How to Use the Instagram Reels Feature to Your Advantage
With the Instagram Reels feature, you can deliver fun and engaging video content that potential customers are eager to consume! You just have to learn how to use it to your advantage…
In 2019, TikTok was the second most downloaded app globally, and by 2020, it had already topped the list. This just further proves that video content apps are the new king of social media. And it gives us some powerful marketing insight: Consumers prefer video content!
That’s why Instagram aims to capitalize on this with the Instagram Reels feature.
When Instagram launched Reels in 2020, it was seen as the company’s effort to challenge TikTok in the short-form video content arena.
But what does it mean for you as a business owner?
It means there’s a great opportunity in using Instagram as part of your larger social media strategy.
What Are Instagram Reels?
The new Instagram Reels feature was added to the popular social media platform in 2020. Instagram defines it as “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos.”
It enables content creators to record and share 15-second videos to their feed. There are audio capabilities, effects, and a myriad of creative tools available to create captivating content.
The Instagram Reels feature is now at the forefront of Instagram, both figuratively and literally. After all, it’s located in the center of the navigation bar on your profile.
This new change to the platform’s navigation significantly pushes this experience to the users.
Another noteworthy aspect of the Instagram Reels feature is that its reach is not limited to your followers. Even non-followers can watch your Reels content via the Explore page.
While marketers haven’t been able to pin down the algorithm behind Reels just yet, it seems comparable to that of TikTok. The content is likely influenced by the accounts people follow and the content they engage with.
Here are some characteristics of successful Reels content:
- Vertical video configuration
- Creative add-ons like text, camera effects, and music
- High-quality video resolution
- Inspiring, entertaining, or educational content
Of course, content produced via the Instagram Reels feature must abide by the community guidelines set by Instagram.
Why Is It Important?
With the addition of Reels, there are now five content placements available on Instagram:
- IG Live
While that’s cool, we get it—the thought of adding more time and resources to your already full plate to build yet another type of content is overwhelming. But choosing to adopt Reels could significantly boost your marketing efforts.
Let’s look at some of the ways it can do that…
1) It Allows You to Grow Your Instagram Following Quickly
Let’s face it—the ability to gain favorable brand exposure is the primary motivation to use the Instagram Reels feature.
Typically, when social media platforms roll out a new feature, they give a considerable amount of exposure to content that uses it. This is certainly true of Instagram Reels, so now is the time to gain the most benefit from it.
There are many reasons why this feature will help you grow your following:
- Since Reels are visible to all users on Instagram, you could potentially tap into a new audience you haven’t reached before.
- It’s also visible on the Explore tab of Instagram, allowing you to leverage your content even further to gain new followers.
- When you create entertaining, relatable, and viral-worthy content, it will boost the popularity of your Reels. Obviously, the more popular your Reels become, the more views and engagement you’ll get.
- Reels also have a great sharing functionality. Users can share Reels to Stories, send in a Direct Message, or send via text.
- As a content creator, you have an unlimited reach. You can even use up to 30 hashtags for more targeted exposure.
Instagram also recently added a Remix feature for Reels, where users can record their reaction or a conversation, side by side with another user’s Reel, in one video. Remixing a Reel is like delivering a public video reply, giving both you and the other user exposure to new audiences.
2) It Gives People What They Want
In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok earned the distinction as the most downloaded app in a quarter. If TikTok is so popular, then they must be doing something right.
Given the success of TikTok, it’s no surprise that Instagram wants a piece of that pie.
Reels can leverage the success of Instagram as a platform, which offers diversity with the available content (as of today, Instagram has 1 billion users).
By choosing the popular features from TikTok and integrating them into Instagram’s platform, you give users the content they want.
3) It’s Arguably Better Than Instagram Stories
The Stories feature is great, but there are limitations to it. The Instagram Reels feature can be considered better in several ways:
- Since Reels are longer than your average Story on Instagram, there’s room to create more lively and engaging content.
- It also offers a more diverse set of tools for creators to experiment with.
- Your Reels are not limited in terms of audience reach and they are permanent (rather than being available for 24 hours only).
Best Practices for Using the Instagram Reels Feature
The success of using Instagram Reels to gain new followers and improve engagement lies in the effectiveness of your content creation process. Use these best practices to build winning content for the Instagram Reels feature…
Show Your Personality
No matter what’s on your Instagram grid, this is your opportunity to inject your personality into your content.
Focus on building authentic content so your audience can get to know the “real” you. For instance, you might offer a behind-the-scenes look to make your brand more human and easily relatable.
If your company is a beauty brand, provide a quick tour of your office or workshop to show people how you choose ingredients or how they are packaged.
If you’re an insurance agency, try “day in the life of” type of content. It builds credibility when people see how much work goes into your daily routine.
Give Them Value
Many brands deviate from educational content for fear of being labeled as “boring.”
The Instagram Reels feature provides a fun and exciting way to give value to your audience by educating them about things related to your products or services.
The secret here is to highlight your products without necessarily talking about your products.
- If you are a skincare brand, talk about common skincare myths associated with the use of one of your products (or a product category).
- If you’re a travel agency, you can share budget tips for travel.
The Reels tool allows you to position yourself as an expert in your industry so that your audience will turn to you for information relevant to your niche.
Showcase Your Brand
Making your brand shine should be the ultimate goal for creating content via Reels.
This can be very tricky, as you don’t want to put off your audience by talking too much about your company. So, instead, focus on creating a dynamic story about the development of your brand.
For instance, create a video highlight reel of how your business started and its evolution over the years. Or start by talking about what products were initially available and how your product inventory grew through time.
Make it personable and relatable. Let your audience feel as though they are part of your journey.
Demonstrate the Value Others Are Getting from Your Products/Services
“What’s in it for me?”
This is the question you need to address when developing any marketing content on social media.
Don’t talk about the features of your products. Aim to provide value to your audience instead by showing them why they need that product in their life. Always hit on benefits, not features.
For example, rather than talking about the ingredients of your skincare products, explain why certain ingredients are important for people with sensitive skin types. Better yet, feature testimonials and case studies from real customers.
What does the Instagram Reels feature mean for brands and businesses on Instagram?
In 2016, Instagram launched Stories, and it was a huge hit with over 150 million users. After only 4 years, the number of users exploded to 500 million!
Instagram is hoping to achieve the same with Reels.
It’s too early to tell if Reels is going to replace TikTok; after all, the two have different demographics and content focus. But if it were to gain a significant portion of Tiktok’s success, it’s a marketing opportunity that brands simply cannot afford to pass up.