Instagram has served as a vehicle for content creators and brands of all sizes to cultivate success and more importantly, community. Here at PLANOLY we know that it takes a village to build a loyal and engaged following, which brings us to the introduction of our new series! Starting today we're excited to dive into the world of some of the most prominent bloggers, influencers, and marketers in the Insta game. From fashion to food, this series will feature their honest thoughts on Instagram, their industry insight, and their tips and tricks on how they've used PLANOLY to streamline their content. In our premiere interview we turned to digital maven and rising fashion blogger Arushi Khosla. With her penchant for minimalism and keen eye for style we found ourselves wanting to know more about her approach to content and what's changed since she started blogging (at 15 years old we might add!). Read on for our interview with Arushi over tea at the celebrated (and Instagram favorite!) Jack's Wife Freda.
Please introduce yourself!
Hi! I'm Arushi, a digital native based in New York. I'm a digital consultant by day and content creator by night. I enjoy coffee shop-hopping, binge-watching episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and minimal, streamlined clothing with a touch of sexy.
Give us the rundown of your "digital history" - when did social media really become a prominent aspect of your personal and professional endeavors, and more specifically what role has Instagram played in the growth of your blog/personal brand?
I started blogging as a wee 15-year-old in New Delhi, India. This is blogosphere 1.0, mind you - back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Social media was not yet part and parcel of developing a digital voice and stream of consciousness ramblings were the norm. Slowly but surely, Facebook and Twitter pages became a mainstay and then Pinterest. I didn't have an Instagram account until I moved to the US 4 years ago and even as of 2 years back, didn't use it for content creation or branding purposes. My junior year, fatigued by the over-saturation of the blogging industry and the chaos of my hectic life in general, I decided to go on an indefinite hiatus. Instagram was what drew me back into the fold a few months later. It was refreshing, it was challenging, it was invigorating. Over the past year and a half, it has become the focal point of my content, while my blog houses the long form versions of each outfit, collaboration, or partnership. Adopting and growing my Instagram has changed the game. For the majority of personal style bloggers, the route of traffic has reversed --> it goes from your Instagram, which houses the "best of" your content, to your site. I've had the opportunity to travel, work with incredible brands, and attend amazing events and activations. The industry has matured greatly and there is more respect and appreciation for the work bloggers put in. Beyond a career standpoint, the platform has connected me with some truly remarkable, fascinating people whom I may not have encountered randomly.
Your blog's subtitle is "Aesthete Nation" so how has this translated into curating your Instagram feed? What are your 3 go-to's when it comes to things you have to post?
My friends ceaselessly mock me for my obsession with a cohesive grid. The seamlessness of the grid is just as important as the singular image, in my opinion. It's what pulls everything together and tells a story. Natural light, bright and airy editing, and dynamic cropping are boxes I have to check off each time I upload a new image. That's where PLANOLY comes in. I used to create a mock-up of my grid in my VSCO folder to see how upcoming posts would align - now I'm able to effortlessly play around with scheduling based on a variety of factors, chief among which is often the appearance of the imagery as a collective. My 3 go-to's are the: the mighty OOTD, the detail shot, and the bird's eye of the cortado or the cocktail, depending on time of day (and state of mind).
Do you have any tips or tricks you've learned with regards to planning, editing, and/or creating great Instagram content?
I touched upon this above but consistency is key. I've deleted photos (unless they have sentimental value) or forgone posting a great shot because they don't work with the feed. I also find that picking a general color scheme is helpful. For me, this is generally bright, minimal and airy, with contrasting monochrome elements thrown in. For you, it may be colorful and high contrast. Additionally, having a content calendar really helps. For me, this usually entails jotting down notes about ideas for upcoming posts, tying in with brand collaborations I have to feature, and then formalizing the layout the week before. I typically shoot my outfits over the weekend (because I work full-time in digital consulting during the week) and lifestyle shots during the week so it's all about planning it in a way that flows with your schedule. I also always have a few backup ideas in case something falls through or I don't get the shot I want. This is of course, only if you're utilizing Instagram from a content perspective. If your account is for personal use, disregard all of this and just do you.
As someone who has experience in planning and content strategy, why do you feel it's important for brands and content creators to tap into this side of things, as opposed to just focusing solely on creative?
As I mentioned above, the voice of your page is communicated instantly when someone lands on the grid. If the experience is disjointed and episodic with no clear vision, it's tricky to interpret the brand's visual language and message. On social, the impression made in those first few seconds reigns supreme, so if you're not able to impress, the user has already moved on to the next of the multitudes of pages populating the platform. This is all not even to mention how key it is from a business perspective to utilize social to drive both key brand and product messaging, (and in-store traffic for retailers). Social and Instagram specifically, are often at the very beginning of the brand discovery channel (and the purchase funnel) so if you lose them there, they're on to the next. With so many brands and creators excelling at creating compelling, immersive, and engaging content, there's really no room for banal, uninspired work.
As an avid user of PLANOLY what are your favorite features that the app offers and how has it enhanced your approach to Instagram content?
Being able to move images around by dragging them, scheduling, and the grid layout. Game changers.
In your opinion who are some brands/content creators that are ahead of the curve in terms of planning and sharing compelling/innovative content?
My favorite creators at the moment are @tania_sarin, @substance_blog, @lioninthewild, @chroniclesofher_, @ericchristian,@peonyandpage, and @loveambervictoria. My favorite brands on the platform right now are @thestellnewyork, @areyouami, @nudebynature, @grownalchemist, @reformation (ALWAYS), and @amarilo.
Photography: Bridget Badore @bridgetbadore