Like it or love it, Instagram Reels is here and it’s not going anywhere. Facebook’s new TikTok competitor has been all the rage on social media this month, and for good reason.
With TikTok past its peak and near a drastic turning point, Instagram Reels is prime to take the top spot for short-form video clips. And if the past two weeks have taught us anything about Reels, it’s that having a strategy for this emerging social media marketing mainstay is essential to help grow your brand.
After quickly amassing over 800 million active global users and an estimated $500 million in revenue in 2020 in the US alone, TikTok’s success and its user-friendly platform for creators and brand partnerships will almost certainly be mirrored with Reels. So if you’re looking to grow your brand, expand your platform, and delve into new partnerships (eventually), focusing on mastering Reels in its infancy will be central to your growth.
We deep dive on how to use Instagram Reels to help grow your brand. These best practices could transform your social media presence and showcase your brand in a new light.
Instagram Reels: Quick Strategy
Remember when Instagram launched Stories? Most of us were slow to adapt. At the time, it seemed like just another thing to keep up with. It felt like more work.
When Stories launched in 2016, there were just over 150 million active users. Today there are half a billion people who use Stories every single day. And those who really learned the platform in those early days were rewarded by Instagram and tallied a large number of new followers which eventually led to growth, partnerships, and more.
There’s no time like the present when it comes to Reels. Let’s break down why it’s important to dive in now rather than later:
- Less Competition – right now there is very little competition on the platform which means your content has a much higher visibility rate.
- Trial & Error – start learning what works and what doesn’t before everyone else gets the hang of things.
- Find and Hone Your Ideas – Whether it’s educational, relatable, or insightful, hone in on your ideas before posting to add some form to your function.
- Master Time Constraints – TikTok allows users to record for upwards of 60 seconds and Reels only allows 15 seconds. Start learning how to bring your content to completion in less time.
- Study Your Analytics – Although Reels analytics remains fairly simplistic at the moment (tallies view counts, likes, and comments), that’s likely to change in the near future. Even still, start studying who’s watching your content and what performs best.
Instagram Reels Best Practices #1: Create Original Content That Speaks Directly to Your Audience
Although Instagram Reels may very well replace TikTok when it’s all said and done, there’s no better place to learn what works for these short term videos than ByteDance-owned company.
The best TikTok creators gained followers and went viral because of their originality. Creating authentic content is the only way to engage viewers, entice partners, and generate reshares. Authenticity should be the cornerstone of any content you create for Reels.
Instagram Reels Best Practices #2: Turn Your Passion into Entertainment
Entertainment is at its best when driven by passion. Take what you know best and turn it into something your audience will love!
Whether you’re a dancer, singer, artist, or comedian, the things that you love is what will expand your profile on Reels. Your expertise is valuable. Cash in on it by giving your audience content surrounding what you love or what you do best.
Instagram Reels Best Practices #3: Optimize AR Filters and VFX Effects
One big differentiator between TikTok and Reels is that users can optimize all of the tools and features available on Instagram. And AR filters should undoubtedly be top of your list.
While you’ll certainly want to become very familiar with the Align Tool and the Timer, AR Filters should be an anchor to your content. They provide a playful and whimsical theme to your videos and can make that 15-second clip so much more engaging.
Moreover, VFX effects are growing very popular on Reels in its first few weeks. Something that made content on TikTok surge, these visual effects are a look into the future of content creation.
Instagram Reels Best Practices #4: Product Reveals & Previews
Although there isn’t an option to monetize or use branded content tools on Reels at this time, that doesn’t mean you can’t showcase the products that you love!
This is your opportunity to bring awareness to your favorite products from the brands that you love or the brands you hope to build a relationship with. Instagram is really pushing Reels content at the moment, so acting now will likely get good content in front of more eyes than any other time in the future. Which could result in the brand success you’re hoping for.
nstagram Reels Best Practices #5: Tap Into What’s Trending
Whether it’s a song, a viral challenge, or a thriving hashtag, getting the most eyes on your Reels content will certainly depend on how well you ride the wave of what’s trending.
As we’ve seen on Instagram in the past, hashtag themes and challenges have significantly helped brands and creators connect with a large online community and grow as a result. So while it’s critical to strategy content output, it’s equally as important to be reactive to emerging trends.
Instagram Reels Best Practices #6: Create Learning Opportunities
Users come to social media for many reasons. Among them are inspiration and education. So if you can teach your followers a thing or two with your content, you make yourself a very valuable asset.
Show users a couple of different ways to wear an outfit, show them how you create a piece of art from start to finish or give them a tutorial on how to edit a photo.
Instagram Reels Best Practices #7: Make Sure You’re Telling a Story
Although Instagram hasn’t revealed how its algorithm supports its budding feature, the company has mentioned on its @Creators account that framing your ideas from beginning to end is a value trait to maximizing the reach of Reels content.
Think about writing a script for your videos so you know how each clip should flow. Even though Reels are extremely short, they require a beginning, middle, and end. A story must exist within those 15 seconds. And yes, you want it scored to music with editing transitions and effects.
Instagram Reels Best Practices #8: Watch the Competition
Learning from the competition is just as important as learning from your own analytics. See what’s working, try to understand why it’s working, and don’t copy, but take those lessons and apply them in a way that’s authentic to you or your brand.
If the success of Instagram Stories is any indication, Reels is the next big thing. Connecting with a new audience through Reels by implementing a marketing strategy is a valuable investment in your brand’s future.
Speaking of the future, Reels is only just getting started. Although we don’t know this for sure, new branded tools may soon be available alongside other IG staples like the swipe-up feature and shoppable stickers.
How can we help?
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