5 Instagram Trends To Follow in 2021

January 14, 2021
5 min read

What captivated your followers on Instagram in 2020, might not work in 2021. Instagram trends are evolving quickly and aesthetic preferences are becoming more minimalistic than ever before.

This blog post will explain 5 new trends to watch out for on Instagram in 2021 and how to use them most effectively to grow your followers and fine-tune your social media presence.

Five Exciting 2021 Instagram Trends

Watching Instagram preferences evolve over the years has been super interesting. Remember when the social media giant was first introduced? The blurry photos that looked like they were shot by a potato? What about the original filters that over-saturated everything?

When we look back at those early years of Instagram and then compare them to what we see now, you start to realize that trends evolve rapidly. '

Ebbing with the tides of change and introducing your own original spin on a highly-popular aesthetic can be what differentiates you from the competition.

Ready To Stand Out and Earn More Instagram Followers?

Here are our top five favourite Instagram trends for 2021:

#1 Consistent Visual Branding

#2 Community-Driven Content

#3 Reels Are King

#4 Hand Drawn Layers

#5 No More Over-Editing

#1 Consistent Visual Branding

More people are using Instagram as a search engine to find brands and businesses, sometimes even preferring the app over Google.

Crazy, right?

This is further bolstered by a recent algorithm change that allows people to search relevant keywords, making it easier for users to find information and businesses.

When a new visitor lands on your profile, you have a rare opportunity to make a first impression. Strong and consistent branding matters. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to establish credibility immediately. So what does consistent branding mean on Instagram?

Take a look at your current Instagram account profile:

Does your Profile Picture, Story Highlight Covers and Feed all work together to tell a clear visual story?

Your branding needs to be on point. Colours should align and imagery should all tie together to immediately tell your story in a big way.

There are a few free Instagram Visual Planner apps that can help you cultivate a great-looking grid for your profile. Later, Plann, and Unum are just a few free apps you can use to make sure every single post you make on Instagram is tying into your visual story. Give them a try and let us know what you think.

#2 Community-Driven Content

Community-sourced content is definitely not a new trend, but it is gaining mad traction in 2021. These days, there are even brands on Instagram who rely entirely on content posted by loyalists and followers.

Why is this particular trend so popular right now?

Customers love engaging with their favourite brands. The more they feel heard, the more they connect with the brand. Eventually, customers become ambassadors for you recruiting their friends and followers to engage with your products.

Plus, customers get excited when their favourite brand shares their personal content. Why not bring a smile to one of your followers?

(Effing Seafoods is really good at this, see our example below).

Even better?

It shows you are actively engaging with your community and that is the secret weapon when it comes to driving engagement on your Instagram feed.

Finally, crowd-sourcing content from your followers is a great way to diversify your feed and bring an authentic look-and-feel to your profile. Always be sure to ask permission and credit your source.

#3 Reels are Everything

Instagram Reels were created in response to TikTok, a rapidly growing social media app beloved by Gen Zers. Essentially, Reels are a new way for content creators to engage with their followers by making short (15 - 30 second) entertaining videos.

With the new Instagram layout launch, users can even search for new Reels from the main navigation menu.

Trust us when we say…

2021 will be the year of the Instagram Reel!

There are several advanced editing tools embedded directly in the app and many brands are creating Reels with filters from Instagram directly.

In order to make sure your new Reel is consistent with the branding across the rest of your grid, use Canva to create a customized cover photo before you publish.

The trick for the rest of the Reel?

Keep things as quick and visually enticing as possible.

#4 Hand-Drawn Layers

Instagram is getting a little crafty in 2021. And by crafty, we mean scrapbook style is IN and we are here for it. We wanted to highlight this trend because it’s an easy way for you to add some unique creativity and depth to your profile.

There are dozens of free online apps that let you hand-drawn or add creative twists to your photos. PicsArt and Over are just two examples that let you adjust colours or add fresh elements to your images. We especially love the features available on VSCO.

#5 No More Over-Editing

Thank goodness the days of over-filtered, over-saturated, amateur filters are over.

In 2021, people want more natural-looking photography. We're starting to see more users engaging with minimally edited photos more than ever and this is the trend that makes us the most excited.


We are always preaching about the importance of brand authenticity. We think that goes for every part of your business, including your Instagram profile.

When you over-edit, you hide the real stand out qualities of your message. Sure, we love a good soft edit but leave it at that.

INSIDER TIP: Download the mobile Lightroom app on your phone. This lets you do quit edits on the fly while still maintaining an authentic vibe. Don’t be afraid to get vulnerable with your posts. Not everything is picture perfect and this trend fully embraces the raw and natural side of life.

What Did We Learn?

So what did we learn about the latest Instagram trends for 2021?

(1) Keep things consistent visually across your feed. In addition to giving you immediate credibility, it helps you make a lasting first impression with new visitors.

(2) Community-driven content is still important when it comes to planning your content.

(3) Reels are the latest trend sweeping Instagram and are a great opportunity for your brand to engage with followers, particularly younger ones.

(4) Add some spice to your grid with hand-drawn elements.

(5) Finally, fight the urge to over-edit your photos. If you were using a particularly grainy or saturated preset in the past, it might be time to consider a more natural approach.

Besides all that, the fundamentals of Instagram remain the same.

  • Authenticity matters.
  • Engaging with your followers.
  • Consistent content is key.
  • Long-term strategy pays dividends.
  • Long-form captions are important.

Have a question related to Instagram? Want to learn how to grow your small business on social media? Want to stand out against other already established Edmonton Instagram accounts?

Leave a comment below!

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Edmonton is located within Treaty 6 Territory and within the Métis homelands and Otipemsiwak Métis Government Districts 9 & 10. We acknowledge this land as the traditional territories of many First Nations such as the Nehiyaw (Cree), Denesuliné (Dene), Nakota Sioux (Stoney), Anishinaabe (Saulteaux) and Niitsitapi (Blackfoot).
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