Instagram has launched a new feature: Instagram Reels. Reels allows you to create and edit 15-second videos set to music, and is comparable to the hugely popular TikTok social media app (read our overview article of TikTok here). But unlike TikTok, Instagram has introduced a number of additional creative features including audio and visual tools. Reels is very user friendly and can be used to share short video clips to your Stories, Explore feed, and also to the new Reels tab on your profile. Reels is an easy tool to utilise as part of any social media marketing strategy, and if your customers hang out mostly on Instagram, then Instagram Reels could be the next big thing in your online marketing plan.
What is Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels is an innovative way to create, show and share entertaining video clips with your followers. Reels can be shared with followers through your regular Feed and also in a new dedicated space in Explore. The aim for Reels is for anyone to easily become a creator and quickly and easily share video content and reach new audiences. Instead of only seeing Reels from your followers as you scroll and search, you will also see Reels from trending and popular accounts based on Instagram’s secret algorithm.
Instagram say that “Reels in Explore showcases the best of trending culture on Instagram”, so is a useful platform for sharing unique content. Reels are easily liked, shared and commented on too, which is a great combination of social sharing techniques if you’re looking for a new customer base or want to grow your existing clientele. You’ll also have the opportunity to become “Featured” on Reels, where Instagram choose their favourite inspiring and entertaining content, from the public, to be shared with the Instagram community.
How Are Instagram Reels Already Being Used?
Reels already appear to be popular with both individuals and brands using Reels to create inspiring and original content online. Trends are already emerging from using Reels including using them to showcase tutorials, product demonstrations, and business announcements. Reels is emerging as a platform for new and novel content by both instigating conversations around social trends and utilising user-generated content.
Brands also appear to be re-using videos from Instagram Stories, YouTube, or TikTok and then recreating them into new Reels clips. By adding new creative spins using stickers, music and effects, Reels is a simple way to re-purpose your existing content which can save both time and money. While competition is currently relatively low on Instagram Reels, it’s likely that brands will start partnering with influencers and creators to promote their products and services. It’s also likely that as Instagram Reels grows in popularity that shoppable stickers and swipeable link features will also be added, giving your even more opportunity to signpost customers to your website with specific calls to action.
How do I Create a Reel?
1. You can create a Reel by opening the Instagram Stories camera menu and choosing the Reels option by click on the new icon. On the left-hand side of the screen is a vertical menu showing options for audio, speed, effects, and timer.
2. Select your Audio by choosing the music icon. There are lots of audio clips to choose from here and you can edit the music to fit with the length of your video or you can add your own audio clip instead.
3. Next, you can speed up or slow down your video clip, and then choose effects for your video such as augmented reality filters. Choose the timer option for a countdown before the video starts recording, or upload your video, then add stickers and text tools to add your own creative flair. Lastly, you’ll need to upload a cover photo by choosing a thumbnail image from the video or upload an image from your media library or camera roll.
4. Once your Reel is created you can share it to your Instagram Stories, Explore Feed, and on the Reels tab on your main profile page. Instagram Reels may seem complicated at first but with a little practice, it should become an easy way to share company news, product information and regular content updates with your customers.
How Can I Use Instagram Reels for my Small Business?
Reels could be an important marketing tool for your small business. It allows the opportunity to engage with customers and keep them up to date with your brand in a new and exciting way. If you have a public account you can share your Reels to a dedicated space in Explore to reach your followers and the wider Instagram community. Your Reels may be shown if they feature certain songs or effects, or may come up in search if they include certain hashtags, which works, for example, in a similar way to searching through popular hashtags and trends on Twitter. Through this discover and share function, Reels can reach far more eyes than just your existing customer base and so can improve your engagement levels and potentially result in more sales.
By creating, fun, fast, and captivating content you can really showcase the personality of your brand to grow and strengthen your community. If you have a portfolio of products, use Reels to showcase demonstrations or to drive awareness of your services. Try creating striking, engaging, and creative content in short 15 second bursts that should captivate your audience and educate them at the same time.
Instagram Reels look set to be the next big platform for influencer marketing and promotion for brands. But they are also an opportunity for businesses to better engage with and understand their communities. Are you already using Instagram Reels for your business? Will you be adding the video platform to your social media marketing plan?