If you’re a content creator, then you know the number one rule of content creation: keep up with, well, everything. Audiences change, algorithms change, trends crop up and die down faster than you can say “TikTok.” In short, content creation is a constantly changing beast.
But the second most important rule of content creation is that it’s critical to not only keep up with the latest and greatest trends but also be inspired by your community and keep your accounts and content looking professional.
One of the ways content creators have balanced those two needs over the years is by relying on filters. Filters play an important role in getting big on any social media. Many creators’ entire online “vibe” is personified and almost codified by the filters they choose to use. Filters help you stand out, while also giving your feed a unified and curated feel. Filters help you stay consistent, professional, and up-to-date with audience needs.
But too many creators start and stop their filter journey at Instagram’s built-in options. Guess what? There’s more out there now. Here are seven reasons you might want to explore beyond Instagram’s built-in filters when it comes to your content creation.
1. You’ve got more options.
The first reason is that there’s simply more to explore. When Instagram first came out, maybe you’d have to rely on the Clarendon filter.
But today, there are apps, tools, computer programs and more, all built to give you further filtering opportunities. Why limit yourself like that?
Filters are so unique to creators, and creators rely heavily on creating that custom, cohesive look. That’s why you owe it to yourself – and your audience! – to look beyond the default tools.
2. Build a community.
Just like Instagram and TikTok have become places to build an audience and a community, the creator economy has come to filters, too. Filters almost act as their own social network nowadays. You can share your own filters and save the filters of other creators you like.
For example, using the Filtertune app, you can edit any photo you like and then save your edits as a filter to then reuse at scale. When you save a new filter, you have the option of sharing it with the wider Filtertune community or keeping it private.
For further inspiration on what you can do with filters, you can also tap over to Filtertune’s “Discover” section, where thousands of categorized filters created by peers are available for you to add to your toolbox. What’s more, the app automatically previews each filter as it might look applied to the most recent image on your phone’s camera roll, so it’s easy to visualize on the fly.
3. Personalize and customize.
It’s no secret that building a personal, customized, yet unified Instagram feed is a real time-consumer. But it’s a necessary part of creating a brand that still feels like you to your audience.
Luckily, there are tools that allow you to build reusable filters that match both your vibe and what your audience wants from you. This way you can keep your feed cohesive and attractive to new followers, while getting extra time to create the content your existing audience loves and is passionate about.
One great example of this is @literallysuraksha, a photographer and photo editor. Her photos feel like her, but it’s clear she’s using a reusable set of filters to give a uniform vibe to all her photos.
4. Build a brand.
It’s common advice, but it’s easy to overlook: your feed represents who you are in the eyes of your audience. Want to build a brand that your followers love? Rely on filters to help control your narrative.
Instagram’s built-in filters will communicate to your followers that you are not unique, that you don’t take the time to develop your own look and feel, and that you’re not savvy about alternatives. It’s a bit of a basic move. By doing your own research on additional filters, you can ensure you’re giving your audience the very best you that exists.
One tool that can help you ensure your feed (and hence your brand!) is unified is the Preview App. This app lets you pre-examine how your feed will look with your content and filters and ensure it’s sticking to your theme.
5. Filters are powerful.
Another common saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. But a filtered picture is worth a thousand followers.
A filter can help change the mood of your photo. It can brighten up a dreary day, or make a sunny picture a little darker. Just like it’s important to make sure your feed looks and feels cohesive, it’s vital to ensure each picture is telling the story you want it to tell.
You can fill out your caption until the cows come home, but many followers might never even read the caption. Use filters to ensure your content is giving the right impression to your followers – and potential new followers – at a single glance.
6. Look for sellable options.
Not only is it possible to use filters to create a community and strengthen your relationship with your audience, but you can also promote and sell your own filters.
Many creators actually sell “packs” of Lightroom Presets as a way to monetize their personal blogs. For example, creator @louandmarks markets one bundle of presets as “Creamy and Moody.” Fans of her style and work can easily purchase her gorgeous filters for use on their own images.
This not only earns you some extra income but can really form tighter bonds with an audience who feels closer to you through this interaction.
7. Stay on-trend.
Finally, moving beyond Instagram’s canned filters really lets you stay on-trend. Especially as TikTok has whetted audiences’ appetites for fast-moving, instantly trendy content, it’s critical to ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest looks and filters.
Not only that, but you also have to put your own spin on it to make sure you’re staying true to the brand you’ve so painstakingly built.
Keep an eye out using resources like Creator Kit, which has a list of the most popular filters in 2021. You can also scroll through Instagram’s Explore Page, which will show you the daily and weekly trends on Instagram. Then all that’s left to do is the fun part: using those filters as inspo and creating your very own content that you know your followers will love.
Filters can give your account a boost – if you use them well.
Filters are a great way to improve your brand, have fun, grow your audience, and really get your own sense of self out there on Instagram and other platforms. However, most of the built-in tools like Instagram’s own filters are out of date. While they’re good for basics, creators can go far beyond those basic offerings now.
These seven reasons are a good way to stay on top of Instagram’s constantly shifting tides while staying true to yourself and your audience as a content creator.