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Woman in white laying in bed looking at laptop.
Woman in white laying in bed looking at laptop.
Photo by Taylor Gribbon

Rebecca Thornhill of 99 The Agency on How to Curate Your Instagram Feed

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

Rebecca Thornhill, a 23-year-old from Ottawa, is an avid traveller, iced coffee drinker, and dog lover—her puppy, Sage, is honestly one of the cutest dogs we’ve ever seen!

Rebecca also has an impressive educational background: She got her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Sociology at Carleton University in 2020, completed the Social Media Marketing Program through Cornell University in 2021, and completed a hands-on Mentorship Program Specializing in all things Social Media, Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship, which she says ultimately kick-started her interest in building 99 The Agency. Needless to say, she’s a pro when it comes to all things social media, and she’s here to share some Instagram feed curation tips with us!

Picture of woman in white sitting in a chair
Photo by Taylor Gribbon

HC: If you could summarize Instagram feed curation in a few steps, what would they be?

Rebecca: “I would have to say the key to perfecting your Instagram feed aesthetic would be creating a visual mood board, selecting a solid colour palette, and keeping your theme consistent.

Before curating a feed for any of my clients, the first thing I do is hop on Pinterest and create a mood board that matches the overall vibe we’re going for on their page. From there, I have a better idea of the types of images and colours we’ll use going forward. 

Once you have your mood board in place, you can create your colour palette. I usually go with 5 colours with 2-3 of those colours being your “core colours.” The key to a great colour palette is to include at least 3 neutrals with a pop of colour (feel free to go back to basics with the colour wheel if you need help finding complementing colours or look for inspo on Pinterest). Neutral and soft colours are always the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye!

Lastly, make sure you stay consistent with your branding. Keep using the same colour palette, fonts, and theme throughout your feed to ensure everything is cohesive. This will create an eye-catching flow within the feed, making the aesthetic unmatched.”

HC: What are your favourite apps for helping with feed curation?

Rebecca: “My favourite app for creating graphics would be Canva—it’s the easiest to use and is user friendly for anyone, even if you’re just a beginner! There are also lots of tutorials online (and some on my Instagram!) on design tricks and cool things you can do in Canva. 

For Reel editing I use InShot, which is an easy-to-use, free app for editing video content. Temply is another great app with aesthetic fonts and layouts for creating Reel covers! 

I also use my Instagram feed template to lay out all my upcoming content to see how it will appear on the feed once posted—this way you can place everything in the feed correctly!”

P.S., The template is currently available for free to readers!

Woman looking at Canva on phone.
Photo by Taylor Gribbon

HC: How does your approach to curating business feeds differ from the curation of your personal feed?

Rebecca: “My personal Instagram feed is more of a space for me to share my favourite moments and experiences in my life that represent me! It’s much less curated and more of a fun way to share my life in pictures. With that being said, the aesthetic side of me still makes sure my personal page looks put together and cohesive. The easiest way to do this is to keep your photo editing style consistent throughout your feed so that it flows nicely! I use the same settings on Adobe Lightroom on all my photos to adjust colours and lighting to keep each picture consistent—and remember, less is always more!

Creating a feed for a business profile involves more curation and thought. There is more planning involved to ensure you’re including all the important topics needed for the marketing plan each month while also making the feed look beautiful. I always start by creating a breakdown of important topics and themes for each month and then generating the photos and graphics accordingly and following the set colour palette and mood board approved by the client.”

HC: What made you want to start a social media agency?

Rebecca: “I have always loved taking photos and being creative, so I was naturally drawn to creating on social media. There was a period when I put a lot of effort into my personal Instagram account to be able to work with brands on partnerships and collaborations, which is what really piqued my interest in doing more in the social media space. From there, I furthered my education in the industry, built my portfolio, and brought 99 The Agency to life. I have since hired my first intern and landed some dream clients in all different industries across the city and even across the country! I am so excited to continue to grow and meet new people!”

What are you waiting for? Use Rebecca’s tips to give your Insta feed a refresh, and don’t forget to give her a follow while you’re on the app! ;)

NOTE: Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Teaghan is a fourth-year Translation student who loves drinking espresso and thrifting--in that order. She is also a part of the Campus Trendsetters community! Find her on Instagram @teaghandurand :)