Instagram recently launched another standalone app called Layout, where users can easily create photo collages for uploading on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels. Photo collage tools aren’t a new concept for some users, Instagram reported that 20% of their users, or approximately 60 million people, were already using third party tools to create collage posts.
These third party apps include: Pic Collage, InstaCollage, PhotoGrid, and others, but many were built around a freemium model and contained pop advertisements that users found intrusive. Enter Layout, Instagram’s second complimentary app to its flagship product that can help businesses and users better create engaging visuals for sharing on the channel without having to leave the Instagram ecosystem, one of the goals of the creation of this app. Its feature sets would have been too much to add to the existing Instagram app itself, which is why a standalone app was the best solution.
While Instagram’s Layout doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel for mobile storytelling applications, it does offer a unique and advertisement free workflow for their users and the importance of carrying the iconic Instagram brand shouldn’t be disregarded. Layout improves upon the typical user experience by maintaining a very simple design that features intuitive interface tweaks to improve the sometimes clunky features of other third party applications.
For businesses, the Layout app can help your brand differentiate your Instagram content and become a powerful tool in your digital storytelling arsenal. Creating content that mimics the behavior of your customers can often times help your brand appear more relatable and increase the likelihood that your content resonates with your audience.
Learn step-by-step how to use the Layout app and discover how the Home Depot, Valspar and Oreo brands are already using this tool to compliment their Instagram marketing strategies.
How to Maximize Visual Storytelling With Instagram Layout
One benefit of using Instagram to market your business is building a network for sharing content that highlights your brand’s products or service offerings in a creative way. Depending on your goals, you can choose to create content that serves to inform your customers about products, inspire them to engage in conversations, influence sales, and a variety of other marketing purposes.
The Layout application is another tool that your brand can leverage to better deliver your marketing message to your Instagram audience. To start, begin first thinking about the message that you are conveying to your target audience on Instagram. Additionally, plan how you can illustrate this message through visual storytelling.
For example, in this post by Victoria’s Secret, their marketing team focused on creating content to inform their followers about four artists that had recently received Grammy nominations. These artists had all performed in the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and Victoria’s Secret repurposed their content to re-engage their fans.
By using the Layout application, Victoria’s Secret created a more compelling visual story that highlighted the memorable performances that helped make their annual fashion showcase a success.
When using the Layout application, you first select up to nine photos that you want to collage, but typically, brands use two to four images in their posts. This is likely to take more planning than a typical Instagram post, because you should be thinking about how multiple images work together to tell a complete story in addition to any tagging, copy, or hashtags that you intend on promoting.
After choosing your compelling images, you will be prompted to select a variety of collage types. From there, a variety of adjustments can be made: zooming into photos, resizing, cropping, mirror effects, and flipping images within a variety of grid layouts. You can also replace images and test different visuals by tapping on your “Camera Roll” and swapping content.
Once you are satisfied with your selections, you can choose to share immediately to Instagram or Facebook as well as a variety of other applications on your phone, e.g, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn, Evernote, Flickr, MailChimp, etc.
While Layout offers a breadth of posting and design features, you should keep your initial content relatively simple until you have stronger feedback on how your audience responds to your message. Additionally, you should always consider your branding guidelines and the needs of your audience prior to publishing any new types of content.
Companies Creatively Using Visual Storytelling with Instagram’s Layout App
Often times, we can gain insight and inspiration from other brands that are creatively using new tools and companies such as Home Depot, Valspar, and Oreo who have helped lead the way in visually storytelling for their brands.
Home Depot’s marketing department may have used the Layout application to influence their audience to start a do-it-yourself project by showcasing the before and after of an end-table restoration and linking to instructions in their profile. Designing before and after content can be a great tactic to help your customers better visualize and plan for using your products and the Layout application can help bring this vision to life.
Taking it the the next level, paint manufacturer Valspar has built an Instagram account that focuses on what they know best: color and inspiring creativity. Instagram and Layout provide Valspar with the tools that they need to colorfully convey their brand to their customers.
Similar to Home Depot’s content, Valspar chooses to inspire its customers with a before and after project. However, they also highlight other products that are used during the process, which helps their audience visualize the steps that go into the restoration and the products that they would need to accomplish a similar result.
Additionally, Valspar began using another popular Instagram technique that crops a single image into to three, six, or nine individual photos which produces a tiling effect when you view their profile. This tactic can be difficult to accomplish effectively as your future Instagram content will need to be published in sets of three or the tiled image will break apart. However, for brands with a strong focus on visual appeal, such as Valspar, this technique can help attract their target audience.
Oreo promotes some of the most innovative and popular content on their Instagram channel and uses Layout to promote products and improve their visual storytelling.
Oreo has developed a history of impressive social media marketing techniques with a common theme of using well produced yet simple visuals. Consider publishing content with the Layout app that highlights ideal use cases of your products, services, or business offerings.
In summary, the Layout app can give Instagram marketers another tool to showcase their brand in a visually compelling manner and help drive brand awareness, promote products or achieve a variety of other social media marketing goals.
Have you used a collage building application or the Layout app for your business Instagram marketing strategy? What brands do you think use this tool the best? Put your answers and any feedback that you may have in the comments section below.
Updated November 22, 2017.