You may have run across some hip Instagram accounts that use a blocking technique, where one image is split up into multiple tiles, or where a frame is created with solid-colored tiles around a main image.
SHOULD YOU DO IT?
These fancy techniques are done with the tiled preview mode (which is default) on individual profiles in mind. There are lots of cool ways to play around with this idea, but individual posts/tiles might not look good on their own. Your followers are ending up with incomplete images and blank posts in their feeds, and your posts probably aren't going to look coherent in search either.
Plus, if you commit yourself to this technique, there’s no going back. Since rows of tiles on Instagram are 3 across, you will always have to post in 3s to keep your blocks in alignment (or be okay with your big photos being out of whack for 2 out of every 3 posts).
Notice in the above example from @voyagesupply, they posted 3 self-contained pictures in between their big blocks. They also used cool outdoor photos for their blocks, so the tiles are still interesting to look at when viewed one at a time.
There are drawbacks to this commitment, but it’s so cool looking, I decided to give it a try.
HOW I DID IT
I created a brand new Instagram account to do this. Then I poked around for the best-reviewed app that tiles your pictures for you (for free). I went with one called Tile Pic.
Getting your tiled post onto Instagram is time consuming. The app saves the individual tiles to your camera roll, and it’s up to you to individually upload and caption each one in order.
There are some advantages to this though, in terms of exposure and impressions.
Instagram only allows 30 hashtags per post, so you could conceivably put 30 different hashtags on each of your tiles and reach a lot more people than you would with a single, self-contained image. You’re expanding your posts to take up more real estate and giving people more opportunities to run across your profile.
I chose the above eyeshadow picture from my photography Instagram @icecreampisces to tile. Most of the tiles look strange and weirdly composed when viewed on their own (most of my photography is close-up and I think landscapes would work better), but I really like how it looks all together.
I'm not stoked on the idea of my feed being 100% puzzle pieces and dividers. I still want a few posts that can stand on their own and look good in search and my followers' feeds. So, to get even more mileage out of this single eyeshadow image, I created a label of sorts, comprised of a blank white tile, a tile with only text, and a tile that's just the picture itself (rule of 3s, remember?).
The individual photo and text-only photo hold up as stand-alone posts, while contributing to the deliberate, carefully constructed look of my feed. When viewing my profile, the small version of the photo acts almost like an icon or preview of the large tiled block below. If I do the same thing for all of my photos, I think it will look coherent and cool.
The majority of people on Instagram aren’t doing this blocking technique. It makes your profile stand out and demonstrates an impressive amount of planning if you do it right. This is an approach for gaining followers, not getting likes (though plenty of people liked my weird puzzle piece photos and even my blank white dividers). It is a commitment, in terms of time and effort, and is not right for everyone.
And no matter how much time and effort you put in, you’ll probably never reach the level of hip hop artist Anderson .Paak, whose feed is one giant tapestry of connected images. He makes me feel like we should all either quit Instagram or up our game by 5,000%.
Aspiring Dog Parent