Instagram Reels is a brand-new feature on Instagram where users can create 15-to 30-second video clips set to music, text, stickers, and other special effects that they then can share to their Stories, Explore Feed, and the new Reels tab on a user’s profile.
I can hear your thoughts running. Isn’t that a little too familiar? Is it because the new Instagram Reels tab is taking centre stage on the Instagram navigation bar? Yes, I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that a lot like TikTok? Well, that’s no coincidence.
What are Instagram Reels?
Let’s put it out there, yes Instagram’s latest feature, Instagram Reels, is highly similar to TikTok. There’s no way around it. However, similar as they may seem, there are differences between Instagram Reels and TikTok which we will not discuss here, but maybe in a separate blog.
But we can say this much – the platform you choose will depend on how best it will suit you and your audience, your brand, and your marketing goals. If you have a primarily Gen Z audience, then TikTok is the wiser choice. However, if you’re planning to broaden your Instagram strategy and grow your following, then Instagram Reels is a great place to start.
The new Instagram feature is available in the United States and 50 other countries and can be considered a direct response to TikTok, whose popularity surged at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic during quarantine last year. According to Adweek, TikTok garnered the honour of having “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in the first quarter of 2020.
10 Tips to Making Instagram Reels
We will not discuss here how to use Instagram Reels the new addition to the app is pretty simple to use, anyone can learn it on the fly. However, getting the most out of creating that next viral content that inspires new audiences requires a bit of leg work and preparation to contain, entertain, and inform as much as you can within 30 seconds.
1. Do extensive research:
Though relatively a new feature, Instagram Reels has already amassed millions upon millions of views. Creators have already published countless video clips on the platform.
Determine who your audience is and spend some time watching popular Reels that click among a specific demographic. Knowing what your competitors are putting out with Reels is worth the time to investigate as you formulate or conceptualise your content.
2. Create a storyboard:
Though it does not have a spontaneous feel as Stories, you may use this advantage by creating storyboards for your Reel before you even shoot.
Draw out your objective for your Reel, and then map out how you will execute this vision or objective during the shoot. Keep in mind that you only have a maximum of 30 seconds to execute this vision.
Successful Reels usually stick to not more than three points within those 30 seconds.
Before you aim to land a spot in the coveted Feature section of your target audiences’ Explore feed, practice creating a few Reels before hitting that publish key/button. Bad Reels detract from your brand’s competency and professionalism.
4. Avoid hard selling: Avoid pushing your product or service on your audience. That is not what Reels is all about. You aim to capture their attention and position your business as a trusted industry authority or their brand of choice.
5. Repurpose your content:
Stuck for ideas? Look at all your posts across all of your platforms. See which ones garnered a significant amount of traction. Run through your analytics and note which content garnered the most organic traffic. Then, draw up ways to relay the same information in new and innovative ways. Takeaway – There’s a reason why popular content is popular, so have no qualms about repurposing it.
6. Stick to the Frame:
Though Instagram Reels employ the same dimensions as Instagram Stories at 9:16, your Reels will appear on your feet as 4:5. So if you plan to add text in your video, make sure to fit them within the 4:5 frame to avoid them being cut off.
7. Stick to your Niche:
Whether you already have an established audience or trying to reach new ones, Reels is another venue for you to deliver content to your audience in a different format. Sticking to your niche will ensure that you will not confuse your existing audience who subscribed to your zone of genius.
8. Strive to always provide Inspiration or Value:
Though the format may be different, Instagram Reels is not any different from your regular content, so do not treat it any differently. Before making content, think about what value you can impart to your audience. Whatever your niche is, always aspire to deliver value or inspiration to your audience.
9. Use Trending Music or Sounds:
This would be a little tricky since, as of now, there is no way to find out what music or sound is trending on Reels. In the meantime, you may utilise TikTok to find this out.
Just be aware not to use these pieces of music or sounds because they are trending if they do not fit the overall theme of the Reel you are creating. Make sure the sound is relevant to your niche and the type of content you are creating. Make sure it is relevant to your audience and the audience you want to attract.
10. Use Hashtags:
As with any Instagram posts, hashtags are important for your content to be pushed in the right direction, but your Reel content will also show up in the pages dedicated to these hashtags. Spend time researching the best hashtags that will suit your Reel.
11. Add a Call to Action:
Do not leave your viewers hanging at the end of your Reel. It is good practice to add a compelling call to action at the end of your Reel content. Whether that be a “to be continued” or a “follow for more,” ask them to share their thoughts and comments.
How can Instagram Reels Work for Your Business or Brand?
As mentioned above, Instagram Reels is a great place to start if you intend to broaden your follower and engagement base. Proponents of the Reels claim that it is a growth hack at the moment.
The Instagram Reels tab took centre stage of the main Instagram navigation bar. This development and tab placement on the app provide a significant push to have its users browse and share Reels more often.
Though Instagram Reels is a new entrant to the field and has not been around for that long, it opens a new space for brands and creators to exploit and to go above and beyond and as a welcome addition to any business and/or brand’s marketing strategy.
Take note, however, that Instagram Reels do not have an advertising option. There is no provision for you to promote your Instagram Reels like Stories or any sponsored content. Nevertheless, it does not diminish the fact that it is still potentially valuable from a marketing standpoint.
Consider adopting these ways to exploit how Instagram Reels can work for you in your marketing strategy:
- Your content should be authentic and resonate with your target audience in displaying a more human aspect/side of your brand. Instagram Reels is a great opportunity for your business to do this fast, fun, and packed with special effects.
- Showcase your services or products to increase your brand awareness as well as to showcase your brand’s personality and values, ultimately building sales. Instagram Reels are a wonderful avenue to demonstrate what your business entity has to offer.
- You have the opportunity to teach your followers something new by sharing educational content. You can feature anything such: as ways to save money, use your products in different ways, how-to’s and many more. Instagram Reels is an effective platform for commanding your audience’s attention to get your message across clearly and fast.
It’s true that for the moment, Instagram Reels does pale in comparison to the popularity of TikTok. It however provides another venue or outlet to communicate and reach more audiences.
Though Instagram Reels is only in its infancy, early adopters have already reaped the benefits of reaching more people and growing their audience base. Only time will tell how much more effective Instagram Reels will be. So why not give it a try today?
More and more businesses are using social media to improve their online presence. Get in touch with our Social Media Marketing team to see how we can help.