Introducing Instagram Reels, a ‘reel-y’ cool update from the social media platform Instagram which launched in 2020.
Following the growing popularity of rival social site TikTok, Instagram is hoping that Reels will draw users back onto their platform to create original content.
So what exactly is Instagram Reels?
According to Instagram, Reels is “a way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.”
Since its launch landed in 50 countries, new users have flocked to upload video content. The initial popularity is most likely also boosted by the banning of TikTok in countries such as India, with Gen Z’s looking for the new place to create and share videos.
Within the Instagram app, you can record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos and add audio, effects and stickers using the Reels feature.
These short videos are then able to be shared to followers and the wider community using ‘Explore’, if you have a public account.
Furthermore, the Instagram Reels icon now appears on the main navigation at the very front and centre of the app. This indicates a significant push by the social platform to encourage users to browse and share Reels more often.
Why does my business need to know about Instagram Reels?
Similar to the launch of Instagram Stories back in August 2016, Reels has already garnered a lot of popularity amongst users.
If your brand has a healthy Instagram following you can start creating content and share more of your brand personality with your audience.
But even if you are new to Instagram, by setting your business profile to ‘public’ your Reels content will be accessible to anyone in the world and should soon see your followers increase if the content you are producing is engaging and onbrand.
Instagram Reels allows brands the flex in creativity to entertain and engage their followers. However as with any social media posting, there should be a strategy behind any content created and published.
How can I create on-brand content for Reels?
There has been a huge amount of viral content coming out of TikTok within the past two years, and no doubt Instagram Reels aims to do the same.
It’s important to look at what the culture is on TikTok and the content that has worked well in this format, before translating this to your own brand voice for Reels.
However unlike more spontaneous Instagram Stories, Reels requires more creative input, time and analysis to be executed well. Viral trends change almost as quickly as they started and it can be a tiring process trying to keep up.
We recommend following these three basic content principles to create successful on-brand content for Instagram Reels:
1. Create authentic content that resonates with your audience
Instagram Reels is designed to be fast, fun and creative using special effects and audio to capture an audience’s attention.
It offers brands an opportunity to be ‘more human’ to build genuine relationships with followers and form a community.
2. Share educational content
When creating content ideas for your Reels strategy, including educational videos is a good place to start.
For example if you’re a travel brand why not give your followers your top 5 travel hacks? Publishing interesting and engaging case studies could also work well here.
3. Naturally promote your products
Instagram Reels offers brands a huge opportunity to drive awareness and sales from the platform. As with usual Instagram posts, it’s a good idea to include hashtags and descriptive captions to help boost your reach.
Louis Vuitton has already started using Reels to creatively promote their new collections, with each of their videos reaching an average of 5 million views.
Similar to Stories, it’s likely Reels will also be huge with influencers and brand partnerships – especially as Instagram Reels now offer a shopping function which allows businesses and creators to tag their products in their reels. This is known as an Instagram product tag which allows consumers to buy, save, or learn more about the product.
Currently the only analytics on Reels are likes, view count and comments however we expect there to also be in-depth analytics in the future as more brands and influencers start to use the feature.
As with any social media strategy, content should be tailored to the target audience and culture on the platforms. Instagram Reels has the potential to make brand storytelling more engaging and interactive.