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Instagram’s Now Testing its New Layout Options for Instagram Stories Frames

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Instagram has begun limited testing of a new ‘Layout’ option in Instagram Stories which enables users to select from a range of presentation styles for their visuals within a Stories frame.

As you can see in this tweet from social media consultant Matt Navarra (via researcher Satyam Sinha), the new option enables you to choose a split-screen grid type for your images, with six different grid styles to consider. At this stage, it seems that you’ll only be able to add still images to each grid segment.

The Layout option was first spotted in testing by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong back in August, but now seems to have crossed over to the next stage of beta testing. At that time, Wong also reported that Instagram had been testing a range of new Boomerang modes, which would further add to your creative options.

Instagram Boomerang modes

There’s no word on these Boomerang modes being released, but maybe, given we’re now seeing public testing of Layouts, they’re also not too far away.

On another front, Instagram also appears to be testing a new ‘Shoutouts’ option, which provides custom templates for birthdays and similar announcements.

Instagram Shoutouts example

As demonstrated in these examples (via @aj_malakai and @blueasyraff) When you add a users’ Instagram @handle into the Shoutout field, it then provides a listing of images that the two of you have shared together, from which you can choose one to feature in your update. It could be another way to prompt direct engagement, and tap into the rising trend of more private conversation on Instagram.

There’s no word from Instagram on a full launch of any of these tools, but going on past history, you’ll likely see more of them in the very near future.

Socialmediatoday.com

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LinkedIn Adds New Features for Company Pages, Including Post Templates and Link Stickers

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LinkedIn has outlined its latest batch of updates for Company Pages, most of which had already been previewed in some capacity, but are now being rolled out on a broader basis.

First off, LinkedIn’s making its new post templates available to all company pages.

LinkedIn post templates

As you can see in these examples, LinkedIn’s post templates, as they sound, provide a range of visual enhancements for your LinkedIn updates, which could help to make them stand out in feeds.

LinkedIn originally launched post templates for individual users last month, but now, it’s making them available for Company Page updates as well.

As per LinkedIn:

Create engaging, actionable LinkedIn content easier than ever with customizable templates, available directly in the LinkedIn app, with no third-party tools required.”

I mean, I don’t know that these types of posts really fit with LinkedIn’s professional approach. But then again, as many have noted, LinkedIn is increasingly becoming more like Facebook anyway, with more personal posts and updates that are less focused on professional aspects.

And that seems to be working – LinkedIn’s parent company Microsoft keeps reporting ‘record levels of engagement’ in the app every quarter, so maybe this is actually a good, valuable addition.

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We’ll see how people feel about it when every other LinkedIn ‘thinkfluencer’ is posting using these templates. You can access post templates in the mobile app by tapping the ‘use template’ option in the post composer menu.

As an addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making its new link stickers available for Company Pages too, which could help to drive more direct response to your updates.

LinkedIn link sticker

On another front, LinkedIn will also now enable all Company Pages to pin comments beneath their brand posts.

LinkedIn Pinned Comments

The rollout for this feature also started last month, with some users seeing the option to pin comments in the app.

That could be a good way to spark more focused engagement, and highlight top fans, while you could also use this to simply boost interactions by pinning the comment with the most engagement at the top of the reply chain.  

As a reminder, LinkedIn Company Pages can also pin an update for similar purpose.

Finally, LinkedIn has also added a new Our featured commitments’ section for Company Pages, where brands will be able to showcase their most important values.

“Increasingly in today’s market, job seekers are evaluating potential employers based on their values. They’re interested in knowing where companies stand on issues that are important to them, such as DEI, work-life balance, sustainability, etc. To provide greater insight and connections, LinkedIn is enabling employers to highlight these commitments on their LinkedIn company page to define their talent brand and values.” 

Brands will be able to include up to five commitments in their featured commitments section, while you’ll also be able to host content that demonstrates the same, all of which will be displayed in a sub-panel in the ‘About’ section of your Page.

These are some potentially handy updates, with the link stickers and pinned comments standing out as likely the most valuable additions for LinkedIn page managers.

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Post templates I’m not as sold on, especially for brands – but then again, there may be ways to use these templates to improve the presentation of your posts, and maybe, that’ll increase overall engagement.

You can read about all of LinkedIn’s latest company page updates here.

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