthetics shouldn’t be an afterthought


Marketers love to take a talking point and run with it.

No critical thinking. No nuance. Just vibes.

One such talking point?

“Your IG grid doesn’t matter. The best social content is scrappy (read: low production).”

Look. This is well intentioned. And it’s (part) correct.

But it’s not a blanket statement.

I think we can all agree that 99% of those attempts to use multiple Instagram posts to portray some sort of message on your profile end up looking pretty horrendous. Lol. Please don’t try those.

I also think we can agree that users on TikTok (and honestly most platforms) prefer content that feels ‘authentic’ and that not every post needs to be a massive production that lights your time and budget on fire.

Just look at the Tennessee Titans schedule announcement videos. The ‘man on the street’ interview pulled 29M (holy shit) views. Absolute video game numbers.

The more highly produced video that went out on the same got 907K (not bad, but pales in comparison to the former).

So again. The advice of ‘raw is better’ and ‘stop worrying about how your feed looks’ does have some validity.

One problem.

This blanket statement doesn’t apply across the board. It depends on the brand. It depends on the industry. It depends on what we define as ‘aesthetics.’

Aesthetics matter. On all platforms — but especially on visual platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

A cohesive aesthetic in your social presences is one way to make sure that your community recognizes your content in their social media feed.

The font.

The colors.

The content formats.

The style of photography.

The brand voice (this isn’t ‘visual’ but still matters).

It’s not so much about your Instagram feed — though having that be cohesive doesn’t hurt. It’s more about being recognizable in-feed.

Authentic doesn’t mean low quality. And just because a piece of video content was shot on iPhone and not on a fancy DSLR camera doesn’t mean that any less thought goes into it.

The thought process when most people say ‘your grid doesn’t matter’ or generally dismiss aesthetics is to get aspiring social media managers and content creators to stop overthinking. Just post. Get reps in.

And when you’re just starting out, this is fine. But as you progress in your skill as a social media manager and start to get over the hump of just posting — it’s time to take the training wheels off.

Here are a few examples of what I top-tier visual cohesion looks like on social:


Look at Graza’s Instagram account. When you see a post or graphic from them, you know it’s a Graza post.

The branding and design is unique to them. Whether the post is a meme, a product drop, or an infographic… it doesn’t feel disjointed at all.



Similar to Graza, Rep’s IG feed is cohesive. When you see a product shot from them, or a hype video for an upcoming drop, you can tell it’s from Represent.



B2B brands should also also be mindful of how that appear visually on social media — and Shopify is a prime example of a brand that excels at this.

Here’s an example that I loved from earlier this year:

That meme was raw enough that it still hit, but edited and ‘branded’ enough that the consumer can tell it came from Shopify’s Instagram account.

This attention to aesthetics and branding doesn’t just apply to consumer brands.


It’s possible to both be aesthetically on point and authentic.

👀Important Caveat

Branding like this doesn’t appear out of thin air — and it’s not the social team’s responsibility to build it from scratch.

If your company has the resources, your social media team should be working in tandem with graphic designers + video editors (whenever relevant) to ideate and execute this type of visual cohesion.

Let’s make sure we’re clear on that.

🧠 Final Thoughts

2 things.

1 – Don’t let the desire for perfect visuals keep you from pressing publish, but don’t let the desire to ship quickly come at the cost of high-quality, cohesive visuals when resources are present.

It’s another chance for your brand to embed itself into the mind of your customer (that doesn’t sound creepy at all!)

2 – Candidly, this is an area of social media content that isn’t really my strong suit.

Sure. Part of it is that I’ve always ran as a super lean team, or sometimes just myself lol. Very much a run and gun style of posting.

I also identify much more as a ‘writer’ than a designer or video editor. Hence why I’m so active on Twitter and LinkedIn versus TikTok.

But visuals are a facet of being an SMM that I want to incorporate more of and get better at — and I’m going to use Social Files as my testing ground. I want to give my content a more distinct visual signature.

Will keep you posted on how it progresses.

That’s all I’ve got today.